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Title: Colonization and Christianity - A popular history of the treatment of the natives by the - Europeans in all their colonies
Author: Howitt, William
Language: English
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  Have we not all one father?—hath not one God created us?
  Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?

  _Malachi_ ii. 10.




The object of this volume is to lay open to the public the most
extensive and extraordinary system of crime which the world ever
witnessed. It is a system which has been in full operation for more
than three hundred years, and continues yet in unabating activity
of evil. The apathy which has hitherto existed in England upon this
subject has proceeded in a great measure from want of knowledge.
National injustice towards particular tribes, or particular
individuals, has excited the most lively feeling, and the most
energetic exertions for its redress,—but the whole wide field of
unchristian operations in which this country, more than any other, is
engaged, has never yet been laid in a clear and comprehensive view
before the public mind. It is no part of the present volume to suggest
particular plans of remedy. The first business is to make known the
nature and the extent of the evil,—that once perceived, in this great
country there will not want either heads to plan or hands to accomplish
all that is due to the rights of others, or the honour and interest of

  _West End Cottage, Esher,
  June 8th, 1838._


  CHAPTER I.                                                 PAGE

  Introduction                                                  1


  The Discovery of the New World                               11


  The Papal Gift of all the Heathen World to the Portuguese
  and Spaniards                                                19


  The Spaniards in Hispaniola                                  28


  The Spaniards in Hispaniola and Cuba                         43


  The Spaniards in Jamaica and other West Indian Islands       56


  The Spaniards in Mexico                                      62


  The Spaniards in Peru                                        92


  The Spaniards in Peru—(_continued_)                         104


  The Spaniards in Paraguay                                   119


  The Portuguese in Brazil                                    145


  The Portuguese in Brazil—(_continued_)                      158


  The Portuguese in India                                     173


  The Dutch in India                                          185


  The English in India.—System of Territorial Acquisition     202


  The English in India—(_continued_).—Treatment of the
    Natives                                                   252


  The English in India.—Treatment of the Natives—
    (_continued_)                                             272


  The English in India—(_continued_)                          285


  The English in India—(_concluded_)                          298


  The French in their Colonies                                312


  The English in America                                      330


  The English in America—Settlement of Pennsylvania           356


  The English in America till the Revolt of the Colonies      367


  Treatment of the Indians by the United States               386


  Treatment of the Indians by the United States—
    (_continued_)                                             402


  The English in South Africa                                 417


  The English in South Africa—(_continued_)                   443


  The English in New Holland and the Islands of the Pacific   469


  Conclusion                                                  499



                These are they, O Lord!
  Who in thy plain and simple gospel see
  All mysteries, but who find no peace enjoined,
  No brotherhood, no wrath denounced on them
  Who shed their brethren’s blood! Blind at noon-day
  As owls; lynx-eyed in darkness.—_Southey._

Christianity has now been in the world upwards of ONE THOUSAND EIGHT
HUNDRED YEARS. For more than a thousand years the European nations
have arrogated to themselves the title of CHRISTIAN! some of their
monarchs, those of MOST SACRED and MOST CHRISTIAN KINGS! We have long
laid to our souls the flattering unction that we are a civilized and a
Christian people. We talk of all other nations in all other quarters of
the world, as savages, barbarians, uncivilized. We talk of the ravages
of the Huns, the irruptions of the Goths; of the terrible desolations
of Timour, or Zenghis Khan. We talk of Alaric and Attila, the sweeping
carnage of Mahomet, or the cool cruelties of more modern Tippoos and
Alies. We shudder at the war-cries of naked Indians, and the ghastly
feasts of Cannibals; and bless our souls that we are redeemed from all
these things, and made models of beneficence, and lights of God in the

It is high time that we looked a little more rigidly into our
pretences. It is high time that we examined, on the evidence of facts,
whether we are quite so refined, quite so civilized, quite so Christian
as we have assumed to be. It is high time that we look boldly into the
real state of the question, and learn actually, whether the mighty
distance between our goodness and the moral depravity of other people

Have bloodshed and cruelty then ceased in Europe? After a thousand
years of acquaintance with the most merciful and the most heavenly of
religions, do the national characters of the Europeans reflect the
beauty and holiness of that religion? Are we distinguished by our
peace, as the followers of the Prince of Peace? Are we renowned for
our eagerness to seek and save, as the followers of the universal
Saviour? Are our annals redolent of the delightful love and fellowship
which one would naturally think must, after a thousand years,
distinguish those who pride themselves on being the peculiar and
adopted children of Him who said, “By this shall all men know that
ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another?” These are very
natural, but nevertheless, very awkward questions. If ever there was a
quarter of the globe distinguished by its quarrels, its jealousies, its
everlasting wars and bloodshed, it is Europe. Since these _soi-disant_
Christian nations have risen into any degree of strength, what single
evidence of Christianity have they, as nations, exhibited? Eternal
warfare!—is that Christianity? Yet that is the history of _Christian_
Europe. The most subtle or absurd pretences to seize upon each other’s
possessions,—the contempt of all faith in treaties,—the basest
policy,—the most scandalous profligacy of public morals,—the most
abominable international laws!—are they Christianity? And yet they are
the history of Europe. Nations of men selling themselves to do murder,
that ruthless kings might ravish each other’s crowns—nations of men,
standing with jealous eyes on the perpetual watch against each other,
with arms in their hands, oaths in their mouths, and curses in their
hearts;—are those Christian? Yet there is not a man acquainted with
the history of Europe that will even attempt to deny that _that_ is
the history of Europe. For what are all our international boundaries;
our lines of demarcation; our frontier fortresses and sentinels; our
martello towers, and guard-ships; our walled and gated cities; our
bastions and batteries; and our jealous passports? These are all
barefaced and glaring testimonies that our pretence of Christianity
is a mere assumption; that after upwards of a thousand years of the
boasted possession of Christianity, Europe has not yet learned to
govern itself by its plainest precepts; and that her children have
no claim to, or reliance in that spirit of “love which casteth out
all fear.” It is very well to vaunt the title of Christian one to
another—every nation knows in its own soul, it is a hollow pretence.
While it boasts of the Christian name, it dare not for a moment throw
itself upon a Christian faith in its neighbour. No! centuries of the
most unremitted hatred,—blood poured over every plain of Europe, and
sprinkled on its very mountain tops, cry out too dreadfully, that it
is a dismal cheat. Wars, the most savage and unprovoked; oppressions,
the most desperate; tyrannies, the most ruthless; massacres, the most
horrible; death-fires, and tortures the most exquisite, perpetuated
one on another for the faith, and in the very name of God; dungeons
and inquisitions; the blood of the Vaudois, and the flaming homes of
the Covenanters are all in their memories, and give the lie to their
professions. No! Poland rent in sunder; the iron heel of Austria on the
prostrate neck of Italy; and invasions and aggressions without end,
make Christian nations laugh with a hollow mockery in their hearts, in
the very midst of their solemn professions of the Christian virtue and

But I may be told that this character applies rather to past Europe
than to the present. What! are all these things at an end? For what
then are all these standing armies? What all these marching armies?
What these men-of-war on the ocean? What these atrocities going on from
year to year in Spain? Has any age or nation seen such battles waged
as we have witnessed in our time? How many WATERLOOS can the annals
of the earth reckon? What Timour, or Zenghis Khan, can be compared to
the Napoleon of modern Europe? the greatest scourge of nations that
ever arose on this planet; the most tremendous meteor that ever burnt
along its surface! Have the multitude of those who deem themselves
the philosophical and refined, as well as the Christian of Europe,
ceased to admire this modern Moloch, and to forget in _his_ individual
and retributory sufferings at St. Helena, the countless agonies and
the measureless ruin that he inflicted on innocent and even distant
nations? While we retain a blind admiration of martial genius, wilfully
shutting our senses and our minds to the crimes and the pangs that
constitute its shadow, it is laughable to say that we have progressed
beyond our fathers in Christian knowledge. At this moment all Europe
stands armed to the teeth. The peace of every individual nation is
preserved, not by the moral probity and the mutual faith which are the
natural growth of Christian knowledge, but by the jealous watch of
armed bands, and the coarse and undisguised force of brute strength. To
this moment not the slightest advance is made towards a regular system
of settling national disputes by the head instead of the hand. To this
moment the stupid practice of settling individual disputes between
those who pride themselves on their superior education and knowledge,
by putting bullets instead of sound reasons into each other’s heads,
is as common as ever. If we really are a civilized people, why do
we not abandon barbarian practices? If we really are philosophical,
why do we not shew it? It is a poor compliment to our learning, our
moral and political philosophy, and above all, to our religion, that
at this time of day if a dispute arise between us as nations or as
men, we fall to blows, instead of to rational inquiry and adjustment.
Is Christianity then so abstruse? No! “He that runneth may read, and
the way-faring man, though a fool, cannot err therein.” Then why, in
the name of common sense, have we not learned it, seeing that it so
closely concerns our peace, our security, and our happiness? Surely
a thousand years is time enough to teach that which is so plain, and
of such immense importance! We call ourselves civilized, yet we are
daily perpetrating the grossest outrages; we boast of our knowledge,
yet we do not know how to live one with another half so peaceably as
wolves; we term ourselves Christians, yet the plainest injunction of
Christ, “to love our neighbour as ourselves,” we have yet, one thousand
eight hundred and thirty-eight years after his death, to adopt! But
most monstrous of all has been the moral blindness or the savage
recklessness of ourselves as Englishmen.

  Secure from actual warfare, we have loved
  To swell the war-whoop, passionate for war!
  Alas! for ages ignorant of all
  Its ghastlier workings (famine or blue plague,
  Battle, or siege, or flight through wintry snows,)
  We, this whole people, have been clamorous
  For war and bloodshed; animating sports,
  The which we pay for as a thing to talk of,
  Spectators and not combatants! Abroad
  Stuffed out with big preamble, holy names,
  And adjurations of the God in heaven,
  We send our mandates for the certain death
  Of thousands and ten thousands! Boys and girls,
  And women, _that would groan to see a child_
  _Pull off an insect’s leg_, all read of war,
  The best amusement for our morning’s meal!
  The poor wretch who has learnt his only prayers
  From curses, who knows scarce words enough
  To ask a blessing from his heavenly Father,
  Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute,
  Technical in victories, and deceit,
  _And all our dainty terms for fratricide_;
  Terms which we trundle smoothly o’er our tongues
  Like mere abstractions, empty sounds, to which
  We join no feeling, and attach no form!
  As if the soldier died without a wound;
  As if the fibres of this god-like frame
  Were gored without a pang; as if the wretch
  Who fell in battle, doing bloody deeds,
  Passed off to heaven, translated and not killed;
  As though he had no wife to pine for him,
  No God to judge him! Therefore evil days
  Are coming on us, O my countrymen!
  And what, if all-avenging Providence,
  Strong and retributive, should make us know
  The meaning of our words, force us to feel
  The desolation and the agony of our fierce doings?


This is the aspect of the Christian world in its most polished and
enlightened quarter:—there surely is some need of serious inquiry;
there must surely be some monstrous practical delusion here, that wants
honestly encountering, and boldly dispersing.

But if such is the internal condition of Christian Europe, what
is the phasis that it presents to the rest of the world? With the
exception of our own tribes, now numerously scattered over almost
every region of the earth, all are in our estimation barbarians. We
pride ourselves on our superior knowledge, our superior refinement,
our higher virtues, our nobler character. We talk of the heathen, the
savage, and the cruel, and the wily tribes, that fill the rest of the
earth; but how is it that these tribes know _us_? Chiefly by the very
features that we attribute exclusively to them. They know us chiefly
by our crimes and our cruelty. It is we who are, and must appear to
them the savages. What, indeed, are civilization and Christianity?
The refinement and ennoblement of our nature! The habitual feeling
and the habitual practice of an enlightened justice, of delicacy and
decorum, of generosity and affection to our fellow men. There is not
one of these qualities that we have not violated for ever, and on
almost all occasions, towards every single tribe with which we have
come in contact. We have professed, indeed, to teach Christianity to
them; but we had it not to teach, and we have carried them instead, all
the curses and the horrors of a demon race. If the reign of Satan, in
fact, were come,—if he were let loose with all his legions, to plague
the earth for a thousand years, what would be the characteristics
of his prevalence? Terrors and crimes; one wide pestilence of vice
and obscenity; one fearful torrent of cruelty and wrath, deceit and
oppression, vengeance and malignity; the passions of the strong would
be inflamed—the weak would cry and implore in vain!

And is not that the very reign of spurious Christianity which has
lasted now for these thousand years, and that during the last three
hundred, has spread with discovery round the whole earth, and made
the name of Christian synonymous with fiend? It is shocking that
the divine and beneficent religion of Christ should thus have been
libelled by base pretenders, and made to stink in the nostrils of
all people to whom it ought, and would, have come as the opening of
heaven; but it is a fact no less awful than true, that the European
nations, while professing Christianity, have made it odious to the
heathen. They have branded it by their actions as something breathed
up, full of curses and cruelties, from the infernal regions. On them
lies the guilt, the stupendous guilt of having checked the gospel in
its career, and brought it to a full stop in its triumphant progress
through the nations. They have done this, _and then wondered at their
deed_! They have visited every coast in the shape of rapacious and
unprincipled monsters, and then cursed the inhabitants as besotted
with superstition, because they did not look on them as angels!
People have wondered at the slow progress, and in many countries, the
almost hopeless labours of the missionaries;—why should they wonder?
The missionaries had Christianity to teach—and their countrymen
had been there before them, and called themselves Christians! That
was enough: what recommendations could a religion have, to men who
had seen its professors for generations in the sole characters of
thieves, murderers, and oppressors? The missionaries told them that
in Christianity lay their salvation;—they shook their heads, they
had already found it their destruction! They told them they were come
to comfort and enlighten them;—they had already been comforted by
the seizure of their lands, the violation of their ancient rights,
the kidnapping of their persons; and they had been enlightened by the
midnight flames of their own dwellings! Is there any mystery in the
difficulties of the missionaries? Is there any in the apathy of simple
nations towards Christianity?

The barbarities and desperate outrages of the so-called Christian
race, throughout every region of the world, and upon every people
that they have been able to subdue, are not to be paralleled by those
of any other race, however fierce, however untaught, and however
reckless of mercy and of shame, in any age of the earth. Is it fit
that this horrible blending of the names of Christianity and outrage
should continue? Yet it does continue, and must continue, till the
genuine spirit of Christianity in this kingdom shall arouse itself,
and determine that these villanies shall cease, or they who perpetrate
them shall be stripped of the honoured name of—Christian! If foul
deeds are to be done, let them be done in their own foul name; and
let robbery of lands, seizure of cattle, violence committed on the
liberties or the lives of men, be branded as the deeds of devils
and not of Christians. The spirit of Christianity, in the shape of
missions, and in the teaching and beneficent acts of the missionaries,
is now sensibly, in many countries, undoing the evil which wolves in
the sheep’s clothing of the Christian name had before done. And of
late another glorious symptom of the growth of this divine spirit has
shown itself, in the strong feeling exhibited in this country towards
the natives of our colonies. To fan that genuine flame of love, is the
object of this work. To comprehend the full extent of atrocities done
in the Christian name, we must look the whole wide evil sternly in the
face. We must not suffer ourselves to aim merely at the redress of this
or that grievance; but, gathering all the scattered rays of aboriginal
oppression into one burning focus, and thus enabling ourselves to feel
its entire force, we shall be less than Englishmen and Christians if we
do not stamp the whole system of colonial usage towards the natives,
with that general and indignant odium which must demolish it at once
and for ever.



  The spoilers are come upon all high places through the
  wilderness.—_Jeremiah_ xii. 12.

  Forth rush the fiends as with the torrent’s sweep,
  And deeds are done that make the angels weep.—_Rogers._

We have thus in our first chapter glanced at the scene of crime and
abomination which Europe through long ages presented, still daring
to clothe itself in the fair majesty of the Christian name. It is
a melancholy field of speculation—but our business is not there
just now; we must hasten from it, to that other field of sorrow and
shame at which we also glanced. For fifteen centuries, during which
Christianity had been promulgated, Europe had become little aware of
its genuine nature, though boastful of its profession; but during the
latter portion of that period its nations had progressed rapidly in
population, in strength, and in the arts of social life. They had,
amid all their bickerings and butcherings, found sufficient leisure
to become commercial, speculative, and ambitious of still greater
wealth and power. Would to God, in their improvements, they could
have numbered that of religious knowledge! Their absurd crusades,
nevertheless, by which they had attempted to wrest the Holy City from
the infidels to put it into the possession of mere nominal Christians,
whose very act of seizing on the Holy Land proclaimed their ignorance
of the very first principles of the divine religion in whose cause
they assumed to go forth—these crusades, immediately scandalous
and disastrous as they were, introduced them to the East; gave them
knowledge of more refined and immensely wealthy nations; and at once
raised their notions of domestic luxury and embellishment; gave them
means of extended knowledge; and inspired them with a boundless thirst
for the riches of which they had got glimpses of astonishment. The
Venetians and Genoese alternately grew great by commerce with that
East of which Marco Polo brought home such marvellous accounts; and
at length, Henry of Portugal appeared, one of the noblest and most
remarkable princes in earth’s annals! He devoted all the energies of
his mind and the resources of his fortune to discovery! Fixing his
abode by the ocean, he sent across it not merely the eyes of desire,
but the far-glances of dawning science. Step by step, year by year,
spite of all natural difficulties, disasters and discouragements, he
threw back the cloud that had for ages veiled the vast sea; his ships
brought home news of isle after isle—spots on the wide waste of
waters, fairer and more sunny than the fabled Hesperides; and crept
along the vast line of the African coast to the very Cape of Hope.
He died; but his spirit was shed abroad in an inextinguishable zeal,
guided and made invincible by the Magnet, “the spirit of the stone,”
the adoption of which he had suggested.[1]—At once arose Gama and
Columbus, and as it were at once—for there were but five years and a
few months between one splendid event and the other,—the East and the
West Indies by the sea-path, and America, till then undreamed of, were

What an era of amazement was that! Worlds of vast extent and wonderful
character, starting as it were into sudden creation before the eyes of
growing, inquisitive, and ambitious Europe! Day after day, some news,
astounding in its very infinitude of goodness, was breaking upon their
excited minds; news which overturned old theories of philosophy and
geography, and opened prospects for the future equally confounding
by their strange magnificence! No single Paradise discovered; but
countless Edens, scattered through the glittering seas of summer
climes, and populous realms, stretching far and wide beneath new
heavens, from pole to pole—

  Another nature, and a new mankind.—_Rogers._

Since the day of Creation, but two events of superior influence on
the destinies of the human race had occurred—the Announcement of
God’s Law on Sinai, and the Advent of his Son! Providence had drawn
aside the veil of a mighty part of his world, and submitted the lives
and happiness of millions of his creatures to the arbitrium of that
European race, which now boasted of superior civilization—and far
more, of being the regenerated followers of his Christ. Never was so
awful a test of sincerity presented to the professors of a heavenly
creed!—never was such opportunity allowed to mortal men to work in the
eternal scheme of Providence! It is past! Such amplitude of the glory
of goodness can never again be put at one moment into the reach of the
human will. God’s providence is working out its undoubted design in
this magnificent revelation of

  That maiden world, twin-sister to the old;—_Montgomery._

But they who should have worked with it in the benignity and
benevolence of that Saviour whose name they bore, have left to all
futurity the awful spectacle of their infamy!

Had the Europeans really at this eventful crisis been instructed in
genuine Christianity, and imbued with its spirit, what a signal career
of improvement and happiness must have commenced throughout the vast
American continent! What a source of pure, guiltless, and enduring
wealth must have been opened up to Europe itself! Only let any one
imagine the natives of America meeting the Europeans as they did,
with the simple faith of children, and the reverence inspired by an
idea of something divine in their visitors; let any one imagine them
thus meeting them, and finding them, instead of what they actually
were, spirits base and desperate as hell could have possibly thrown
up from her most malignant regions—finding them men of peace instead
of men of blood, men of integrity instead of men of deceit, men of
love and generosity instead of men of cruelty and avarice—wise,
enlightened, and just! Let any one imagine that, and he has before
him such a series of grand and delightful consequences as can only
be exhibited when Christianity shall _really_ become the actuating
spirit of nations; and they shall as the direct consequence, “beat
their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks.”
Imagine the Spaniards and the Portuguese to have been merely what
they pretended to be,—men who had been taught in the divine law of
the New Testament, that “God made of one blood all the nations of the
earth;” men who, while they burned to “plant the Cross,” actually
meant by it to plant in every new land the command, “thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself;” and the doctrine, that the religion of the
Christian is, to “do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before
God.” Imagine that these men came amongst the simple people of the New
World, clothed in all the dignity of Christian wisdom, the purity of
Christian sentiment, and the sacred beauty of Christian benevolence;
and what a contrast to the crimes and the horrors with which they
devastated and depopulated that hapless continent! The historian would
not then have had to say—“The bloodshed and attendant miseries which
the unparalleled rapine and cruelty of the Spaniards spread over the
New World, indeed disgrace human nature. The great and flourishing
empires of Mexico and Peru, _steeped in the blood of_ FORTY MILLIONS
of their sons, present a melancholy prospect, which must excite the
indignation of every good heart.”[2] If, instead of that lust of gold
which had hardened them into actual demons, they had worn the benign
graces of true Christians, the natives would have found in them a
higher image of divinity than any which they had before conceived,
and the whole immense continent would have been laid open to them as
a field of unexampled and limitless glory and felicity. They might
have introduced their arts and sciences—have taught the wonders and
the charms of household enjoyments and refinements—have shewn the
beauty and benefit of cultivated fields and gardens; their faith would
have created them confidence in the hearts of the natives, and the
advantages resulting from their friendly tuition would have won their
love. What a triumphant progress for civilization and Christianity!
There was no wealth nor advantage of that great continent which might
not have become legitimately and worthily theirs. They would have
walked amongst the swarming millions of the south as the greatest of
benefactors; and under their enlightened guidance, every species of
useful produce, and every article of commercial wealth would have
sprung up. Spain need not have been blasted, as it were, by the
retributive hand of Divine punishment, into the melancholy object which
she is this day. That sudden stream of gold which made her a second
Tantalus, reaching to her very lips yet never quenching her thirst, and
leaving her at length the poorest and most distracted realm in Europe,
might have been hers from a thousand unpolluted sources, and bearing
along with it God’s blessing instead of his curse: and mighty nations,
rivalling Europe in social arts and political power, might have been
now, instead of many centuries hence, objects of our admiration, and
grateful repayers of our benefits.

But I seem to hear many voices exclaiming, “Yes! these things _might_
have been, had men been what they are not, nor ever were!” Precisely
so!—that is the point I wish expressly to illustrate before I proceed
to my narrative. These things might have been, and would have been,
had men been merely what they professed. They called themselves
Christians, and I merely state what Christians would and must, as
a matter of course, have done. The Spaniards professed to be, and
probably really believed that they were, Christians. They professed
zealously that one of their most ardent desires was to bring the
newly-discovered hemisphere under the cross of Christ. Columbus
returned thanks to God for having made him a sort of modern apostle to
the vast tribes of the West. Ferdinand and Isabella, when he returned
and related to them the wonderful story of his discovery, fell on
their knees before their throne, and thanked God too! They expressed
an earnest anxiety to establish the empire of the Cross throughout
their new and splendid dominions. The very Spanish adventurers, with
their hands heavy with the plundered gold, and clotted with the
blood of the unhappy Americans, were zealous for the spread of their
faith. They were not more barbarous than they were self-deluded; and
I shall presently shew whence had sprung, and how had grown to such a
blinding thickness, that delusion upon them. But the truth which I am
now attempting to elucidate and establish, is of far higher and wider
concernment than as exemplified in the early adventurers of Spain and
Portugal. This grand delusion has rested on Europe for a thousand
years; and from the days of the Spaniards to the present moment, has
gone on propagating crimes and miseries without end. For the last
three hundred years, Europe has been boasting of its Christianity, and
perpetrating throughout the vast extent of territories in every quarter
of the globe subjected to its power, every violence and abomination
at which Christianity revolts. There is no nation of Europe that is
free from the guilt of colonial blood and oppression. God knows what
an awful share rests upon this country! It remains therefore for us
simply to consider whether we will abandon our national crimes or our
Christian name. Whether Europe shall continue so to act towards what
it pleases to term “savage” nations, as that it must seem to be the
very ground and stronghold of some infernal superstition, or so as
to promote, what a large portion of the British public at least, now
sincerely desires,—the Christianization, and with it the civilization,
of the heathen.

I shall now pass in rapid review, the treatment which the natives
of the greater portion of the regions discovered since the days of
Columbus and Gama, have received at the hands of the nations styling
themselves Christian, that every one may see what has been, and still
is, the actual system of these nations; and I shall first follow
Columbus and his immediate successors to the Western world, because it
was first, though only by so brief a period, reached by the ships of
the adventurers.



  Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast born me a man
  of strife, and a man of contention to the whole
  earth.—_Jeremiah_ xv. 10.

  Also in their skirts is found the blood of the souls of
  the poor innocents.—_Jeremiah_ v. 16.

Columbus, while seeking for a western track to the East Indies, on
Friday, Oct. 12th, 1492, stumbled on a New World! The discoveries by
Prince Henry of Portugal, of Madeira, and of a considerable extent of
the African coast, had impressed him with a high idea of the importance
of what yet was to be discovered, and of the possibility of reaching
India by sea. This had led him to obtain a Bull from Pope Eugene
IV. granting to the crown of Portugal all the countries which the
Portuguese should discover from Cape Non to India. Columbus, having now
discovered America, although unknown to himself, supposing it still to
be some part of India, his monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, lost no
time in applying for a similar grant. Alexander VI., a Spaniard, was
equally generous with his predecessor, and accordingly divided the
world between the Spaniards and Portuguese! “The Pope,” says Robertson,
“as the vicar and representative of Jesus Christ, was supposed to have
a right of dominion over all the kingdoms of the earth. Alexander VI.,
a pontiff infamous for every crime which disgraces humanity, filled the
papal throne at that time. As he was born Ferdinand’s subject, and very
solicitous to procure the protection of Spain, in order to facilitate
the execution of his ambitious schemes in favour of his own family, he
was extremely willing to gratify the Spanish monarchs. By an act of
liberality, which cost him nothing, and that served to establish the
jurisdiction and fortunes of the papal see, he granted in full right
to Ferdinand and Isabella, all the countries inhabited by infidels
which they had discovered, or should discover; and in virtue of that
power which he derived from Jesus Christ, he conferred on the crown of
Castile vast regions, to the possession of which he himself was so far
from having any title, that he was unacquainted with their situation,
and ignorant even of their existence. As it was necessary to prevent
this grant from interfering with that formerly made to the crown of
Portugal, he appointed that a line, supposed to be drawn from pole to
pole, a hundred leagues to the westward of the Azores, should serve
as a limit between them; and, in the plenitude of his power, bestowed
all to the east of this imaginary line upon the Portuguese, and all to
the west of it, upon the Spaniards. Zeal for propagating the Christian
faith, was the consideration employed by Ferdinand in soliciting this
Bull, and is mentioned by Alexander as his chief motive for issuing

It is necessary, for the right understanding of this history, to pause
upon this remarkable fact, and to give it the consideration which
it demands. In this one passage lies the key to all the atrocities,
which from that hour to the present have been perpetrated on the
natives of every country making no profession of Christianity, which
those _making_ such a profession have been able to subdue. An Italian
priest,—as the unfortunate Inca, Atahualpa, afterwards observed with
indignant surprise, when told that the pope had given his empire to
the Spaniards,—here boldly presumes to give away God’s earth as if he
sate as God’s acknowledged vicegerent. Splitting this mighty planet
into two imaginary halves, he hands one to the Spanish and the other to
the Portuguese monarch, as he would hand the two halves of an orange
to a couple of boys. The presumption of the act is so outrageous, that
at this time of day, and forgetting for a moment all the consequences
which flowed from this deed, one is ready to burst into a hearty fit
of laughter, as at a solemn farce, irresistibly ludicrous from its
grave extravagance. But it was a farce which cost, and still costs the
miserable natives of unproselyted countries dear. It was considered no
farce—there was seen no burlesque in it at the time of its enactment.
Not only the kings of Spain and Portugal, but the kings and people of
all Europe bowed to this preposterous decision, and never dreamed for a
moment of calling in question its validity.

Edward IV. of England, on receiving a remonstrance from John II. of
Portugal on account of some English merchants attempting to trade
within the limits assigned to the Portuguese by the pope’s bull, so
far from calling in question the right thus derived by the Portuguese
from the pope, instantly ordered the merchants to withdraw from the
interdicted scene.

Here then, we have the root and ground of that grand delusion which
led the first discoverers of new lands, to imagine themselves entitled
to seize on them as their own, and to violate every sacred right of
humanity without the slightest perception of wrong, and even in many
instances, in the fond belief that they were extending the kingdom
of Christ. We have here the man of sin, the anti-Christ, so clearly
foretold by St. Paul,—“the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth
himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that
he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is
God.... Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with
all power, and signs and lying wonders; and _with all deceivableness
of unrighteousness_ in them that perish; because they received not
the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause
_God shall send them a strong delusion, that they should believe a
lie_.”—_Second Epistle to the Thessalonians_, ii. 3, 4, 9, 10, 11.

Strange and abounding in most singular transactions as is the history
of the Papal church, there is not to be found in it one fact in which
the son of perdition, the proud anti-Christ, is more characteristically
shown than in this singular transaction. We have him here enacting
the God indeed! and giving away a world in a breath. Vast and mighty
nations, isles scattered through unknown oceans, continents stretching
through all climates, and millions on millions of human beings, who
never heard of his country or his religion, much less of his name,
are disposed of with all their fortunes; given up as so many cattle
to the sword or the yoke of the oppressor—the very ground given from
beneath their feet, and no place left them on God’s earth—no portion
in his heritage, in time or in eternity, unless they acknowledged the
mysterious dogmas and more mysterious power of this hoary and shaven
priest! Never was “the son of perdition” more glaringly revealed;
for perdition is the only word that can indicate that fulness of
misery, devastation, and destruction, which went forth with this
act, upon millions of innocent and unconscious souls. Never was “the
deceivableness of unrighteousness” so signally exemplified; for here
was all Europe,—monarchs, ministers,—whatever it possessed of wise,
or learned, powerful, or compassionate, all blinded with such “a strong
delusion,” that they could implicitly “believe a lie” of so monstrous
and flagrant a kind.

It is difficult for us now to conceive how so gross a delusion could
have wrapped in darkness all the intellect of the most active and
aspiring portion of the globe; but it is necessary that we should fix
this peculiar psychological phenomenon firmly and clearly in our minds,
for on it depends the explication of all that was done against humanity
during the reign of Papacy, and much that still continues to be done
to this very day by ourselves, even while we are believing ourselves
enfranchised from this “strong delusion,” and too much enlightened to
“believe a lie.”

We must bear in mind then, that this strange phenomenon was the effect
of nearly a thousand years’ labour of the son of perdition. For ages
upon ages, every craft, priestly and political; every form of regal
authority, of arms, and of superstition; every delusion of the senses,
and every species of play upon the affections, hopes and fears of men,
had been resorted to, and exerted, to rivet this “strong delusion” upon
the human soul, and to make it capable of “believing a lie.”

In the two preceding chapters, I have denied the possession of
Christianity to multitudes and nations who had assumed the name, with
a sternness and abruptness, which no doubt have startled many who have
now read them; but I call earnestly upon every reader, to attend to
what I am now endeavouring deeply to impress upon him; for, I must
repeat, that there is more of what concerns the progress of Christian
truth, and consequently, the happiness of the human race, dependent
on the thorough conception of the fact which I am going to state,
than probably any of us have been sufficiently sensible of, and which
we cannot once become really sensible of, without joining heart and
hand in the endeavour to free our own great country, and Christendom
in general, from the commission of cruelties and outrages that mock
our profession of Christ’s religion, and brand the national name with

There is no fact then, more clearly developed and established past
all controversy, in the history of the Papal church, than that from
its very commencement it set aside Christianity, and substituted in
the words of the apostle, “a strong delusion” and “the belief of a
lie.” The Bible—that treasury and depository of God’s truth—that
fountain of all pure and holy and kindly sentiments—that charter of
all human rights— that guardian of hope and herald of salvation,
was withdrawn from the public eye. It was denounced as the most
dangerous of two-edged instruments, and feared as the worst enemy of
the Papal system. Christianity was no longer taught, the Bible being
once disposed of; but an artful and deadly piece of machinery was put
in action, which bore its name. Instead of the pure and holy maxims
of the New Testament—its sublime truths full of temporal and eternal
freedom, its glorious knowledge, its animating tidings, its triumphant
faith—submission to popes, cardinals, friars, monks and priests, was
taught—a Confessional and a Purgatory took their place. Christianity
was no longer existent; but the very religion of Satan—the most
cunning invention, by which working on human cupidity and ambition,
he was enabled to achieve a temporary triumph over the Gospel. Never
was there a more subtle discovery than that of the Confessional and
the Purgatory. Once having established a belief in confession and
absolution, and who would not be religious at a cheap rate?—in the
Confessional—the especial closet of Satan, every crime and pollution
might be practised, and the guilty soul made to believe that its sin
was that moment again obliterated. Even if death surprised the sinner,
there was power of redemption from that convenient purgatory. Paid
prayers were substituted for genuine repentance—money became the
medium of salvation, and Beelzebub and Mammon sate and laughed together
at the credulity of mankind!

Thus, as I have stated, Christianity was no longer taught; but a
totally different system, usurping its name. Instead of simple
apostles, it produced showy popes and cardinals; instead of humble
preachers, proud temporal princes, and dignitaries as proud; instead
of the Bible, the mass-book and the legends of saints; instead of one
God and one Saviour Jesus Christ, the eyes of its votaries were turned
for help on virgins, saints, and anchorites—instead of the inward
life and purity of the gospel-faith, outward ceremonies, genuflexions,
and pageantry without end. Every man, however desperate his nature
or his deeds, knew that for a certain amount of coin, he could have
his soul white-washed; and, instead of a healthy and availing piety,
that spurious and diabolical devotion was generated, which is found
at the present day amongst the bandits of Italy and Spain—who one
moment plunge their stiletto or bury their bullet in the heart of the
unsuspecting traveller, and the next kneel at the shrine of the Virgin,
perform some slight penance, offer some slight gift to the church, and
are perfectly satisfied that they are in the way of salvation. It is
that spurious devotion, indeed, which marks every superstition—Hindoo,
Mahometan, or Fetish—wherever, indeed, mere outward penance, or the
offering of money, is substituted for genuine repentance and a new life.

Let any one, therefore, imagine the effect of this state of things
on Europe through seven or eight centuries. The light of the genuine
gospel withdrawn—all the purity of the moral law of Christ—all the
clear and convincing annunciations of the rights of man—all the
feelings of love and sympathy that glow alone in the gospel;—and
instead of these an empty show; legends and masses, miracle-plays and
holiday pageants; such doctrines of right and wrong, such maxims of
worldly policy preached as suited ambitious dignitaries or luxurious
friars—and it will account for that singular state of belief and
of conscience which existed at the time of the discovery of the new
countries of the East and West. It would have been impossible that
such ignorance, or such shocking perversion of reason and faith, could
have grown up and established themselves as the characteristics of the
public mind, had every man had the Bible in his hand to refer to, and
imbue himself daily with its luminous sense of justice, and its spirit
of humanity.

We shall presently see what effects it had produced on even the best
men of the 15th and 16th centuries; but what perhaps is not quite so
much suspected, we shall have to learn in the course of this volume
to what an extent the influence of this system still continues on the
_Protestant_ mind. So thoroughly had it debauched the public morality,
that it is to this source that we alone can come to explain the laxity
of opinion and the apathy of feeling that have ever since characterized
Europe in its dealings with the natives of all new countries. To this
day, we no more regard the clearest principles of the gospel in our
transactions with them, than if such principles did not exist. The
Right of Conquest, and such robber-phrases, have been, and even still
continue to be, “as smoothly trundled from our tongues,” as if we
could find them enjoined on our especial approbation in the Bible. But
genuine Christianity is at length powerfully awaking in the public
mind of England; and I trust that even the perusal of this volume will
strengthen our resolution to wash the still clinging stains of popery
out of our garments, and to determine to stand by the morality of the
Bible, and by that alone.

In closing this chapter, let me say that I should be very sorry to hurt
the feelings of any modern Catholic. The foregoing strictures have no
reference to them. However much or little of the ancient faith of the
Papal church any of them may retain, I believe that, as a body, they
are as sincere in their devotion as any other class of Christians; but
the ancient system, character, and practice of the Church of Rome, are
matters of all history, and too closely connected with the objects of
this work, and with the interests of millions, to be passed without,
what the author believes to be, a faithful exposition.



The gathering signs of a long night of woe.—_Rogers._

The terms of the treaty between the Spanish monarchs and Columbus,
on his being engaged as a discoverer, signed by the parties on
the 17th of April, 1492, are sufficiently indicative of the firm
possession which the doctrines of popery had upon their minds. The
sovereigns constituted Columbus high-admiral of all the seas, islands,
and continents which should be discovered by him, as a perpetual
inheritance for him and his heirs. He was to be _their viceroy_
in those countries, with a tenth of the free profits upon all the
productions and the commerce of those realms. This was pretty well
for monarchs professing to be Christians, and who ought to have been
taught—“thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house; thou shalt not
covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant,
nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” But
they had been brought up in another faith: the Pope had exclaimed—

  Creation’s heir! the world, the world is mine!

and they took him literally and really at his word. And it will soon be
seen that Columbus, though naturally of an honorable nature, was not
the less the dupe of this fearful system. He proceeded on his voyage,
discovered a portion of the West Indies, and speedily plunged into
atrocities against the natives that would have been pronounced shocking
in Timour or Attila. James Montgomery, in his beautiful poem, the West
Indies, has strongly contrasted the character of Columbus and that of
his successors.

  The winds were prosperous, and the billows bore
  The brave adventurer to the promised shore;
  Far in the west, arrayed in purple light,
  Dawned the New World on his enraptured sight.
  Not Adam, loosened from the encumbering earth,
  Waked by the breath of God to instant birth,
  With sweeter, wilder wonder gazed around,
  When life within, and light without he found;
  When all creation rushing o’er his soul,
  He seemed to live and breathe throughout the whole.
  So felt Columbus, when divinely fair
  At the last look of resolute despair,
  The Hesperian isles, from distance dimly blue,
  With gradual beauty opened on his view.
  In that proud moment, his transported mind
  The morning and the evening worlds combined;
  And made the sea, that sundered them before,
  A bond of peace, uniting shore to shore.

  Vain, visionary hope! rapacious Spain
  Followed her hero’s triumph o’er the main;
  Her hardy sons in fields of battle tried,
  Where Moor and Christian desperately died;—
  A rabid race, fanatically bold,
  And steeled to cruelty by lust of gold,
  Traversed the waves, the unknown world explored;
  _The cross their standard, but their faith the sword;_
  _Their steps were graves; o’er prostrate realms they trod;_
  _They worshipped Mammon_, while they vowed to God.

To estimate the effect of his theological education on such a man
as Columbus, we have only to pause a moment, to witness the manner
of his first landing in the new world, and his reception there. On
discovering the island of Guanahani, one of the Bahamas, the Spaniards
raised the hymn of _Te Deum_. At sunrise they rowed towards land with
colours flying, and the sound of martial music; and amid the crowds of
wondering natives assembled on the shores and hills around, Columbus,
like another Mahomet, set foot on the beach, _sword in hand_, and
_followed by a crucifix_, which his followers planted in the earth,
and then prostrating themselves before it, _took possession of the
country_ in the name of his sovereign. The inhabitants gazed in silent
wonder on ceremonies so pregnant with calamity to them, but without any
suspicion of their real nature. Living in a delightful climate, hidden
through all the ages of their world from the other world of labour and
commerce, of art and artifice, of avarice and cruelty, they appeared
in the primitive and unclad simplicity of nature. The Spaniards, says
Peter Martyr,—“Dryades formossissimas, aut nativas fontium nymphas
de quibus fabulatur antiquitas, se vidisse arbitrati sunt:”—they
seemed to behold the most beautiful dryads, or native nymphs of the
fountains, of whom antiquity fabled. Their forms were light and
graceful, though dusky with the warm hues of the sun; their hair hung
in long raven tresses on their shoulders, unlike the frizzly wool of
the Africans, or was tastefully braided. Some were painted, and armed
with a light bow, or a fishing spear; but their countenances were full
of gentleness and kindness. Columbus himself, in one of his letters
to Ferdinand and Isabella, describes the Americans and their country
thus:—“This country excels all others, as far as the day surpasses the
night in splendour: the natives love their neighbour as themselves;
their conversation is the sweetest imaginable; their faces always
smiling, and so gentle, so affectionate are they, that I swear to your
highnesses there is not a better people in the world.” The Spaniards
indeed looked with as much amazement on the simple people, and the
paradise in which they lived, as the natives did on the wonderful
spectacle of European forms, faces, dress, arts, arms, and ships.—Such
sweet and flowing streams; such sunny dales, scattered with flowers
as gorgeous and beautiful as they were novel; trees covered with a
profusion of glorious and aromatic blossoms, and beneath their shade
the huts of the natives, of simple reeds or palm-leaves; the stately
palms themselves, rearing their lofty heads on the hill sides; the
canoes skimming over the blue waters, and birds of most resplendent
plumage flying from tree to tree. They walked

  Through citron-groves and fields of yellow maize,
  Through plantain-walks where not a sunbeam plays.
  Here blue savannas fade into the sky;
  There forests frown in midnight majesty;
  Ceiba, and Indian fig, and plane sublime,
  Nature’s first-born, and reverenced by time!
  There sits the bird that speaks! there quivering rise
  Wings that reflect the glow of evening skies!
  Half bird, half fly, the fairy king of flowers,
  Reigns there, and revels through the fragrant bowers;
  Gem full of life, and joy, and song divine,
  Soon in the virgin’s graceful ear to shine.
  The poet sung, if ancient Fame speaks truth,
  “Come! follow, follow to the Fount of Youth!
  I quaff the ambrosial mists that round it rise,
  Dissolved and lost in dreams of Paradise!”
  And there called forth, to bless a happier hour,
  It met the sun in many a rainbow-shower!
  Murmuring delight, its living waters rolled
  ’Mid branching palms, and amaranths of gold!


It were an absurdity to say that they were _Christians_ who broke in
upon this Elysian scene like malignant spirits, and made that vast
continent one wide theatre of such havoc, insult, murder, and misery as
never were before witnessed on earth. But it was not exactly in this
island that this disgraceful career commenced. Lured by the rumour of
gold, which he received from the natives, Columbus sailed southward
first to Cuba, and thence to Hispaniola. Here he was visited by the
cazique, Guacanahari, who was doomed first to experience the villany of
the Spaniards. This excellent and kind man sent by the messengers which
Columbus had despatched to wait on him, a curious mask of beaten gold,
and when the vessel of Columbus was immediately afterwards wrecked
in standing in to the coast, he appeared with all his people on the
strand,—for the purpose of plundering and destroying them, as we might
expect from _savages_, and as the Cazique would have been served had he
been wrecked himself on the Spanish, or on our own coast at that time?
No! but better Christian than most of those who bore that name, he came
eagerly to do the very deed enjoined by Christ and his followers,—to
succour and to save. “The prince,” says Herrera, their own historian,
“appeared all zeal and activity at the head of his people. He placed
armed guards to keep off the press of the natives, and to keep clear
a space for the depositing of the goods as they came to land: he sent
out as many as were needful in their canoes to put themselves under
the guidance of the Spaniards, and to assist them all in their power
in the saving of their goods from the wreck. As they brought them to
land, he and his nobles received them, and set sentinels over them,
not suffering the people even to gratify that curiosity which at
such a crisis must have been very great, to examine and inspect the
curious articles of a new people; and his subjects participating in
all his feelings, wept tears of sincere distress for the sufferers,
and condoled with them in their misfortune. But as if this was not
enough, the next morning, when Columbus had removed to one of his other
vessels, the good Guacanahari appeared on board to comfort him, and to
offer all that he had to repair his loss!”

This beautiful circumstance is moreover still more particularly related
by Columbus himself, in his letter to his sovereigns; and it was on
this occasion that he gave that character of the country and the people
to which I have just referred. Truly had he a great right to say
that “they loved their neighbour as themselves.” Let us see how the
Spaniards and Columbus himself followed up this sublime lesson.

Columbus being now left on the coast of the new world with but one
crazy vessel,—for Pinzon the commander of the other, had with true
Spanish treachery, set off on his way homewards to forestall the glory
of being the first bearer of the tidings of this great discovery
to Europe,—he resolved to leave the number of men which were now
inconvenient in one small crowded vessel, on the island. To this
Guacanahari consented with his usual good nature and good faith.
Columbus erected a sort of fort for them; gave them good advice for
their conduct during his absence, and sailed for Spain. In less than
eleven months he again appeared before this new settlement, and found
it levelled with the earth, and every man destroyed. Scarcely had he
left the island when these men had broken out in all those acts of
insult, rapacity, and oppression on the natives which only too soon
became the uniform conduct of the _Christians_! They laid violent hands
on the women, the gold, the food of the very people who had even kindly
received them; traversed the island in the commission of every species
of rapacity and villany, till the astonished and outraged inhabitants
now finding them fiends incarnate instead of the superior beings which
they had deemed them, rose in wrath, and exterminated them.

Columbus formed a fresh settlement for his newcomers, and having
defended it with mounds and ramparts of earth, went on a short voyage
of discovery among the West Indian isles, and came back to find that
the same scene of lust and rapine had been acted over again by his
colony, and that the natives were all in arms for their destruction.
It is curious to read the relation of the conduct of Columbus on this
discovery, as given by Robertson, a _Christian_ and _Protestant_
historian. He tells us, on the authority of Herrera, and of the son
of Columbus himself, that the Spaniards had outraged every human and
sacred feeling of these their kind and hospitable entertainers. That
in the voracity of their appetites, enormous as compared with the
simple temperance of the natives, they had devoured up the maize and
cassado-root, the chief sustenance of these poor people; that their
rapacity threatened a famine; that the natives saw them building forts
and locating themselves as permanent settlers where they had apparently
come merely as guests; and that from their lawless violence as well
as their voracity, they must soon suffer destruction in one shape or
another from their oppressors. Self preservation prompted them to
take arms for the expulsion of such formidable foes. “_It was now_,”
adds Robertson, “_necessary to have recourse to arms_; the employing
of which against the Indians, Columbus had hitherto avoided with
the greatest solicitude.” Why necessary? Necessary for what? is the
inquiry which must spring indignantly in every rightly-constituted
mind. Because the Spaniards had been received with unexampled kindness,
and returned it with the blackest ingratitude; because they had by
their debauched and horrible outrages roused the people into defiance,
those innocent and abused people must be massacred? That is a logic
which might do for men who had been educated in the law of anti-Christ
instead of Christ, and who went out with the Pope’s bull as a title to
seize on the property of other people, wherever the abused and degraded
cross had not been erected; but it could never have been so coolly
echoed by a _Protestant_ historian, if it had not been for the spurious
morality with which the Papal hierarchy had corrupted the world, till
it became as established as gospel truth. Hear Robertson’s relation of
the manner in which Columbus repaid the _Christian_ reception of these
poor islanders.

“The body which took the field consisted only of two hundred foot,
twenty horse, and twenty large dogs; and how strange soever it may
seem to mention the last as composing part of a military force, they
were not perhaps the least formidable and destructive on the whole,
when employed against naked and timid Indians. All the caziques in the
island, Guacanahari excepted, who retained an inviolable attachment
to the Spaniards, were in arms, with forces amounting—if we may
believe the Spanish historians—to a hundred thousand men. Instead of
attempting to draw the Spaniards into the fastnesses of the woods and
mountains, they were so improvident as to take their station in the
Vega Real, the most open plain in the country. Columbus did not allow
them to perceive their error, or to alter their position. He attacked
them during the night, when undisciplined troops are least capable of
acting with union and concert, and obtained _an easy and bloodless
victory_. The consternation with which the Indians were filled by the
noise and havoc made by the fire-arms, by the impetuous force of the
cavalry, and the fierce onset of the dogs, was so great, that they
threw down their weapons, and fled without attempting resistance. _Many
were slain; more were taken prisoners and reduced_ to servitude;
and so thoroughly were the rest intimidated, that, from that moment,
they abandoned themselves to despair, relinquishing all thoughts of
contending with aggressors whom they deemed invincible.

“_Columbus employed several months_ in marching through the island,
_and in subjecting it to the Spanish government, without meeting
with any opposition_. He imposed a tribute upon all the inhabitants
above the age of fourteen. Every person who lived in those districts
where gold was found, was obliged to pay quarterly as much gold-dust
as filled a hawk’s bell; from those in other parts of the country,
twenty-five pounds of cotton were demanded. This was the first regular
taxation of the Indians, and served as a precedent for exactions still
more intolerable.”

This is a most extraordinary example of the Christian mode of repaying
benefits! These were the very people thus treated, that a little time
before had received with tears, and every act of the most admirable
charity, Columbus and his people from the wreck. And a Protestant
historian says that this was necessary! Again we ask, necessary for
what? To shew that Christianity was hitherto but a name, and an excuse
for the violation of every human right! There was no necessity for
Columbus to repay good with evil; no necessity for him to add the
crime of Jezebel, “to kill and take possession.” If he really wanted
to erect the cross in the new world, and to draw every legitimate
benefit for his own country from it he had seen that all that might
be effected by legitimate means. Kindness and faith were only wanted
to lay open the whole of the new world, and bring all its treasures
to the feet of his countrymen. The gold and gems might be purchased
even with the toys of European children; and commerce and civilization,
if permitted to go on hand in hand, presented prospects of wealth and
glory, such as never yet had been revealed to the world. But Columbus,
though he believed himself to have been inspired by the Holy Ghost
to discover America,—thus commencing his will, “In the name of the
most Holy Trinity, who inspired me with the idea, and who afterwards
made it clear to me, that by traversing the ocean westwardly, etc.;”
though Herrera calls him a man “ever trusting in God;” and though his
son, in his history of his life, thus speaks of him:—“I believe that
he was chosen for this great service; and that because _he was to be
so truly an apostle_, as in effect he proved to be, therefore was his
origin obscure; that therein he might the more resemble those who
were called to make known the name of the Lord from seas and rivers,
and from courts and palaces. And I believe also, that _in most of
his doings he was guarded by some_ special providence; his very name
was not without some mystery; for in it is expressed the wonder he
performed, inasmuch as _he conveyed to the new world_ the grace of
the Holy Ghost.” Notwithstanding these opinions—Columbus had been
educated in the spurious Christianity, which had blinded his naturally
honest mind to every truly Christian sentiment. It must be allowed
that he was an apostle of another kind to those whom Christ sent out;
and that this was a novel way of conveying the Holy Ghost to the new
world. But he had got the Pope’s bull in his pocket, and that not
only gave him a right to half the world, but made all means for its
subjection, however diabolical, sacred in his eyes. We see him in
this transaction, notwithstanding the superiority of his character to
that of his followers, establishing himself as the apostle and founder
of that system of destruction and enslavement of the Americans, which
the Spaniards followed up to so horrible an extent. We see him here
as the first to attack them, in their own rightful possessions, with
arms—the first to pursue them with those ferocious dogs, which became
so infamously celebrated in the Spanish outrages on the Americans,
that some of them, as the dog Berezillo, received the full pay of
soldiers; the first to exact gold from the natives; and to reduce them
to slavery. Thus, from the first moment of modern discovery, and by
the first discoverer himself, commenced that apostleship of misery
which has been so zealously exercised towards the natives of all newly
discovered countries up to this hour!

The immediate consequences of these acts of Columbus were these: the
natives were driven to despair by the labours and exactions imposed
upon them. They had never till then known what labour, or the curse of
avarice was; and they formed a scheme to drive out their oppressors
by famine. They destroyed the crops in the fields, and fled into the
mountains. But there, without food themselves, they soon perished, and
that so rapidly and miserably, that in a few months one-third of the
inhabitants of the whole island had disappeared! Fresh succours arrived
from Spain, and soon after, as if to realize to the afflicted natives
all the horrors of the infernal regions, Spain, and at the suggestions
of Columbus too, emptied all her gaols, and vomited all her malefactors
on their devoted shores! A piece of policy so much admired in Europe,
that it has been imitated by all other colonizing nations, and by none
so much as by England! The consequences of this abominable system soon
became conspicuous in the distractions, contentions, and disorders
of the colony; and in order to soothe and appease these, Columbus
resorted to fresh injuries on the natives, dividing their lands amongst
his mutinous followers, and giving away the inhabitants—the real
possessors—along with them as slaves! Thus he was the originator of
those REPARTIMENTOS, or distribution of the Indians that became the
source of such universal calamities to them, and of the extinction of
more than fifty millions of their race.

Though Providence permitted these things, it did not leave them
unavenged. If ever there was a history of the divine retribution
written in characters of light, it is that of Spain and the Spaniards
in America. On Spain itself the wrath of God seemed to fall with a
blasting and enduring curse. From being one of the most powerful and
distinguished nations of Europe, it began from the moment that the gold
of America, gathered amidst the tears and groans, and dyed with the
blood of the miserable and perishing natives, flowed in a full stream
into it, to shrink and dwindle, till at once poor and proud, indolent
and superstitious, it has fallen a prey to distractions that make it
the most melancholy spectacle in Europe. On one occasion Columbus
witnessed a circumstance so singular that it struck not only him but
every one to whom the knowledge of it came. After he himself had been
disgraced and sent home in chains, being then on another voyage of
discovery,—and refused entrance into the port of St. Domingo by the
governor—he saw the approach of a tempest, and warned the governor of
it, as the royal fleet was on the point of setting sail for Spain. His
warning was disregarded; the fleet set sail, having on board Bovadillo,
the ex-governor, Roldan, and other officers, men who had been not only
the fiercest enemies of Columbus, but the most rapacious plunderers
and oppressors of the natives. The tempest came; and these men, with
sixteen vessels laden with an immense amount of guilty wealth, were all
swallowed up in the ocean—leaving only two ships afloat, one of which
contained the property of Columbus!

But the fortunes of Columbus were no less disastrous. Much, and perhaps
deservedly as he has been pitied for the treatment which he received
from an ungrateful nation, it has always struck me that, from the
period that he departed from the noble integrity of his character;
butchered the naked Indians on their own soil, instead of resenting and
redressing their injuries; from the hour that he set the fatal example
of hunting them with dogs, of exacting painful labours and taxes, that
he had no right to impose,—from the moment that he annihilated their
ancient peace and liberty, the hand of God’s prosperity went from
him. His whole life was one continued scene of disasters, vexations,
and mortifications. Swarms of lawless and rebellious spirits, as if
to punish him for letting loose on this fair continent the pestilent
brood of the Spanish prisons, ceased not to harass, and oppose him.
Maligned by these enemies, and sent to Europe in chains; there seeking
restoration in vain, he set out on fresh discoveries. But wherever he
went misfortune pursued him. Denied entrance into the very countries
he had discovered; defeated by the natives that his men unrighteously
attacked; shipwrecked in Jamaica, before it possessed a single European
colony, he was there left for above twelve months, suffering incredible
hardships, and amongst his mutinous Spaniards that threatened his life
on the one hand, and Indians weary of their presence on the other.
Having seen his authority usurped in the new world, he returned to
the old,—there the death of Isabella, the only soul that retained a
human feeling, extinguished all hope of redress of his wrongs; and
after a weary waiting for justice on Ferdinand, he died, worn out with
grief and disappointment. He had denied justice to the inhabitants of
the world he had found, and justice was denied him; he had condemned
them to slavery, and he was sent home in chains; he had given over the
Indians to that thraldom of despair which broke the hearts of millions,
and he himself died broken-hearted.



  Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening
  for the prey; to shed blood, and to destroy souls, and to
  get dishonest gain.—Ezekiel xxii. 27.

But whether Columbus or others were in power, the miseries of the
Indians went on. Bovadillo, the governor who superseded Columbus, and
loaded him with irons, only bestowed allotments of Indians with a
more liberal hand, to ingratiate himself with the fierce adventurers
who filled the island. Raging with the quenchless thirst of gold,
these wretches drove the poor Indians in crowds to the mountains, and
compelled them to labour so mercilessly in the mines, that they melted
away as rapidly as snow in the sun. It is true that the atrocities thus
committed reaching the ears of Isabella, instructions were from time to
time sent out, declaring the Indians free subjects, and enjoining mercy
towards them; but like all instructions of the sort sent so far from
home, they were resisted and set aside. The Indians, ever and anon,
stung with despair, rose against their oppressors, but it was only to
perish by the sword instead of the mine—they were pursued as rebels,
their dwellings razed from the earth, and their caziques, when taken,
hanged as malefactors.

                        In vain the simple race
  Kneeled to the iron sceptre of their grace,
  Or with weak arms their fiery vengeance braved;
  They came, they saw, they conquered, they enslaved,
  And they destroyed! The generous heart they broke;
  They crushed the timid neck beneath the yoke;
  Where’er to battle marched their fell array,
  The sword of conquest ploughed resistless way;
  Where’er from cruel toil they sought repose,
  Around the fires of devastation rose.
  The Indian as he turned his head in flight,
  Beheld his cottage flaming through the night,
  And, mid the shrieks of murder on the wind,
  Heard the mute bloodhound’s death-step close behind.
  The conquest o’er, the valiant in their graves,
  The wretched remnant dwindled into slaves;
  Condemned in pestilential cells to pine,
  Delving for gold amidst the gloomy mine.
  The sufferer, sick of life-protracting breath,
  Inhaled with joy the fire-damp blast of death,—
  Condemned to fell the mountain palm on high,
  That cast its shadow to the evening sky,
  Ere the tree trembled to his feeble stroke,
  The woodman languished, and his heart-strings broke;
  Condemned in torrid noon, with palsied hand,
  To urge the slow plough o’er the obdurate land,
  The labourer, smitten by the sun’s fierce ray,
  A corpse along the unfinished furrow lay.
  O’erwhelmed at length with ignominious toil,
  Mingling their barren ashes with the soil,
  Down to the dust the Charib people past,
  Like autumn foliage withering in the blast;
  The whole race sunk beneath the oppressor’s rod,
  And left a blank amongst the works of God.


In all the atrocities and indignities practised on these poor
islanders, there were none which excite a stronger indignation than
the treatment of the generous female cazique, Anacoana. This is the
narrative of Robertson, drawn from Ovieda, Herrera, and Las Casas.
“The province anciently named Zaragua, which extends from the fertile
plain where Leogane is now situated, to the western extremity of
the island, was subject to a female cazique, named Anacoana, highly
respected by the natives. She, from the partial fondness with which the
women of America were attached to the Europeans, had always courted
the friendship of the Spaniards, and loaded them with benefits. But
some of the adherents of Roldan having settled in her country, were so
much exasperated at her endeavouring to restrain their excesses, that
they accused her of having formed a plan to throw off the yoke, and
to exterminate the Spaniards. Ovando, though he well knew what little
credit was due to such profligate men, marched without further inquiry
towards Zaragua, with three hundred foot, and seventy horsemen. To
prevent the Indians from taking alarm at this hostile appearance, he
gave out that his sole intention was to visit Anacoana, to whom his
countrymen had been so much indebted, in the most respectful manner,
and to regulate with her the mode of levying the tribute payable to the
king of Spain.

“Anacoana, in order to receive this illustrious guest with due honour,
assembled the principal men in her dominions, to the number of three
hundred, and advancing at the head of these, accompanied by a great
crowd of persons of inferior rank, she welcomed Ovando with songs and
dances, according to the mode of the country, and conducted him to
the place of her residence. There he was feasted for some days, with
all the kindness of simple hospitality, and amused with the games
and spectacles usual among the Americans upon occasions of mirth and
festivity. But amid the security which this inspired, Ovando was
meditating the destruction of his unsuspicious entertainer and her
subjects; and the mean perfidy with which he executed this scheme,
equalled his barbarity in forming it.

“Under colour of exhibiting to the Indians the parade of an European
tournament, he advanced with his troops in battle array towards the
house in which Anacoana and the chiefs who attended her were assembled.
The infantry took possession of all the avenues which led to the
village. The horsemen encompassed the house. These movements were the
objects of admiration without any mixture of fear, until upon a signal
which had been concerted, the Spaniards suddenly drew their swords
and rushed upon the Indians, defenceless, and astonished at an act
of treachery which exceeded the conception of undesigning men. In a
moment, Anacoana was secured; all her attendants were seized and bound;
fire was set to the house; and without examination or conviction, all
these unhappy persons, the most illustrious in their country, were
consumed in the flames. Anacoana was reserved for a more ignominious
fate. She was carried in chains to St. Domingo, and after the formality
of a trial before Spanish judges, was condemned upon the evidence of
those very men who had betrayed her, _to be publicly hanged_!”

It is impossible for human treachery, ingratitude, and cruelty to go
beyond that. All that we could relate of the deeds of the Spaniards
in Hispaniola, would be but the continuance of this system of demon
oppression. The people, totally confounded with this instance of
unparalleled villany and butchery, sunk into the inanition of despair,
and were regularly ground away by the unremitted action of excessive
labour and brutal abuse. In fifteen years they sunk from one million
to sixty thousand!—a consumption of _upwards of sixty thousand
souls a-year in one island_! Calamities, instead of decreasing, only
accumulated on their heads. Isabella of Spain died; and the greedy
adventurers feeling that the only person at the head of the government
that had any real sympathy with the sufferings of the natives was gone,
gave themselves now boundless license. Ferdinand conferred grants of
Indians on his courtiers, as the least expensive mode of getting rid
of their importunities. Ovando, the governor, gave to his own friends
and creatures similar gifts of living men, to be worked or crushed to
death at their mercy—to perish of famine, or by the suicidal hand of
despair. The avarice and rapacity of the adventurers became perfectly
rabid. Nobles at home, farmed out these Indians given by Ferdinand to
those who were going out to take part in the nefarious deeds—

  They sate at home, and turned an easy wheel,
  That set sharp racks at work to pinch and peel.

The small and almost nominal sum which had been allowed to the
natives for their labour was now denied them; they were made absolute
and unconditional slaves, and groaned and wasted away in mines and
gold-dust streams, rapidly as those streams themselves flowed. The
quantity of wealth drawn from their very vitals was enormous. Though
Ovando had reduced the royal portion to one-fifth, yet it now amounted
to above a hundred thousand pounds sterling annually—making the whole
annual produce of gold in that island, five hundred thousand pounds
sterling; and considering the embezzlement and waste that must take
place amongst a tribe of adventurers on fire with the love of gold, and
fearing neither God nor man in their pursuit of it, probably nearer a
million. Enormous fortunes sprung up with mushroom rapidity; luxury and
splendour broke out with proportionate violence at home, and legions of
fresh tormentors flocked like harpies to this strange scene of misery
and aggrandizement. To add to all this, the sugar-cane—that source of
a thousand crimes and calamities—was introduced! It flourished; and
like another upas-tree, breathed fresh destruction upon this doomed
people. Plantations and sugar-works were established, and became
general; and the last and faintest glimmer of hope for the islanders
was extinguished! Gold _might_ possibly become exhausted, worked as
the mines were with such reckless voracity; but the cane would spring
afresh from year to year, and the accursed juice would flow for ever.

The destruction of human life now went on with such velocity, that some
means were necessarily devised to obtain a fresh supply of victims,
or the Spaniards must quit the island, and seek to establish their
inferno somewhere else. But having perfected themselves in that part
of Satan’s business which consisted in tormenting, they now very
characteristically assumed the other part of the fiend’s trade—that
of alluring and inveigling the unsuspicious into their snares. Were
this not a portion of unquestionable history, related by the Spanish
historians themselves, it is so completely an assumption of the art
of the “father of lies,” and betrays such a consciousness of the
real nature of the business they were engaged in, that it would be
looked upon as a happy burlesque of some waggish wit upon them. The
fact however stands on the authority of Gomera, Herrera, Oviedo, and
others. Ovando, the governor, seeing the rapidly wasting numbers of
the natives, and hearing the complaints of the adventurers, began to
cast about for a remedy, and at length this most felicitous scheme,
worthy of Satan in the brightest moment of his existence, burst upon
him.—There were the inhabitants of the Lucayo Isles, living in heathen
idleness, and ignorant alike of _Christian_ mines and _Christian_
sugar-works. It was fitting that they should not be left in such
criminal and damnable neglect any longer. He proposed, therefore,
that these benighted creatures should be brought to the elysium of
Hispaniola, and _civilized_ in the gold mines, and _instructed in the
Christian religion_ in the sugar-mills! The idea was too happy, and
too full of the milk of _Christian_ kindness to be lost. At once,
all the amiable gold-hunters clapped their hands with ecstasy at
the prospect of so _many new martyrs to the Christian faith_; and
Ferdinand, the benevolent and _most Catholic_ Ferdinand, assented to
it with the zeal of a royal nursing father of the church! A fleet was
speedily fitted out for the benighted Lucayos; and the poor inhabitants
there, wasting their existence in merely cultivating their maize,
plucking their oranges, or fishing in their streams, just as their
need or their inclination prompted them, were told by the Spaniards
that they came from the heaven of their ancestors—isles of elysian
beauty and fertility; where all pain and death were unknown, and where
their friends and relations, living in heavenly felicity, needed only
their society to render that felicity perfect!—that these beatified
relatives had prayed them to hasten and bring them to their own scene
of enjoyment—now waited impatiently for their arrival—and that
they were ready to convey them thither, to the fields of heaven,
in fact, without the black transit of death! The simple creatures,
hearing a story which chimed in so exactly with their fondest belief,
flocked on board with a blind credulity, not even to be exceeded by
the Bubble-dupes of modern England, and soon found themselves in the
grasp of fiends, and added to the remaining numbers of the Hispaniolan
wretches in the mines and plantations. Forty thousand of these poor
people were decoyed by this hellish artifice; and Satan himself, on
witnessing this Spanish _chef d’œuvre_, must have felt ashamed of
his inferiority of tact in his own profession![3]

But the climax yet remained to be put to the inflictions on these
islanders:—and that was found in the pearl fishery of Cubagua.
Columbus had discovered this little wretched island—Columbus had
suggested and commenced the slavery of the Indians,—and it seemed
as though a Columbus was to complete the fabric of their misery. Don
Diego, Columbus’s son, had compelled an acknowledgment of his claims
in the vice-royalty of the New World. He had enrolled himself by his
marriage with the daughter of Don Ferdinand de Toledo, brother of the
Duke of Alva, and a relative of the king, amongst the highest nobility
of the land. Coming over to assume his hereditary station, he brought a
new swarm of these proud and avaricious hidalgoes with him. He seized
upon and distributed amongst them whatever portions of Indians remained
unconsumed; and casting his eyes on this sand-bank of Cubagua, he
established a colony of pearl-fishers upon it—where the Indians, and
especially the wretched ones decoyed from the Lucayos, were compelled
to find in diving the last extremity of their sufferings.

And was there no voice raised against these dreadful enormities?
Yes—and with the success which always attends the attempt to defend
the weak against the powerful and rapacious in distant colonies. The
Dominican monks, much to their honour, inveighed, from time to time,
against them; but the Franciscans, on the other hand, sanctioned
them, on the old plea of policy and necessity. It was _necessary_
that the Spaniards should compel the Indians to labour, or they must
abandon their grand source of wealth. That was conclusive. Where are
the people that carry their religion or their humanity beyond their
interest? The thing was not to be expected. One man, indeed, roused
by the oppressions of Diego Columbus, and his notorious successor,
Albuquerque, a needy man, actually appointed by Ferdinand to the
office of Distributor of the Indians!—one man, Bartholomew de Las
Casas, dared to stand forward as their champion, and through years
of unremitting toil to endeavour to arrest from the government some
mitigation of their condition. Once or twice he appeared on the eve of
success. At one time Ferdinand declared the Indians free subjects, and
to be treated as such; but the furious opposition which arose in the
colony on this decision, soon drew from the king another declaration,
to wit, that the Pope’s bull gave a clear and satisfactory right to
the Indians—that no man must trouble his conscience on account of
their treatment, for the king and council would take all that on
their own responsibility, and that the monks must cease to trouble
the colony with their scruples. Yet the persevering Las Casas, by
personal importunity at the court of Spain, painting the miseries
and destruction of the Indians, now reduced from a million—not
to sixty thousand as before,[4] but to _fourteen thousand_—again
succeeded in obtaining a deputation of three monks of St. Jerome, as
superintendents of all the colonies, empowered to relieve the Indians
from their heavy yoke; and returned thither himself, in his official
character of Protector of the Indians. But all his efforts ended in
smoke. His coadjutors, on reaching Hispaniola, were speedily convinced
by the violence and other persuasives of the colonies, that it was
_necessary_ that the Indians should be slaves; and the only resource of
the benevolent Las Casas was to endeavour to found a new colony where
he might employ the Indians as free men, and civilize and Christianize
them. But this was as vain a project as the other. His countrymen
were now prowling along every shore of the New World that they were
acquainted with, kidnapping and carrying off the inhabitants as slaves,
to supply the loss of those they had worked to death. The dreadful
atrocities committed in these kidnapping cruizes, had made the name of
the Spaniards terrible wherever they had been; and as the inhabitants
could no longer anywhere be _decoyed_, he found the Spanish admiral on
the point of laying waste with fire and sword, so as to seize on all
its people in their flight, the very territory granted him in which to
try his new experiment of humanity. The villany was accomplished; and
amid the desolation of Cumana—the bulk of whose people were carried
off as slaves to Hispaniola, and the rest having fled from their
burning houses to the hills—the sanguine Las Casas still attempted to
found his colony. It need not be said that it failed; the Protector of
the Indians retired to a monastery, and the work of Indian misery went
on unrestrained. To their oppression, a new and more lasting one had
been added; from their destruction, indeed, had now sprung that sorest
curse of both blacks and whites—that foulest stain on the Christian
name—the Slave Trade. Charles V. of Spain, with that perfect freedom
to do as they pleased with all heathen nations which the Papal church
had given to Spain and Portugal, had granted a patent to one of his
Flemish favourites, for the importation of negroes into America. This
patent he had sold to the Genoese, and these worthy merchants were
now busily employed in that traffic in men which is so _congenial_
to _Christian_ maxims, that it has from that time been the favourite
pursuit of the _Christian_ nations; has been defended by all the
arguments of the most civilized assemblies in the world, and by the
authority of Holy Writ, and is going on at this hour with undiminished

It has been charged on Las Casas, that with singular inconsistency
he himself suggested this diabolical trade; but of that, and of this
trade, we shall say more anon. We will now conclude this chapter
with the brief announcement, that Diego Columbus had now conquered
Cuba, by the agency of Diego Velasquez, one of his father’s captains,
and thus added another grand field for the consumption of natives,
and the importation of slaves. We are informed that the Cubaans
were so unwarlike that no difficulty was found in overrunning this
fine island, except from a chief called Hatuey, who had fled from
Hispaniola, and knew enough of the Spaniards not to desire their
further acquaintance. His obstinacy furnishes this characteristic
anecdote on the authority of Las Casas. “He stood upon the defensive at
their first landing, and endeavoured to drive them back to their ships.
His feeble troops, however, were soon broken and dispersed; and he
himself being taken prison, Velasquez, according to the barbarous maxim
of the Spaniards, considered him as a slave who had taken arms against
his master, and condemned him to the flames.”

When Hatuey was fastened to the stake, a Franciscan friar, _labouring
to convert him_, promised him immediate admission into the joys of
heaven, if he could embrace the Christian faith. “Are there any
Spaniards,” says he, after some pause, “in that region of bliss which
you describe?” “Yes,” replied the monk, “but such only as are worthy
and good.” “The best of them,” returned the indignant Cazique, “have
neither worth nor goodness! I will not go to a place where I may meet
with that accursed race!”[5]

The torch was clapped to the pile—Hatuey perished—and the Spaniards
added Cuba to the crown without the loss of a man on their own part.



The story of one West India Island, is the story of all. Whether
Spaniards, French, or English took possession, the slaughter and
oppression of the natives followed. I shall, therefore, quit these
fair islands for the present, with a mere passing glance at a few
characteristic facts.

Herrera says that Jamaica was settled prosperously, because Juan
de Esquival having brought the natives to submission _without any
effusion of blood_, they laboured in planting cotton, and raising
other commodities, which yielded great profit. But Esquival in a very
few years died in his office, and was buried in Sevilla Nueva, a town
which he had built and destined for the seat of government. There is
a dark tradition connected with the destruction of this town, which
would make us infer that the mildness of Esquival’s government was
not imitated by his successors. The Spanish planters assert that the
place was destroyed by a vast army of ants, but the popular tradition
still triumphs over this tradition of the planters. It maintains, that
the injured and oppressed natives rose in their despair and cut off
every one of their tyrants, and laid the place in such utter and awful
ruin that it never was rebuilt, but avoided as a spot of horror. The
city must have been planned with great magnificence, and laid out in
great extent, for Sloane, who visited it in 1688, could discover the
traces or remains of a fort, a splendid cathedral and monastery, the
one inhabited by Peter Martyr, who was abbot and chief missionary of
the island. He found a pavement at two miles distance from the church,
an indication of the extent of the place, and also many materials for
grand arches and noble buildings that had never been erected. The
ruins of this city were now overgrown with wood, and turned black with
age. Sloane saw timber trees growing within the walls of the cathedral
upwards of sixty feet in height; and General Venables in his dispatches
to Cromwell, preserved in Thurlow’s State Papers, vol. iii., speaks of
Seville as a town that had existed _in times past_.

Both ancient tradition, and recent discoveries, says Bryan Edwards,
in his History of the West Indies, give too much room to believe that
the work of destruction proceeded not less rapidly in this island,
after Esquival’s death, than in Hispaniola; for to this day caves are
frequently discovered in the mountains, wherein the ground is covered
almost entirely with human bones; the miserable remains, without all
doubt, of some of the unfortunate aborigines, who, immured in those
recesses, were probably reduced to the sad alternative of perishing
with hunger or bleeding under the swords of their merciless invaders.
That these are the skeletons of Indians is sufficiently attested by
the skulls, which are preternaturally compressed. “When, therefore,”
says Edwards, “we are told of the fate of the Spanish inhabitants of
Seville, it is impossible to feel any other emotion than an indignant
wish that the story were better authenticated, and that heaven, in
mercy, had permitted the poor Indians in the same moment to have
extirpated their oppressors altogether! But unhappily this faint
glimmering of returning light to the wretched natives, was soon lost
in everlasting darkness, since it pleased the Almighty, for reasons
inscrutable to finite wisdom, to permit the total destruction of this
devoted people; who, to the number of 60,000, on the most moderate
estimate, were at length wholly cut off and exterminated by the
Spaniards—not a single descendant of either sex being alive when the
English took the island in 1655, nor I believe for a century before.”

The French historian, Du Tertre, informs us that his countrymen made a
_lawful purchase_ of the island of Grenada from the natives for _some
glass beads, knives and hatchets, and a couple of bottles of brandy
for the chief himself_. The nature of the bargain may be pretty well
understood by the introduction of the brandy for the chief, and by the
general massacre which followed, when Du Tertre himself informs us that
Du Parquet, the very general who made this bargain, gave orders for
extirpating the natives altogether, which was done with circumstances
of the most savage barbarity, even to the women and children. The
same historian assures us that St. Christopher’s, the principal of
the Caribbee Isles, was won by the joint exertions of Thomas Warner,
an Englishman, and D’Esnambuc, the captain of a French privateer, who
both seem to have entered with hearty good-will into the business of
massacre and extermination; by which means, and by excessive labour,
the total aboriginal population of the West Indian islands were
speedily reduced from six millions, at which Las Casas estimated them,
to nothing.

Let any one read the following account from Herrera and Peter
Martyr, of the manner in which the Spaniards were received in these
islands:—“When any of the Spaniards came near to a village, the most
ancient and venerable of the Indians, or the cazique himself, if
present, came out to meet them, and gently conducting them into their
habitations, seated them on stools of ebony curiously ornamented. These
benches seemed to be seats of honour reserved for their guests, for
the Indians threw themselves on the ground, and kissing the hands and
feet of the Spaniards, offered them fruits and the choicest of their
viands, entreating them to prolong their stay with such solicitude
and reverence as demonstrated that they considered them as beings of
a superior nature, whose presence consecrated their dwellings, and
brought a blessing with it. One old man, a native of Cuba, approaching
Columbus with great reverence, and presenting a basket of fruit, thus
addressed him:—‘Whether you are divinities or mortal men we know
not. You come into these countries with a force, against which, were
we inclined to resist it, resistance would be a folly. We are all
therefore at your mercy: but if you are men subject to mortality like
ourselves, you cannot be unapprised that after this life there is
another, wherein a very different portion is allotted to good and bad
men. If, therefore, you expect to die, and believe with us that every
one is to be rewarded in a future state according to his conduct in
the present, you will do no hurt to those who do none to you.’”

Let the reader also, after listening to these exalted sentiments
addressed by a _savage_, as we are pleased to term him, to a
_Christian_, a term likewise used with as little propriety, read
this account of the reception of Bartholomew Columbus by Behechio,
a powerful cazique of Hispaniola. “As they approached the king’s
dwelling, they were met by his wives to the number of thirty, carrying
branches of the palm-tree in their hands, who first saluted the
Spaniards with a solemn dance, accompanied with a song. These matrons
were succeeded by a train of virgins, distinguished as such by their
appearance; the former wearing aprons of cotton cloth, while the
latter were arrayed only in the innocence of pure nature. Their hair
was tied simply with a fillet over their foreheads, or suffered to
flow gracefully on their shoulders and bosoms. Their limbs were finely
proportioned, and their complexions though brown, were smooth, shining
and lovely. The Spaniards were struck with admiration, believing that
they beheld the dryads of the woods, and the nymphs of the fountains
realizing ancient fable. The branches which they bore in their
hands, they now delivered with lowly obeisance to the lieutenant,
who, entering the palace, found a plentiful, and according to the
Indian mode of living, a splendid repast already provided. As night
approached, the Spaniards were conducted to separate cottages, wherein
each was accommodated with a cotton hammock, and the next morning they
were again entertained with dancing and singing. This was followed by
matches of wrestling and running for prizes; after which two great
bodies of armed Indians suddenly appeared, and a mock engagement
ensued, exhibiting their modes of warfare with the Charaibes. For three
days were the Spaniards thus royally entertained, and on the fourth the
affectionate Indians regretted their departure.”

What beautiful pictures of a primitive age! what a more than
realization of the age of gold! and what a dismal fall to that actual
_age of gold_ which was coming upon them! To turn from these delightful
scenes to the massacres and oppressions of millions of these gentle and
kind people, and then to the groans of millions of wretched Africans,
which through three long centuries have succeeded them, is one of the
most melancholy and amazing things in the criminal history of the
earth; nor can we wonder at the feelings with which Bryan Edwards
reviews this awful subject:—“All the murders and desolations of the
most pitiless tyrants that ever diverted themselves with the pangs and
convulsions of their fellow-creatures, fall infinitely short of the
bloody enormities committed by the Spanish nation in the conquest of
the New World—a conquest, on a low estimate, effected by the murder of
ten millions of the species! After reading these accounts, who can help
forming an indignant wish that the hand of Heaven, by some miraculous
interposition, had swept these European tyrants from the face of the
earth, who like so many beasts of prey, roamed round the world only to
desolate and destroy; and more remorseless than the fiercest savage,
thirsted for human blood without having the impulse of natural appetite
to plead in their defence!”



  And he knew their desolate palaces, and he laid waste
  their cities.—_Ezekiel_ xix. 7.

  How Cortez conquered,—Montezuma fell.—_Montgomery._

  Much of a Southern Sea they spake,
  And of that glorious city won,
  Near the setting of the sun,
  Throned in a silver lake:
  Of seven kings in chains of gold,
  And deeds of death by tongue untold,—
  Deeds such as breathed in secret there,
  Had shaken the confession-chair!—_Rogers._

Six and twenty years had now elapsed since Columbus arrived in the
New World. During this period the Spaniards had not merely committed
the crimes we have been detailing, but they had considerably extended
their discoveries. Columbus, who first discovered the West Indian
islands, was the first also to discover the mainland of America. He
reached the mouth of the Orinoco; traversed the coasts of Paria and
Cumana; Yanez Pinzon, steering southward, had crossed the line to the
river Amazon; the Portuguese under Alvarez Cabral had by mere accident
made the coast of Brazil; Bastidas and De la Cosa had discovered the
coast of Tierra Firmè; in his fourth voyage, Columbus had reached
Porto Bello in Panama; Pinzon and De Solis discovered Yucatan, and in
a second voyage extended their route southward beyond the Rio de la
Plata; Ponce de Leon had discovered Florida; and Balboa in Darien had
discovered the South Sea. These were grand steps in discovery towards
those mighty kingdoms that were soon to burst upon them. Cordova
discovered the mouth of the river Potonchan, beyond Campeachy; and
finally, Grijalva ranged along the whole coast of Mexico from Tabasco
to the river Panuco. Of their transactions on these coasts during their
progress in discovery, nothing further need be said than that they were
characterized by their usual indifference to the rights and feelings of
the natives, and that, finding them for the most part of a more warlike
disposition, several of these commanders had suffered severely from
them, and some of them lost their lives.

But a strange and astounding epoch was now at hand. The names of
Cortez and Pizarro, Mexico and Peru, are become sounds familiar to all
ears—linked together as in a spell of wild wonder, and stand as the
very embodiment of all that is marvellous, dazzling, and romantic in
history. Here were vast empires, suddenly starting from the veil of
ages into the presence of the European world, with the glitter of a
golden opulence beyond the very extravagance of Arabian fable; populous
as they were affluent; with a new and peculiar civilization; with arts
and a literature unborrowed of other realms, and unlike those of any
other. Here were those fairy and most interesting kingdoms as suddenly
assaulted and subdued by two daring adventurers with a mere handful
of followers; and as suddenly destroyed! Their young civilization,
their fair and growing fabric of policy, ruthlessly dashed down and
utterly annihilated; their princes murdered in cold blood; their wealth
dissipated like a morning dream; and their swarming people crushed into
slaves, or swept from their cities and their fair fields, as a harvest
is swept away by the sickle!

It is difficult, amid the intoxication of the imagination on
contemplating such a spectacle,—for there is nothing like it in the
history of the whole world—it is difficult, dazzled by military
triumph, and seduced by the old sophisms of glory and adventure, to
bring the mind steadily to contemplate the real nature and consequences
of these events. The names of Cortez and Pizarro, indeed, through
all the splendour of that renown with which the acclamations of
their interested cotemporaries, and the false morality of their
historians have surrounded them, still retain the gloom and terror of
their cruelties. But this is derived rather from particular acts of
outrageous atrocity, than from a just estimate of the total villany
and unrighteous nature of their entire undertakings. Their entrance,
assault, and subduction of the kingdoms of Mexico and Peru, were from
first to last, _in limine et in termino_, the acts of daring robbers,
on flame with the thirst of gold, and of a spurious and fanatical
renown,—setting at defiance every sentiment of justice, mercy and
right, and bound by no scruples of honour or conscience, in the pursuit
of their object. It is not to be denied that in the prosecution of
their schemes, they displayed the most chivalrous courage, and Cortez
the most consummate address,—but these are the attributes of the
arch-fiend himself—boundless ambition, gigantic talent, the most
matchless and successful address without one feeling of pity, or one
sentiment of goodness! These surely are not the qualities for which
Christians ought to applaud such men as Cortez and Pizarro! They are
these false and absurd notions, derived from the spirit of gentile
antiquity, that have so long mocked the progress of Christianity, and
held civilization in abeyance. It is to these old sophisms that we owe
all the political evils under which we groan, and under which we have
made all nations that have felt our power groan too. To every truly
enlightened and Christian philosopher can there be a more melancholy
subject of contemplation, than these romantic empires thus barbarously
destroyed by an irruption of worse than Goths and Vandals? But that
melancholy must be tenfold augmented, when we reflect what _would_
have been the fate of these realms if Europe had been not nominally,
but _really_ Christianized at the moment of their discovery. If it
had learned that the “peace on earth and good-will towards men,” with
which the children of heaven heralded the gospel into the world,
was not a mere flourish of rhetoric,—not a mere phrase of eastern
poetry, “beautiful exceedingly;” but actually the promulgation of the
grandest and most pregnant axiom in social philosophy, that had ever
been, or should be made known to mankind, or that it was possible for
heaven itself from the infinitude of its blessedness to send down to
it. That in it lay concentrated the perfection of civil policy, the
beauty of social life, the harmony of nations, and the prosperity
of every mercantile adventure. That it was the triumphant basis, on
which arts and sciences, literature and poetry, should raise their
proudest fabrics, and society from its general adoption, date its
genuine civilization and a new era of glory and enjoyment. Suppose
that to have been the mind and feeling of Europe at that time—and it
is merely to suppose it to be what it pretended to be—in possession
of Christianity—what would have been the simple consequence? To the
wonder that thrilled through Europe at the tidings of such discovered
states, an admiration as lively would have succeeded. Vast kingdoms in
the heart of the new world, with cities and cultivated fields; with
temples and palaces; monarchs of great state and splendour; vessels
of silver and gold in gorgeous abundance; municipal police; national
couriers; and hieroglyphic writing, and records of their own invention!
Why, what interesting intelligence to every lover of philosophy, of
literature, and of the study of human nature! Genuine intelligence, and
enlightened curiosity would have flocked thither to look and admire;
genuine philanthropy, to give fresh strength and guidance to this
germinating civilization,—and Christian spirits would have glowed
with delight at the thought of shewing, in the elevated virtues, the
justice, generosity and magnanimity derived by them from their faith,
the benefits which it could confer on these growing states.

But to have expected anything of this kind from the Spaniards,
would have been the height of folly. They had no more notion of
what Christianity is, than the Great Mogul had. They knew no more
than what Rome chose to tell them. They were not distinguished by
one Christian virtue,—for they had been instructed in none. They
were not more barbarous to the Americans, than they were faithless,
jealous, malignant, and quarrelsome amongst each other. Disorderly and
insubordinate as soldiers, nothing but the terrors of their destructive
arms, and the fatal paralysis of mind which singular prophesies had
cast on the Americans, could have prevented them from being speedily
swept away in the midst of their riot and contention. The idea which
the Spaniards had of Christianity, is best seen in the form of
proclamation which Ojeda made to the inhabitants of Tierra Firmè, and
which became the Spanish model in all future usurpations of the kind.
After stating that the popes, as the successors of St. Peter, were
the possessors of the world, it thus went on: “One of these pontiffs,
as lord of the world, hath made a grant of these islands, and of
Tierra Firmè of the ocean sea, to the Catholic kings of Castile, Don
Ferdinand and Donna Isabella of glorious memory, and their successors,
our sovereigns, with all they contain, as is more fully expressed in
certain deeds passed upon that occasion, which you may see if you
desire it, (Indians, who neither knew Latin, Spanish, nor the art of
reading!). Thus his majesty is king and lord of these islands, and
of the continent, in virtue of this donation; and as king and lord
aforesaid, most of the islands to which his title hath been notified,
have recognised his majesty, and now yield obedience and subjection to
him as their lord, _voluntarily and without resistance_! and instantly,
as soon as they received information (from the sword and musket!) they
obeyed the religious men sent by the king to preach to them, and _to
instruct them in our holy faith_!... You are _bound and obliged_ (true
enough!) to act in the same manner.... If you do this, you act well,
and perform that to which you are bound and obliged; his majesty, and
I in his name, _will receive you with love and kindness_, and _will
leave you and your children free and exempt from servitude, and in the
enjoyment of all you possess, in the same manner as the inhabitants
of the islands_! (ay, love and kindness, _such_ as they had shewn to
the islanders. Satan’s genuine glozing—“lies like truth, and yet most
truly lies.”) Besides this, his majesty _will bestow upon you many
privileges, exemptions, and rewards_! (Ay, such as they had bestowed on
the islanders—but here begins the simple truth.) But if you will not
comply, or maliciously delay to obey my injunctions, then, _with the
help of God_, I will enter your country by force; I will carry on war
against you with the utmost violence; I will subject you to the yoke
of the church and the king; I will take your wives and children, and
will make slaves of them, and sell or dispose of them according to his
majesty’s pleasure; I will seize your goods, and do all the mischief
in my power to you as rebellious subjects, who will not acknowledge or
submit to their lawful sovereign. And I protest that all the bloodshed
and calamities which shall follow are to be imputed to you, and not
to his majesty, or to me, or to the gentlemen who serve under me,

Here then we have the romance stripped away from such ruffians as
Cortez and Pizarro. We have here the very warrant under which they
acted—a tissue of such most impudent fictions, and vindictive
truths, as could only issue from that great office of delusion and
oppression which corrupted all Europe with its abominable doctrine. The
last sentence, however, betrays the inward feeling and consciousness
of those who used it, that blood-guiltiness was not perfectly
removed to their satisfaction, and is a miserable attempt at further
self-delusion. These apostles of the sword, before whose proclamation
our sarcasms against Mahomet and his sword-creed, fall to the ground,
knew only too well that all their talk of love and kindness to the
islanders was the grossest falsehood. The Pope’s bull could not blind
them to that; and though the misery they inflicted is past, Europe
still needs the warning of their deeds, to open its eyes to the nature
of much of its own morality.

Cortez commenced his career against Mexico with breach of faith to his
employer. It was villain using villain, and with the ordinary results.
Velasquez, the governor of Cuba, who had sent out Grijalva, roused by
the description of the new and beautiful country which he had coasted,
now sought for a man, so humble in his pretensions and so destitute
of alliance, that he might trust him with a fleet and force for the
acquisition of it. Such a man he believed he had found in Hernando
Cortez,—a man, like many other men in Spain, of noble blood, but very
ignoble fortune—poor, proud, so hot and overbearing in his disposition
and so dissipated in his habits, that his father was glad to send him
out as an adventurer. Ovando, governor of Hispaniola, the notorious
betrayer of Anacoana, and murderer of her chiefs, was his relation,
and received him with open arms as a fit instrument in such work as
he had to do. Cortez attended Velasquez in that expedition to Cuba in
which the cazique Hatuey was burnt at the stake for his resistance to
their invasion, and died bearing that memorable testimony to Spanish
Christianity. Velasquez, who had acted the traitor towards Diego
Columbus, whose deputy in the government of Cuba he was, had however
scarcely sent out Cortez, when he conceived a suspicion that he would
show no better faith than he himself had done. Scarcely had Cortez
sailed for Trinidad, when Velasquez sent instructions after him, to
deprive him of his commission. Cortez eluded this by hastening to the
Havanna, where an express also to arrest him was forwarded. Cortez,
fully justified the suspicions of Velasquez; for, from the moment
that he found himself at the head of a fleet, he abandoned every idea
of acknowledging the authority which had put it into his command. He
boldly avowed his intentions to his fellow adventurers, and as their
views, like his own, were plunder and dominion, he received their
applause and their vows of adherence. Thus supported in his schemes of
ambition, he set sail for the Mexican coast, with eleven vessels of
various burdens and characters. His own, or admiral’s ship, was of a
hundred tons, three of seventy or eighty tons, and the others were open
boats. He carried with him six hundred and seventeen men; amongst whom
were to be found only thirteen muskets, thirty-two cross-bows, sixteen
horses, ten small field-pieces, and four falconets. Behold Cortez and
his comrades thus on their way to conquer the great kingdom of Mexico,
bearing on their great banner the figure of a large cross, and this

“So powerfully,” says Robertson,—to whose curious remarks I shall
occasionally draw the attention of my readers,—“were Cortez and his
followers animated with both these passions (religion and avarice)
that no less eager to plunder the opulent country whither they were
bound, than _zealous to propagate the Christian faith (!)_ among its
inhabitants, they set out, not with the solicitude natural to men
going upon dangerous services, but with that confidence which arises
from security of success, and certainty of the divine protection.” No
doubt they believed the cross which they followed was the cross of
Christ, but every one now will be quite as well satisfied that it was
the cross of one of the two thieves, a most fitting ensign for such
an expedition. Cortez, indeed, was a fiery zealot, and frequently
endangered the success of his enterprise by his assault on the gods and
temples of the natives, just as Mahomet or Omar would have done; for
there was not a pin to choose between the faith in which he had been
educated, and that of the prophet of Mecca. One followed the cross, the
other the crescent, but their faith alike was—the sword.[6]

After touching at different spots, to remind the natives of the
Christian faith by “routing them with great slaughter,” and carrying
off provisions, cotton garments, gold, and twenty female slaves, one of
whom was the celebrated woman, called by the Spaniards Donna Marina,
who rendered them such services as interpreter, they entered, on the
2nd of April 1519, the harbour of St. Juan de Ulua. Here we are told
by the Spanish historians, that the natives came on board in the most
friendly and unsuspicious manner. Two of them were officers from the
local government, sent to inquire what was the object of Cortez in
coming thither, and offering any assistance that might be necessary
to enable him to proceed in his voyage. Cortez assured them that _he
came with the most friendly intentions_, to seek an interview with
the king, of great importance to the welfare of their country; and
next morning, in proof of the sincerity and friendliness of his views,
landed his troops and ammunition, and began a fortification. This
brought Teutile and Pilpatoe, as Robertson calls them, or Teuhtlile
and Cuitlalpita, according to Clavigero, himself a Mexican, the local
governors, into the camp with a numerous attendance. Montezuma, the
emperor, had been alarmed, as well he might, by the former appearance
of the Spaniards on his coast, and these officers urged Cortez to take
his departure. He persisted, however, that he must see Montezuma,
being come as an ambassador from the king of Spain to him, and charged
with communications that could be opened to no one else—falsehoods
worthy of a robber, for he not only had no commission from the king
of Spain, but was in open rebellion to the Spanish government at the
moment. To induce him to depart, these simple people resorted to the
same unlucky policy as our ancestors the Saxons did with the Danes,
and presented him with a present of ten loads of fine cotton cloth,
plumes of various colours, and articles in gold and silver of rich and
curious workmanship, besides a quantity of provisions. These not only
inflamed his cupidity to the utmost, but another circumstance served
to convince him that he had stumbled upon a different country to what
any of his countrymen had yet found in America; and stimulated equally
his ambition to conquer it. He observed painters at work in the train
of Teuhtlile and Pitalpatoe,[7] sketching on cotton cloth, himself,
his men, his horses, ships and artillery. To give more effect to these
drawings, he sounded his trumpets, threw his army into battle array,
put it through a variety of striking military movements, and tore up
the neighbouring woods with the discharge of his cannon. The Mexicans,
struck with terror and admiration at these exhibitions, dispatched
speedy information of all these particulars by the couriers, and in
seven days received the answer of the emperor, though his capital was
one hundred and eighty miles off, that Cortez must instantly depart
the country. But had he had the slightest intention of the kind, the
unlucky courtesy of the emperor would have changed his resolve. To
render his command the more palatable, he sent an ambassador of rank,
with a hundred men of burden carrying presents, and they again poured
out before Cortez such a flood of treasures, as astonished him and his
greedy followers.

There were boxes full of pearls and precious stones; gold in its
native state, and gold wrought into the richest trinkets; two wheels,
the one of gold, the other of silver. That of gold, representing the
Mexican century, had the image of the sun engraved in the middle,
round which were different figures in bass-relief. Bernal Diaz says
the circumference was thirty palms of Toledo, and the value of it ten
thousand sequins. The one of silver, in which the Mexican year was
represented, was still larger, with a moon in the middle, surrounded
also with figures in bass-relief.[8] Thirty loads or bales of cotton
cloths of the most exquisite fineness, and pictures in feather-work of
surprising brilliancy and art. These were all opened out on mats in the
most tempting manner; and besides these, was a vizor, which Cortez had
desired at the last interview might be filled with gold dust, telling
the officer most truly—that “the Spaniards had a disease of the heart
which could only be cured by gold.”

Cortez took the presents, and coolly assured the ambassador that he
should not quit the country till he had seen the emperor. A third
message, accompanied by a third and more peremptory order for his
departure, producing no greater effect, the officers left the camp in
displeasure, and Cortez prepared to march into the country.

But before he commenced his expedition there were a few measures to be
taken. He was a traitor to the governor of Cuba who had sent him out;
and the governor had still adherents in the army, who objected to what
appeared to them this rash enterprise against so powerful and populous
an empire. It was necessary to silence these people, and his mode of
doing this reminds one of the solemn artifices of Oliver Cromwell.
He held out to the soldiers such prospects of booty as secured them
to his interests, and on the discontented remonstrating with him, he
appeared to fall in with their views, and gave instant orders for
the return home, at the same time sending his emissaries amongst the
soldiers to exasperate them against the return. When the order for
re-embarkation the next day was therefore issued, the whole army seemed
in a fury against it, and Cortez feigning to have believed the order
for the return was their own desire, now declared that he was ready
to lead them forwards. But this was not sufficient. Knowing that he
was a traitor to the trust reposed in him, he resorted to one of those
grave farces by which usurpers often attempt to give an appearance of
title to their power, though they know well enough the emptiness of
it. He laid out the plan of a town,—named it Villa Rica de la Vera
Cruz, or the Rich Town of the True Cross, established magistrates and
a municipal council, and then appeared before them and resigned his
command into their hands, having taken good care that the magistrates
were so much his creatures as instantly to re-invest him with it.
Assuming now this command, not as flowing from the governor of Cuba,
but from the constituted authorities under the crown, and therefore
from the crown itself, he immediately seized on the officers who had
murmured at his breach of faith, clapped them in chains, and sent them
aboard the fleet! So far so good; but the reflection still came, how
would all these deeds sound at home? and Cortez therefore took the
only means that could secure him in that quarter. He collected all the
gold that could be procured by any means, and sent it by the hand of
two of the mock magistrates of Vera Cruz to the King of Spain, giving a
plausible colouring to their assumption of power independent of Cuba,
and soliciting a confirmation of it.

These were the measures of an adventurer not more daring than artful;
yet a single circumstance shewed him still his insecurity. At the
moment that his magistrates were about to sail for Spain, he discovered
that a conspiracy was in existence to seize one of the vessels in
the harbour, and to sail to Cuba, and give the alarm to Velasquez.
This startling fact determined him to put the _coup de grace_ to his
measures,—to destroy his fleet, and let his followers see that there
was no longer any resource but to follow him boldly in his attack upon
Mexico, or perish. He had the address to bring his men to commit this
act themselves: they dragged the vessels ashore—stripped them of
sails, rigging, iron-work—whatever might be useful, and then broke
them up. A more daring and politic action is not upon record. Cortez,
in fact, had nothing to hope from his fleet, and had cast his life and
fortune on the conquest of this great and wealthy realm.

When we contemplate him at this juncture, we are however not more
struck with his daring and determined policy, than as Christians we
are indignant at the real nature of the act that he meditated. This
was no other than to ravage this young and growing empire, to plunder
it of its gold, and consume its millions of inhabitants in mines and
plantations, by the sword and by the lash, as his countrymen had
consumed the wealth and the people of the islands,—and all this on
pretence of planting the Cross! It was the cool speculation of a daring
robber, hardened by a false faith, and by witnessing deeds of blood and
outrage, to a total insensibility to every feeling but the diseased
overgrowth of selfish ambition.

The attempt to subdue a kingdom stretching from the Atlantic to the
Pacific Ocean in a breadth of above five hundred leagues from east to
west, and of upwards of two hundred from north to south—a kingdom
populous, fertile, and of a warlike reputation; and that with a force
of not seven hundred men, appears at first view an act of madness: but
Cortez was too well acquainted with American warfare to know that it
was not impracticable. In the first place, he knew that the weapons
of the natives had very little effect upon the quilted cotton dress
which the Spaniards adopted on these expeditions, and that by the
terror of their fire-arms and their union of movement, they could in
almost all cases and situations keep them at that distance which took
away even that little effect, while it left them open to the full play
of the European missives. He knew the terror that the natives had of
the Spanish horses, dogs, and artillery; and moreover he had speedily
discovered, through the means of one of the women slaves brought from
Darien who proved to be a Mexican by birth, that Mexico was a kingdom
newly cemented by the arms of Montezuma and his immediate predecessors,
and therefore full of provinces still smarting under the sense of their
subjugation, and ready to seize on an occasion of revenge. In fact, he
had speedily practical evidence of this, for the cazique of Chempoalla,
a neighbouring town, sent an embassy to him soliciting his friendship,
and offering to join him in his designs against Montezuma, whom he
represented as a haughty and exacting tyrant to the provinces. Cortez
of course caught gladly at this alliance, and removing his settlement,
planted it at Quiabislan, near Chempoalla. The hint was given him of
the real condition of the empire, and he was too crafty to neglect it.
He immediately gave himself out as the champion of the aggrieved and
oppressed, come to redress all their wrongs, and restore them to their

But there was another and most singular cause which gave Cortez a
fair prospect of success. Throughout the American kingdoms ancient
prophecies prevailed,—that a new race was to come in, and seize
upon the reins of power, and before it the American tribes were to
quail and give place. In the islands, in Mexico, in Peru,—far and
wide,—this mysterious tradition prevailed. Everywhere these terrible
people were expected to come from towards the rising of the sun: they
were to be completely clad, and to lay waste every country before
them;—circumstances so entirely verified in the Spaniards, that the
spirit of the American natives died within them at the rumour of their
approach, as the natives of Canaan did at that of the Israelites coming
with the irresistible power and the awful miracles of God. For ages
these prophecies had weighed on the public mind, and had been sung
with loud lamentations at their solemn festivals. Cazziva, a great
cazique, declared that in a supernatural interview with one of the
Zemi, this terrible event had been revealed to him. “The demons which
they worshipped,” says Acosta, “in this instance, told them true.”
Montezuma therefore, though naturally haughty, warlike, and commanding,
on so appalling an event as the fulfilment of these ancient prophecies,
lost his courage, his decision, his very power of mind, and exhibited
nothing but the most utter vacillation and weakness, while Cortez was
advancing towards his capital in defiance of his orders.

Having strengthened himself by the alliance of the Chempoallans, and
others of the Totonacas, and chastised the Tlascalans, a fierce people
who gave no credit to his pretences, he advanced to Cholula, a place
of great importance, consisting, according to Cortez’s account, of
forty thousand houses and many populous suburban villages. Montezuma
had now consented to his reception, and he was received in this city
by his orders. It was a sacred city,—“the Rome of Anahuac or Mexico,”
says Clavigero, full of temples, and visited by hosts of pilgrims.
Here, suspecting treachery, he determined to strike terror into both
the emperor and the people. “For this purpose,” says Robertson, “the
Spaniards and Zempoallans were drawn up in a large court which had
been allotted for their quarters near the centre of the town. The
Tlascalans had orders to advance; the magistrates, and several of the
chief citizens, were sent for, under various pretences, and seized.
On a signal given, the troops rushed out, and fell upon the multitude
destitute of leaders, and so much astonished, that the weapons
dropping from their hands, they stood motionless and incapable of
defence. While the Spaniards pressed them in front, the Tlascalans
attacked them in the rear. The streets were filled with bloodshed
and death; the temples, which afforded a retreat to the priests and
some of the leading men, were set on fire, and they perished in the
flames. This scene of horror continued two days, during which the
wretched inhabitants suffered all that the destructive rage of the
Spaniards, or the implacable revenge of their Indian allies, could
inflict. At length the carnage ceased, after the slaughter of six
thousand Cholulans, without the loss of a single Spaniard! Cortez
then released the magistrates, and reproaching them bitterly for
their intended treachery, declared that as justice was now appeased
he forgave the offence, but required them to recall the citizens who
had fled, and reestablish order in the town. Such was the ascendant
which the Spaniards had acquired over this superstitious race of men,
and so deeply were they impressed with an opinion of their superior
discernment, as well as power, that in obedience to this command,
the city was in a few days again filled with people, who amidst
the ruins of their sacred buildings, yielded respectful service to
men whose hands were stained with the blood of their relatives and

“From Cholula,” adds Robertson, “Cortez marched directly towards
Mexico, which was only twenty leagues distant:”—and that is all the
remark that he makes on this brutal butchery of an innocent people,
by a man on his march to plant the cross! A Christian historian sees
only in this most savage and infernal action, a piece of necessary
policy—so obtuse become the perceptions of men through the ordinary
principles of historic judgment. But the Christian mind asks what
business Cortez had there at all? The people were meditating his
destruction? True;—and it was natural and national that they should
get rid of so audacious and lawless an enemy, who entered their country
with the intentions of a robber, set at defiance the commands of their
king, and stirred up rebellion at every step he took. The Mexicans
would have been less than men if they had not resolved to cut him off.
What right had he there? What right to disturb the tranquillity of
their country, and shed the blood of its people? These are questions
that cannot be answered on any Christian principles, or on any
principles but those of the bandit and the murderer. _Six thousand
people butchered in cold blood—two days employed in hewing down
trembling wretches, too fearful to even raise a single weapon against
the murderers!_ Heavens! are these the deeds that we admire as heroic
and as breathing of romance? Yet, says Clavigero, “He ordered the great
temple to be cleaned from the gore of his murdered victims; and raised
there the standard of the cross; _after giving the Cholulans, as he did
all the other people among whom he stopped_,” SOME IDEA OF THE CHRISTIAN
RELIGION!!! What _idea_ had the Abbé Don Francesco Saverio Clavigero of
Christianity himself?

But Cortez had plunged headlong into the enterprise—he had set his
life and that of his followers at stake on the conquest of Mexico, and
there was no action, however desperate, that he was not prepared to
commit. And sure enough his hands became well filled with treachery
and blood. It is not my business to dwell particularly upon these
atrocities, but merely to recall the memory of them; yet it may be
as well to give, in the words of Robertson, the manner in which the
Spaniards were received into the capital, because it contrasts
strongly with the manner in which the Christians behaved in this same
city, and to this same monarch.

“In descending from the mountains of Chalco,[9] across which the
road lay, the vast plain of Mexico opened gradually to their view.
When they first beheld this prospect, one of the most striking and
beautiful on the face of the earth—when they observed fertile and
cultivated fields stretching further than the eye could reach—when
they saw a lake resembling the sea in extent, encompassed with large
towns; and discovered the capital city, rising upon an island in the
middle, adorned with its temples and turrets—the scene so far exceeded
their imagination, that some believed the fanciful dreams of romance
were realized, and that its enchanted palaces and gilded domes were
presented to their sight. Others could hardly persuade themselves
that this wonderful spectacle was anything more than a dream. As they
advanced, their doubts were removed; but their amazement increased.
They were now fully satisfied that the country was rich beyond any
conception which they had formed of it, and flattered themselves that
at length they should obtain an ample recompense for all their services
and sufferings.

“When they drew near the city, about a thousand persons, who appeared
to be of distinction, came forth to meet them, adorned with plumes,
and clad in mantles of fine cotton. Each of these, in his order,
passed by Cortez, and saluted him according to the mode deemed most
respectful and submissive in their country. They announced the approach
of Montezuma himself, and soon after his harbingers came in sight.
There appeared first, two hundred persons in an uniform dress, with
large plumes of feathers alike in fashion, marching two and two in deep
silence, barefooted, with their eyes fixed on the ground. These were
followed by a company of higher rank, in their most showy apparel;
in the midst of whom was Montezuma, in a chair or litter, richly
ornamented with gold and feathers of various colours. Four of his
principal favourites carried him on their shoulders; others supported
a canopy of curious workmanship over his head. Before him marched
three officers with rods of gold in their hands, which they lifted up
on high at certain intervals, and at that signal all the people bowed
their heads, and hid their faces, as unworthy to look on so great a
monarch. When he drew near, Cortez dismounted, advancing towards him
with officious haste, and in a respectful posture. At the same time
Montezuma alighted from his chair, and leaning on the arms of two
of his near relatives, approached with a slow and stately pace, his
attendants covering the street with cotton cloths that he might not
touch the ground. Cortez accosted him with profound reverence after the
European fashion. He returned the salutation according to the mode of
his country, by touching the earth with his hand, and then kissing it.
This ceremony, the customary expression of veneration from inferiors
towards those who were above them in rank, appeared such amazing
condescension in a proud monarch, who scarcely deigned to consider
the rest of mankind as of the same species with himself, that all his
subjects firmly believed those persons before whom he humbled himself
in this manner, to be something more than human. Accordingly, as they
marched through the crowd, the Spaniards frequently, and with much
satisfaction, heard themselves denominated _Teules_, or divinities.
Montezuma conducted Cortez to the quarter which he had prepared for his
reception, and immediately took leave of him, with a politeness not
unworthy of a court more refined. ‘You are now,’ says he, ‘with your
brothers in your own house; refresh yourselves after your fatigue; and
be happy till I return.’”

The Spanish historians give some picturesque particulars of this
interview, which Robertson has not copied. The dress of Montezuma is
thus described: As he rode in his litter, a parasol of green feathers
embroidered with fancy-work of gold was held over him. He wore hanging
from his shoulders a mantle adorned with the richest jewels of gold
and precious stones; on his head a thin crown of the same metal; and
upon his feet shoes of gold, tied with strings of leather worked
with gold and gems. The persons on whom he leaned, were the king of
Tezcuco and the lord of Iztapalapan. Cortez put on Montezuma’s neck
a thin cord of gold strung with glass beads, and would have embraced
him, but was prevented by the two lords on whom the king leaned. In
return for this paltry necklace, Montezuma gave Cortez two of beautiful
mother-of-pearl, from which hung some large cray-fish of gold in
imitation of nature.

Here, then, to their own wonder and admiration, were this handful of
Spanish adventurers in the “glorious city,”

  Near the setting of the sun,
  Throned in a silver lake.

Generous minds would have rejoiced in the glory of such a discovery,
and have exulted in the mutual benefits to be derived from an
honourable intercourse between their own country and this new and
beautiful one,—but Cortez and his men were merely gazing on the
novel splendour of this interesting city with the greedy eyes of
robbers, and thinking how they might best seize upon its power, and
clutch its wealth. Who is not familiar with their rapid career of
audacious villany, in this fairy capital? Scarcely were they received
as guests,[10] when they seized on the monarch, and that at the very
moment that he gave to Cortez his own daughter, and heaped on him other
favours—and compelled him, under menaces of instantly stabbing him to
the heart, to quit his palace, and take up his residence in their own
quarters. The astonished and distressed king, now a puppet in their
hands, was made to command every thing which they desired to be done;
and they were by no means scrupulous in their exercise of this power,
knowing that the people looked on the person of the monarch as sacred,
and would not for a moment refuse to obey his least word, though in
the hands of his enemies. The very first thing which they required him
to do, was to order to be delivered up to them Qualpopoca, one of his
generals, who had been employed in quelling one of the insurrections
that the Spaniards had raised near Villa Rica, and who being attacked
by the Spanish officer Escalante, left in command there, had killed
him, with seven of his men, and taken one other alive. The order was
obeyed, and the brave general, his son, and five of his principal
officers, were burnt alive by these Christian heroes! To add to the
cruelty and indignity of the deed, Montezuma himself was put into irons
during the transaction, accompanied by threats of a darker kind.

The simplicity of Robertson’s remarks on this affair are singular: “In
these transactions, as represented by the Spanish historians, we search
in vain for the qualities which distinguish other parts of Cortez’s
conduct.” What qualities? “To usurp a jurisdiction which could not
belong to a stranger, who assumed no higher character than that of an
ambassador from a foreign prince, and under colour of it, to inflict
a capital punishment on men whose conduct entitled them to esteem,
appears an act of barbarous cruelty.”

Why, the whole of Cortez’s conduct, from the moment that he entered
with arms the kingdom of Mexico, was a usurpation that “could not
belong to a stranger assuming merely the title of an ambassador.” What
ambassador comes with armed troops; or when the monarch orders him to
quit his realm, marches further into it; or foments rebellion as he
goes along; or massacres the inhabitants by wholesale? Was the butchery
of six thousand people at Cholula, no act of barbarous cruelty?

Well, by what Robertson complacently terms “the fortunate temerity in
seizing Montezuma,” the Spaniards had suddenly usurped the sovereign
power, and they did not pause here. They sent out some of their number
to survey the whole kingdom; to spy out its wealth, and pitch on
fitting stations for colonies. They put down such native officers as
were too honest or able for them; they compelled Montezuma, though with
tears and groans, to acknowledge himself the vassal of the Spanish
crown. They divided the Mexican treasures amongst them; and finally
drove the Mexicans to desperation.

The arrival of the armament from Cuba under Narvaez, sent by Velasquez
to punish Cortez for his treason, and his victory over Narvaez, and the
union of those troops with his own, belong to the general historian—my
task is to exhibit his treatment to the natives; and his next exploit,
is that of exposing Montezuma to the view of his exasperated subjects
from the battlements of his house, in the hope that his royal puppet
might have authority enough to appease them; a scheme which proved
the death of the emperor—for his own subjects, indignant at his tame
submission to the Spaniards, let fly their arrows at him. The fury of
the Mexicans on this catastrophe, the terrible nocturnal retreat of
Cortez from the city, still called amongst the inhabitants of Mexico,
_La Noche Triste_, the sorrowful night,—the strange battle of Otumba,
where Cortez, felling the standard-bearer of the army, dispersed in
a moment tens of thousands like a mist,—the flight to Tlascala, and
the return again to the siege,—the eight thousand _Tamenes_, or
servile Indians, bearing through the hostile country to the lake the
brigantines in parts, ready to put together on their arrival,—Father
Olmedo blessing the brigantines as they were launched on the lake in
the presence of wondering multitudes,—and the desperate siege and
assault themselves, all are full of the most stirring interest, and
display a sort of satanic grandeur in the man, amidst the horrors into
which his ambitious guilt had plunged him, that are only to be compared
to that of Napoleon in Russia, beset, in his extremity, by the
vengeful warriors of the north. But the crowning disgrace of Cortez,
is that of putting to the torture the new emperor, Guatimotzin, the
nephew and son-in-law of Montezuma, whom the Mexicans, in admiration
of his virtues and talents, had placed on the throne. The bravery with
which Guatimotzin had defended his city, the frankness with which he
yielded himself when taken, would have made his person sacred in the
eyes of a generous conqueror; but Guatimotzin had committed the crime,
unpardonable in the eyes of a Spaniard, of casting the treasures for
which the Spaniards harassed his country into the lake,—and Cortez had
him put to the severest torture to force from him the avowal of where
they lay. Even _he_ is said at length to have been ashamed of so base
and horrid a business; yet he afterwards put him to death, and the
manner in which this, and other barbarities are related by Robertson,
is worthy of observation.

“It was not, however, without difficulty that the Mexican empire could
be entirely reduced to the form of a Spanish province. Enraged and
rendered desperate by oppression, the natives forgot the superiority
of their enemies, and ran to arms in defence of their liberties. In
every contest, however, the European valour and discipline prevailed.
But fatally for the honour of their country, the Spaniards sullied
the glory redounding from these repeated victories, by their mode
of treating the vanquished people. After taking Guatimotzin, and
becoming masters of his capital, they supposed that the king of Castile
entered on possession of all the rights of the captive monarch, and
affected to consider every effort of the Mexicans to assert their own
independence, as the rebellion of vassals against their sovereign,
or the mutiny of slaves against their master. Under the sanction of
these ill-founded maxims, they violated every right that should be
held sacred between hostile nations. After each insurrection, they
reduced the common people, in the provinces which they subdued, to
the most humiliating of all conditions, that of personal servitude.
Their chiefs, supposed to be more criminal, were punished with greater
severity, and put to death in the most ignominious or the most
excruciating mode that the insolence or the cruelty of their conquerors
could devise. In almost every district of the Mexican empire, the
progress of the Spanish arms is marked with blood, and with deeds so
atrocious, as disgrace the enterprising valour that conducted them to
success. In the country of Panuco, sixty caziques, or leaders, and four
hundred nobles were burnt at one time. Nor was this shocking barbarity
perpetrated in any sudden sally of rage, or by a commander of inferior
note. It was the act of Sandoval, an officer whose name is entitled to
the second rank in the annals of New Spain; and executed after a solemn
consultation with Cortez; and to complete the horror of the scene, the
children and relatives of the wretched victims were assembled, and
compelled to be spectators of their dying agonies.

“It seems hardly possible to exceed in horror this dreadful example of
severity; but it was followed by another, which affected the Mexicans
still more sensibly, as it gave them a more feeling proof of their
own degradation, and of the small regard which their haughty masters
retained for the ancient dignity and splendour of their state. On
a slight suspicion, confirmed by a very imperfect evidence, that
Guatimotzin had formed a scheme to shake off the yoke, and to excite
his former subjects to take arms, Cortez, without the formality of
a trial, ordered the unhappy monarch, together with the caziques of
Tezeuco and Tacuba, the two persons of the greatest eminence in the
empire, to be hanged; and the Mexicans, with astonishment and horror,
beheld this disgraceful punishment inflicted upon persons to whom they
were accustomed to look up with reverence hardly inferior to that
which they paid to the gods themselves. The example of Cortez and his
principal officers, encouraged and justified persons of subordinate
rank to venture upon committing greater excesses.”

It is not easy to see how Cortez and his men “sullied the glory of
their repeated victories,” by these actions—for these very victories
were gained over a people who had no chance against European arms,—and
were infamous in themselves, being violations of every sacred right of
humanity. What, indeed, could sully the reputation of the man after
the butchery of six thousand Cholulas in cold blood? The notions of
glory with which Robertson, in common with many other historians, was
infected, are mere remnants of that corrupted morality which Popery
disseminated, and which created the Cortezes and Pizarros of those
days, and the Napoleons of our own. No truth can be plainer to the
sound sense of a real Christian, than that true glory can only be the
result of great deeds done in a just cause. But Cortez’s whole career
was one perpetual union of perfidy and blood. His words were not to be
relied on for a moment. His promises of kindness and of restoration
to both Montezuma and Guatimotzin, were followed only by fetters,
tortures, and hanging.

Such were the horrors of the siege of Mexico, that Bernal Diaz says,
they can be compared to nothing but those of the destruction of
Jerusalem. According to Bernal Diaz, the slain exceeded one hundred
thousand; and those who died of famine, bad food and water, and
infection, Cortez himself asserts, were more than fifty thousand.
Cortez, on gaining possession of the city, ordered all the Mexicans
out of it; and Bernal Diaz, an eye-witness, says, that “for three days
and three nights, all the three roads leading from the city, were seen
full of men, women, and children; feeble, emaciated, and forlorn,
seeking refuge where they could find it. The fetid smell which so many
thousands of putrid bodies emitted was intolerable, and occasioned some
illness to the general of the conquerors. The houses, streets, and
canals, were full of disfigured carcases; the ground of the city was in
some places dug up by the citizens in search of roots to feed on; and
many trees stripped of bark for the same purpose. The general caused
the dead bodies to be buried, and large quantities of wood to be burnt
through all the city, as much in order to purify the infected air, as
to celebrate his victory.”

But Providence failed not to visit the deeds of Cortez on himself, as
he had done on Columbus. Bernal Diaz says, that “after the death of
Guatimotzin, he became gloomy and restless; rising continually from
his bed, and wandering about in the dark.” That “nothing prospered
with him, and that it was ascribed to the curses he was loaded with.”
His government was acknowledged late by the crown, and soon divided
with other authorities. He returned, like Columbus, to Europe to
seek redress of wrongs heaped on _him_; like him, not obtaining this
redress, he sought to amuse his mind by fresh discoveries, and added
California to the known regions; but the attempt to soothe his uneasy
spirit was vain. Neglected, and even insulted by the crown, to which he
had thus guiltily added vast dominions, he ended his days in the same
fruitless and heart-wearing solicitation of the court which Columbus
had done before.



  Their quiver is an open sepulchre; they are all mighty
  men.—_Jeremiah_ v. 16.

  They are cruel and have no mercy, their voice roareth
  like the sea; and they ride upon horses set in array as
  men of war.—_Jeremiah_ vi. 23.

The scene widened, and with it the rapacity and rage for gold in the
Spaniards. The possession and the plunder of Mexico only served to whet
their appetite for carnage, and for one demon of avarice and cruelty
to raise up ten. They had seen enough to convince them that the
continent which they had reached was immense, and Mexico filled their
imagination with abundance of wealthy empires to seize upon and devour.
Into these very odd Christians, not the slightest atom of Christian
feeling or Christian principle ever entered. They were troubled with
no remorse for the horrible excesses of crime and ravage which they
had committed. The cry of innocent nations that they had plundered,
enslaved, and depopulated, and which rose to heaven fearfully against
them, never seemed to pierce the proud brutishness of their souls.
They had but one idea: that all these swarming nations were revealed
to them by Providence for a prey. The Pope had given them up to them;
and they had but one feeling,—a fiery, quenchless, rabid lust of gold.
That they might enlighten and benefit these nations—that they might
establish wise and beneficent relations with them; that they might
enrich themselves most innocently and legitimately in the very course
of dispensing equivalent advantages, never came across their brains.
It was the spirit of the age, coolly says Robertson—but he does not
tell us how such came to be its spirit, after a thousand years of the
profession of Christianity. We have seen how that came to pass; and we
must go on from that time to the present, tracing the dreadful effects
of the substitution of Popery for Christian truth and mercy.

Rumours of lands lying to the south came ever and anon upon the
eager ears of the Spaniards,—lands still more abundant in gold,
and vast in extent. On all hands the locust-armies of Moloch and
Mammon were swarming, “seeking whom they might devour:” and amongst
these beautiful specimens of the teaching of the infallible and holy
Mother Church, were three individuals settled in Panama, who were
busily employed in concocting a scheme of discovery and of crime, of
blood and rapine, southward; and who were destined to succeed to a
marvellous degree. These worthy personages, who were occupied with
so commendable and truly Catholic a speculation as that of finding
out some peaceful or feeble people whom they might, as a matter of
business, fall upon, plunder, and if necessary, assassinate, for their
own aggrandizement—were no other than Francis Pizarro, the bastard of
a Spanish gentleman, by a very low woman, who had been employed by his
father in keeping his hogs till he ran away and enlisted for a soldier;
Diego de Almagro, a foundling; and Hernando de Luque, schoolmaster, and
priest! a man who, by means which are not related, but may be imagined,
had scraped together sufficient money to inspire him with the desire of
getting more.

Pizarro was totally uneducated, except in hog-keeping, and the trade
of a mercenary. He could not even read; and was just one of the most
hardened, unprincipled, crafty, and base wretches which history in its
multitudinous pages of crime and villany, has put on record. Almagro
was equally daring, but had more honesty of character; and as for
Luque, he appears to have been a careful, cunning attender to the
main chance. Having clubbed together their little stock of money, and
their large one of impudent hardihood, they procured a small vessel
and a hundred and twelve men, and Pizarro taking the command, set out
in quest of whatever good land fortune and the Pope’s bull might put
in their way. For some time their fortune was no better than their
object deserved; they were tossed about by tempestuous weather, exposed
to great hardships, and discouraged by the prudential policy of the
governor of Panama; but at length, in 1526, about seven years after
Cortez had entered Mexico, they came in sight of the coast of Peru,
and landing at a place called Tumbez, where there was a palace of
the Incas, were delighted to find that they were in a beautiful and
cultivated country, where the object of their desires—gold, was in
wonderful abundance.

Having found the thing they were in quest of—a country to be harried,
and having the Pope’s authority to seize on it, they were now in haste
to get that of the emperor. The three speculators agreed amongst
themselves on the manner in which they would share the country they had
in view. Pizarro was to be governor; Almagro, lieutenant-governor; and
Luque, having the apostle’s warrant, that he who desires a bishopric,
desires a good thing, desired _that_—he was to be bishop of this new
country. These preliminaries being agreed upon, Pizarro was sent off
to Spain. Here he soon shewed his associates what degree of faith they
were to put in him. He procured the governorship for himself, and
not being ambitious of a bishopric, he got that for Luque; but poor
Almagro was dignified with the office of commandant of the fortress of
Tumbez—when such fortress should be raised. Almagro was, as might be
expected, no little enraged at this piece of cool villany, especially
when he compared it with the titles and the powers which Pizarro had
secured to himself, viz.—a country of two hundred leagues in extent,
in which he was to exercise the supreme authority, both civil and
military, with the title of Governor, Adelantado and Captain-general.
To appease this natural resentment, the greedy adventurer agreed
to surrender the office of Adelantado to Almagro; and having thus
parcelled out the poor Peruvians and their country in imagination, they
proceeded to do it in reality. But before we follow them to the scene
of their operations, let us for a moment pause, and note exactly what
was the actual affair which they were thus comfortably proposing to
themselves as a means of making their fortunes, and for which they had
thus the ready sanction of Pope and Emperor.

Peru,—a splendid country, stretching along the coast of the Pacific
from Chili to Quito, a space of fifteen hundred miles. Inland,
the mighty Andes lifted their snowy ridges, and at once cooled
and diversified this fine country with every variety of scene and
temperature. Like Mexico, it had once consisted of a number of
petty and savage states, but had been reduced into one compact and
well-ordered empire by the Incas, a race of mysterious origin, who had
ruled it about four hundred years. The first appearance of this race in
Peru is one of the most curious and inexplicable mysteries of American
history. Manco Capac and Mama Ocollo, a man and woman of commanding
aspects, and clad in garments suitable to the climate, appeared on
the banks of the lake Titiaca, declaring that they were the children
of the Sun, sent by him, who was the parent of the human race, to
comfort and instruct them. They were received by the Peruvians with
all the reverence which their claims demanded. They taught the men
agriculture, and the women spinning and weaving, and other domestic
arts. Who these people might be, it is in vain to imagine; but if we
are to judge from the nature of their institutions, they must have been
of Asiatic origin, and might by some circumstances of which we now
can know nothing, be driven across the Pacific to these shores. The
worship of the sun, which they introduced; the perfect despotism of the
government; the inviolable sanctity of the reigning family, all point
to Asia for their origin. They soon, however, raised the Peruvians
above all the barbarous nations by whom they were surrounded; and one
by one they added these nations to their own kingdom, till Peru had
grown into the wide and populous realm that the Spaniards found it.
That they had made great progress in the arts of smelting, refining,
and working in the precious metals, the immense quantity of gold and
silver vessels found by the Spaniards testify. Their agriculture was
admirable: they had introduced canals and reservoirs for irrigating
the dry and sandy parts of the country; and employed manures with the
greatest judgment and effect. They had separated the royal family
from the public, it is true, by the very singular constitution of
marrying only in the family, but they had given to all the people a
common proportion of labour in the lands, and a common benefit in their
produce. They had established public couriers, like the Mexicans, and
constructed bridges of ropes, formed of the cord-like running plants
of the country, and thrown them across the wildest torrents. They had
at the time the Spaniards entered the country, two roads running the
whole length of the kingdom; one along the mountains, which must have
cost incalculable labour, in hewing through rocks and filling up the
deepest chasms, the other along the lower country. These roads had at
that time no equals in Europe, and are said by the Inca, Garcillasso
de la Vega, to have been constructed in the reign of Huana Capac, the
father of Atahualpa, the Inca whom they found on the throne. In some of
the finest situations, he says that the Indians had cut steps up to the
summits of the Andes, and constructed platforms, so that when the Inca
was travelling, the bearers of his litter could carry him up with ease,
and allow him to enjoy a survey of the splendid views around and below.
These were evidences of great advances in civilization, but there were
particulars in which they were far more civilized than their invaders,
and far more Christian too. Their Incas conquered only to civilize and
improve the adjoining states. They were advocates for peace, and the
enjoyment of its blessings. They even forbad the fishing for pearls,
because, says Garcillasso, they preferred the preservation of their
people, rather than the accumulation of wealth, and would not consent
to the sufferings which the divers must necessarily undergo. When did
the Christians ever shew so much true philanthropy and human feeling?

And these are the people whom Robertson, falling miserably in with the
views, or rather, the pretensions of the Spaniards, says, appeared so
feeble in intellect as to be incapable of receiving Christianity. The
idea is a gross absurdity. What! a people who, like the Mexicans and
Peruvians, had cities, temples, palaces, a regular form of government;
who cultivated the ground, and refined metals, and wrought them into
trinkets and vessels, not capable of receiving the simple truths of
Christianity which “the wayfaring man though a fool cannot err in?”
The Mexicans had introduced their hieroglyphic writing, the Peruvians
their quipos, or knotted and coloured cords, by which they made
calculations, and transmitted intelligence, and handed down history of
facts, yet they could not understand so plain a thing as Christianity!
It is the base policy of those who violate the rights of men, always
to add to their other injuries that of calumniating their victims as
mere brutes in capacity and in the scale of being. By turns, Negroes,
Hottentots, and the whole race of the Americans, have been declared
incapable of freedom, and of embracing that simple religion which was
sent for the good of the whole human family. If such an absurdity
needed any refutation, it has had it amply in the reception of this
religion by great numbers of all these races: but the fact is, that
it would have been a disgrace to the understanding of the American
Indians to have embraced the wretched stuff which was presented to them
by the Spaniards as Christianity. A wooden cross was presented to the
wondering natives, and they were expected instantly to bow down to it,
and to acknowledge the pope, a person they had never heard of till that
moment, or they were to be instantly cut to pieces, or burnt alive.
No pains were taken to explain the beautiful truths of the Christian
revelation—those truths, in fact, were lost in the rubbish of papal
mummeries, and violent dogmas; and what could the astonished people see
in all this but a species of Moloch worship in perfect keeping with
the desperate and rapacious character of the invaders? Garcillasso
de la Vega, the Inca, tells us that Huana Capac, a prince whose life
had more of the elements of true Christianity in it than those of the
Spaniards altogether, being full of love and humanity, was accustomed
to say, that he was convinced that the sun was not God, because he
always went on one track through the heavens,—that he had no liberty
to stop, or to turn out of his ordinary way, into the wide fields of
space around him; and that it was clear that he was therefore only a
servant, obeying a higher power. The Peruvians had, like the Athenians,
an unknown god, to whom they had a temple, and whom they called
Pachacamac, but as he was invisible and was everywhere, they could not
conceive any shape for him, and therefore worshipped him in the secret
of their hearts. How ridiculous to say that people who had arrived
at such a pitch of reasoning, and at such practice of the beneficent
principles of love and humanity which Christianity inculcates, were
incapable of embracing doctrines so consonant to their own views and

How lamentable, that a British historian should suffer himself to
follow the wretched calumnies of Buffon and De Paw against the
Americans, with the examples of Mexico and Peru, and the effects of the
Jesuit missions staring him in the face. The Spaniards and Portuguese,
as we shall presently see, and as Robertson must have known, soon found
that the Indians were delighted to embrace Christianity, even in the
imperfect form in which it was presented to them, and by thousands upon
thousands exhibited the beauty of Christian habits as strikingly as
these Europeans did the most opposite qualities.

But the strangest remark of Robertson is, “that the fatal defect of
the Peruvians was their unwarlike character.” Fatal, indeed, their
inability to contend with the Europeans proved to them; but what
a burlesque on the religion of the Europeans—that the _peaceful_
character of an innocent people should prove fatal to them only
from—_the followers of the Prince of Peace_!

But the fact is, that the Peruvians as well as the Mexicans were
not unwarlike. On the contrary, by their army they had extended and
consolidated their empire to a surprising extent. They had vanquished
all the nations around them; and it was only the bursting upon them of
a new people, with arts so novel and destructive as to confound and
paralyse their minds, that they were so readily overcome. A variety
of circumstances combined to prostrate the Americans before the
Europeans. Those prophecies to which we have alluded, the fire-arms,
the horses, the military movements, and the very art of writing, all
united their influence to render them totally powerless. The Inca,
Garcillasso, says that at the period of Pizarro’s appearance in Peru,
many prodigies and omens troubled the public mind, and prepared them
to expect some terrible calamity. There was a comet—the tides rose
and fell with unusual violence—the moon appeared surrounded by three
bands of different colours, which the priests interpreted to portend
civil war, and total change of dynasty. He says that the fire-arms,
which vomited thunder and lightning, and mysteriously killed at a
distance—the neighing and prancing of the war-horses, to people who
had never seen creatures larger than a llama, and the art of conveying
their thoughts in a bit of paper above all, gave them notions of the
spiritual intercourse of these invaders, that it was totally hopeless
to contend against. The very cocks, birds which were unknown there
before their introduction by the Spaniards, were imagined to pronounce
the name of Atahualpa, as they crew in triumph over him, and became
called Atahualpas, or Qualpas, after him. He assures us that even after
the Spaniards had become entire masters of the country, the Indians on
meeting a horseman on the highway, betrayed the utmost perturbation,
running backward and forward several times, and often falling on their
faces till he was gone past. And he relates an anecdote, which amusing
as it is, shews at once what was the effect of the art of writing, and
that the humblest natives did not want natural ingenuity even in their
deepest simplicity. The steward of Antonio Solar, a gentleman living
at a distance from his estate, sent one day by two Indians ten melons
to him. With the melons he gave them a letter, and said at the same
time—“now mind you don’t eat any of these, for if you do this letter
will tell.” The Indians went on their way; but as it was very hot, and
the distance four leagues, they sate down to rest, and becoming very
thirsty, longed to eat one of the melons. “How unhappy are we that we
cannot eat a melon that grows in our master’s ground.”—“Let us do it,”
says one—“Ah,” said the other, “but then the letter.”—“Oh,” replied
the first speaker, “we can manage that—we will put the letter under a
stone, and what it does not see it cannot tell.” The thing was done;
the melon eaten, and afterwards another, that they might take in an
equal number. Antonio Solar read the letter, looked at the melons, and
instantly exclaimed—“But where are the other two?” The confounded
Indians declared, that those were all they had received. “Liars,”
replied Antonio Solar, “I tell you, the letter says you had ten, and
you have eaten two!” It was no use persisting in the falsehood—the
frightened Indians ran out of the house, and concluded that the
Spaniards were more than mortal, while even their letter watched the
Indians, and told all that they did.

Such were the Peruvians; children in simplicity, but possessing
abundant ingenuity, and principles of human action far superior to
their invaders, and capable of being ripened into something peculiarly
excellent and beautiful. Twelve monarchs had reigned over them, and
all of them of the same beneficent character. Let us now see how the
planters of the Cross conducted themselves amongst them.



  For gold the Spaniard cast his soul away:
  His gold and he were every nation’s prey.—_Montgomery._

The three speculators of Panama had made up their band of mercenaries,
or what the Scotch very expressively term “rank rievers,” to plunder
the Peruvians. These consisted of one hundred and eighty men, thirty
of whom were horsemen. These were all they could raise; and these were
sufficient, as experience had now testified, to enable them to overrun
a vast empire of Americans. Almagro, however, remained behind, to
gather more spoilers together as soon as circumstances would permit,
and Pizarro took the command of his troop, and landed in the Bay of
St. Matthew, in the north of the kingdom. He resolved to conduct his
march southward so near to the coast as to keep up the communication
with his vessels; and falling upon the peaceable inhabitants, he went
on fighting, fording rivers, wading through hot sands, and inflicting
so many miseries upon his own followers and the natives, as made him
look more like an avenging demon than a man. It is not necessary that
we should trace very minutely his route. In the province of Coaque
they plundered the people of an immense quantity of gold and silver.
From the inhabitants of the island of Puna, he met with a desperate
resistance, which cost him six months to subdue, and obliged him to
halt at Tumbez, to restore the health of his men. Here he received
a reinforcement of troops from Nicaragua, commanded by Sebastian
Benalcazor, and Hernando Soto. Having also his brothers, Ferdinand,
Juan, and Gonzalo, and his uncle Francisco de Alcantara, with him in
this expedition, he pushed forwards towards Caxamalca, destroying and
laying waste before him. Fortunately for him, that peace and unity
which had continued for four hundred years in Peru, was now broken by
two contending monarchs, and as unfortunately for the assertion of
Robertson, that the Peruvians were unwarlike, they were at this moment
in the very midst of all the fury of a civil war. The late Inca, Huana
Capac, had added Quito to the realm, and at his death, had left that
province to Atahualpa, his son by the daughter of the conquered king
of Quito. His eldest son, who ascended the throne of Peru, demanded
homage of Atahualpa or surrender of the throne of Quito; but Atahualpa
was too bold and ambitious a prince for that, and the consequence was
a civil contest. So engrossed were the combatants in this warfare,
that they had no time to watch, much less to oppose, the progress of
the Spaniards. Pizarro had, therefore, advanced into the very heart
of the kingdom when Atahualpa had vanquished his brother, put him in
prison, and taken possession of Peru. Having been solicited during the
latter part of his march by both parties to espouse their cause, and
holding himself in readiness to act as best might suit his interests,
he no sooner found Atahualpa in the ascendant, than he immediately
avowed himself as his partizan, and declared that he was hastening
to his aid. Atahualpa was in no condition to repulse him. He was in
the midst of the confusions necessarily existing on the immediate
termination of a civil war. His brother, though his captive, was still
held by the Peruvians to be their rightful monarch, and it might be of
the utmost consequence to his security to gain such extraordinary and
fearful allies. The poor Inca had speedy cause to rue the alliance.
Pizarro determined, on the very first visit of Atahualpa to him in
Caxamalca, to seize him as Cortez had seized on Montezuma. He did
not wait to imitate the more artful policy of Cortez, but trusted to
the now too well known ascendency of the Spanish arms, to take him
without ceremony. He and his followers now saw the amazing wealth
of the country, and were impatient to seize it. The capture of the
unsuspecting Inca is one of the most singular incidents in the history
of the world; a mixture of such naked villany, and impudent mockery
of religion, as has scarcely a parallel even in the annals of these
Spanish missionaries of the sword—these red-cross knights of plunder.
He invited Atahualpa to an interview in Caxamalca, and having drawn up
his forces round the square in which he resided, awaited the approach
of his victim. The following is Robertson’s relation of the event:—

“Early in the morning the Peruvian camp was all in motion. But as
Atahualpa was solicitous to appear with the greatest splendour
and magnificence in his first interview with the strangers, the
preparations for this were so tedious, that the day was far advanced
before he began his march. Even then, lest the order of the procession
should be deranged, he moved so slowly, that the Spaniards became
impatient, and apprehensive that some suspicion of their intention
might be the cause of this delay. In order to remove this, Pizarro
dispatched one of his officers with fresh assurances of his friendly
disposition. At length the Inca approached. First of all appeared
four hundred men, in an uniform dress, as harbingers to clear the way
before him. He himself, sitting on a throne or couch, adorned with
plumes of various colours, and almost covered with plates of gold and
silver, enriched with precious stones, was carried on the shoulders of
his principal attendants. Behind him came some chief officers of his
court, carried in the same manner. Several bands of singers and dancers
accompanied this cavalcade; and the whole plain was covered with
troops, amounting to more than thirty thousand men.

“As the Inca drew near to the Spanish quarters, Father Vincent
Valverde, chaplain to the expedition, advanced with a crucifix in one
hand and a breviary in the other, and in a Jong discourse explained to
him the doctrine of the creation; the fall of Adam; the incarnation,
the sufferings, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; the appointment
of St. Peter as God’s vicegerent on earth; the transmission of his
apostolic power by succession to the Popes; the donation made to the
king of Castile by Pope Alexander, of all the regions in the New
World. In consequence of all this, he required Atahualpa to embrace
the Christian faith; to acknowledge the supreme jurisdiction of the
Pope, and to submit to the king of Castile as his lawful sovereign;
promising, if he complied instantly with his requisition, that the
Castilian monarch would protect his dominions, and permit him to
continue in the exercise of his royal authority; but if he should
impiously refuse to obey this summons, he denounced war against him in
his master’s name, and threatened him with the most dreadful effect of
his vengeance.

“This strange harangue, unfolding deep mysteries, and alluding to
unknown facts, of which no powers of eloquence could have conveyed
at once a distinct idea to an American, was so lamely translated by
an unskilful interpreter, little acquainted with the idiom of the
Spanish tongue, and incapable of expressing himself with propriety
in the language of the Inca, that its general tenor was altogether
incomprehensible to Atahualpa. Some parts of it, of more obvious
meaning, filled him with astonishment and indignation. His reply,
however, was temperate. He began with observing, that he was lord of
the dominions over which he reigned by hereditary succession; and
added, that he could not conceive how a foreign priest should pretend
to dispose of territories which did not belong to him; that if such a
preposterous grant had been made, he, who was the rightful possessor,
refused to confirm it. That he had no inclination to renounce the
religious institutions established by his ancestors; nor would he
forsake the service of the Sun, the immortal divinity whom he and
his people revered, in order to worship the God of the Spaniards who
was subject to death. That, with respect to other matters contained
in this discourse, as he had never heard of them before, and did not
understand their meaning, he desired to know where the priest had
learned things so extraordinary. “In this book,” answered Valverde,
reaching out to him his Breviary. The Inca opened it eagerly, and
turning over the leaves, lifted it to his ear. “This,” said he, “is
silent; it tells me nothing;” and threw it with disdain to the ground.
The enraged monk, running towards his countrymen, cried out, ‘To
arms! Christians, to arms! The word of God is insulted; avenge this
profanation on these impious dogs!’

“Pizarro, who, during this long conference, had with difficulty
restrained his soldiers, eager to seize the rich spoils of which they
had now so near a view, immediately gave the signal of assault. At once
the martial music struck up, the cannon and muskets began to fire, the
horses sallied out fiercely to the charge; the infantry rushed on,
sword in hand. The Peruvians, astonished at the suddenness of an attack
which they did not expect, and dismayed with the destructive effects
of the fire-arms, and the irresistible impression of the cavalry, fled
with universal consternation on every side, without attempting either
to annoy the enemy or to defend themselves. Pizarro, at the head of his
chosen band, advanced directly towards the Inca; and though his nobles
crowded round him with officious zeal, and fell in numbers at his feet,
while they vied with one another in sacrificing their own lives that
they might cover the sacred person of their sovereign, the Spaniards
soon penetrated to the royal seat, and Pizarro seizing the Inca by the
arm, dragged him to the ground, and carried him as a prisoner to his
quarters. The fate of the monarch increased the precipitate flight of
his followers. The Spaniards pursued them towards every quarter, and,
with deliberate and unrelenting barbarity, continued to slaughter the
wretched fugitives, who never once offered to resist. The carnage did
not cease till the close of the day. _Above four thousand Peruvians
were killed. Not a single Spaniard fell, nor was one wounded_, but
Pizarro himself, whose hand was slightly hurt by one of his own
soldiers, while struggling eagerly to lay hold on the Inca.

“The plunder of the field was rich beyond any idea which the
Spaniards had yet formed concerning the wealth of Peru, and they
were so transported with the value of their acquisition, as well as
the greatness of their success, that they passed the night in the
extravagant exultation natural to indigent adventurers on such an
extraordinary change of fortune.”

Daring, perfidious, and every way extraordinary as this capture of
the Inca was, his ransom was still more extraordinary. Observing the
insatiable passion of the Spaniards for gold, he offered to fill the
room in which he was kept with vessels of gold as high as he could
reach. This room was twenty-two feet in length, and sixteen in breadth;
and the proposal being immediately agreed to, though never for a moment
meant on the part of the Spaniards to be fulfilled, a line was drawn
along the walls all round the room to mark the height to which the
gold was to rise. Instantly the Inca, in the simple joy of his heart
at the hope of a liberty which he was never to enjoy, issued orders to
his subjects to bring in the gold; and from day to day the faithful
Indians came in laden from all quarters with the vessels of gold. The
sight must have been more like a fairy dream, than any earthly reality.
The splendid and amazing mass, such as no mortal eyes on any other
occasion probably ever witnessed, soon rose to near the stipulated
height, and the avarice of the soldiers, and the joy of Atahualpa rose
rapidly with it. But the exultation of the Inca received a speedy and
cruel blow. He learned that fresh troops of Spaniards had arrived, and
that those in whose hands he was, had been tampering with Huascar,
his brother, in his prison. Alarmed lest, after all, they should, on
proffer of a higher price, liberate his brother, and detain himself,
the wretched Inca was driven in desperation to the crime of dooming his
brother to death. He issued his order, and it was done. Scarcely was
this effected, when the Spaniards, unable to wait for the gold quite
reaching the mark, determined to part it; and orders were given to melt
the greater portion of it down. They chose the festival of St. James,
the patron saint of Spain, as the most suitable to distinguish by this
act of national plunder, and proceeded to appropriate the following
astonishing sums.—Certain of the richest vessels were set aside first
for the crown. Then the fifth claimed by the crown was set apart. Then
a hundred thousand pesos, equal to as many pounds sterling, were given
to the newly arrived army of Almagro. Then Pizarro and his followers
divided amongst them, one million five hundred and twenty-eight
thousands five hundred pesos: every horseman obtained above eight
thousand, and every footman four!

Imagine the privates of an army of foot soldiers pocketing for
prize-money, each four thousand pounds! the troopers each eight
thousand! But enormous as this seems, there is no doubt that it would
have been vastly more had the natives been as confident in the faith
of the Spaniards as they had reason to be of the reverse. The Inca,
Garcillasso, and some of the Spanish historians, tell us that on the
Spaniards displaying their greedy spirit of plunder, vast quantities
of treasure vanished from public view, and never could be discovered
again. Amongst these were the celebrated emerald of Manta, which was
worshipped as a divinity; was as large as an ostrich egg, and had
smaller emeralds offered to it as its children; and the chain of gold
made by order of Huana Capac, to surround the square at Cuzco on days
of solemn dancing, and was in length seven hundred feet, and of the
thickness of a man’s wrist.

The Inca having fulfilled, as far as the impatience of the Spaniards
would permit him, his promises, now demanded his freedom. Poor man! his
tyrants never intended to give him any other freedom than the freedom
of death. They held him merely as a lure, by which to draw all the
gold and the power of his kingdom into their hands. But as, after this
transaction, they could not hope to play upon him much further, they
resolved to dispatch him. The new adventurers who had arrived with
Almagro were clamorous for his destruction, because they looked upon
him as a puppet in the hands of Pizarro, by which he would draw away
gold that might otherwise fall into their hands. The poor Inca too, by
an unwitting act, drew this destruction more suddenly on his own head.
Struck with admiration at the art of writing, he got a soldier to write
the word Dios (God) on his thumb-nail, and shewing it to everybody
that came in, saw with surprise that every man knew in a moment the
meaning of it. When Pizarro, however, came, he could not read it,
and blushed and shewed confusion. Atahualpa saw, with a surprise and
contempt which he could not conceal, that Pizarro was more ignorant
than his own soldiers; and the base tyrant, stung to the quick with the
affront which he might suppose designed, resolved to rid himself of the
Inca without delay. For this purpose, he resorted to the mockery of a
trial; appointed himself, and his companion in arms, Almagro, the very
man who had demanded his death, judges, and employed as interpreter, an
Indian named Philippillo, who was notoriously desirous of the Inca’s
death, that he might obtain one of his wives. This precious tribunal
charged the unfortunate Inca with being illegitimate; with having
dethroned and put to death his brother; with being an idolater—the
faith of the country; with having a number of concubines—the custom of
the country too; with having embezzled the royal treasures, which he
had done to satisfy these guests, and for which he ought now to have
been free, had these wretches had but the slightest principle of right
left in them. On these and similar charges they condemned him to be
burnt alive! and sent him instantly to execution, only commuting his
sentence into strangling instead of burning, on his agreeing, in his
terror and astonishment, to acknowledge the Christian faith! What an
idea he must have had of the Christian faith!

The whole career of Pizarro and his comrades, and especially this
last unparalleled action, exhibit them as such thoroughly desperado
characters—so hardened into every thing fiendly, so utterly destitute
of every thing human, that nothing but the most fearful scene of misery
and crime could follow whenever they were on the scene; and Peru,
indeed, soon was one wide field of horror, confusion, and oppression.
The Spaniards had neither faith amongst themselves, nor mercy towards
the natives, and therefore an army of wolves fiercely devouring one
another, or Pandemonium in its fury can only present an image of Peru
under the herds of its first invaders. It is not my province to follow
the quarrels of the conquerors further than is necessary to shew their
effect on the natives; and therefore I shall now pass rapidly over
matters that would fill a volume.

Pizarro set up a son of Atahualpa as Inca, and held him as a puppet
in his hands; but the Peruvians set up Manco Capac, brother of Huana;
and as if the example of the perfidy of the Spaniards had already
communicated itself to the heretofore orderly Peruvians, the general
whom Atahualpa had left in Quito, rose and slew the remaining family
of his master, and assumed that province to himself. The Spaniards
rejoiced in this confusion, in which they were sure to be the gainers.
The adventurers who had shared amongst them the riches of the royal
room, had now reached Spain with Ferdinand Pizarro at their head,
bearing to the court the dazzling share which fell to its lot. Honours
were showered on Pizarro and his fellow-marauders,—fresh hosts of
harpies set out for this unfortunate land, and Pizarro marching
to Cuzco, made tremendous slaughter amongst the Indians, and took
possession of that capital and a fresh heap of wealth more enormous
than the plunder of Atahualpa’s room. To keep his fellow officers,
thus flushed with intoxicating deluges of affluence, in some degree
quiet, he encouraged them to undertake different expeditions against
the natives. Benalcazar fell on Quito,—Almagro on Chili; but the
Peruvians were now driven to desperation, and taking the opportunity
of the absence of those forces, they rose, and attacked their
oppressors in various quarters. The consequence was what may readily
be supposed—after keeping the Spaniards in terror for some time,
they were routed and slaughtered by thousands. But no sooner was this
over than the Spaniards turned their arms against each other. “Civil
discord,” says Robertson, “never raged with a more fell spirit than
amongst the Spaniards in Peru. To all the passions which usually
envenom contests amongst countrymen, avarice was added, and rendered
their enmity more ravenous. Eagerness to seize the valuable forfeitures
expected upon the death of every opponent, shut the door against mercy.
To be wealthy, was of itself sufficient to expose a man to accusation,
or to subject him to punishment. On the slightest suspicions, Pizarro
condemned many of the most opulent inhabitants in Peru to death.
Carvajal, without seeking for any pretext to justify his cruelty, cut
off many more. The number of those who suffered by the hand of the
executioner, was not much inferior to what fell in the field; and the
greater part was condemned without the formality of any legal trial.”

Providence exhibited a great moral lesson in the fate of these
discoverers of the new world. As they shewed no regard to the feelings
or the rights of their fellow men, as they outraged and disgraced
every principle of the sacred religion which they professed, scarcely
one of them but was visited with retributive vengeance even in this
life; and many of them fell miserably in the presence of the wretched
people they had so ruthlessly abused, and not a few by each other’s
hands. We have already shewn the fortunes of Columbus and Cortez;
that of Pizarro and his lawless accomplices is still more striking
and awful. Almagro, one of the three original speculators of Panama,
was the first to pay the debt of his crimes. A daring and rapacious
soldier, but far less artful than Pizarro, he had, from the hour that
Pizarro deceived him at the Spanish court, and secured honours and
commands to himself at his expense, always looked with suspicious eyes
upon his proceedings, and sought advancement rather from his own sword
than from his old but perfidious comrade. Chili being allotted to him,
he claimed the city of Cuzco as his capital;—a bloody war with the
Pizarros was the consequence; Almagro was defeated, taken prisoner,
and put to death, being strangled in prison and afterwards publicly
beheaded. But Pizarro’s own fate was hastened by this of his old
comrade. The friends of Almagro rallied round young Almagro his son.
They suddenly attacked Pizarro in his house at noon, and on a Sunday;
slew his maternal uncle Alcantara, and several of his other friends,
and stabbed him mortally in the throat. The younger Almagro was taken
in arms against the new governor, Vaca de Castro, and publicly beheaded
in Cuzco; five hundred of these adventurers falling in the battle
itself, and forty others perishing with him on the scaffold. Gonzalo
Pizarro, after maintaining a war against the viceroy Nugnez Vela,
defeating and killing him, was himself defeated by Gasca, and put to
death, with Carvajal and some other of the most notorious offenders.

Such were the crimes and the fate of the Spaniards in Peru. Robertson,
who relates the deeds of the Spanish adventurers in general with a
coolness that is marvellous, thus describes the character of these men.

“The ties of honour, which ought to be held sacred amongst soldiers,
and the principle of integrity, interwoven as thoroughly in the
Spanish character as in that of any nation, seem to have been equally
forgotten. Even the regard for decency, and the sense of shame were
totally lost. During their dissensions, there was hardly a Spaniard in
Peru who did not abandon the party which he had originally espoused,
betray the associates with whom he had united, and violate the
engagements under which he had come. The viceroy Nugnez Vela was ruined
by the treachery of Cepeda and the other judges of the royal audience,
who were bound by the duties of their function to have supported his
authority. The chief advisers and companions of Gonzalo Pizarro’s
revolt were the first to forsake him, and submit to his enemies. His
fleet was given up to Gasca by the man whom he had singled out among
his officers to entrust with that important command. On the day that
was to decide his fate, an army of veterans, in sight of the enemy,
threw down their arms without striking a blow, and deserted a leader
who had often led them to victory.... It is only where men are far
removed from the seat of government, where the restraints of law and
order are little felt; where the prospect of gain is unbounded, and
where immense wealth may cover the crimes by which it is acquired,
that we can find any parallel to the cruelty, the rapaciousness, the
perfidy and corruption prevalent amongst the Spaniards in Peru.”

While such was their conduct to each other, we may very well imagine
what it was to the unhappy natives. These fine countries, indeed, were
given up to universal plunder and violence. The people were everywhere
pursued for their wealth, their dwellings ransacked without mercy,
and themselves seized on as slaves. As in the West Indian Islands and
in Mexico, they were driven to the mines, and tasked without regard
to their strength,—and like them, they perished with a rapidity
that alarmed even the Court of Spain, and induced them to send out
officers to inquire, and to stop this waste of human life. Las Casas
again filled Spain with his loud remonstrances, but with no better
success. When their viceroys, visitors, and superintendents arrived,
and published their ordinances, requiring the Indians to be treated as
free subjects, violent outcries and furious remonstrances, similar to
what England has in modern times received from the West Indies when
she has wished to lighten the chains of the negro, were the immediate
result. The oppressors cried out that they should all be ruined,—that
they were “robbed of their just rights,” and there was no prospect but
of general insurrection, unless they might continue to devour the blood
and sinews of the unfortunate Indians. One man, the President Gasca, a
simple ecclesiastic, exhibited a union of talents and integrity most
remarkable and illustrious amid such general corruption; he went out
poor and he returned so, from a country where the temptations to wink
at evil were boundless; and he effected a great amount of good in the
reduction of civil disorder; but the protection of the Indians was
beyond even his power and sagacity, and he left them to their fate.



One more march in the bloody track of the Spaniards, and then, thank
God! we have done with them—at least, in this hemisphere. In this
chapter we shall, however, have a new feature presented. Hitherto we
have seen these human ogres ranging through country after country,
slaying, plundering, and laying waste, without almost a single arm
of power raised to check their violence, or a voice of pity to plead
successfully for their victims. The solitary cry of Las Casas,
indeed, was heard in Hispaniola; but it was heard in vain. The name
of Christianity was made familiar to the natives, but it was to them
a terrible name, for it came accompanied by deeds of blood, and lust
and infamy. It must have seemed indeed, to them, the revelation
of some monstrous Moloch, more horrible, because more widely and
indiscriminately destructive than any war-god of their own. How
dreadful must have appeared the very rites of this religion of the
white-men! They baptized thousands upon thousands, and then sent them
to the life-in-death of slavery—to the consuming pestilence of the
plantation and the mine. We are assured by their own authors, that the
moment after they had baptized numbers of these unhappy creatures, they
cut their throats that they might prevent all possibility of a relapse,
and send them straight to heaven! Against these profanations of the
most humane of religions, what adequate power had arisen? What was
there to prove that Christianity was really the very opposite in nature
to what those wretches, by their deeds, had represented it? Nothing, or
next to nothing. The remonstrances and the enactments of the Spanish
crown were non-existent to the Indians, for they fell dead before they
reached those distant regions where such a tremendous power of avarice
and despotism had raised itself in virtual opposition to authority,
human or divine. Some of the ecclesiastics, indeed, denounced the
violence and injustice of their countrymen; but they were few, and
disconnected in their efforts, and abodes; and their assurances that
the religion of Christ was in reality merciful and kind, were belied
by the daily and hourly deeds of their kindred; and were doubly belied
by the lives of the far greater portion of their own order, who
yielded to none in unholy license, avarice, and cruelty. How could the
Indians be persuaded of its divine power?—for it exhibited no power
over nine-tenths of all that they saw professing it. But now there
came a new era. There came an order of men who not only displayed the
effects of Christian principle in themselves, but who had the sagacity
to combine their efforts, till they became sufficiently powerful to
make Christianity practicable, and capable of conferring some of its
genuine benefits on its neophytes. These were the Jesuits—an order
recent in its origin, but famous above all others for the talent, the
ambition and the profound policy of its members. We need not here
enter further into its general history, or inquire how far it merited
that degree of odium which has attached to it in every quarter of the
globe—for in every quarter of the globe it has signalised its spirit
of proselytism, and has been expelled with aversion. I shall content
myself with stating, that I have formerly ranked its operations in
Paraguay and Brazil amongst those of its worst ambition; but more
extended inquiry has convinced me that, in this instance, I, in
common with others, did them grievous wrong. A patient perusal of
Charlevoix’s History of Paraguay, and of the vast mass of evidence
brought together by Mr. Southey from the best Spanish authorities in
his History of Brazil, must be more than sufficient to exhibit their
conduct in these countries as one of the most illustrious examples
of Christian devotion—Christian patience—Christian benevolence and
disinterested virtue upon record. It gives me the sincerest pleasure,
having elsewhere expressed my opinion of the general character of the
order, amid the bloody and revolting scenes of Spanish violence in the
New World, to point to the Jesuits as the first to stand collectively
in the very face of public outrage and the dishonour of the Christian
religion, as the friends of that religion and of humanity.

I do not mean to say that they exhibited Christianity in all the
splendour of its unadulterated truth;—no, they had enough of the empty
forms and legends, and false pretences, and false miracles of Rome,
about them; but they exhibited one great feature of its spirit—love to
the poor and the oppressed, and it was at once acknowledged by them to
be divine. I do not mean to say that they adopted the soundest system
of policy in their treatment of the Indians; for their besetting sin,
the love of power and the pride of intellectual dominance, were but
too apparent in it; and this prevented their labours from acquiring
that permanence which they otherwise would: but they did this, which
was a glorious thing in that age, and in those countries—they showed
what Christianity, even in an imperfect form, can accomplish in the
civilization of the wildest people. They showed to the outraged
Indians, that Christianity was really a blessing where really embraced;
and to the Spaniards, that their favourite dogmas of the incapacity
of the Indians for the reception of divine truth, and for the patient
endurance of labour and civil restraint, were as baseless as their own
profession of the Christian faith. They stood up against universal
power and rapacity, in defence of the weak, the innocent, and the
calumniated; and they had the usual fate of such men—they were
the martyrs of their virtue, and deserve the thanks and honourable
remembrance of all ages.

In strictly chronological order we should have noticed the Portuguese
in Brazil, before following the Spaniards to Paraguay; as Paraguay was
not taken possession of by the Spaniards till about twenty years after
the Portuguese had seized upon Brazil: but it is of more consequence
to us to take a consecutive view of the conduct of the Spaniards in
South America, than to take the settlement of different countries in
exact order of time. Having with this chapter dismissed the Spaniards,
we shall next turn our attention to the Portuguese in the neighbouring
regions of Brazil, and then pursue our inquiries into their treatment
of the natives in their colonies in the opposite regions of the world.

The Spaniards entered this beautiful country with the same spirit that
they had done every other that they had hitherto discovered;—but
they found here a different race. They had neither creatures gentle
as those of the Lucayo Islands, nor of Peru, nor men so far civilized
as these last, nor as the Mexicans to contend with. They did not find
the natives of these regions appalled with their wonder, or paralysed
with prophecies and superstitious fears; but like the Charaib natives,
they were fierce and ferocious—tattooed and disfigured with strange
gashes and pouches for stones in their faces; quick in resentment,
and desperate cannibals. When Juan Diaz de Solis discovered the Plata
in 1515, he landed with a party of his men in order to seize some of
the natives; but they killed, roasted, and devoured, both him and
his companions. Cabot, who was sent out to form a settlement there
ten years afterwards, treated the natives with as little ceremony,
and found them as quick to return the insult. Diego Garcia, who soon
followed Cabot, came with the intention of carrying off _eight hundred
slaves to Portugal_, which he actually accomplished, putting them and
his vessel into the charge of a Portuguese of St. Vincente. Garcia made
war on the great tribe of the Guaranies for this purpose, and thus made
them hostile to the settlement of the Spaniards. In 1534, the powerful
armament of Don Pedro de Mendoza, consisting of eleven ships and eight
hundred men, entered the Plata, and laid the foundation of Buenos
Ayres. One of his first acts was to murder his deputy-commandant, Juan
Osorio; and one of the next to make war on the powerful and vindictive
tribe of the Quirandies, who possessed the country round his new
settlement: the consequences of which were, that they reduced him to
the most horrid state of famine, burnt his town about his ears, and
eventually obliged him to set sail homeward, on which voyage he died.

These were proceedings as impolitic as they were wicked, in the attempt
to colonize a new, a vast, and a warlike country; but it was the mode
which the Spaniards had generally practised. They seemed to despise
the natives alike as enemies and as men; and they went on fighting,
and destroying, and enslaving, as matters of course. As they were now
in a great country, abounding with martial tribes, we must necessarily
take a very rapid glance at their proceedings. They advanced up the
Paraguay, under the command of Ayolas, whom Mendoza had left in
command, and seized on the town of Assumpcion, a place which, from
its situation, became afterwards of the highest consequence. This
noble country, stretching through no less than twenty degrees of south
latitude, and surrounded by the vast mountains of Brazil to the east,
of Chili to the west, and of Moxos and Matto Grosso to the north,
is singularly watered with some of the noblest rivers in the world,
descending from the mountains on all sides, and as they traverse it in
all its quarters, fall southward, one after another, into the great
central stream, till they finally _debouche_ in the great estuary of
the Plata. Assumpcion, situated at the junction of the Paraguay and
the Pilcomayo, besides the advantages of a direct navigation, was so
centrally placed as naturally to be pointed out as a station of great
importance in the discovery and settlement of the country.

Ayolas, whom Mendoza had left in command, having subdued several tribes
of the natives to the Spanish yoke, set out up the river Paraguay in
quest of the great lure of the Spaniards, gold, where he and all his
men were cut off by the Indians of the Payagoa tribe. His deputy,
Yrala, after sharing his fate, caught two of the Payagoas, tortured
and burnt them alive; and then, spite of the fate of their comrades,
and only fired by the same news of gold, resolved to follow in the
same track; fresh forces in the mean time arriving from Spain, and
committing fresh aggressions on the natives along the course of the
river. Cabeza de Vaca being appointed Adelantado in the place of
Mendoza, arrived at Assumpcion in 1542, and after subduing the two
great tribes of the Guaranies and Guaycurus, set off also in the
great quest of gold. He sent out expeditions, moreover, in various
directions; but Vaca, though he had no scruples in conquering the
Indians, was too good for the people about him. He would not suffer
them to use the men as slaves, and to carry off the women. So they
mutinied against him, and shipped him off for Spain. Yrala was thus
again left in power, and to keep his soldiers in exercise, actually
marched across the country three hundred and seventy-two leagues, and
reached the confines of Peru. Returning from this stupendous march,
he next attacked the Indians on the borders of Brazil, and defined
the limits of the provinces of Portugal and Spain. He then divided
the land into _Repartimientos_, as the Spaniards had done every where
else; thus giving the country to the adventurers, and the people upon
it as a part of the property. “The settlers,” says Southey, “in the
mean time, went on in those habits of lasciviousness and cruelty which
characterize the Creoles of every stock whatever. He made little or no
attempt to check them, perhaps because he knew that any attempt would
be ineffectual, ... perhaps because he thought all was as it should be,
... that the Creator had destined the people of colour to serve those
of a whiter complexion, and be at the mercy of their lust and avarice.”

By such men, Yrala, Veyaor who founded Ciudad Real on the Parana,
Chaves who founded the town of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Moxos, and
the infamous Zarate, were the name, power, and crimes of the Spaniards
spread in Paraguay, when the Jesuits were invited thither from Brazil
and Peru in 1586.

This is one of the greatest events in the history of the Spaniards in
the New World. With these men they introduced a power, which had it
been permitted to proceed, would have speedily put a stop to their
cruelties on the natives, and would eventually have civilized all that
mighty continent. But the Spaniards were not long in perceiving this,
and such a storm of vengeance and abuse was raised, as ultimately
broke up one of the most singular institutions that ever existed, and
dispersed those holy fathers and their works as a dream.

They were, indeed, received at first with unbounded joy. Those from
Peru, says Southey, came from Potosi; and were received at Salta with
incredible joy as though they had been angels from heaven. For although
the Spaniards were corrupted by plenty of slaves and women whom they
had at command, they, nevertheless, regretted the want of that outward
religion, the observance of which was so easily made compatible with
every kind of vice. At Santiago de Estero, which was then the capital
and episcopal city, triumphal arches were erected; the way was strewn
with flowers; the governor, with the soldiers and chief inhabitants
went out to meet them, and solemn thanksgiving was celebrated, at
which the bishop chanted the Te Deum. At Corduba, they met with five
brethren of their order who had arrived from Brazil: Leonardo Armenio,
the superior, an Italian; Juan Salernio; Thomas Filds, a Scotchman;
Estevam de Grao, and Manoel de Ortiga, both Portuguese. The Jesuits
found, wherever the Spaniards had penetrated, the Indians groaning
under their oppressions and licentiousness, ready to burst out, and
take summary vengeance at the first opportunity; and they were on all
sides surrounded by tribes of others in a state of hostile irritation,
regarding the Spaniards as the most perfidious as well as powerful
enemies, from whom nothing was to be hoped, and against whom every
advantage was to be seized. Yet amongst these fierce tribes, the
Jesuits boldly advanced, trusting to that principle which ought always
to have been acted upon by those calling themselves Christians, that
where no evil is intended evil will seldom be received. It is wonderful
how successful this system was in their hands. With his breviary in
his hand, and a cross of six feet high, which served him for a staff,
the Jesuit missionary set out to penetrate into some new region. He
was accompanied by a few converted Indians who might act as guides and
interpreters. They took with them a stock of maize as provision in the
wilderness, where the bows of the Indians did not supply them with
game; for they carefully avoided carrying fire-arms, lest they should
excite alarm or suspicion. They thus encountered all the difficulties
of a wild country; climbing mountains, and cutting their way through
pathless woods with axes; and at night, if they reached no human
habitation, they made fires to keep off the wild beasts, and reposed
beneath the forest trees. When they arrived amongst the tribes they
sought, they explained through their interpreters, that they came thus
and threw themselves into their power, to prove to them that they were
their friends; to teach them the arts, and to endow them with the
advantages of the Europeans. In some cases they had to suffer for the
villanies of their countrymen—the natives being too much exasperated
by their wrongs to be able to conceive that some fresh experiment of
evil towards them was not concealed under this peaceful shew. But, in
the far greater number of cases, their success was marvellous. They
speedily inspired the Indians with confidence in their good intentions
towards them; for the natives of every country yet discovered, have
been found as quick in recognizing their friends as they have been
in resenting the injuries of their enemies. The following anecdote
given by Charlevoix, is peculiarly indicative of their manner of
proceeding.—Father Monroy, with a lay-brother Jesuit, called Juan de
Toledo, had at length reached the Omaguacas, whose cacique Piltipicon
had once been baptized, but, owing to the treatment of the Spaniards,
had renounced their religion, and pursued them with every possible
evil; massacred their priests; burnt their churches; and ravaged their
settlements. Father Monroy was told that certain and instant death
would be the consequence of his appearing before Piltipicon; but armed
with all that confidence which Jesus Christ has so much recommended
to the preachers of his gospel, he entered the house of the terrible
cacique, and thus addressed him: “The good which I desire you, has made
me despise the terrors of almost certain death; but you cannot expect
much honour in taking away the life of a naked man. If, contrary to my
expectation, you will consent to listen to me, all the advantage of
our conversation will be yours; whereas, if I die by your hands, an
immortal crown in heaven will be my reward.” Piltipicon was so amazed,
or rather softened by the missionary’s boldness, that he immediately
offered him some of the beer brewed from maize, which the Omaguacas
use; and not only granted his request to proceed further up his
country, but furnished him with provisions for the journey. The end of
it was, that Piltipicon made peace with the Spaniards, and ultimately
embraced Christianity, with all his people.

The Jesuits, once admitted by the Indians, soon convinced them that
they could have no end in view but their good; and the resistance
which they made to the attempts of the Spaniards to enslave them,
gave them such a fame amongst all the surrounding nations as was most
favourable to the progress of their plans. When they had acquired an
influence over a tribe, they soon prevailed upon them to come into
their settlements, which they called REDUCTIONS, and where they
gradually accustomed them to the order and comforts of civilized life.
These Reductions were principally situated in Guayra, on the Parana,
and in the tract of country between the Parana and the Uruguay, the
great river which, descending from the mountains of Rio Grande, runs
southward parallel with the Parana, and debouches in the Plata. In
process of time they had established thirty of these Reductions in
La Plata and Paraguay, thirteen of them being in the diocese of the
Assumpcion, besides those amongst the Chiquitos and other nations. In
the centre of every mission was the Reduction, and in the centre of
the Reduction was a square, which the church faced, and likewise the
arsenal, in which all the arms and ammunition were laid up. In this
square the Indians were exercised every week, for there were in every
town two companies of militia, the officers of which had handsome
uniforms laced with gold and silver, which, however, they only wore on
those occasions, or when they took the field. At each corner of the
square was a cross, and in the centre an image of the Virgin. They had
a large house on the right-hand of the church for the Jesuits, and
near it the public workshops. On the left-hand of the church was the
public burial-ground and the widows’ house. Every necessary trade was
taught, and the boys were taken to the public workshops and instructed
in such trades as they chose. To every family was given a house, and
a piece of ground sufficient to supply it with all necessaries. Oxen
were supplied from the common stock for cultivating it, and while
this family was capable of doing the necessary work, this land never
was taken away. Besides this private property, there were two larger
portions, called Tupamba, or God’s Possession, to which all the
community contributed the necessary labour, and raised provisions for
the aged, sick, widows, and orphans, and income for the public service,
and the payment of the national tribute. The boys were employed in
weeding, keeping the roads in order, and various other offices. They
went to work with the music of flutes and in procession. The girls were
employed in gathering cotton, and driving birds from the fields. Every
one had his or her proper avocation, and officers were appointed to
superintend every different department, and to see that all was going
on well in shops and in fields. They had, however, their days and hours
of relaxation. They were taught singing, music, and dancing, under
certain regulations. On holidays, the men played at various games,
shot at marks, played with balls of elastic gum, or went out hunting
and fishing. Every kind of art that was innocent or ornamental was
practised. They cast bells, and carved and gilded with great elegance.
The women, beside their other domestic duties, made pottery, and spun
and wove cotton for garments. The Jesuits exported large quantities of
the Caa, or Paraguay tea, and introduced valuable improvements in the
mode of its preparation.

Such were some of the regulations which the Jesuits had established
in these settlements; and notwithstanding the regular system of
employment kept up, the natives flocked into them in such numbers, that
it required all the ingenuity of the fathers to accommodate them all.
The largest of their Reductions contained as many as eight thousand
inhabitants; the smallest fifteen hundred; the average was about three
thousand. To preserve that purity of morals which was inculcated, it
was found necessary to obtain a royal mandate, that no Spaniard should
enter these Reductions except when going to the bishop or superior.
“And one thing,” says Charlevoix, “greatly to their honour, was
universally allowed by all the Europeans settled in South America:
the converted Indians inhabiting them, no longer exhibited traces of
their former proneness to vengeance, cruelty, and the grosser vices.
They were no longer, in any respect, the same men they formerly were.
The most cordial love and affection for each other, and charity for
all men, delighted all who visited them, the infidels especially, whom
their behaviour served to inspire with the most favourable opinion of
the Christian religion.” “It is,” he adds, “no ways surprising that
God should work such wonders in such pure souls; nor that those very
Indians, to whom some learned doctors would not allow reason enough to
be received into the bosom of the church, should be at this day one of
its greatest ornaments, and perhaps the most precious portion of the
flock of Christ.”

There is nothing more wonderful in all the inscrutable dispensations of
Providence, than that this beautiful scene of innocence and happiness
should have been suffered to be broken in upon by the wolves of avarice
and violence, and all dispersed as a morning dream. But the Jesuits,
by their advocacy and civilization of these poor people, had raised
up against them three hostile powers,—the Spaniards—the man-hunters
of Santo Paulo—and political demagogues. The Spaniards soon hated
them for standing between them and their victims. They hated them for
presuming to tell them that they had no right to enslave, to debauch,
to exterminate them. They hated them because they would not suffer
them to be given up to them as property—mere live stock—beasts of
labour, in their Encomiendas. They regarded them as robbing them of
just so much property, and as setting a bad example to the other
Indians who were already enslaved, or were yet to be so. They hated
them because their refusing them entrance into their Reductions was a
standing and perpetual reproof of the licentiousness of their lives.
They foresaw that if this system became universal, the very pillars of
their indolent and debased existence would be thrown down: “for,” says
Charlevoix, “the Spaniards here think it beneath them to exercise any
manual employment. Those even who are but just landed from Spain, put
every stitch they have brought with them upon their backs, and set up
for gentlemen, above serving in any menial capacity.”

Whoever, therefore, sought to seize upon any unauthorized power in
the colony, began to flatter these lazy people, by representing the
Jesuits as their greatest enemies, who were seeking to undermine their
fortunes, and deprive them of the services of the Indians. Such men
were, Cardenas the bishop of Assumpcion, and Antequera;—Cardenas,
entering irregularly into his office in 1640, and Antequera who was
sent as judge to Assumpcion in 1721, more than eighty years afterwards,
and who seized on the government itself. Both attacked the Jesuits
as the surest means of winning the popular favour. They knew the
jealousy with which their civilization of the Indians was regarded,
and they had only to thunder accusations in the public ears calculated
to foment that jealousy, in order to secure the favour of the people.
Accordingly, these ambitious, intriguing, and turbulent persons, made
not only South America, but Europe itself ring with alarms of the
Jesuits. They contended that they were ruining the growing fortunes of
the Spanish states,—that they were aiming at an independent power,
and were training the Indians for the purpose of effecting it. They
talked loudly of wealthy mines, which the Jesuits worked while they
kept their location strictly secret. These mines could never be found.
They represented that they dwelt in wealthy cities, adorned with the
most magnificent churches and palaces, and lived in a condition the
most sensual with the Indians. These calumnies, only too well relished
by the lazy and rapacious Spaniards, did not fail of their effect—the
Jesuits were attacked in their Reductions, harassed in a variety of
modes, and eventually driven out of the country; where circumstances
connected with the less worthy members of their order in Europe, added
their fatal influence to the odium already existing here. But of that

During their existence in this country, the greatest curse and scourge
of their Reductions were the Paulistas, or Man-hunters, of Santo Paulo
in Brazil. These people were a colony of Mamelucoes, or descendants of
Portuguese and Indians; and a more dreadful set of men are not upon
record. Their great business was to hunt for mines, and for Indians.
For this purpose they ranged through the interior, sometimes in
large troops, armed and capable of reducing a strong town, at others,
they were scattered into smaller parties prowling through the woods,
and pouncing on all that fell into their clutches. They were fierce,
savage, and merciless. They seemed to take a wild delight in the
destruction of human settlements, and in the blaze of human abodes.
They maintained themselves in the wilds by hunting, fishing, the
plunder of the natives; and when that failed, they could subsist on
the pine-nuts, and the flour prepared from the carob, or locust-tree,
termed by them war-meal.

Their abominable practices had been vehemently denounced by the
Jesuits of Santo Paulo, and in consequence they became bitter enemies
of the order. One of their favourite stratagems, was to appear in
small parties, led by commanders in the habits of Jesuits, in those
places which they knew the Jesuits frequented in the hopes of making
proselytes. The first thing they did there, was to erect crosses. They
next made little presents to the Indians they met; distributed remedies
amongst the sick; and as they were masters of the Guarani language,
exhorted them to embrace the Christian religion, of which they
explained to them in a few words, the principal articles. When they
had, by these arts, assembled a great number of them, they proposed to
them to remove to some more convenient spot, where they assured them
they should want for nothing. Most of these poor creatures permitted
themselves to be thus led by these wolves in sheep’s clothing, till the
traitors, dropping the mask, began to tie them, cutting the throats of
those who endeavoured to escape, and carried the rest into slavery.
Some, however, escaped from time to time, and alarmed the whole
country. This scheme served two purposes; it for a time procured them
great numbers of Indians, and it cast an odium on the Jesuits, to whom
it was attributed, which long operated against them. But it was not
long that these base miscreants were contented with this mischief. It
struck them, that the Reductions of the Jesuits in Guayra, a province
adjoining their own, might be made an easy prey; and would furnish
them with a rich booty of human flesh at a little cost of labour. They
accordingly soon fell upon them, and the relation of the miseries and
desolation inflicted on these peaceful and flourishing settlements,
as given by Charlevoix, is heart-rending. Nine hundred Mamelucoes,
accompanied by two thousand Indians, under one of their most famous
commanders Anthony Rasposo, broke into Guayra, and beset the reduction
of St. Anthony, which was under the care of Father Mola. They put to
the sword all the Indians that attempted to resist; butchered, even
at the foot of the altar, such as fled there for refuge; loaded the
principal men with chains, and plundered the church. Some of them
having entered the missionary’s house, in hopes of a rich booty,
finding nothing but a threadbare soutane and a few tattered shirts,
told the Indians they must be very foolish to take for masters,
strangers who came into their country because they had not wherewith
to live in their own; that they would be much happier in Brazil, where
they would want for nothing, and would not be obliged to maintain their

These were, no doubt, fine speeches to be made to people loaded with
chains, and whose relatives and countrymen had been but that instant
butchered before their eyes. Father Mola in vain threw himself at the
commander’s feet; represented to him the innocence and simplicity of
these poor Indians; conjured him by all that was most sacred, to set
bounds to the fury of the soldiers; and at last, threatened them with
the indignation of heaven: but these savages answered him, that it was
enough to be baptized again to be admitted into heaven, and that they
would make their way into it though God himself should oppose their
entrance.[11] They carried away into slavery two thousand five hundred

Some of the prisoners escaped, and returned to join Father Mola and
such of their brethren as had fled to the woods. The father, they found
amid the ruins of his Reduction sunk in the deepest sorrow. However, he
roused himself and persuaded them to retire with him to the Reduction
of the Incarnation. The Reductions of St. Michael and of Jesus-Maria,
were speedily treated in the same manner; and they set out for Santo
Paulo, driving their victims before them as so many cattle. Nine months
the march continued. The merciless wretches urged them forward till
numbers fell by the way, worn out with fatigue and famine. The first
who gave way were sick women and aged persons; who begged in vain that
their husbands, wives, or children, might remain with them in their
dying hours. All that could be forced on by goading and blows, were,
and when they fell, they were left to perish by the wild beasts. Two
Jesuit fathers, Mansilla and Maceta, however, followed their unhappy
people, imploring more gentleness towards the failing, and comforting
the dying. When Father Maceta first beheld his people chained like
galley slaves, he could not contain himself. He ran up to embrace them,
in spite of the cocked muskets, with which he was threatened, and
volleys of blows poured upon him at every step. Seeing in the throng
the cazique Guiravara and his wife chained together, he ran up to the
cazique, who before his conversion had used Father Maceta very cruelly,
and kissing his chain, told him that he was overjoyed to be able to
shew him that he entertained no resentment of his ill usage, and would
risk his life to procure his liberty. He procured both their freedom,
and that of several other Indians, on promise of a ransom. Thus these
noble men followed their captive people through the whole dreadful
journey, administering every comfort and hope of final liberation in
their power; and their services and sympathy, we may well imagine, were
sufficiently needed, for out of the whole number of captives collected
in Guayra, fifteen hundred only arrived in life at Santo Paulo.

But the journey of the fathers did not end here. They could get no
redress; and therefore hastened to Rio Janeiro; and succeeding no
better there, went on to the Bay of All-Saints, to Don Diego Lewis
Oliveyra, governor and captain-general of the kingdom. The governor
ordered an officer to repair with them to Santo Paulo; but it was too
late, the prisoners were distributed far and wide, and the commissary
could not or dared not attempt to recall them. News also of fresh
enterprises meditated against the Paraguay Reductions, by these hideous
man-hunters, made the fathers hasten away to put their brethren upon
their guard.

The story of the successive devastation of the Reductions is long. The
Jesuits were compelled to retreat southward from one place to another
with their wretched neophytes. The magistrates and governors gave them
no aid, for they entertained no good-will towards them; and they were,
even in the central ground between the Parana and Uruguay, compelled
to train their people to arms, and defend themselves. It is not only
a long but sorrowful recital, both of the injuries received from the
Paulistas and from their own countrymen—we must therefore pass it
over, and merely notice the manner of their final expulsion.

The court of Spain ordered the banishment of the Jesuits, and the
authorities, only too happy to execute the order, surrounded their
colleges in the night with soldiers, seized the persons of the
missionaries,—their libraries and manuscripts, which in time became
destroyed, an irreparable loss to historical literature. Old men in
their beds even were not suffered to remain and die in peace, but were
compelled to accompany the rest, till they died on their mules in the
immense journey from some of the settlements, and across the wildest
mountains to the sea. The words of Mr. Southey may well close this
strange and melancholy history.

“Bucarelli shipped off the Jesuits of La Plata, Tucuman, and
Paraguay, one hundred and fifty-five in number, before he attacked
the Reductions. This part of the business he chose to perform in
person; and the precautions which he took for arresting seventy-eight
defenceless missionaries, will be regarded with contempt, or with
indignation, as they may be supposed to have proceeded from ignorance
of the real state of things, or from fear, basely affected for the
purpose of courting favour by countenancing successful calumnies. He
had previously sent for all the Caciques and Corregidores to Buenos
Ayres, and persuaded them that the king was about to make a great
change for their advantage. Two hundred soldiers from Paraguay were
ordered to guard the pass of the Tebiquary; two hundred Corrientines to
take post in the vicinity of St. Miguel; and he defended the Uruguay
with threescore dragoons, and three companies of grenadiers. They
landed at the Falls; one detachment proceeded to join the Paraguay
party, and seize the Parana Jesuits; another incorporated itself with
the Corrientines, and marched against those on the eastern side of the
Uruguay; and the Viceroy himself advanced upon Yapeyen, and those which
lay between the two rivers. The Reductions were peaceably delivered up.
The Jesuits, without a murmur, followed their brethren into banishment;
and Bucarelli was vile enough to take credit in his dispatches for the
address with which he had so happily performed a dangerous service; and
to seek favour by loading the persecuted Company with charges of the
grossest and foulest calumnies.”

The American Jesuits were sent from Cadiz to Italy, where Faenza and
Ravenna were assigned for their places of abode. Most of the Paraguay
brethren settled at Faenza. There they employed the melancholy hours
of age and exile in preserving, as far as they could from memory
alone (for they had been deprived of all their papers), the knowledge
which they had so painfully acquired of strange countries, strange
manners, savage languages, and savage man. The Company originated
in extravagance and madness; in its progress it was supported and
aggrandized by fraud and falsehood; and its history is stained by
actions of the darkest dye. But it fell with honour. No men ever
behaved with greater equanimity, under undeserved disgrace, than the
last of the Jesuits; and the extinction of the order was a heavy loss
to literature, a great evil to the Catholic world, and an irreparable
injury to the tribes of South America.

“Bucarelli replaced the exiled missionaries by priests from the
different Mendicant orders; but the temporal authority was not vested
in their hands—this was vested in lay-administrators.... Here ended
the prosperity of these celebrated communities—here ended the
tranquillity and welfare of the Guaranies. The administrators, hungry
ruffians from the Plata, or fresh from Spain, neither knew the language
nor had patience to acquire it. It sufficed for them that they could
make their commands intelligible by the whip. The priests had no
authority to check the enormities of these wretches; nor were they
always irreproachable themselves. A year had scarce elapsed before
the Viceroy discovered that the Guaranies, for the sake of escaping
from this intolerable state of oppression, were beginning to emigrate
into the Portuguese territories, and actually soliciting protection
from their old enemies. Upon the first alarm of so unexpected an
occurrence, Bucarelli displaced all the administrators; but the new
administrators were as brutal and rapacious as their predecessors;
the governor was presently involved in a violent struggle with the
priests, touching their respective powers, and the confusion which
ensued, evinced how wisely the Jesuits had acted in combining the
spiritual and temporal authorities.... The Viceroy then instituted a
new form of administration. The Indians were declared exempt from all
personal service, not subject to the Encomienda system, and entitled
to possess property—a right of which, Bucarelli said, they had been
deprived by the Jesuits; for this governor affected to emancipate
the Guaranies, and talked of placing them under the safeguard of the
law, and purifying the Reductions from tyranny! They were to labour
for the community under the direction of the administrators; and as
an encouragement to industry, the Reductions were opened to traders
during the months of February, March, and April. The end of all
this was, that compulsory and cruel labour left the Indians neither
time nor inclination—neither heart nor strength—to labour for
themselves. The arts which the Jesuits had introduced, were neglected
and forgotten; their gardens lay waste; their looms fell to pieces;
and in these communities, where the inhabitants for many generations
had enjoyed a greater exemption from physical and moral evil than any
other inhabitants of the globe, the people were now made vicious and
miserable. Their only alternative was to remain, and to be treated
like slaves, or fly to the woods, and take their chance as savages.”

Here we must close our review of the Spaniards in the New World.
Our narrative has been necessarily brief and rapid, for the history
of their crimes extends over a vast continent, and through three
centuries; and would, related at length, fill a hundred volumes. We
have found them, however, everywhere the same—cruel, treacherous, and
regardless of the feelings of humanity and the sense of justice. They
have wreaked alike their vengeance on the natives of every country
they have entered, and on those of their own race who dared to espouse
the cause of the sufferers. This spirit continued to the last. In all
their colonies, the natives, whether of Indian blood, or the Creoles
descended of their own, were carefully excluded from the direction of
their own affairs, and the emoluments of office. Spaniards from the
mother country were sent over in rapacious swarms, to fatten on the
vitals of these vast states, and return when they had sucked their
fill. The retribution has followed; and Spain has not now left a single
foot of all these countries which she has drenched in the blood, and
filled with the groans of their native children.

Mr. Ward, in his “Mexico in 1827,” says that in 1803, the number of
Indians remaining in Mexico was two millions and a half; but that their
history is everywhere a blank. Some have become habituated to civil
life, and are excellent artizans, but the greater portion are totally
neglected. That, during the Revolution, the sense of the injuries which
the race had received from the Spaniards, and which seemed to have
slumbered in their bosoms for three centuries, blazed up and shewed
itself in the eager and burning enthusiasm with which they flocked
to the revolutionary standard to throw off the yoke of their ancient
oppressors. He adds, “Whatever may be the advantages which they may
derive from the recent changes, and the nature of these time alone can
determine, the fruits of the introduction of boasted civilization into
the New World have been hitherto bitter indeed. Throughout America the
Indian race has been sacrificed; nor can I discover that in New Spain
any one step has been taken for their improvement. In the neighbourhood
of the capital nothing can be more wretched than their appearance;
and although under a republican form of government, they must enjoy,
in theory at least, an equality of rights with every other class of
citizens, they seemed practically, at the period of my first visit, to
be under the orders of every one, whether officer, soldier, churchman,
or civilian, who chose to honour them with a command.”—vol. ii. p.



Though we now make our first inquiry into the conduct of the Portuguese
towards the natives of their colonies, and enter upon so immense a
scene of action as that of the vast empire of Brazil, our notice may
happily be condensed into a comparatively small space, because the
features of the settlement of Paraguay by the Spaniards, and that of
Brazil by the Portuguese are wonderfully similar. The natives were of
a like character, bold and warlike, and were treated in like fashion.
They were destroyed, enslaved, given away in Encomiendos, just as it
suited the purpose of the invaders; the Jesuits arrived, and undertook
their defence and civilization, and were finally expelled, like their
brethren of Paraguay, as pestilential fellows, that would not let the
colonists “do as they pleased with their own.”

Yanez Pinzon, the Spaniard, was the first who discovered the coast
of Brazil, in A.D. 1500, and coasting northward from Cape Agostinho,
he gave the natives such a taste of the faith and intentions of the
whites as must have prepared them to resist them to the utmost on
their reappearance. Betwixt Cape Agostinho and the river Maranham,
seeing a party of the natives on a hill near the shore, they landed,
and endeavoured to open some degree of intercourse; but the natives not
liking their appearance, attempted to drive them away, killed eight
of them, wounded more, and pursued them with fury to their boat. The
Spaniards, of course, did not spare the natives, and soon afterwards
shewed that the natives were very much in the right in repelling
them, for on entering the Maranham, where the natives _did_ receive
them cordially, they seized about thirty of these innocent people and
carried them off for slaves.

Scarcely had Pinzon departed, when Cabral, with the Portuguese
squadron, made his accidental visit to the same coast. In the following
year Amerigo Vespucci was sent thither to make further discoveries,
and having advanced as far southward as 52°, returned home. In 1503,
he was sent out again, and effected a settlement in 18° S. in what
was afterwards called the Captaincy of Porto Seguro. One of the very
first acts of Portugal was to ship thither as colonists the refuse of
her prisons, as Spain had done to her colonies, and as Portugal also
had done to Africa and India; a horrible mode of inflicting the worst
curses of European society on new countries, and of presenting to the
natives under the name of Christians, men rank and fuming with every
species of brutal vice and pestiferous corruption.

Ten years after the discovery of Brazil, a young noble, Diego Alvarez,
who was going out on a voyage of adventure, was wrecked on the coast
of Bahia, and was received with cordiality by the natives, and named
Caramuru, or the Man of Fire, from the possession of fire-arms. Here he
married the daughter of the chief, and finally became the great chief
himself, with a numerous progeny around him. Another man, Joam Ramalho,
who also had been shipwrecked, married a daughter of the chief of
Piratininga, and these circumstances gave the Portuguese a favourable
reception in different places of this immense coast. In about thirty
years after its discovery the country was divided into captaincies, the
sugar-cane was introduced, and the work of colonization went rapidly
on. The natives were attacked on all sides; they defended themselves
with great spirit, but were compelled to yield before the power of
fire-arms. But while the natives suffered from the colonists, the
colonists suffered too from the despotism of the governors of the
captaincies; a Governor-general was therefore appointed just half a
century after the discovery, in the person of Thome de Sousa, and some
Jesuits were sent out with him to civilize the natives.

Amongst these was Father Manoel de Nobrega, chief of the mission,
who distinguished himself so nobly in behalf of the Indians. The
city of Salvador, in the bay of All-Saints, was founded as the
seat of government, and the Jesuits immediately began the work of
civilization. There was great need of it both amongst the Indians
and their own countrymen. “Indeed, the fathers,” says Southey,
“had greater difficulties to encounter in the conduct of their own
countrymen than in the customs and disposition of the natives. During
half a century, the colonization of Brazil had been left to chance;
the colonists were almost without law and religion. Many settlers had
never either confessed or communicated since they entered the country;
the ordinances of the church were neglected for want of a clergy to
celebrate them, and the moral precepts had been forgotten with the
ceremonies. Crimes which might easily at first have been prevented, had
become habitual, and the habit was now too strong to be overcome. There
were indeed individuals in whom the moral sense could be discovered,
but in the majority it had been utterly destroyed. They were of that
description of men over whom the fear of the gallows may have some
effect; the fear of God has none. A system of concubinage was practised
among them, worse than the loose polygamy of the savages. The savage
had as many women as consented to become his wives—the colonist as
many as he could enslave. There is an ineffaceable stigma upon the
Europeans in their intercourse with those whom they treat as inferior
races—there is a perpetual contradiction between their lust and their
avarice. The planter will one day take a slave for his harlot, and sell
her the next as a being of some lower species—a beast of labour. If
she be indeed an inferior animal, what shall be said of the one action?
If she be equally with himself an human being and an immortal soul,
what shall be said of the other? Either way there is a crime committed
against human nature. Nobrega and his companions refused to administer
the sacraments of the church to those persons who retained native women
as concubines, or men as slaves. Many were reclaimed by this resolute
and Christian conduct; some, because their consciences had not been
dead, but sleeping; others, for worldly fear, because they believed the
Jesuits were armed with secular as well as spiritual authority. The
good effect which was produced on such persons was therefore only for
a season. Mighty as the Catholic religion is, avarice is mightier; and
in spite of all the best and ablest men that ever the Jesuit order, so
fertile of great men, has had to glory in, the practice of enslaving
the natives continued.”

Yet, according to the same authority, the country had not been entirely
without priests; but they had become so brutal that Nobrega said, “No
devil had persecuted him and his brethren so greatly as they did. These
wretches encouraged the colonists in their abominations, and openly
maintained that it was lawful to enslave the natives, because they
were beasts; and then lawful to use the women as concubines, because
they were slaves. This was their public doctrine! Well might Nobrega
say they did the work of the devil. They opposed the Jesuits with the
utmost virulence. Their interest was at stake. They could not bear
the presence of men who said mass and performed all the ceremonies of
religion gratuitously.” Much less, it may be believed, who maintained
the freedom of the natives.

Such were the people amongst which the Jesuits had to act, yet they set
to work with their usual alacrity. Fresh brethren came out to their
aid; and Nobrega was appointed Vice-provincial of Brazil. They soon
ingratiated themselves with the natives by their usual affability and
kindness. They zealously acquainted themselves with the language; gave
presents to the children; visited the sick; but above all, stood firmly
between them and the atrocities of their countrymen. When the Jesuits
arrived, these atrocities had driven many tribes into the fiercest
hostility, and so evident was it that nothing but these atrocities had
made, or kept them hostile, that when they heard the joyful report
that the Jesuits were come as friends and protectors of the Indians,
and when they saw their conduct so consonant to these tidings, _they
brought their bows to the governor, and solicited to be received
as allies_! How universally, on the slightest opportunity, have
those called savage nations shamed the Europeans styling themselves
civilized, by proofs of their greater faith and disposition to peace!
Amicable intercourse and civilization are the natural order of things
between the powerful and enlightened, and the weak and simple, if
avarice and lust did not intervene.

Nobrega and his brethren soon produced striking changes on these poor
people. They persuaded them to live in peace, to abandon their old
habits, to build churches and schools. The avidity of the children to
learn to read was wonderful. One of the natives soon was able to make
a catechism in the Tupi tongue, and to translate prayers into it. They
taught them not only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but to sing in
the church; an accomplishment which perfectly enchanted them. “Nobrega
usually took with him four or five of these little choristers on his
preaching expeditions. When they approached an inhabited place, one
carried the crucifix before them, and they began singing the Litany.
The savages, like snakes, were won by the voice of the charmer. They
received him joyfully; and when he departed with the same ceremony, the
children followed the music. He set the catechism, creed, and ordinary
prayers to _sol fa_; and the pleasure of learning to sing was such
a temptation, that the little Tupis sometimes ran away from their
parents to put themselves under the care of the Jesuits.”

Fresh coadjutors arrived, and with them the celebrated Joseph de
Anchieta, who became more celebrated than Nobrega himself. Nobrega
now established a college in the plains of Piratininga, and sent
thither thirteen of the brethren, with Anchieta as schoolmaster. If
our settlers, in the different new nations where they have located
themselves, had imitated the conduct of this great man, what a world
would this be now! what a history of colonization would have to be
written! how different to the scene I am doomed to lay open. “Day
and night,” says the historian, “did this indefatigable man labour
in discharging the duties of his office. There were no books for the
pupils; he wrote for every one his lesson on a separate leaf, after the
business of the day was done, and it was sometimes day-light before his
task was completed. The profane songs that were in use, he parodied
into hymns in Portugueze, Castilian, Latin and Tupinamban. The ballads
of the natives underwent the same travesty in their own tongue.” He did
not disdain to act as physician, barber, nor even shoemaker, to win
them and to benefit them.

But it was not merely in such peaceful and blessed acts that the
Jesuits were obliged to employ themselves. They were soon called upon
to save the very colonies from their enemies. The French entered
the country, and the native tribes smarting under the wrongs which
the Portuguese had heaped plentifully on them, were only too glad
to unite with them against their merciless oppressors. The Jesuits
defended their own settlements, and then proceeded to give one of the
most splendid examples in history of the power there is in Christian
principle to suspersede wars, and to extort attention and protection
even from men in the fiercest irritation and resentment of injuries.
While the Portuguese were making war on the Tamoyos, and other martial
tribes, Nobrega denounced their proceedings as heaping injustice upon
injustice, for the natives would, he said, trust in the Portuguese if
they saw any hope of fair treatment—any safety from the man-hunters.
But when the Indians were triumphant, and had surrounded Espirito
Santo, and threatened the very existence of the place, Nobrega and
Anchieta set sail for that port, everybody looking upon them as madmen
rushing upon certain destruction. A more fearful, and to all but that
noble faith in truth and justice which is capable of working wonders,
a more hopeless enterprise never was undertaken. As they entered the
port, a host of war-canoes came out to meet them; but the moment they
saw that they were Jesuits, the Indians knew that they came with
peaceful intentions, and dropped their hostile attitude. Spite of
all the exasperation of their wrongs, and the natural presumption of
success, they carried the vessel without injury or insult into port,
and listened with attention to the words of the fathers.

For two months these excellent men lived in the midst of those
exasperated Indians, nay, one of them remained there alone for a
considerable time, labouring to soothe their wrath, to convince them
of better treatment, and dispose them to peace. The fiercer natives
threatened them daily with death, and with being devoured, but the
better spirits and their own blameless lives protected them. They
built a little church, and thatched it with palm-leaves, where they
preached and celebrated mass daily, and at length effected a peace,
and the salvation of the colonies; for they found that a wide-spread
coalition was forming amongst the Indian tribes to sweep their
oppressors out of the land.

One would have thought that such instances as these of the wisdom
and sound policy of virtue, would have been enough to persuade the
Portuguese to adopt more righteous measures towards the natives; but
avarice and cruelty are not easily eradicated—a famine broke out—they
purchased the Indians for slaves with provisions! Nothing can equal
the blindness of base minds. Whenever affairs went wrong with them,
the Portuguese had recourse to the Jesuits, and the Jesuits by their
influence with the Indians, achieved the most signal service for
them. They marched against the French, and drove them out. They built
towns; they protected the state from hostile tribes. A Jesuit, with
his crucifix in his hand, was of more avail at the head of armies than
the most able general; but these things once accomplished, all these
services were forgotten—the slave-hunters were at work again, and the
colonies fell again as rapidly into troubles and consequent decline.
By the end of the century, from the discovery of Brazil, the Jesuits
had collected all the natives along the coast as far as the Portuguese
territories reached, into their aldeas, or villages, and were busy
in the work of civilization. Nothing indeed would have been easier
than for them to civilize the whole country, had it been possible to
civilize the Portuguese first. But their conduct to the natives was
but one continued practice of treachery and outrage. When they needed
their aid to defend them from their enemies, out marched the natives
under their Jesuit leaders, and fought for them; and the first act
of the colonists, when the victory was won, was to seize on their
benefactors and portion them out as slaves. The man-hunters broke into
the villages and carried off numbers, having, in fact, depopulated the
whole country besides. There is no species of kidnapping, no burnings
of huts, no fomenting of wars between different tribes; no horror, in
short, which has made the names of Christians so infamous for the last
three hundred years in Africa that had not its parallel then in Brazil.

Besides, for more than a hundred years, Brazil was the constant scene
of war and contention between the European powers terming themselves
Christian. French, English, and Dutch, were in turn endeavouring to
seize upon one part or other of it; and every description of rapine,
bloodshed, and treachery which can disgrace nations pretending to any
degree of civilization was going on before the eyes of the astonished
natives. What notions of Christianity must the Indians have had, when
these people called themselves Christians? They saw them assailing one
another, fighting like madmen for what in reality belonged to none of
them; burning towns, destroying sugar plantations; massacring all,
native or colonist, that fell into their hands, or seizing them for
slaves. They saw bishops contending with governors, priests contending
with one another; they saw their beautiful country desolated from end
to end (down to 1664), and every thing which is sacred to heaven or
honourable or valuable to men, treated with contempt.—What was it
possible for them to believe of Christianity, than that it was some
devilish compact, which at once invested men with a terrible power, and
with the will to wield it, for the accomplishment of the widest ruin
and the profoundest misery?

Through all this, under all changes, whoever were masters, or whoever
were contending—the Indians experienced but one lot, slavery and ruin.
Laws indeed were repeatedly enacted in Portugal on their behalf—they
were repeatedly declared free—but as everywhere else, they were
laughed at by the colonists, or resisted with rebellious fury.

Amid this long career of violence, the only thing which the mind
can repose on with any degree of pleasure, is the conduct of the
Jesuits, the steady friends of justice and the Indians; and towards
the latter part of this period there arrived in Maranham one of the
most extraordinary men, which not only that remarkable order, but
which the world has produced. This was Antonio Vieyra, a young Jesuit,
who had left the favour of the king and court, and the most brilliant
prospects, for the single purpose of devoting himself to the cause
of the Indians. His boldness, his honesty of speech and purpose, his
resolute resistance to the system of base oppression, operating through
the whole mass of society around him—were perhaps equalled by his
fellows; but the greatness of his talents, and the vehement splendour
of his eloquence, have few equals in any age. Mr. Southey has given the
substance of a sermon preached by him before the governor at St. Lewis,
which so startled and moved the whole people, by the novel and fearful
view in which he exhibited to them their treatment of the Indians,
that with one accord they resolved to set them free.

It is worth while here to give a slight specimen or two of this
extraordinary discourse. His text was, the offer of Satan:—“All
these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship
me.”—“Things,” said he, “are estimated at what they cost. What then
did the world cost our Saviour, and what did a soul cost him? The
world cost him a word—He spoke, and it was made. A soul cost Him his
life, and his blood. But if the world cost only a word of God, and a
soul cost the blood of God, a soul is worth more than all the world.
This Christ thought, and this the devil confessed. Yet you know how
cheaply we value our souls? you know at what rate we sell them? We
wonder that Judas should have sold his Master and his soul for thirty
pieces of silver; but how many are there who offer their own to the
devil for less than fifteen! Christians! I am not now telling you
that you ought not to sell your souls, for I know that you must sell
them;—I only entreat that you will sell them by weight. Weigh well
what a soul is worth, and what it cost, and then sell it and welcome!
But in what scales is it to be weighed? You think I shall say, In those
of St. Michael the archangel, in which souls are weighed. I do not
require so much. Weigh them in the devil’s own balance, and I shall be
satisfied! Take the devil’s balance in one hand, put the whole world
in one scale and a soul in the other, and you will find that your soul
weighs more than the world.—‘All this will I give thee, if thou wilt
fall down and worship me.’... But at what a different price now does
the devil purchase souls from that which he formerly offered for them?
I mean in this country. The devil has not a fair in the world where
they go cheaper! In the Gospel he offers all the kingdoms of the world
to purchase a single soul;—he does not require so large a price to
purchase all that are in Maranham. It is not necessary to offer worlds;
it is not necessary to offer kingdoms, nor cities, nor towns, nor
villages;—it is enough for the devil to point at a plantation, and a
couple of Tapuyas, and down goes the man upon his knees to worship him!
Oh what a market! A negro for a soul, and the soul the blacker of the
two! The negro shall be your slave for the few days you have to live,
and your soul shall be my slave through all eternity—as long as God is
God! This is the bargain which the devil makes with you.”

Amazing as was the effect of this celebrated sermon, of course it did
not last long. But Vieyra did not rest here. He hastened to Portugal,
and stated the treatment of the Indians to the king. He obtained an
order, that all the Indian settlements in the state of Maranham should
be under the direction of the Jesuits; that Vieyra should direct all
expeditions into the interior, and settle the reduced Indians where he
pleased; and that all ransomed Indians should be slaves for five years
and no longer, their labour in that time being an ample compensation
for their original cost. Here was a sort of apprenticeship system more
favourable than the modern British one, but destined to be just as
little observed.



I regret that my limits will not permit me to follow further the
labours and enterprises of Vieyra and his brethren in behalf of the
Indians, whom they sought far and wide in that immense region, and
brought in thousands upon thousands into settlements, only to arouse
afresh the furious opposition, and bring down upon themselves the
vengeance of the colonists. But the history of this great strife
between Christianity and Injustice, in Brazil, fills three massy quarto
volumes, and runs through three centuries. It is full of details of the
deepest interest; but there is no chapter, either in that history or
any other, more heart-rending, than that of the transfer of the seven
Reductions of the Jesuits lying east of the Uruguay. These were ceded
by Spain to Portugal in 1750, in a treaty of demarcation.

“They contained,” to use the words of Mr. Southey, “thirty thousand
Guaranies, not fresh from the woods or half reclaimed, and therefore
willing to revert to a savage state, and capable of enduring its
exposure, hardships, and privations; but born as their fathers and
grandfathers had been, in easy servitude, and bred up in the comforts
of regular domestic life. These persons, with their wives and their
children, their sick and their aged, their horses, and their sheep and
their oxen, were to turn out, like the children of Israel from Egypt,
into the wilderness; not to escape from bondage, but in obedience
to one of the most tyranical commands that ever were issued in the
recklessness of unfeeling power.” Mr. Southey adds, “Yet Ferdinand must
be acquitted of intentional injustice. His disposition was such, that
he would have rather suffered martyrdom than have issued so wicked an
edict, had he been sensible of its inhumanity and wickedness.”

This might more readily be credited, if, when the abominable enormity
of the measure was made manifest to him, any disposition was shewn to
stop the proceedings, or make reparation for the misery inflicted.
But nothing of the kind took place. The Jesuits made immediate and
earnest representations; the Indians cried out vehemently against
their expatriation; the colonists of both countries were averse to
the measure; the very governors and officers proceeded tardily with
it, in the hope that the moment the evil was discovered it would be
countermanded; but no such countermand was ever issued. And what was
there to hinder it? The King of Spain and the Queen of Portugal, were
man and wife, dwelling in one palace, and of the greatest accord in
life and sentiment; it had only to be willed by one of them, and
it might, and would have been, speedily done. If ever there was a
cold-blooded transaction, in which the lives and happiness of thirty
thousand innocent people were reckoned of no account in the mere
tracing of a boundary line between two countries, this appears to be
one; and if ever the retribution of heaven was displayed in this world,
it would seem to have been in the persons of the monarchs who issued
this brutal order, and suffered it to stand, spite of the cries of the
thousands of sufferers. Happy in each other, while they thus remained
insensible to the happiness of these poor Indians, the queen was
consumed by a slow and miserable malady, and the king, a weak man of a
melancholy temperament, sunk heartbroken for her loss.

But meantime, commissioners and armies of both Spanish and Portuguese
were drawing towards the confines of the doomed land, to carry into
effect the expulsion of its rightful inhabitants. The Jesuits behaved
with the utmost submission and propriety. Finding that they could do
nothing by remonstrance, they offered to yield up the charge of the
Reductions to whatever parties might be appointed to receive it. The
natives appealed vehemently to the Spanish governor. “Neither we nor
our forefathers,” said they, “have ever offended the king, or ever
attacked the Spanish settlements. How then, innocent as we are, can we
believe that the best of princes would condemn us to banishment? Our
fathers, our forefathers, our brethren, have fought under the king’s
banner, often against the Portuguese, often against the savages. Who
can tell how many of them have fallen in battle, or before the walls of
Nova Colonia, so often besieged? We ourselves can shew in our scars,
the proofs of our fidelity and our courage. We have ever had it at
heart to extend the limits of the Spanish empire, and to defend it
against all enemies; nor have we ever been sparing of our blood, or
our lives. Will then the Catholic king requite these services by the
bitter punishment of expelling us from our native land, our churches,
our homes, and fields, and fair inheritance? This is beyond all
belief! By the royal letters of Philip V., which, according to his own
injunctions, were read to us from the pulpits, we were exhorted never
to suffer the Portuguese to approach our borders, because they were his
enemies and ours. Now we are told that the king will have us yield up,
to these very Portuguese, this wide and fertile territory, which for
a whole century we have tilled with the sweat of our brows. Can any
one be persuaded that Ferdinand the son should enjoin us to do that
which was so frequently forbidden by his father Philip? But if time and
change have indeed brought about such friendship between old enemies,
that the Spaniards are desirous to gratify the Portuguese, there are
ample tracts of country to spare, and let those be given them. What!
shall we resign our towns to the Portuguese? The Portuguese!—by whose
ancestors so many hundred thousands of ours have been slaughtered, or
carried away into cruel slavery in Brazil? This is as intolerable to
us, as it is incredible that it should be required. When, with the
Holy Gospels in our hands, we promised and vowed fidelity to God and
the king of Spain, his priests and governors promised us on his part,
friendship and perpetual protection,—and now we are commanded to give
up our country! Is it to be believed that the promises, and faith, and
friendship of the Spaniards can be of so little stability?”

But the Spaniards and Portuguese advanced with their troops into
their country. The poor people, driven frantic by their grief and
indignation, determined to resist. They brought out their cannon,
made of pieces of large cane, covered with wet hides and bound with
iron hoops, and determined with such arms even, to oppose those more
dreadful ones, of which they had too often witnessed the effect. For
some time they repelled their enemies, and even obliged them to retire
from the territory; but in the next campaign, the allied army made
dreadful havoc amongst them. Yet they still remained in arms; and their
sentiments may be well understood by the following characteristic
extract, sent from one of their officers to an officer of the Spanish
troops,—“Sir, look well; it is a well-known thing, that since our Lord
God in his infinite wisdom created the heavens and the earth, with
all which beautifies it, which is to endure till the day of judgment,
we have not known that God, who is the Lord of these lands, gave them
to the Spaniards before he came into the world. Three parts of the
earth are for them; namely, Europe, Asia, and Africa, which are to
the east; and this remaining part in which we dwell, our Lord Jesus
Christ, as soon as he died, set apart for us. We poor Indians have
fairly possessed this country during all these years, as children of
God, according to his will, not by the will of any other living being.
Our Lord God permitted all this that it might be so. We of this country
remember our unbelieving grandfathers, and we are greatly amazed when
we think that God should have pardoned so many sins as we ourselves
have committed. Sir, consider that which you are about is a thing
which we poor Indians have never seen done amongst Christians!”

Poor people! how little did they know how feeble are the strongest
reasons drawn from the Christian faith, when addressed to those who
would resent as a deadly insult the true charge that they are no
Christians at all. In this case the Indians were the only Christians
concerned in this melancholy affair. Well might they say, “Your actions
are so different from your words, that we are more amazed than if we
saw two suns in the firmament.” Well might they ask, “What will God say
to you after your death on this account? What answer will you make in
the day of judgment when we shall all be gathered together?” Like all
other Europeans when doing their will on the natives of their colonies,
they cared neither for God, nor the day of judgment; they went on and
drove the genuine Christians, the poor simple-hearted Indians, to
the woods, or compelled them to submit. Their lands were laid waste,
their towns burnt; many were slain, many were dispersed, many died
heartbroken in the homeless woods,—and scarcely was all this misery
and wickedness completed,—when the news of the king’s death arrived,
and soon after, the annulment of this very treaty; so that these lands
were not to be yielded to the Portuguese, and all this evil had been
done, even politically, in vain. The poor people were invited to return
to their possessions, and the Jesuits to their sorrowful labour of
repairing the ravages so foolishly and heartlessly committed.

Mr. Southey thinks that the Portuguese in Brazil were more lenient
to the natives than the Spaniards in their South-American colonies.
I must confess that his own History of Brazil does not give me that
impression. It is true that they did not succeed in so speedily
depopulating the country; but that in part, must be attributed to
the more warlike and hardy character of the people, and to the fact
that Brazil did not for a long time become a mining country. By the
time that it did, all the Indians that the horrible man-hunters of
San Paulo could seize in their wild excursions, were wanted in the
cultivated lands and sugar plantations, and negroes were imported in
abundance—the English for a long time supplying by contract four
thousand annually. The final expulsion of the Jesuits deprived the
Indians of the only body of real friends that they ever knew. Finer
materials than those poor people for civilization, no race on the
earth ever presented. Had the Jesuits been permitted to continue
their peaceful labours, the whole continent would have become one
wide scene of peace, fertility, and happiness. What a contrast does
Brazil present, after the lapse of three centuries, and even after the
introduction of European royalty! The people are described by modern
travellers as living in the utmost filth, idleness, licentiousness, and
dishonesty. “The Indians are driven into the interior, where,” says Mr.
Luccock, “they form a great bar to civilization; their animosity to the
whites being of the bitterest sort, and their purposes of vengeance
for injuries received, so long bequeathed from father to son, as to be
rooted in their hearts as firmly as the colour is attached to their
skin. Under the influence of this passion, they destroy every thing
belonging to the Europeans or their descendants, which falls in their
way; even the cow and the dog are not spared. For such outrages they
pay dearly; small forts, or military stations, being placed around
the colonized parts of the district, from whence a war of plunder and
extermination is carried on against them. In this warfare not only are
fire-arms made use of, but the lasso, dogs, and all the stratagems
which are usually employed against beasts of prey.” Mr. Luccock met
with one man who had been thus engaged against the Indians _forty
years, and was on his way to ask some honorary distinction from the
sovereign for his services_!

Instead of a country swarming with labourers and good citizens, as it
would have been under a Christian policy, Brazil now suffers for want
of inhabitants, and the barbarous slave-trade is made to supply the
whole country with servants. Ten thousand negroes are annually brought
into Rio alone, whence we may infer how vast must be the demand for
the whole empire; and of the estimation in which they are held, and of
the sort of religion which still bears the abused name of Christianity
there, one anecdote will give us sufficient idea. “Two negroes,” says
Mr. Luccock, “being extremely ill, a clergyman was sent for, who on
his arrival found one of them gone beyond the reach of his art; and
the other, having crawled off his bed, was lying on the floor of his
cabin. As we entered, the priest was jesting and laughing in the most
volatile manner—then filled both his hands with water, and dropped
it on the poor creature’s head, pronouncing the form of baptism. The
dying man, probably experiencing some little relief from the effusion,
exclaimed, ‘Good—very good.’ ‘Oh,’ said the priest, ‘it is very good,
is it?—then there is more for you;’ dashing upon him what remained in
the basin. Without delay he resumed his jokes, and in the midst of them
the man expired.”

We must now quit South America, to follow the European _Christians_
in their colonial career in another quarter of the globe. And in thus
taking leave of this immense portion of the New World, where such
cruelties have been perpetrated, and so much innocent blood shed by
the avarice and ambition of Europe, we may ask,—What has been done
by way of atonement; or what is the triumph of civilization? We have
already quoted Mr. Ward on the present state of the aborigines of
Mexico, and Mr. Luccock on those of Rio Janeiro. Baron Humboldt can
furnish the reader with ample indications of a like kind in various
parts of South America. Maria Graham tells us, so recently as 1824,
that in Chili, Peru, and the provinces of La Plata, the system of
Spain, which had driven those realms to revolt, had diffused “sloth
and ignorance” as their necessary consequences. That in Brazil,
“the natives had been either exterminated or wholly subdued. The
slave-hunting, which had been systematic on the first occupation of
the land, and more especially after the discovery of the mines, had so
diminished the wretched Indians, that the introduction of negroes was
deemed necessary: _they_ now people the Brazilian fields; and if here
and there an Indian aldea is to be found, the people are wretched, with
less than negro comforts, and much less than negro spirit or industry:
_the Indians are nothing in Brazil_.”

That the system of exterminating the Indians has been continued to the
latest period where any remained, we may learn from a horrible fact,
which she tells us she relates on good authority. “In the Captaincy of
Porto Seguro, _within these twenty years_, an Indian tribe had been
so troublesome that the Capitam Môr resolved to get rid of it. It was
attacked, but defended itself so bravely, that the Portuguese resolved
to desist from open warfare; but with unnatural ingenuity exposed
ribbons and toys, infested with small-pox matter, in the places where
the poor savages were likely to find them. The plan succeeded. The
Indians were so thinned that they were easily overcome!”—_Voyage to
Brazil_, p. 9.

But if any one wishes to learn what are the wretched fruits of all the
bloodshed and crimes perpetrated by the Spaniards in America, he has
only to look into Sir F. B. Head’s “Rough Notes on the Pampas,” made
in 1826. What a scene do these notes lay open! Splendid countries,
overrun with a most luxuriant vegetation, and with countless troops of
wild horses and herds of wild cattle, but thinly peopled, partly with
Indians and partly with the Gauchos, or descendants of the Spanish,
existing in a state of the most hideous hostility and hatred one
towards another. The Gauchos, inflamed with all the ancient demoniacal
cruelty and revenge of the Spaniards,—the Indians, educated, raised,
and moulded by ages of the most inexpiable wrongs into an active
and insatiable spirit of vengeance, coming, like the whirlwind
from the deserts, as fleet and unescapable, to burn, destroy, and
exterminate—in a word, to inflict on the Gauchos all the evils of
injury and death that they and their fathers have inflicted on them. As
Captain Head scoured across those immense plains, from Buenos Ayres,
and across the Andes to Chili, he was ever and anon coming to the ruins
of huts where the Indians had left the most terrible traces of their
fury. It may be well to state, in his own words, what every family of
the Gauchos is liable to:—

“In invading the country, the Pampas Indians generally ride all night,
and hide themselves on the ground during the day; or if they do travel,
crouch almost under the bellies of their horses, who, by this means,
appear to be dismounted and at liberty. They usually approach the huts
at night, at a full gallop, with their usual shriek, striking their
mouths with their hands; and this cry, which is to intimidate their
enemies, is continued through the whole of the dreadful operation.

“Their first act is to set fire to the roof of the hut, and it is
almost too dreadful to fancy what the feelings of a family must be,
when, after having been alarmed by the barking of the dogs, which the
Gauchos always keep in great numbers, they first hear the wild cry
which announces their doom, and in an instant afterwards find the roof
burning over their heads.

“As soon as the families rush out, which they of course are obliged
to do, the men are wounded by the Indians with their lances, which
are eighteen feet long; and as soon as they fall, they are stripped
of their clothes; for the Indians, who are very desirous to get the
clothes of the Christians, are careful not to have them spotted with
blood. While some torture the men, others attack the children, and
will literally run the infants through the body with their lances, and
raise them to die in the air. The women are also attacked; and it would
form a true but dreadful picture to describe their fate, as it is
decided by the momentary gleam which the burning roof throws upon their

“The old women, and the ugly young ones, are instantly butchered; but
the young and beautiful are idols by whom even the merciless hand of
the savage is arrested. Whether the poor girls can ride or not, they
are instantly placed upon horses, and when the hasty plunder of the
hut is concluded, they are driven away from its smoking ruins, and
from the horrid scene which surrounds it. At a pace which in Europe is
unknown, they gallop over the trackless regions before them, feed upon
mare’s flesh, sleeping on the ground, until they arrive in the Indian’s
territory, when they have instantly to adopt the wild life of their

Scenes of such horrors, where the mangled remains of the victims were
still lying around the black ruins of their huts, which Captain Head
passed, are too dreadful to transcribe. But what are the feelings
of the Gaucho towards these terrible enemies? Captain Head asked
a Gaucho what they did with their Indian prisoners when they took
any.—“To people accustomed to the cold passions of England, it would
be impossible to describe the savage, inveterate, furious hatred which
exists between the Gauchos and the Indians. The latter invade the
country for the ecstatic pleasure of murdering the Christians, and in
the contests which take place between them, mercy is unknown. Before
I was quite aware of those feelings, I was galloping with a very
fine-looking Gaucho who had been fighting with the Indians, and after
listening to his report of the killed and wounded, I happened, very
simply, to ask him how many prisoners they had taken. The man replied
with a look which I shall never forget—he clenched his teeth, opened
his lips, and then sawing his fingers across his bare throat for a
quarter of a minute, bending towards me, with his spurs sticking into
his horse’s sides, he said, in a sort of low, choking voice, ‘Se matan
todas,’—we kill them all!”

Here then we have a thinly populated country inhabited, so far as it
is inhabited at all, by men that are inspired towards each other by
the spirit of fiends. It is impossible that civilization can ever come
there except by some fresh and powerful revolution. We hear of the new
republics of South America, and naturally look for more evidences of
good from the spirit of liberty: but in the towns we find the people
indolent, ignorant, superstitious, and most filthy; and in the country
naked Indians on horseback, scouring the wilds, and making use of the
very animals by which the Spaniards subjugated them, to scourge and
exterminate their descendants. In the opinion of Captain Head, they
only want fire-arms, which one day they may get, to drive them out
altogether! And what are they whom they would drive out? Only another
kind of savages. People who, calling themselves Christians, live in
most filthy huts swarming with vermin—sit on skeletons of horses’
heads instead of chairs—lie during summer out of doors in promiscuous
groups—and live entirely on beef and water; the beef, chiefly mare’s
flesh, being roasted on a long spit, and every one sitting round and
cutting off pieces with long knives. The cruelty and beastliness of
their nature exceeding even that of the Indians themselves.

This then is the result of three centuries of bloodshed and tyranny
in those regions—one species of barbarism merely substituted for
another. What a different scene to that which the same countries would
now have exhibited, had the Jesuits not been violently expelled from
their work of civilization by the lust of gold and despotism. “When we
compare,” says Captain Head, “the relative size of America with the
rest of the world, it is singular to reflect on the history of these
fellow-creatures, who are the aborigines of the land; and after viewing
the wealth and beauty of so interesting a country, it is painful to
consider what the sufferings of the Indians have been, and still may
be. Whatever may be their physical or natural character[12] ... still
they are the human beings placed there by the Almighty; the country
belonged to them; and they are therefore entitled to the regard of
every man who has religion enough to believe that God has made nothing
in vain, or whose mind is just enough to respect the persons and the
rights of his fellow-creatures.”

The view I have been enabled in my space to take of the treatment
of the South Americans by their invaders, is necessarily a mere
glance,—for, unfortunately for the Christian name and the name
of humanity, the history of blood and oppression there is not more
dreadful than it is extensive. I have not staid to describe the conduct
of the French, Dutch, and English, in their possessions on the southern
continent, simply because they are only too much like those of the
Spaniards and Portuguese—they form no bright exception, and we shall
only too soon meet with these refined nations in other regions.

_Note._—The fate of Venezuela ought not to be quite passed over. It
is a striking instance of the indifference with which the lives and
fortunes of a whole nation are often handed over by great kings to
destruction as a mere matter of business. Charles V. of Spain being
deeply indebted to a trading house of Augsburgh, the Welsers, gave
them this province. They, in their turn, made it over to some German
military mercenaries, who overrun the whole country in search of
mines, and plundered and oppressed the people with the most dreadful
rapacity. In the course of a few years their avarice and exactions
had so completely exhausted and ruined the province that the Germans
threw it up, and it fell again into the hands of the Spaniards, but in
such a miserable condition that it continued to languish and drag on a
miserable existence, if it has even recovered from its fatal injuries
at the present time.



  Son mui buenos Catolicos, pero mui malos
  Christianos;—They are very good Catholics, but
  nevertheless very bad Christians indeed.

  _Saying of an old Catholic priest. Ward’s Mexico._

  Most of the countries in India have been filled with
  tyrants who prefer piracy to commerce—who acknowledge
  no right but that of power; and think that whatever is
  practicable is just.

  _The Abbé Raynal._

Scarcely had Columbus made known the New World when the Portuguese,
under Vasco de Gama, opened the sea-path to the East Indies. Those
affluent and magnificent regions, which had so long excited the wonder
and cupidity of Europe, and whose gems, spices, and curious fabrics,
had been introduced overland by the united exertions of the Arabs,
the Venetians, and Genoese, were now made accessible by the great
highway of the ocean; and the Pope generously gave all of them to
the Portuguese! The language of the Pontiff was like the language of
another celebrated character to our Saviour, and founded on about as
much real right: “All these kingdoms will I give unto thee, if thou
wilt fall down and worship me.” The Portuguese were nothing loath.
They were, in the expressive language of a great historian, “all
on fire for plunder and the propagation of their religion!” Away,
therefore, they hastened, following the sinuous guidance of those
African coasts which they had already traced out—on which they had
already commenced that spoliation and traffic in men which for three
centuries was to grow only more and more extensive, dreadful, and
detestable—“those countries where,” says M. Malte Brun, “tyranny and
ignorance have not had the power to destroy the inexhaustible fecundity
of the soil, but have made them, down to the present times, the theatre
of eternal robbery, and one vast market of human blood.”

They landed in Calicut, under Gama, in 1498, and speedily gave
sufficient indications of the object of their visit, and the nature of
their character. But in India they had more formidable obstacles to
their spirit of dominance and extermination than they and the Spaniards
had found in the New World. They beheld themselves on the limits of
a vast region, inhabited by a hundred millions of people—countries
of great antiquity, of a higher civilization, and under the rule of
active and military princes. Populous cities, vast and ancient temples,
palaces, and other public works; a native literature, science handed
down from far-off times, and institutions of a fixed and tenacious
caste, marked them as a people not so easily to be made a prey of as
the Mexicans or Peruvians. Peaceful as were the habits, and bloodless
as were the religion and the social principles of a vast body of the
Hindoos, their rulers, whether the descendants of the great Persian
and Tartar conquerors, and Mahomedans in faith, or of their own race
and religion, were disposed enough to resist any foreign aggression.
At sea, indeed, swarmed the Moorish fleets, which had long enjoyed the
monopoly of the trade of these rich and inexhaustible regions; but
these they soon subdued. Their conquests and cruelties were therefore
necessarily confined chiefly to the coasts and to the paradisiacal
islands which stud the Indian seas, and, as Milton has beautifully
expressed it, cast their spicy odours abroad, till

                                        Many a league
  Cheered with the grateful smell, old Ocean smiles.

We must take a rapid view of the Portuguese in India,—for our object
is not a history of European conquests, but of European treatment of
the natives of the countries they have entered; and the atrocities
of the Portuguese in the East are too notorious to require tracing
minutely, and step by step in their progress. Every reader is familiar
with the transactions between Gama and the Zamorin of Calicut, through
the splendid poem of Camoens. Alvarez Cabral, the discoverer of Peru,
who succeeded him, was by no means particular in his policy. On the
slightest suspicion of evil intention, he fell upon the people and made
havoc amongst them. The inhabitants of Calicut, between the intrigues
of the Moorish merchants and those of the Portuguese adventurers, were
always the dupes and the sufferers. They attempted to drive out the
Portuguese, and Cabral, in revenge, burnt all the Arabian vessels in
the harbour, cannonaded the town, and then sailed, first to Cochin,
and then to Cananor. These and other places being tributary to the
Zamorin, received them as saviours, and enabled them to build forts,
to gain command of the seas, and drive from them the ships of the
Zamorin and the Moors. But the celebrated Alphonso Albuquerque made
the most rapid strides, and extended the conquests of the Portuguese
there beyond any other commander. He narrowly escaped with his life
in endeavouring to sack and plunder Calicut. He seized on Goa, which
thenceforward became the metropolis of all the Portuguese settlements
in India. He conquered Molucca, and gave it up to the plunder of his
soldiers. The fifth part of the wealth thus thievishly acquired, was
reserved for the king, and was purchased on the spot by the merchants
for 200,000 pieces of gold. Having established a garrison in the
conquered city, he made a traitor Indian, who had deserted from the
king of Molucca, and had been an instrument in the winning of the
place, supreme magistrate; but again finding Utimut, the renegade, as
faithless to himself, he had him and his son put to death, even though
100,000 pieces of gold, a bait that was not easily resisted by these
Christian marauders, was offered for their lives. He then proceeded to
Ormuz in the Persian Gulph, which was a great harbour for the Arabian
merchants; reduced it, placed a garrison in it, seized on fifteen
princes of the blood, and carried them off to Goa. Such were some of
the deeds of this celebrated general, whom the historians in the same
breath in which they record these unwarrantable acts of violence,
robbery and treachery, term an excellent and truly glorious commander.
He made a descent on the isle of Ceylon, and detached a fleet to the
Moluccas, which established a settlement in those delightful regions
of the cocaa, the sago-tree, the nutmeg, and the clove. The kings of
Persia, of Siam, Pegu, and others, alarmed at his triumphant progress,
sought his friendship; and he completed the conquest of the Malabar
coast. With less than forty thousand troops the Portuguese struck
terror, says the historian, “into the empire of Morocco, the barbarous
nations of Africa, the Mamelucs, the Arabians, and all the eastern
countries from the island of Ormuz to China.” How much better for their
pretensions to Christianity, and for their real interests, if they had
struck them with admiration of that faith and integrity, and of those
noble virtues which Christianity can inspire, and which were never
yet lost on the attention of nations where they have been righteously
displayed. But the Portuguese unfortunately did not understand what
Christianity was. Their notions of religion made avarice, lust, and
cruelty, all capable of dwelling together in one heart; and, in the
language of their own historians, the vessels bound for the east were
crowded with adventurers who wanted to enrich themselves, secure their
country, and make proselytes. They were on the eve of opening a most
auspicious intercourse with China, when some of these adventurers,
under Simon Andrada, appeared on the coast. This commander treated the
Chinese in the same manner as the Portuguese had been in the habit of
treating all the people of Asia. He built a fort without permission, in
the island of Taman, from whence he took opportunities of pillaging,
and extorting money from all the ships bound from, or to, all the ports
of China. He carried off young girls from the coast; he seized upon the
men and made them slaves; he gave himself up to the most licentious
acts of piracy, and the most shameful dissoluteness. His soldiers and
sailors followed his example with avidity; and the Chinese, enraged at
such outrages, fell upon them, drove them from the coast, and for a
long time refused all overtures of trade from them.

In Japan, they were for a time more fortunate. They exported, in
exchange for European goods or commodities, from India, gold, silver,
and copper to the value of about 634,000_l._ annually. They married the
richest heiresses, and allied themselves to the most powerful families.

“With such advantages,” says the Abbé Raynal, “the avarice as well as
the ambition of the Portuguese might have been satisfied. They were
masters of the coast of Guinea, Arabia, Persia, and the two peninsulas
of India. They were possessed of the Moluccas, Ceylon, and the isles
of Sunda, while their settlement at Macao insured to them the commerce
of China and Japan. Throughout these immense regions, the will of
the Portuguese was the supreme law. Earth and sea acknowledged their
sovereignty. Their authority was so absolute, that things and persons
were dependent upon them, and moved entirely by their directions. No
native, nor private person dared to make voyages, or carry on trade,
without obtaining their permission and passport. Those who had this
liberty granted them, were prohibited trading in cinnamon, ginger,
pepper, timber, and many other articles, of which the conquerors
reserved to themselves the exclusive benefit.

“In the midst of so much glory, wealth, and conquest, the Portuguese
had not neglected that part of Africa which lies between the Cape
of Good Hope and the Red Sea, and in all ages has been famed for the
richness of its productions. The Arabians had been settled there for
several ages; they had formed along the coast of Zanguebar several
small independent states, abounding in mines of silver and gold. To
possess themselves of this treasure was deemed by the Portuguese
an indispensable duty. Agreeable to this principle, these Arabian
merchants were attacked and subdued about the year 1508. Upon their
ruin was established an empire extending from Sofala as far as Melinda,
of which the island of Mozambique was made the centre.

“These successes properly improved, might have formed a power so
considerable that it could not have been shaken; but the vices and
follies of some of their chiefs, the abuse of riches and power, the
wantonness of victory, the distance of their own country, changed the
character of the Portuguese. Religious zeal, which had added so much
force and activity to their courage, now produced in them nothing but
ferocity. They made no scruple of pillaging, cheating, and enslaving
the idolaters. They supposed that the pope, in bestowing the kingdoms
of Asia on the Portuguese monarchs, had not withholden the property of
individuals from their subjects. Being absolute masters of the Eastern
seas, they extorted a tribute from the ships of every country; they
ravaged the coasts, insulted the princes, and became the terror and
scourge of all nations.

“The king of Sidor was carried off from his own palace, and murdered,
with his children, whom he had entrusted to the care of the Portuguese.

“At Ceylon, the people were not suffered to cultivate the earth, except
for their new masters, who treated them with the greatest barbarity.

“At Goa they established the inquisition, and whoever was rich became a
prey to the ministers of that infamous tribunal.

“Faria, who was sent out against the pirates from Malacca, China, and
other parts, made a descent on the island of Calampui, and plundered
the tombs of the Chinese emperors.

“Sousa caused all the pagodas on the Malabar coast to be destroyed, and
his people inhumanly massacred the wretched Indians who went to weep
over the ruins of their temples.

“Correa terminated an obstinate war with the king of Pegu, and both
parties were to swear on the books of their several religions to
observe the treaty. Correa swore on a collection of songs, and thought
by this vile stratagem to elude his engagement.

“Nuno d’ Acughna attacked the isle of Daman on the coast of Cambaya.
The inhabitants offered to surrender to him if he would permit them to
carry off their treasures. This request was refused, and Nuno put them
all to the sword.

“Diego de Silveira was cruizing in the Red Sea. A vessel richly laden
saluted him. The captain came on board, and gave him a letter from a
Portuguese general, which was to be his passport. The letter contained
only these words: _I desire the_ captains of ships belonging to the
king of Portugal, to seize upon this Moorish vessel as lawful prize.

“Henry Garcias, when governor of the Moluccas, was requested by
the king of Tidore, who was ill, to send him a physician. Garcias
accordingly sent one who villanously poisoned him. He then made a
descent upon the island; besieged the capital, took it, plundered it,
and used the inhabitants very cruelly. This event happening in time of
peace, and without the least provocation, caused an implacable hatred
to the Portuguese amongst all the people, not only of that island, but
of all the Moluccas.

“In a short time the Portuguese preserved no more humanity or good
faith with each other than with the natives. Almost all the states,
where they had the command, were divided into factions. There prevailed
everywhere in their manners, a mixture of avarice, debauchery, cruelty,
and devotion. They had most of them seven or eight concubines, whom
they kept to work with the utmost rigour, and forced from them the
money they gained by their labour. Such treatment of women was very
repugnant to the spirit of chivalry. The chiefs and principal officers
admitted to their tables a multitude of those singing and dancing
women, with which India abounds. Effeminacy introduced itself into
their houses and armies. The officers marched to meet the enemy in
palanquins. That brilliant courage which had confounded so many
nations, existed no longer amongst them. They were with difficulty
brought to fight, except for plunder. In a short time, the king no
longer received the tribute which was paid him by one hundred and
fifty eastern princes. It was lost on its way from them to him. Such
corruption prevailed in the finances, that the tributes of sovereigns,
the revenues of provinces, which ought to have been immense, the
taxes levied on gold, silver, and spices, on the inhabitants of the
continent and islands, were not sufficient to keep up a few citadels,
and to fit out the shipping necessary for the protection of trade.”

Some gleams of valour blazed up now and then; Don Juan de Castro
revived the spirit of the settlers for awhile; Ataida, and fresh troops
from Portugal repelled the native powers, who, worn out with endurance
of outrages and indignities, and alive to the growing effeminacy of
their oppressors, rose against them on all hands. But these were only
temporary displays. The island of Amboyna was the first to avenge
itself; and the words addressed to them by one of its citizens are
justly descriptive of their real character. A Portuguese had, at a
public festival, seized upon a very beautiful woman, and regardless
of all decency, had proceeded to the grossest of outrages. One of the
islanders, named Genulio, armed his fellow-citizens; after which he
called together the Portuguese, and addressed them in the following
manner:—“To revenge affronts so cruel as those we have received from
you, requires actions, not words; yet we will speak to you. You preach
to us a Deity, who delights, you say, in generous actions; but theft,
murder, obscenity, and drunkenness are your common practice: your
hearts are inflamed with every vice. Our manners can never agree with
yours. Nature foresaw this when she separated us by immense seas, and
you have overleaped her barriers. This audacity, of which you are not
ashamed to boast, is a proof of the corruption of your hearts. Take
my advice; leave to their repose those nations that resemble you so
little; go, fix your habitations amongst those who are as brutal as
yourselves; an intercourse with you would be more fatal to us than all
the evils which it is in the power of your God to inflict upon us. We
renounce your alliance for ever. Your arms are more powerful than ours;
but we are more just than you, and we do not fear them. The Itons are
from this day your enemies;—fly from this country, and beware how you
approach it again.”

Equally detested in every quarter, they saw a confederacy forming to
expel them from the east. All the great powers of India entered into
the league, and for two or three years carried on their preparations in
secret. Their old enemy, the Zamorin, attacked Manjalor, Cochin, and
Cananor. The king of Cambaya attacked Chaul, Daman, and Baichaim. The
king of Achen laid siege to Malacca. The king of Ternate made war on
them in the Moluccas. Agalachem, a tributary to the Mogul, imprisoned
the Portuguese merchants at Surat; and the queen of Gareopa endeavoured
to drive them out of Onor. The exertions of Ataida averted immediate
destruction; but a more formidable power was now preparing to expel
them from their ill-acquired and ill-governed possessions,—the Dutch.
In little more than a century from the appearance of the Portuguese
in India, this nation drove them from Malacca and Ceylon; from most
of their possessions on the coast of Malabar; and had, moreover, made
settlements on the Coromandel coast. It was high time that this reign
of crime and terror came to an end, had a better generation succeeded
them. After the death of Sebastian, and the reduction of Portugal by
Philip II., the last traces of order or decency seemed to vanish from
the Indian settlements. Portugal itself exhibited, with the usual
result of ill-gotten wealth, a scene of miserable extremes—profusion
and poverty. Those who had been in India were at once indolent and
wealthy; the farmer and the artizan were reduced to the most abject
condition. “In the colonies the Portuguese gave themselves,” says
Raynal, “up to all those excesses which make men hated, though they
had not courage enough left to make them feared. They were monsters.
Poison, fire, assassination, every sort of crime was become familiar
to them; nor were they private persons only who were guilty of such
practices,—men in office set them the example! They massacred the
natives; they destroyed one another. The governor just arrived, loaded
his predecessor with irons, that he might deprive him of his wealth.
The distance of the scene, false witnesses, and large bribes secured
every crime from punishment.”



  A free nation, which is its own master, is born to
  command the ocean. It cannot secure the dominion of the
  sea without seizing upon the land, which belongs to the
  first possessor; that is, to him who is able to drive
  out the ancient inhabitants. They are to be enslaved by
  force or fraud, and exterminated in order to get their


We come now to the conduct of a Protestant people towards the natives
of their colonies; and happy would it be if we came with this change
to a change in their policy and behaviour. But the Dutch, though
zealous Protestants at home, were zealous Catholics abroad in cruelty
and injustice. Styling themselves a reformed people, there was no
reformation in their treatment of Indians or Caffres. They, as well
as other Protestant nations, cast off the outward forms and many of
the inward superstitions of the Roman church: but they were far, far
indeed from comprehending Christianity in its glorious greatness;
in the magnificence of its moral elevation; in the sublimity of its
objects; in the purity of its feeling, and the beautiful humanity of
its spirit. The temporal yoke of Rome was cast off, but the mental
yoke still lay heavy on their souls, and it required ages of bitter
experience to restore sufficiently their intellectual sensibility
to permit them even to feel it. Popery was dethroned in them, but
not destroyed. They recognized their rights as men, and the slavery
under which they had been held; but their vision was not enough
restored to allow them to recognize the rights of others, and to see
that to hold others in slavery, was only to take themselves out of
the condition of the victim, to put themselves into the more odious,
criminal, and eventually disastrous one of the tyrant. They were still
infinitely distant from the condition of freemen. They were free from
the immediate compulsion of their spiritual task-masters, but they
were not free from the iron which they had thrust into their very
souls,—from the corrupt morals, the perverted principles, the debased
tone of feeling and perception, which the Papal church had inflicted
on them. The wretched substitution of ceremonies, legends, and false
maxims, for the grand and regenerating doctrines of Christian truth,
which had existed for more than a thousand years, had generated a
spurious morality, which ages only could obliterate. It is a fallacy
to suppose that the renunciation of the Romish faith, carried with
it a renunciation of the habits of mind which it had created,—or
that those who called themselves reformers were thoroughly reformed,
and rebaptized with the purity and fulness of Christianity. Many
and glorious examples were given of zeal for the right, even unto
death; of the love of truth, which cast out all fear of flames and
scaffolds; of that devotion to the dictates of conscience that shrunk
from no sacrifice, however severe;—but even in the instance of the
noblest of those noble martyrs, it would be self-delusion for us to
suppose that they had sprung from the depth of darkness to perfect
light at one leap; that they rose instantaneously from gross ignorance
of Christian truths, to the perfection of knowledge; that they had
miraculously cast off at one effort all slavery of spirit, and the
dimness of intellectual vision, which were the work of ages. They had
regained the wish and the will to explore the regions of truth; they
had made some splendid advances, and shewn that they descried some of
the most prominent features of the genuine faith: but they were, the
best of them, but babes in Christ. To become full-grown men required
the natural lapse of time; and to expect them to start up into the full
standard of Christian stature, was to expect an impossibility. And if
the brightest and most intrepid, and most honest intellects were thus
circumstanced, what was the condition of the mass? That may be known
by calling to mind how readily Protestants fell into the spirit of
persecution, and into all the cruelties and outrages of their Popish
predecessors. Ages upon ages were required, to clear away the dusty
cobwebs of error, with which a spurious faith had involved them; and to
raise again the Christian world to the height of Christian knowledge.
We are yet far and very far from having escaped from the one, or risen
to the other. There are yet Christian truths, of the highest import to
humanity, that are treated as fables and fanatic dreams by the mass of
the Christian world; and we shall see as we proceed, that to this hour
the most sacred principles of Christianity are outraged; and the worst
atrocities of the worst ages of Rome are still perpetrated on millions
of millions of human beings, over whom we vaunt our civilization,
and to whom we present our religion as the spirit of heaven, and the
blessing of the earth.

When, therefore, we see the Dutch, ay, and the English, and the
Anglo-Americans, still professing truth and practising error; still
preaching mercy, and perpetrating the basest of cruelties; still
boasting of their philosophy and refinement, and enacting the savage;
still vapouring about liberty, with a whip in one hand and a chain in
the other; still holding the soundness of the law of conquest, and the
equal soundness of the commandment, Not to covet our neighbour’s goods;
the soundness of the belief that Negroes, Indians, and Hottentots,
are an inferior species, and the equal soundness of the declaration
that “God made of one blood all the nations of the earth;” still
declaring that LOVE, the love of our neighbour as of ourselves, is
the great distinction of Christians;—and yet persisting in slavery,
war, massacres, extermination of one race, and driving out of others
from their ancient and hereditary lands—we must bear in mind that we
behold only the melancholy result of ages of abandonment of genuine
Christianity for a base and accommodating forgery of its name,—and
the humiliating spectacle of an inconsistency in educated nations
unworthy of the wildest dwellers in the bush, entailed on us by the
active leaven of that very faith which we pride ourselves in having
renounced. We have, indeed, renounced mass and the confessional, and
the purchase of indulgences; but have tenaciously retained the mass of
our tyrannous propensities. We practise our crimes without confessing
them; we indulge our worst desires without even having the honesty to
pay for it; and the old, spurious morality, and political barbarism
of Rome, are as stanchly maintained by us as ever—while we claim to
look back on Popery with horror, and on our present condition as the
celestial light of the nineteenth century.

What a glorious thing it would have been, if when the Dutch and English
had appeared in America and the Indies, they had come there too as
Protestants and Reformed Christians! If they had protested against the
cruelties and aggressions of the popish Spaniards and Portuguese—if
they had reformed all their rapacious practices, and remedied their
abuses—if they had, indeed, shown that they were really gone back to
the genuine faith of Christ, and were come to seek honest benefit by
honest means; to exchange knowledge for wealth, and to make the Pagans
and the Mahomedans _feel_ that there was in Christianity a powder to
refine, to elevate, and to bless, as mighty as they professed. But
that day was not arrived, and has only partially arrived yet, and that
through the missions. For anything that could be discovered by their
practice, the Dutch and English might be the papists, and the Spaniards
and Portuguese the reformed. From their deeds the natives, wherever
they came, could only imagine their religion to be something especially
odious and mischievous.

The Dutch having thrown off the Spanish yoke at home, applied
themselves diligently to commerce; and they would have continued to
purchase from the Spaniards and Portuguese, the commodities of the
eastern and western worlds, to supply their customers therewith;—but
Philip II., smarting under the loss of the Netherlands, and being
master of both Spain and Portugal, commanded his subjects to hold no
dealings with his hated enemies. Passion and resentment are the worst
of counsellors, and Philip soon found it so in this instance. The
Dutch, denied Indian goods in Portugal, determined to seek them in
India itself. They had renounced papal as well as Spanish authority,
and had no scruples about interfering with the pope’s grant of the
east to the Portuguese. They soon, therefore, made their appearance
in the Indian seas, and found the Portuguese so thoroughly detested
there, that nothing was easier for them than to avenge past injuries
and prohibitions, by supplanting them. It was only in 1594 that Philip
issued his impolitic order that they should not be permitted to receive
goods from Portuguese ports,—and by 1602, under their admirals,
Houtman and Van Neck, they had visited Madagascar, the Maldives, and
the isles of Sunda; they had entered into alliance with the principal
sovereigns of Java; established factories in several of the Moluccas,
and brought home abundance of pepper, spices, and other articles.
Numerous trading companies were organized; and these all united by
the policy of the States-general into the one memorable one of the
East India Company, the model and original of all the numerous ones
that sprung up, and especially of the far greater one under the same
name, of England. The natives of India had now a similar spectacle
exhibited to their eyes, which South America had about the same
period—the Christian nations, boasting of their superior refinement
and of their heavenly religion, fighting like furies, and intriguing
like fiends one against another. But the Portuguese were now become
debauched and effeminate, and were unsupported by fresh reinforcements
from Europe; the Dutch were spurred on by all the ardour of united
revenge, ambition, and the love of gain. The time was now come when
the Portuguese were to expiate their perfidy, their robberies, and
their cruelties; and the prediction of one of the kings of Persia was
fulfilled, who, asking an ambassador just arrived at Goa, how many
governors his master had beheaded since the establishment of his power
in India, received for answer—“none at all.” “So much the worse,”
replied the monarch, “his authority cannot be of long duration in a
country where so many acts of outrage and barbarity are committed.”

The Dutch commenced their career in India with an air of moderation
that formed a politic contrast with the arrogance and pretension of the
Portuguese. They fought desperately with the Portuguese, but they kept
a shrewd eye all the time on mercantile opportunities. They sought to
win their way by duplicity, rather than by decisive daring. By these
means they gradually rooted their rivals out of their most important
stations in Java, the Moluccas, in Ceylon, on the Coromandel and
Malabar coasts. Their most lucrative posts were at Java, Bantam, and
the Moluccas. No sooner had they gained an ascendency than they assumed
a haughtiness of demeanor that even surpassed that of the Portuguese;
and in perfidy and cruelty, they became more than rivals. All
historians have remarked with astonishment the fearful metamorphosis
which the Dutch underwent in their colonies. At home they were
moderate, kindly, and liberal; abroad their rapacity, perfidy, and
infamous cruelty made them resemble devils rather than men. Whether
contending with their European rivals, or domineering over the natives,
they showed no mercy and no remorse. Their celebrated massacre of
the English in Amboyna has rung through all lands and languages, and
is become one of the familiar horrors of history. There is, in fact,
no narrative of tortures in the annals of the Inquisition, that can
surpass those which the Dutch practised on their English rivals on this
occasion. The English had five factories in the island of Amboyna, and
the Dutch determined to crush them. For this purpose they got up a
charge of conspiracy against the English—collected them from all their
stations into the town of Amboyna, and after forcing confessions of
guilt from them by the most unheard-of torture, put them to death. The
following specimen of the agonies which Protestants could inflict on
their fellow-protestants, may give an idea of what sort of increase of
religion the Reformation had brought these men.

“Then John Clark, who also came from Hitto, was fetched in, and
soon after was heard to roar out amain. They tortured him with fire
and water for two hours. The manner of his torture, as also that of
Johnson’s and Thompson’s, was as followeth:—

“They first hoisted him by the hands against a large door, and there
made him fast to two staples of iron, fixed on both sides at the top
of the door-posts, extending his arms as wide as they could stretch
them. When thus fastened, his feet, being two feet from the ground,
were extended in the same manner, and made fast to the bottom of the
door-trees on each side. Then they tied a cloth about the lower part
of his face and neck, so close that scarce any water could pass by.
That done, they poured water gently upon his head till the cloth was
full up to his mouth and nostrils, and somewhat higher, so that he
could not draw breath but he must swallow some, which being continually
poured in softly, forced all his inward parts to come out at his nose,
ears, and eyes, and often, as it were choking him, at length took away
his breath, and caused him to faint away. Then they took him down in
a hurry to vomit up the water, and when a little revived, tied him
up again, using him as before. In this manner they served him three
or four times, till his belly was as big as a tun, his cheeks like
bladders, his eyes strutting out beyond his forehead; yet all this
he bore without confessing anything, insomuch that the fiscal and
tormentors reviled him, saying he was a devil, and no man; or was
enchanted, that he could bear so much. Hereupon they cut off his hair
very short, supposing he had some witchcraft hidden therein. Now they
hoisted him up again, and burnt him with lighted candles under his
elbows and arm-pits, in the palms of his hands, and at the bottoms
of his feet, even till the fat dropped out on the candles. Then they
applied fresh ones; and under his arms they burnt so deep that his
inwards might be seen.”—_History of Voyages to the East and West

And all this that they might rule sole kings over the delicious islands
of cloves and cinnamon, nutmegs and mace, camphor and coffee, areca
and betel, gold, pearls and precious stones; every one of them more
precious in the eyes of the thorough trader, whether he call himself
Christian or Infidel, than the blood of his brother, or the soul of

To secure the dominion of these, they compelled the princes of Ternate
and Tidore to consent to the rooting up of all the clove and nutmeg
trees in the islands not entirely under the jealous safeguard of
Dutch keeping. For this they utterly exterminated the inhabitants of
Banda, because they would not submit passively to their yoke. Their
lands were divided amongst the white people, who got slaves from
other islands to cultivate them. For this Malacca was besieged, its
territory ravaged, and its navigation interrupted by pirates; Negapatan
was twice attacked; Cochin was engaged in resisting the kings of
Calicut and Travancore; and Ceylon and Java have been made scenes of
perpetual disturbances. These notorious dissensions have been followed
by as odious oppressions, which have been practised at Japan, China,
Cambodia, Arracan, on the banks of the Ganges, at Achen, Coromandel,
Surat, in Persia, at Bassora, Mocha, and other places. For this they
encouraged and established in Celebes a system of kidnapping the
inhabitants for slaves which converted that island into a perfect hell.

Sir Stamford Raffles has given us a most appalling picture of this
system, and the miseries it produced, in an official document in his
History of Java. In this document it is stated that whole villages
were made slaves of; that there was scarcely a state or a family that
had not its assortment of these unhappy beings, who had been reduced
to this condition by the most cruel and insidious means. There are few
things in history more darkly horrible than this kidnapping system
of the Celebes. The Vehme Gerichte, or secret tribunals of Germany,
were nothing to the secret prisons of the Celebes. In Makásar, and
other places, these secret prisons existed; and such was the dreadful
combination of power, influence, and avarice, in this trade,—for the
magistrates and princes were amongst the chief dealers in it,—that no
possibility of exposing or destroying these dens of thieves existed.
Any man, woman, or child might be suddenly pounced on, and immured in
one of these secret prisons till there were sufficient victims to send
to the slave-ships. They were then marched out chained at midnight,
and put on board. Any one may imagine the terror and insecurity which
such a state of things occasioned. Everybody knew that such invisible
dungeons of despair were in the midst of them, and that any moment he
might be dragged into one of them, beyond the power or any hope of

“A rich citizen,” says this singular official report, “who has a
sufficient number of emissaries called bondsmen, carries on this trade
of kidnapping much more easily than a poor one does. The latter is
often obliged to go himself to the _Kámpong Búgis_, or elsewhere, to
take a view of the stolen victim, and to carry him home; while the
former quietly smokes his pipe, sure that his thieves will in every
corner find out for him sufficient game without his exerting himself
at all. The thief, the interpreter, the seller, are all active in his
service, because they are paid by him. In some cases the purchaser
unites himself with the seller to deceive the interpreter, while in
others the interpreter agrees with the thief and pretended seller to
put the victim into the hands of the purchaser. What precautions, what
scrutiny can avail, when we reflect, that the profound secrecy of the
prisons is equalled only by the strict precautions in carrying the
person on board?”

The man-stealers were trained for the purpose. They marked out their
victims, watched for days, and often weeks, endeavoured to associate
themselves with them, and beguile them into some place where they might
be easily secured. Or they pounced on them in the fields or woods. They
roved about in gangs during the night, and in solitary places. None
dare cry for help, or they were stabbed instantly, even though it were
before the door of the purchaser.

What hope indeed could there be for anybody, when the authorities were
in this diabolical league? and this was the custom of legalizing a
kidnapping: “A person calling himself an interpreter, repairs, at the
desire of one who says that he has bought a slave, to the secretary’s
office, accompanied by any native who, provided with a note from
the purchaser, gives himself out as the seller. For three rupees, a
certificate of sale in the usual form is immediately made out; three
rupees are paid to the notary; two rupees are put into the hands of
the interpreter; the whole transaction is concluded, and the purchaser
has thus become the owner of a free-born man, who is very often stolen
without his (the purchaser’s) concurrence; but about this he does not
trouble himself, for the victim is already concealed where nobody can
find him; nor can the transaction become public, because there never
were found more faithful receivers than the slave-traders. It is a
maxim with them, in their own phrase, “never to betray their prison.”
Both purchaser and seller are often fictitious—the public officers
being in league with the interpreters. By such means it is obvious a
stolen man is as easily procured as if he were already pinioned at the
door of his purchaser. You have only to give a rupee to any one to
say that he is the seller, and plenty are ready to do that. Numbers
maintain themselves on such profits, and slaves are thus often bribed
against their own possessors. The victims are never examined, nor do
the Dutch concern themselves about the matter, so that at any time
any number of orders for transport may, if necessary, be prepared
before-hand with the utmost security.

“Let us,” continues the report, “represent to ourselves this one town
of Makásar, filled with prisons, the one more dismal than the other,
which are stuffed with hundreds of wretches, the victims of avarice
and tyranny, who, chained in fetters, and taken away from their wives,
children, parents, friends, and comforts, look to their future destiny
with despair.”

On the other hand, wives missing their husbands, children their
parents, parents their children, with their hearts filled with rage and
revenge, were running through the streets, if possible, to discover
where their relatives were concealed. It was in vain. They were
sometimes stabbed, if too troublesome in their inquiries; or led on by
false hopes of ransom, till they were themselves thrown into debt, and
easily made a prey of too. Such was the terror universally existing in
these islands when the English conquered them, that the inhabitants did
not dare to walk the streets, work in the fields, or go on a journey,
except in companies of five or six together, and well armed.

Such were some of the practices of the Protestant Dutch. But their
sordid villany in gaining possession of places was just as great
as that in getting hold of people. Desirous of becoming masters of
Malacca, they bribed the Portuguese governor to betray it into their
hands. The bargain was struck, and he introduced the enemy into the
city in 1641. They hastened to his house, and massacred him, to save
the bribe of 500,000 livres—21,875_l._ of English money! The Dutch
commander then tauntingly asked the commander of the Portuguese
garrison, as he marched out, when he would come back again to the
place. The Portuguese gravely replied—“_When your crimes are greater
than ours!_”

Desirous of seizing on Cochin on the coast of Malabar, they had no
sooner invested it than the news of peace between Holland and Portugal
arrived; but they kept this secret till the place was taken, and when
reproached by the Portuguese with their base conduct, they coolly
replied—“Who did the same on the coast of Brazil?”

Like all designing people, they were as suspicious of evil as they knew
themselves capable of it. On first touching at the isle of Madura,
the prince intimated his wish to pay his respects to the commander on
board his vessel. It was assented to; but when the Dutch saw the number
of boats coming off, they became alarmed, fired their cannon on the
unsuspicious crowd, and then fell upon the confounded throng with such
fury that they killed the prince, and the greater part of his followers.

Their manner of first gaining a footing in Batavia is thus recorded by
the Javan historians. “In the first place they wished to ascertain
the strength of _Jákatra_ (the native town on the ruins of which
Batavia was built). They therefore landed like máta-mátas (peons or
messengers); the captain of the ship disguising himself with a turban,
and accompanying several _Khójas_, (natives of the Coromandel coast.)
When he had made his observations, he entered upon trade; offering
however much better terms than were just, and making more presents
than were necessary. A friendship thus took place between him and the
prince: when this was established, the captain said that his ship was
in want of repairs, and the prince allowed the vessel to come up the
river. There the captain knocked out the planks of the bottom, and
sunk the vessel, to obtain a pretence for further delay, and then
requested a very small piece of ground on which to build a shed for the
protection of the sails and other property during the repair of the
vessel. This being granted, the captain raised a wall of mud, so that
nobody could know what he was doing, and continued to court the favour
of the prince. He soon requested as much more land as could be covered
by a buffalo’s hide, on which to build a small _póndok_. This being
complied with, he cut the hide into strips, and claimed all the land he
could inclose with them. He went on with his buildings, engaging to pay
all the expenses of raising them. When the fort was finished, he threw
down his mud wall, planted his cannon, and refused to pay a _doit_!”

But the whole history of the Dutch in Java is too long for our purpose.
It may be found in Sir Stamford Raffles’s two great quartos, and it
is one of the most extraordinary relations of treachery, bribery,
massacre and meanness. The slaughter of the Chinese traders there is
a fearful transaction. On pretence of conveying those who yielded
out of the country, they took them to sea, and threw them overboard.
On one occasion, they demanded the body of _Surapáti_—a brave man,
who rose from the rank of a slave to that of a chief, and a very
troublesome one to them—from the very grave. They placed it upright
in a chair, the commandant approached it, made his obeisance, treated
it as a living person, with an expression of ironical mockery, and the
officers followed his example. They then burnt the body, mixed it with
gun-powder, and fired a salute with it in honour of the victory.

Such was their treatment of the natives, that the population of one
province, _Banyuawngi_, which in 1750 amounted to upwards of 80,000
souls, in 1811 was reduced to 8,000. It is no less remarkable, says Sir
Stamford Raffles, that while in all the capitals of British India the
population has increased, wherever the Dutch influence has prevailed
the work of depopulation has followed. In the Moluccas the oppressions
and the consequent depopulation was monstrous. Whenever the natives
have had the opportunity they have fled from the provinces under
their power to the native tracts. With the following extract from Sir
Stamford Raffles we will conclude this dismal notice of the deeds of a
European people, claiming to be Christian, and what is more, Protestant
and Reformed.

“Great demands were at all times made on the peasantry of Java for the
Dutch army. Confined in unhealthy garrisons, exposed to unnecessary
hardships and privations, extraordinary casualties took place amongst
them, and frequent new levies became necessary, while the anticipation
of danger and suffering produced an aversion to the service, which was
only aggravated by the subsequent measures of cruelty and oppression.
The conscripts raised in the provinces were usually sent to the
metropolis by water; and though the distance be short between any two
points of the island, a mortality similar to that of a slave-ship in
the middle passage took place on board these receptacles of reluctant
recruits. They were generally confined in the stocks till their arrival
at Batavia.... Besides the supply of the army, one half of the male
population of the country was constantly held in readiness for other
public services, and thus a great portion of the effective hands
were taken from their families, and detained at a distance from home
in labours which broke their spirit and exhausted their strength.
During the administration of Marshal Daendals, it has been calculated
that the construction of public roads alone destroyed the lives of
at least ten thousand workmen. The transport of government stores,
and the capricious requisitions of government agents of all classes,
perpetually harassed, and frequently carried off numbers of the people.
If to these drains we add the waste of life occasioned by insurrections
which tyranny and impolicy excited in Chéribon; the blighting effects
of the coffee monopoly, and forced services in the Priáng’en Regencies,
and the still more desolating operations of the policy pursued, and the
consequent anarchy produced, in Bantam, we shall have some idea of the
depopulating causes which existed under the Dutch administration.”



  “And Ahab came into his house, heavy and displeased,
  because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had
  spoken to him; for he had said, I will not give thee
  the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down
  upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat
  no bread. But Jezebel his wife came to him and said
  unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad that thou eatest no
  bread? And he said unto her, Because I spoke unto Naboth
  the Jezreelite, and said unto him, give me thy vineyard
  for money; or else if it please thee, I will give thee
  _another_ vineyard for it; and he answered I will not
  give thee my vineyard.

  “And Jezebel, his wife, said unto him, Dost thou now
  govern the kingdom of Israel? Arise, and eat bread, and
  let thine heart be merry; I will give thee the vineyard
  of Naboth the Jezreelite.

       *       *       *       *       *

  “And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite,
  saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which
  is in Samaria; behold he is in the vineyard of Naboth,
  whither he is gone down to possess it. And thou shalt
  speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou
  killed, and also taken possession?” _1 Kings_ xxi. 4-19.

The appearance of the Europeans in India, if the inhabitants could have
had the Bible put into their hands, and been told that that was the law
which these strangers professed to follow, must have been a curious
spectacle. They who professed to believe the commands that they
should not steal, covet their neighbour’s goods, kill, or injure—must
have been seen with wonder to be the most covetous, murderous, and
tyrannical of men. But if the natives could have read the declaration
of Christ—“By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, that
ye love one another,”—the wonder must have been tenfold; for never
did men exhibit such an intensity of hatred, jealousy, and vengeance
towards each other. Portuguese, Dutch, French, English, and Danes,
coming together, or one after the other, fell on each other’s forts,
factories, and ships with the most vindictive fury. They attacked each
other at sea or at land; they propagated the most infamous characters
of each other wherever they came, in order to supersede each other in
the good graces of the people who had valuable trading stations, or
were in possession of gold or pearls, nutmegs or cinnamon, coffee, or
cotton cloth. They loved one another to that degree that they were
ready to join the natives any where in the most murderous attempts
to massacre and drive away each other. What must have seemed most
extraordinary of all, was the English expelling with rigour those
of their own countrymen who ventured there without the sanction of
the particular trading company which claimed a monopoly of Indian
commerce. The rancour and pertinacity with which Englishmen attacked
and expelled Englishmen, was even more violent than that which they
shewed to foreigners. The history of European intriguers, especially
of the Dutch, Portuguese, English, and French, in the East, in which
every species of cruelty and bad faith have been exhibited, is one
of the most melancholy and humiliating nature. Those of the English
and French did not cease till the very last peace. At every outbreak
of war between these nations in Europe, the forts and factories and
islands which had been again and again seized upon, and again and again
restored by treaties of peace in India, became immediately the scene
of fresh aggressions, bickerings, and enormities. The hate which burnt
in Europe was felt hotly, even to that distance; and men of another
climate, who had no real interest in the question, and to whom Europe
was but the name of a distant region which had for generations sent out
swarms of powerful oppressors, were called upon to spill their blood
and waste their resources in these strange deeds of their tyrants.
It is to be hoped that the bulk of this evil is now past. In the
peninsula of India, to which I am intending in the following chapters
to confine my attention, the French now retain only the factories of
Chandernagore, Caricall, Mahee, and Pondicherry; the Portuguese Goa,
Damaun, and Diu; the Dutch, Serampore and Tranquebar; while the English
power had triumphed over the bulk of the continent—over the vast
regions of Bengal, Madras, Bombay, the Deccan and the Carnatic—over
a surface of upwards of five hundred thousand square miles, and a
population of nearly a hundred millions of people! These states are
either directly and avowedly in British possession, or are as entirely
so under the name of allies. We may well, therefore, leave the history
of the squabbles and contests of the European Christians with each
other for this enormous power, disgraceful as that history is to the
name of Christianity—to inquire how we, whose ascendency has so
wonderfully prevailed there, have gained this dominion and how we have
used it.

  When Europe sought your subject-realms to gain,
  And stretched her giant sceptre o’er the main,
  Taught her proud barks the winding way to shape,
  And braved the stormy spirit of the Cape;
  Children of Brama! then was Mercy nigh,
  To wash the stain of blood’s eternal dye?
  Did Peace descend to triumph and to save,
  When free-born Britons crossed the Indian wave?
  Ah no!—to more than Rome’s ambition true,
  The muse of Freedom gave it not to you!
  She the bold route of Europe’s guilt began,
  And, in the march of nations, led the van!

  _Pleasures of Hope._

We are here to witness a new scene of conquest. The Indian natives
were too powerful and populous to permit the Europeans to march at
once into the heart of their territories, as they had done into
South America, to massacre the people, or to subject them to instant
slavery and death. The old inhabitants of the empire, the Hindoos,
were indeed, in general, a comparatively feeble and gentle race, but
there were numerous and striking exceptions; the mountaineers were,
as mountaineers in other countries, of a hardy, active, and martial
character. The Mahrattas, the Rohillas, the Seiks, the Rajpoots, and
others, were fierce and formidable tribes. But besides this, the ruling
princes of the country, whether Moguls or Hindoos, had for centuries
maintained their sway by the same power by which they had gained it,
that of arms. They could bring into the field immense bodies of troops,
which though found eventually unable to compete with European power
and discipline, were too formidable to be rashly attacked, and have
cost oceans of blood and treasure finally to reduce them to subjection.
Moreover, the odium which the Spaniards and Portuguese had everywhere
excited by their unceremonious atrocities, may be supposed to have had
their effect on the English, who are a reflecting people; and it is
to be hoped also that the progress of sound policy and of Christian
knowledge, however slow, may be taken into the account in some
degree. They went out too under different circumstances—not as mere
adventurers, but as sober traders, aiming at establishing a permanent
and enriching commerce with these countries; and if Christianity, if
the laws of justice and of humanity were to be violated, it must be
under a guise of policy, and a form of law.

We shall not enter into a minute notice of the earliest proceedings
of the English in India, because for upwards of a century from the
formation of their first trading association, those proceedings are
comparatively insignificant. During that period Bombay had been
ceded as part of a marriage-portion by the Portuguese to Charles
II.; factories had been established at Surat, Madras, Masulipatam,
Visigapatam, Calcutta, and other places; but it was not till the
different chartered companies were consolidated into one grand company
in 1708, styled “The United Company of Merchants trading to the East
Indies,” that the English affairs in the east assumed an imposing
aspect. From that period the East India Company commenced that career
of steady grasping at dominion over the Indian territories, which has
never been relaxed for a moment, but, while it has for ever worn the
grave air of moderation, and has assumed the language of right, has
gone on adding field to field and house to house—swallowing up state
after state, and prince after prince, till it has finally found itself
the sovereign of this vast and splendid empire, as it would fain
persuade itself and the world, by the clearest claims, and the most
undoubted justice. By the laws and principles of modern policy, it may
be so; but by the eternal principles of Christianity, there never was
a more thorough repetition of the hankering after Naboth’s vineyards,
of the “slaying and taking possession” exhibited to the world. It is
true that, as the panegyrists of our Indian policy contend, it may
be the design of Providence that the swarming millions of Indostan
should be placed under our care, that they may enjoy the blessings of
English rule, and of English knowledge: but Providence had no need
that we should violate all his most righteous injunctions to enable
him to bring about his designs. Providence, the Scriptures tell us,
intended that Jacob should supersede Esau in the heritage of Israel:
but Providence had no need of the deception which Rebecca and Jacob
practised,—had no need of the mess of pottage and the kid-skins, to
enable Him to effect his object. We are much too ready to run the
wilful career of our own lusts and passions, and lay the charge at
the door of Providence. It is true that English dominion is, or will
become, far better to the Hindoos than that of the cruel and exacting
Moguls; but who made us the judge and the ruler over these people?
If the real object of our policy and exertions in India has been the
achievement of wealth and power, as it undoubtedly has, it is pitiful
and hypocritical to endeavour to clothe it with the pretence of working
the will of Providence, and seeking the good of the natives. We shall
soon see which objects have been most zealously and undeviatingly
pursued, and by what means. If our desires have been, not to enrich
and aggrandize ourselves, but to benefit the people and rescue them
from the tyranny of bad rulers, heaven knows what wide realms are yet
open to our benevolent exertions; what despots there are to pull down;
what miserable millions to relieve from their oppressions;—and when we
behold Englishmen levelling their vengeance against such tyrants, and
visiting such unhappy people with their protective power, where neither
gold nor precious merchandise are to be won at the same time, we may
safely give the amplest credence and the profoundest admiration to
their claims of disinterested philanthropy. If they present themselves
as the champions of freedom, and the apostles of social amelioration,
we shall soon have opportunities of asking how far they have maintained
these characters.

Mr. Auber, in his “History of the British Power in India,” has quoted
largely from letters of the Board of Directors of the Company, passages
to shew how sincerely the representatives of the East India Company at
home have desired to arrest encroachment on the rights of the natives;
to avoid oppressive exactions; to resist the spirit of military and
political aggression. They have from year to year proclaimed their
wishes for the comfort of the people; they have disclaimed all lust of
territorial acquisition; have declared that they were a mercantile,
rather than a political body; and have rebuked the thirst of conquest
in their agents, and endeavoured to restrain the avidity of extortion
in them. Seen in Mr. Auber’s pages, the Directors present themselves
as a body of grave and honorable merchants, full of the most admirable
spirit of moderation, integrity, and benevolence; and we may give
them the utmost credit for sincerity in their professions and desires.
But unfortunately, we all know what human nature is. Unfortunately the
power, the wealth, and the patronage brought home to them by the very
violation of their own wishes and maxims were of such an overwhelming
and seducing nature, that it was in vain to resist them. Nay, in such
colours does the modern philosophy of conquest and diplomacy disguise
the worst transactions between one state and another, that it is not
for plain men very readily to penetrate to the naked enormity beneath.
When all the world was applauding the success of Indian affairs,—the
extension of territory, the ability of their governors, the valour
of their troops; and when they felt the flattering growth of their
greatness, it required qualities far higher than mere mercantile
probity and good intentions, to enable them to strip away the false
glitter of their official transactions, and sternly assure themselves
of the unholiness of their nature. We may therefore concede to the
Directors of the East India Company, and to their governors and
officers in general, the very best intentions, knowing as we do, the
force of influences such as we have already alluded to, and the force
also of modern diplomatic and military education, by which a policy
and practices of the most dismal character become gradually to be
regarded not merely unexceptionable, but highly honorable. We may
allow all this, and yet pronounce the mode by which the East India
Company has possessed itself of Hindostan, as the most revolting and
unchristian that can possibly be conceived. The most masterly policy,
regarded independent of its _morale_, and a valour more than Roman
have been exhibited by our governors-generals and armies on the plains
of Hindostan: but if there ever was one system more Machiavelian—more
appropriative of the shew of justice where the basest injustice was
attempted—more cold, cruel, haughty and unrelenting than another,—it
is the system by which the government of the different states of
India has been wrested from the hands of their respective princes and
collected into the grasp of the British power. Incalculable gainers
as we have been by this system, it is impossible to review it without
feelings of the most poignant shame and the highest indignation.
Whenever we talk to other nations of British faith and integrity, they
may well point to India in derisive scorn. The system which, for more
than a century, was steadily at work to strip the native princes of
their dominions, and that too under the most sacred pleas of right
and expediency, is a system of torture more exquisite than regal or
spiritual tyranny ever before discovered; such as the world has nothing
similar to shew.

Spite of the repeated instructions sent out by the Court of Directors
to their servants in India, to avoid territorial acquisitions, and to
cultivate only honest and honorable commerce; there is evidence that
from the earliest period the desire of conquest was entertained, and
was, spite of better desires, always too welcome to be abandoned. In
the instructions forwarded in 1689, the Directors expounded themselves
in the following words: “The increase of our revenue is the subject
of our care, as much as our trade:—’tis that must maintain our force
when twenty accidents may interrupt our trade;—’tis that must make
us a nation in India. Without that, we are but as a great number of
interlopers, united by his Majesty’s royal charter, fit only to trade
where nobody of power thinks fit only to prevent us; and upon this
account it is that the wise Dutch, in all their general advices which
we have seen, write ten paragraphs concerning their government, their
civil and military policy, warfare, and the increase of their revenue,
for one paragraph they write concerning trade.”[13]

Spite of all pretences to the contrary—spite of all advices and
exhortations from the government at home of a more unambitious
character, this was the spirit that never ceased to actuate the
Company, and was so clearly felt to be it, that its highest servants,
in the face of more peaceful injunctions, and in the face of the Act
of Parliament strictly prohibiting territorial extension, went on
perpetually to add conquest to conquest, under the shew of necessity
or civil treaty; and they who offended most against the letter of the
law, gratified most entirely the spirit of the company and the nation.
Who have been looked upon as so eminently the benefactors and honourers
of the nation by Indian acquisition as Lord Clive, Warren Hastings,
and the Marquess Wellesley? It is for the determined and successful
opposition to the ostensible principles and annually reiterated
advices of the Company, that that very Company has heaped wealth and
distinctions upon these and other persons, and for which it has just
recently voted an additional pension to the latter nobleman.

What then is this system of torture by which the possessions of the
Indian princes have been wrung from them? It is this—the skilful
application of the process by which cunning men create debtors, and
then force them at once to submit to their most exorbitant demands.
From the moment that the English felt that they had the power in India
to “divide and conquer,” they adopted the plan of doing it rather by
plausible manœuvres than by a bold avowal of their designs, and a
more honest plea of the right of conquest—the ancient doctrine of
the strong, which they began to perceive was not quite so much in
esteem as formerly. Had they said at once, these Mahomedan princes are
arbitrary, cruel, and perfidious—we will depose them, and assume the
government ourselves—we pretend to no other authority for our act
than our ability to do it, and no other excuse for our conduct than
our determination to redress the evils of the people: that would have
been a candid behaviour. It would have been so far in accordance with
the ancient doctrine of nations that little would have been thought of
it; and though as Christians we could not have applauded the “doing
evil that good might come of it,” yet had the promised benefit to more
than eighty millions of people followed, that glorious penance would
have gone far in the most scrupulous mind to have justified the crime
of usurpation. But the mischief has been, that while the exactions
and extortions on the people have been continued, and in many cases
exaggerated, the means of usurpation have been those glozing and
hypocritical arts, which are more dangerous from their subtlety than
naked violence, and more detestable because wearing the face, and using
the language, of friendship and justice. A fatal friendship, indeed,
has that of the English been to all those princes that were allured by
it. It has pulled them every one from their thrones, or has left them
there the contemptible puppets of a power that works its arbitrary will
through them. But friendship or enmity, the result has been eventually
the same to them. If they resisted alliance with the encroaching
English, they were soon charged with evil intentions, fallen upon,
and conquered; if they acquiesced in the proffered alliance, they
soon became ensnared in those webs of diplomacy from which they never
escaped, without the loss of all honour and hereditary dominion—of
every thing, indeed, but the lot of prisoners where they had been
kings. The first step in the English friendship with the native
princes, has generally been to assist them against their neighbours
with troops, or to locate troops with them to protect them from
aggression. For these services such enormous recompense was stipulated
for, that the unwary princes, entrapped by their fears of their native
foes rather than of their pretended friends, soon found that they were
utterly unable to discharge them. Dreadful exactions were made on their
subjects, but in vain. Whole provinces, or the revenues of them, were
soon obliged to be made over to their grasping _friends_; but they did
not suffice for their demands. In order to pay them their debts or
their interest, the princes were obliged to borrow large sums at an
extravagant rate. These sums were eagerly advanced by the English in
their private and individual capacities, and securities again taken on
lands or revenues. At every step the unhappy princes became more and
more embarrassed, and as the embarrassment increased, the claims of the
Company became proportionably pressing. In the technical phraseology
of money-lenders, “the screw was then turned,” till there was no longer
any enduring it. The unfortunate princes felt themselves, instead of
being relieved by their artful friends, actually introduced by them into

  Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
  And rest can never dwell; hope never comes
  That comes to all; but torture without end
  Still urges.

To escape it, there became no alternative but to throw themselves
entirely upon the mercy of their inexorable creditors, or to break out
into armed resistance. In the one case they found themselves speedily
stripped of every vestige of their power—their revenues and management
of their territories given over to these creditors, which still never
were enough to liquidate their monstrous and growing demands; so
that the next proposition was that they should entirely cede their
territories, and become pensioners on their usurpers. In the other
case, they were at once declared perfidious and swindling,—no faith
was to be kept with them,—they were assaulted by the irresistible arms
of their oppressors, and inevitably destroyed or deposed.

If they sought aid from another state, that became a fortunate plea
to attack that state too; and the English were not contented to
chastise the state thus aiding its ancient neighbour, it was deemed
quite sufficient ground to seize and subjugate it also. There was no
province that was for a moment safe from this most convenient system
of policy, which feared public opinion sufficiently to seek arguments
to make a case before it, but resolved still to seize, by hook or by
crook, all that it coveted. It did not suffice that a province merely
refused an alliance, if the proper time was deemed to be arrived for
its seizure—some plea of danger or suspicion was set up against it.
It was called good policy not to wait for attack, but to charge it
with hostile designs, though not a hostile indication was given—it
was assailed with all the forces in the empire. Those princes that
were once subjected to the British power or the British _friendship_,
were set up or pulled down just as it suited their pleasure. If
necessary, the most odious stigmas were fixed on them to get rid of
them—they were declared weak, dissolute, or illegitimate. If a prince
or princess was suspected of having wealth, some villainous scheme
was hatched to plunder him or her of it. For more than a century this
shocking system was in operation, every day growing more daring in
its action, and more wide in its extent. Power both gave security and
augmented audacity—for every British subject who was not belonging to
the Company, and therefore interested in its operations, was rigidly
excluded from the country, and none could therefore complain of the
evil deeds that were there done under the sun. It is almost incredible
that so abominable an influence could be for a century exercised over
a great realm, by British subjects, many of whom were in all other
respects worthy and most honourable men; and, what is more, that it
could be sanctioned by the British parliament, and admired by the
British nation. But we have yet the proofs to adduce, and unfortunately
they are only too abundant and conclusive. Let us see them.

We will for the present pass the operations of Clive in the Carnatic
at once to destroy the French influence there, and to set up Mahomet
Ali, a creature of the English. We shall anon see the result of that:
we will observe in the first place the manner of obtaining Bengal, as
it became the head of the English empire in India, and the centre of
all future transactions.

In 1756, Suraja Dowla, the Subahdar of Bengal, demanded an officer
belonging to him who, according to the custom amongst the colonists
there, had taken refuge at Calcutta. The English refused to give him
up. The Subahdar attacked and took the place. One hundred and forty-six
of the English fell into the conqueror’s hands, and were shut up for
the night in the celebrated _Black-hole_, whence only twenty-three
were taken out alive in the morning. It may be said in vindication of
the Subahdar, that the act of immuring these unfortunate people in
this horrible den was not his, but that of the guards to whom they
were entrusted for the night, and who put them there as in a place of
the greatest security; and it may be added, not to the credit of the
English, that this very _black-hole_ was the _English_ prison, where
they were in the habit of confining _their_ prisoners. As Mr. Mills
very justly asks—“What had they to do with a _black-hole_? Had no
_black-hole_ existed, as none ought to exist anywhere, least of all in
the sultry and unwholesome climate of Bengal, those who perished in the
_black-hole_ of Calcutta would have experienced a different fate.”

On the news of the capture of Calcutta arriving at Madras, a body of
troops was dispatched under Admiral Watson and Colonel Clive, for
its recovery; which was soon effected, and Hoogly, a considerable
city about twenty-three miles further up the river, was also attacked
and reduced. A treaty was now entered into with Suraja Dowla, the
Subahdar, which was not of long continuance; for, lest the Subahdar,
who was not at bottom friendly to the English, as he had in reality
no cause, should form an alliance with the French at Chandernagore,
they resolved to depose him! This bold and unwarrantable scheme of
deposing a prince in his own undoubted territories, and that by
mere strangers and traders on the coast, is the beginning of that
extraordinary and unexampled assumption which has always marked the
conduct of the English in India. Scarcely had they entered into the
treaty with this Subahdar than they resolved to depose him because he
would protect the French, who were also permitted to hold a factory
in his territory as well as they. This audacious scheme was Clive’s.
Admiral Watson, on the contrary, declared it an extraordinary thing
to depose a man they had so lately made a solemn treaty with. But
Clive, as he afterwards avowed, when examined before the House of
Commons, declared that “they must now go further; they could not stop
there. _Having established themselves by force and not by consent of
the Nabob_, he would endeavour to drive them out again.” This is the
robber’s doctrine;—having committed one outrage, a second, or a series
of outrages must be committed, to prevent punishment, and secure the
booty. But having once entertained the idea of pulling the Subahdar
from his throne, they did not scruple to add treason and rebellion
to the crime of invading the rights of the sovereign. They began by
debauching his own officers. They found out one Meer Jaffier Khan,
a man of known traitorous mind, who had been paymaster-general under
the former Subahdar, and yet retained great power in the army. This
wretch, on condition of being placed on the throne, agreed to betray
his master, and seduce as many of the influential of his officers
as possible. The terms of this diabolical confederacy between this
base traitor and the baser _Christian English_, as they stand in the
first parliamentary report on Indian affairs, and as related by Orme
in his History of India (ii. 153), and by Mills (ii. 110), are very

The English had got an idea which wonderfully sharpened their desire to
depose Suraja Dowla, that he had an enormous treasure. The committee
(of the council of Calcutta) really believed, says Mr. Orme, the wealth
of Suraja Dowla much greater than it possibly could be, even if the
whole life of the late Nabob Aliverdi had not been spent in defending
his dominions against the invasions of ruinous enemies; and even if
Suraja Dowla had reigned many, instead of one year. They resolved,
accordingly, not to be sparing in their commands; and the situation
of Meer Jaffier, and the manners and customs of the country, made him
ready to promise whatever they desired. In the name of compensation for
losses by the capture of Calcutta, 10,000,000 rupees were promised to
the English Company; 5,000,000 rupees to English inhabitants; 2,000,000
to the Indians, and 700,000 to the Armenian merchants. These sums were
specified in the formal treaty. Besides this, the Committee resolved
to ask 2,500,000 rupees for the squadron, and the same amount for the
army. “When this was settled,” says Lord Clive, “Mr. Becher (a member)
suggested to the committee, that he thought that committee, who managed
the great machine of government, was entitled to some consideration,
as well as the army and navy.” Such a proposition in such an assembly
could not fail to appear eminently reasonable. It met with a suitable
approbation. Mr. Becher informs us, that the sums received were 280,000
rupees by Mr. Drake the governor; 280,000 by Col. Clive; and 240,000
each by himself, Mr. Watts, and Major Kilpatrick, the inferior members
of the committee. The terms obtained by favour of the Company were,
that all the French factories and effects should be given up; that the
French should be for ever excluded from Bengal; that the territory
surrounding Calcutta to the distance of 600 yards beyond the Mahratta
ditch, and all the land lying south of Calcutta as far as Culpee,
should be granted them on Zemindary tenure, the Company paying the rent
in the same manner as the other Zemindars.

Thus did these Englishmen bargain with a traitor to betray his prince
and country,—the traitor, for the bribe of being himself made prince,
not merely sell his master, but give two millions three hundred and
ninety-eight thousand pounds sterling,[14] with valuable privileges and
property of the state,—while these dealers in treason and rebellion
pocketed each, from two hundred and forty to two hundred and eighty
thousand pounds sterling! A more infamous transaction is not on record.

To carry this wicked conspiracy into effect, the English took the
field against their victim Suraja Dowla; and Meer Jaffier, the
traitor, in the midst of of the engagement moved off, and went over
to the English with his troops—thus determining the fate of a great
kingdom, and of thirty millions of people, with the loss of twenty
Europeans killed and wounded, of sixteen Sepoys killed, and only
thirty-six wounded. The unfortunate prince was soon afterwards seized
and assassinated by the son of this traitor Meer Jaffier. The vices
and inefficiency of this bad man soon compelled the English to pull
him down from the throne into which they had so criminally raised him.
They then set up in his stead his son-in-law, Meer Causim. This man
for a time served their purpose, by the activity with which he raised
money to pay their claims upon him. He resorted to every species
of cruelty and injustice to extort the necessary funds from his
unfortunate subjects. But about three years, nearly the same period
as their former puppet-nabob had reigned, sufficed to weary them of
him. He was rigorous enough to raise money to pay them, but he was not
tool enough, when that was done, to humour every scheme of rapacity
which they dictated to him. They complained of his not allowing
their goods to pass duty-free through his territories; he therefore
abolished all duties, and thus laid open the trade to everybody. This
enraged them, and they determined to depose him. Meer Causim, however,
was not so readily dismissed as Meer Jaffier had been. He resisted
vigorously; massacred such of their troops as fell into his hands, and
fleeing into Oude, brought them into war with its nabob. What is most
remarkable, they again set up old Meer Jaffier, whom they had before
deposed for his crimes and his imbecility. But probably, from their
experience of Meer Causim, they now preferred an easy tool to one with
more self-will. In their treaty with him they made a claim upon him
for ten lacs of rupees; which demand speedily grew to twenty, thirty,
forty, and finally to fifty-three lacs of rupees. All delicacy was laid
aside in soliciting the payment, and one half of it was soon extorted
from him. The Subahdar, in fact, was now become the merest puppet in
their hands. They were the real lords of Bengal, and in direct receipt
of more than half the revenues. Within less than ten years from the
disgraceful bargain with the traitor Meer Jaffier, they had made
Bengal their own, though they still hesitated to avow themselves as
its sovereigns; they had got possession of Benares; they had acquired
that power over the Nabob of Oude, in consequence of the successful war
brought upon him by his alliance with the deposed nabob Meer Causim,
that would at any time make them entirely his masters; the Mogul
himself was ready and anxious to obtain their friendship; they were, in
short, become the far greatest power in India.

Here then is an opening instance of the means by which we acquired our
territories in India; and the language of Lord Clive, when he returned
thither as governor of Bengal in 1765, may shew what other scenes were
likely to ensue. “We have at last arrived at that critical period which
I have long foreseen; I mean that period which renders it necessary for
us to determine whether we can or shall take the whole to ourselves.
Jaffier Ali Khan is dead. His natural son is a minor; but I know not
whether he is yet declared successor. Sujah Dowla is beat from his
dominions. We are in possession of it; and it is scarcely hyperbole to
say—to-morrow the whole Mogul empire is in our power. The inhabitants
of the country, we know by long experience, have no attachment to any
obligation. Their forces are neither disciplined, commanded, nor paid
like ours. Can it then be doubtful that a large army of Europeans will
effectually preserve us sovereigns?”

The scene of aggression and aggrandizement here indicated, soon grew
so wide and busy, that it would far exceed the whole space of this
volume to trace even rapidly its great outlines. The Great Mogul, the
territories of Oude and Arcot, Mysore, Travancore, Benares, Tanjore,
the Mahrattas, the whole peninsula in fact, speedily felt the effect of
these views, in diplomatic or military subjection. We can point out no
fortunate exception, and must therefore content ourselves with briefly
touching upon some of the more prominent cases.

The first thing that deserves attention, is the treatment of the Mogul
himself. This is the statement of it by the French historian: “The
Mogul having been driven out of Delhi by the Pattans, by whom his son
had been set up in his room, was wandering from one province to another
in search of a place of refuge in his own territories, and requesting
succour from his own vassals, but without success. Abandoned by his
subjects, betrayed by his allies, without support and without an
army, he was allured by the power of the English, and implored their
protection. They promised to conduct him to Delhi, and re-establish
him on his throne; but they insisted that he should previously cede
to them the absolute sovereignty over Bengal. This cession was made by
an authentic act, attended by all the formalities usually practised
throughout the Mogul empire. The English, possessed of this title,
which was to give a kind of legitimacy to their usurpation, at least
in the eyes of the vulgar, soon forgot the promises they had made.
They gave the Mogul to understand, that particular circumstances
would not suffer them to be concerned in such an enterprise; but some
better opportunity was to be hoped for; and to make up for his losses,
they assigned him a pension of six millions of rupees, (262,500_l._),
with the revenue of Allahabad, and Sha Ichanabad, or Delhi, upon
which that unfortunate prince was reduced to subsist himself, in
one of the principal towns of Benares, where he had taken up his

Hastings, in fact, made it a reason for depriving him again even of
this pension, that he had sought the aid of the Mahrattas, to do
that which he had vainly hoped from the English—to restore him to
his throne. This is Mills’s relation of this fact, founded on the
fifth Parliamentary Report.—“Upon receiving from him the grant of
the duannee, or the receipt and management of the revenues of Bengal,
Bahar, and Orissa, it was agreed that, as the royal share of these
revenues, twenty-six lacs of rupees should be annually paid to him by
the Company. His having accepted of the assistance of the Mahrattas
to place him on the throne of his ancestors, was now made use of as a
reason for telling him, that the tribute of these provinces should be
paid to him no more. Of the honour, or the discredit, however, of this
transaction, the principal share belongs not to the governor, but to
the Directors themselves; who, in their letter to Bengal, of the 11th
of November 1768, had said, ‘If the emperor flings himself into the
hands of the Mahrattas, or any other power, we are disengaged from him,
_and it may open a fair opportunity of withholding_ the twenty-six lacs
we now pay him.’” Upon the whole, indeed, of the measure dealt out to
this unhappy sovereign,—depriving him of the territories of Corah
and Allahabad; depriving him of the tribute which was due to him from
these provinces of his which they possessed—the Directors bestowed
unqualified approbation; and though they condemned the use which had
been made of their troops in subduing the country of the Rohillas,
they frankly declare, “We, upon the maturest deliberation, confirm
the treaty of Benares.” “Thus,” adds Mills, “they had plundered the
unhappy emperor of twenty-six lacs per annum, and the two provinces of
Corah and Allahabad, which they had sold to the Vizir for fifty lacs of
rupees, on the plea that he had forfeited them by his alliance with the
Mahrattas;” though he was not free, if one party would not assist him
to regain his rights, to seek that assistance from another.

Passing over the crooked policy of the English, in seizing upon the
isles of Salsette and Bassein, near Bombay, and treating for them
afterwards, and all the perfidies of the war for the restoration of
Ragabah, the Peshwa of the Mahrattas, the fate of the Nabob of Arcot,
one of their earliest allies, is deserving of particular notice, as
strikingly exemplifying their policy. They began by obtaining a grant
of land in 1750, surrounding Madras. They then were only too happy to
assist the Nabob against the French. For these military aids, in which
Clive distinguished himself, the English took good care to stipulate
for their usually monstrous payments. Mahomed Ali, the nabob, soon
found that he was unable to satisfy the demands of his allies. They
urged upon him the maintenance of large bodies of troops for the
defence of his territories against these French and other enemies.
This threw him still more inextricably into debt, and therefore more
inextricably into their power. He became an unresisting tool in
their hands. In his name the most savage exactions were practised
on his subjects. The whole revenues of his kingdom, however, proved
totally inadequate to the perpetually accumulating demands upon them.
He borrowed money where he could, and at whatever interest, of the
English themselves. When this interest could not be paid, he made over
to them, under the name of _tuncaus_, the revenues of some portion
of his domains. These assignments directly decreasing his resources,
only raised the demands of his other creditors more violently, and
the fleecing of his subjects became more and more dreadful. In this
situation, he began to cast his eyes on the neighbouring states, and
to incite his allies, by the assertion of various claims upon them,
to join him in falling upon them, and thus to give him an opportunity
of paying them. This exactly suited their views. It gave them a
prospect of money, and of conquest too, under the plausible colour
of assisting their ally in urging his just claims. They first joined
him in falling on the Rajah of Tanjore, whom the Nabob claimed as a
tributary, and indebted to him in a large amount of revenue. The Rajah
was soon reduced to submission, and agreed to pay thirty lacs and
fifty thousand rupees, and to aid the Nabob in all his wars. Scarcely,
however, was this treaty signed, than they repented of it; thought they
had not got enough; hoped the Rajah would not be exact to a day in
his payment, in which case they would fall on him again for breach of
treaty. It so happened;—they rushed out of their camp, seized on part
of Vellum, and the districts of Coiladdy and Elangad, to the retention
of which the poor Rajah was obliged to submit.

This affair being so fortunately adjusted, the Nabob called on his
willing allies to attack the Marawars. They too, he said, owed him
money; and money was what the English were always in want of. They
readily assented, though they declared that they believed the Nabob to
have no real claim on the Marawars whatever. But then, they said, the
Nabob has made them his enemies, and it is necessary for his security
that they should be reduced. They did not pretend it was just—but
then, it was politic. The particulars of this war are barbarous and
disgraceful to the English. The Nabob thirsted for the destruction of
these states: he and his Christian-allies soon reduced Ramnadaporam,
the capital of the great Marawar, seized the Polygar, a minor of twelve
years old, his mother, and the Duan; they came suddenly upon the
Polygar of the lesser Marawar while he was trusting to a treaty just
made, and killed him; and pursued the inhabitants of the country with
severities that can only be represented by the language of one of the
English officers addressed to the Council. Speaking of the animosity of
the people against them, and their attacking the baggage, he says, “I
can only determine it by reprisals, which will oblige me to plunder
and burn the villages; kill every man in them; and take prisoners the
women and children. These are actions which the nature of this war will

Such were the unholy deeds into which the Nabob and the great scheme
of acquisition of territory had led our countrymen in 1773; but this
was only the beginning of these affairs. This bloody campaign ended,
and large sums of money levied, the Nabob proposed _another_ war on the
Rajah of Tanjore! There was not the remotest plea of injury from the
Rajah, or breach of treaty. He had paid the enormous sum demanded of
him before, by active levies on his subjects, and by mortgaging lands
and jewels; but the Nabob had now made him a very dangerous enemy—he
_might_ ally himself with Hyder Ali, or the French, or some power or
other—therefore it was better that he should be utterly destroyed,
and his country put into the power of the Nabob! “Never,” exclaims Mr.
Mills, “I suppose, was the resolution taken to make war upon a lawful
sovereign, with the view of reducing him entirely, that is, stripping
him of his dominions, and either putting him and his family to death,
or making them prisoners for life, upon a more accommodating reason!
We have done the Rajah great injury—we have no intention of doing him
right—this is a sufficient reason for going on to his destruction.”
But it was not only thought, but done; and this was the bargain: The
Nabob was to advance money and all due necessaries for the war, and
to pay 10,000 instead of 7,000 sepoys. The unhappy Rajah was speedily
defeated, and taken prisoner with his family; and his country put
into the hands of his mortal enemy. There were men of honour and
virtue enough amongst the Directors at home, however, to feel a proper
disgust, or at least, regard for public opinion, at these unprincipled
proceedings, and the Rajah, through the means of Lord Paget was
restored, not however without having a certain quantity of troops
quartered upon him; a yearly payment of four lacs of pagodas imposed;
and being bound not to make any treaty or assist any power without the
consent of the English. He was, in fact, put into the first stage of
that process of subjection which would, in due time, remove from him
even the shadow of independence.

Such were the measures by which the Nabob of Arcot endeavoured to
relieve himself from his embarrassments with the English; but they
would not all avail. Their demands grew faster than he could find means
to satisfy them. Their system of action was too well devised to fail
them; their victims rarely escaped from their toils: he might help
them to ruin his neighbours, but he could not escape them himself.
During his life he was surrounded by a host of cormorant creditors;
his country, harassed by perpetual exactions, rapidly declined; and
the death of his son and successor, Omdut ul Omrah, in 1801, produced
one of the strangest scenes in this strange history. The Marquis
Wellesley was then Governor-general, and, pursuing that sweeping
course which stripped away the hypocritical mask from British power in
India, threw down so many puppet princes, and displayed the English
dominion in Indostan in its gigantic nakedness. The revenues of the
Carnatic had been before taken in the hands of the English, but Lord
Wellesley resolved to depose the prince; and the manner in which this
deposition was effected, was singularly despotic and unfeeling. They
had come to the resolution to depose the Nabob, and only looked about
for some plausible pretence. This they professed to have found in a
correspondence which, by the death of Tippoo Saib, had fallen into
their hands—a correspondence between Tippoo and some officers of the
Nabob. They alleged, that this correspondence contained injurious and
even treasonable language towards the English. When, therefore, the
Nabob lay on his death-bed they surrounded his house with troops, and
immediately that the breath had departed from him they demanded to see
his will. This rude and unfeeling behaviour, so repugnant to the ideas
of every people, however savage and brutal, at a moment so solemn and
sacred to domestic sorrow, was respectfully protested against—but
in vain. The will they insisted upon seeing, and it accordingly was
put into their hands by the son of the Nabob, now about to mount the
throne himself. Finding that the son was nominated as his heir and
successor by the Nabob, the Commissioners immediately announced to
him the charge of treason against his father, and that the throne was
thereby forfeited by the family. This charge, of course, was a matter
of surprise to the family; especially when the papers said to contain
the treason were produced, and they could find in them nothing but
terms of fidelity and respect towards the English government. But the
English had resolved that the charge should be a sufficient charge, and
the young prince manfully resisting it, they then declared him to be
of illegitimate birth,—a very favourite and convenient plea with them.
On this they set him aside, and made a treaty with another prince, in
which for a certain provision the Carnatic was made over to them for
ever. The young nabob, Ali Hussein, did not long survive this scene of
indignity and arbitrary deposition—his death occurring in the spring
of the following year.

Such was the English treatment of their friend the Nabob of Arcot;—the
Nabob of Arcot, whose name was for years continually heard in England
as the powerful ally of the British, as their coadjutor against
the French, against the ambitious Hyder Ali, as their zealous and
accommodating friend on all occasions. It was in vain that either
the old Nabob, or the young one, whom they so summarily deposed,
pleaded the faith of treaties, their own hereditary right, or ancient
friendship. Arcot had served its turn; it had been the stalking-horse
to all the aggressions on other states that they needed from it,—they
had exacted all that could be exacted in the name of the Nabob from
his subjects—they had squeezed the sponge dry; and moreover the time
was now come that they could with impunity throw off the stealthy
crouching attitude of the tiger, the smiling meek mask of alliance, and
boldly seize upon undisguised sovereign powers in India. Arcot was but
one state amongst many that were now to be so treated. Benares, Oude,
Tanjore, Surat, and others found themselves in the like case.

Benares had been a tributary of Oude; but in 1764, when the English
commenced war against the Nabob of Oude, the Rajah of Benares joined
the English, and rendered them the most essential services. For these
he was taken under the English protection. At first with so much
delicacy and consideration was he treated, that a resident was not
allowed, as in the case of other tributaries, to reside in his capital,
lest in the words of the minute of the Governor-general in command
in 1775: “such resident might acquire an improper influence over the
Rajah and his country, which would in effect render him master of
both; lest it should end,” as they knew that such things as a matter
of course did end, “in reducing him to the mean and depraved state of
a mere Zemindar.” The council expressed its anxiety that the Rajah’s
independence should be in no way compromised than by the mere fact of
the payment of his tribute, which, says Mills, continued to be paid
with an exactness rarely exemplified in the history of the tributary
princes of Hindustan. But unfortunately, the Rajah gave some offence
to the powerful Warren Hastings, and there was speedily a requisition
made upon him for the maintenance of three battalions of Sepoys,
estimated at five lacs of rupees. The Rajah pleaded inability to pay it
forthwith; but five days only were given him. This was followed by a
third and fourth requisition of the same sort. Seeing how the tide was
running against him, the unhappy Rajah sent a private gift of two lacs
of rupees to Mr. Hastings,—the pretty sum of 20,000_l._, in the hope
of regaining his favour, and stopping this ruinous course of exaction.
That unprincipled man took the money, but exacted the payment of the
public demand with unabated rigour, and even fined him 10,000_l._ for
delay in payment, and ordered troops, as he had done before, to march
into his country to enforce the iniquitous exaction!

The work of diplomatic robbery on the Rajah now went on rapidly. “The
screw was now turned” with vigour,—to use a homely but expressive
phrase, the nose was held desperately to the grind-stone. No bounds
were set to the pitiless fury of spoliation, for the Governor’s revenge
had none; and besides, there was a dreadful want of money to defray
the expenses of the wars with Hyder into which the government had
plunged. “I was resolved,” says Hastings, “to draw from his guilt”
(his having offended Mr. Hastings—the guilt was all on the other
side) “the means of relief to the Company’s distresses. In a word, I
had determined to make him pay largely for his pardon, or to exact a
severe vengeance for his past delinquency.”[16] What this delinquency
could possibly be, unless it were not having sent Mr. Hastings a
_second_ present of _two lacs_, is not to be discovered; but the
success of the first placebo was not such as to elicit a second. The
Rajah, therefore, tried what effect he could produce upon the council
at large; he sent an offer of TWENTY LACS _for the public service_. It
was scornfully rejected, and a demand of FIFTY _lacs_ was made! The
impossibility of compliance with such extravagant demands was what was
anticipated; the Governor hastened to Benares, arrested the Rajah in
his own capital; set at defiance the indignation of the people at this
insult. The astounded Rajah made his escape, but only to find himself
at war with his insatiable despoilers. In vain did he propose every
means of accommodation. Nothing would now serve but his destruction.
He was attacked, and compelled to fly. Bidgegur, where, says Hastings
himself, “he had left his wife, a woman of amiable character, his
mother, all the other women of his family, and the survivors of the
family of his father, Bulwant Sing,” was obliged to capitulate; and
Hastings, in his fell and inextinguishable vengeance, even, says
Mills, “in his letters to the commanding officer, employed expressions
which implied that the plunder of these women was the due reward of
the soldiers; and which suggested one of the most dreadful outrages
to which, in the conception of the country, a human being could be

The fort was surrendered oh express stipulation for the safety, and
freedom from search, of the females; but, adds Mills, “the idea
suggested by Mr. Hastings diffused itself but too perfectly amongst the
soldiery; and when the princesses, with their relatives and attendants,
to the number of three hundred women, besides children, withdrew
from the castle, the capitulation was shamefully violated; they were
plundered of their effects, and their persons otherwise rudely and
disgracefully treated by the licentious people, and followers of the
camp.” He adds, “one is delighted for the honour of distinguished
gallantry, that in no part of the opprobrious business the commanding
officer had any share. He leaned to generosity and the protection of
the princesses from the beginning. His utmost endeavours were exerted
to restrain the outrages of the camp; and he represented them with
feeling to Mr. Hastings, who expressed his concurrence, etc.”

The only other consolation in this detestable affair is, that the
soldiers, in spite of Hastings, got the plunder of the Rajah, and that
the Court of Directors at home censured his conduct. But these are
miserable drops of satisfaction in this huge and overflowing cup of
bitterness,—of misery to trusting, friendly, and innocent people; and
of consequent infamy on the British name.

We must, out of the multitudes of such cases, confine ourselves to
one more. The atrocities just recited had put Benares into the entire
power of the English, but it had only tended to increase the pecuniary
difficulties. The soldiery had got the plunder—the expenses of the
war were added to the expenses of other wars;—some other kingdom must
be plundered, for booty must be had: so Mr. Hastings continued his
journey, and paid a visit to the Nabob of Oude. It is not necessary
to trace the complete progress of this Nabob’s friendship with the
English. It was exactly like that of the other princes just spoken of.
A treaty was made with him; and then, from time to time, the usual
exactions of money and the maintenance of troops for his own subjection
were heaped upon him. As with the Nabob of Arcot, so with him, they
were ready to sanction and assist him in his most criminal views on
his neighbours, to which his need of money drove him. He proposed to
Mr. Hastings, in 1773, to assist him in _exterminating the Rohillas_,
a people bordering on his kingdom; “a people,” says Mills, “whose
territory was, by far, the best governed part of India: the people
protected, their industry encouraged, and the country flourishing
beyond all parallel.” It was by a careful neutrality, and by these
acts, that the Rohillas sought to maintain their independence; and it
was of such a people that Hastings, sitting at table with his tool,
the Nabob of Oude, coolly heard him offer him a bribe of forty lacs
of rupees (400,000_l._) and the payment of the troops furnished, to
assist him to destroy them utterly! There does not seem to have
existed in the mind of Hastings one human feeling: a proposition which
would have covered almost any other man with unspeakable horror, was
received by him as a matter of ordinary business. “Let us see,” said
Hastings, “we have a heavy bonded debt, at one time 125 lacs of rupees.
By this a saving of near one third of our military expenses would be
effected during the period of such service; the forty lacs would be an
ample supply to our treasury; and the Vizir (the Nabob of Oude) would
be freed from a troublesome neighbour.” These are the monster’s own
words; the bargain was struck, but it was agreed to be kept secret from
the council and court of Directors. In one of Hastings’ letters still
extant, he tells the Nabob, “should the Rohillas be guilty of a breach
of their agreement (a demand of forty lacs suddenly made upon them—for
in this vile affair everything had a ruffian character—they first
demanded their money, and then murdered them), _we will thoroughly
exterminate them_, and settle your excellency in the country.”[17] The
extermination was conducted to the letter, as agreed, as far as was
in their power. The Rohillas defended themselves most gallantly; but
were overpowered,—and their chief, and upwards of a hundred thousand
people fled to the mountains. The whole country lay at the mercy of the
allies, and the British officers themselves declared that perhaps never
were the rights of conquest more savagely abused. Colonel Champion,
one of them, says in a letter of June 1774, published in the Report
alluded to below, “the inhumanity and dishonour with which the late
proprietors of this country and their families have been used, is
known all over these parts. A relation of them would swell this letter
to an enormous size. I could not help compassionating such unparalleled
misery, and my requests to the Vizir to shew lenity were frequent,
but as fruitless as even those advices which I almost hourly gave him
regarding the destruction of the villages; with respect to which he
always promised fair, but did not observe one of his promises, nor
cease to overspread the country with flames, till three days after the
fate of Hafez Rhamet was decided.” The Nabob had frankly and repeatedly
assured Hastings that his intention was to _exterminate_ the Rohillas,
and every one who bore the name of Rohilla was either butchered, or
found his safety in flight and in exile. Such were the diabolical deeds
into which our government drove the native princes by their enormous
exactions, or encouraged them in, only in the end to enslave them the

Before the connexion between the English and Oude, its revenue had
exceeded three millions sterling, and was levied without being
accused of deteriorating the country. In the year 1779, it did not
exceed one half of that sum, and in the subsequent years it fell far
below it, while the rate of taxation was increased, and the country
exhibited every mark of oppressive exaction.[18] In this year the Nabob
represented to the council the wretched condition to which he was
reduced by their exactions: that the children of the deceased Nabob
had subsisted in a very distressed manner for two years past; that the
attendants, writers, and servants, had received no pay for that period;
that his father’s private creditors were daily pressing him, and there
was not a foot of country which could be appropriated to their payment;
that the revenue was deficient fifteen lacs, (a million and a half
sterling); that the country and cultivation were abandoned; the old
chieftains and useful attendants of the court were forced to leave it;
that the Company’s troops were not only useless, but caused great loss
to the revenue and confusion in the country; and that the support of
his household, on the meanest scale, was beyond his power.

This melancholy representation produced—what?—pity, and an endeavour
to relieve the Nabob?—no, exasperation. Mr. Hastings declared that,
both it and the crisis in which it was made were equally alarming. The
only thing thought of was what was to be done if the money did not
come in? But Mr. Hastings, on his visit to the Nabob at Lucknow, made
a most lucky discovery. He found that the mother and widow of the late
Nabob were living there, and possessed of immense wealth. His rapacious
mind, bound by no human feeling or moral principle, and fertile in
schemes of acquisition, immediately conceived the felicitous design
of setting the Nabob to strip those ladies, well known to English
readers since the famous trial of Mr. Hastings, as “the Begums.” It
was agreed between the Nabob and Mr. Hastings, that his Highness
should be relieved of the expense which he was unable to bear, of the
English troops and gentlemen; and he, on his part, engaged to strip the
Begums of both their treasure and their jaghires (revenues of certain
lands), delivering to the Governor-general the proceeds. As a plea for
this most abominable transaction, in which a prince was compelled by
his cruel necessities and the grinding exactions and threats of the
English to pillage forcibly his near relatives, a tale of treason was
hatched against these poor women. When they refused to give up their
money, the chief eunuchs were put to the torture till the ladies in
compassion gave way: 550,000_l._ sterling were thus forced from them:
the torture was still continued, in hope of extracting more; the women
of the Zenana were deprived of food at various times till they were on
the point of perishing for want; and every expedient was tried that
the most devilish invention could suggest, till it was found that
they had really drawn the last doit from them. But what more than all
moves one’s indignation against this base English Inquisitor, was,
that he received as his share of these spoils the sum of ten lacs, or
100,000_l._!—and that notwithstanding the law of the Company against
the receipt of presents; its avowed distress for want of money; and
the poverty of the kingdom of Oude, which was thus plundered and
disgraced from the very inability to pay its debts, if debts such
shameful exactions can be called. Hastings did not hesitate to apprise
the council of what he had received, and requested their permission to
retain it for himself.

Of the numerous transactions of a most wicked character connected with
these affairs; of the repugnance of the Nabob to do the dirty work
of Hastings on his relatives, the Begums; of the haughty insolence
by which his tyrant compelled him to the compact; of the restoration
of the jaghires, but not the moneys to the Begums; of the misery and
desolation which forced itself even upon the horny eyes of Hastings as
he made his second progress through the territories of Oude, the work
of his own oppressions and exactions; of the twelve and a half millions
which he added by his wars and political manœuvres to the Indian
debt—we have not here room to note more than the existence of such
facts, which are well known to all the readers of Indian history, or of
the trial of Warren Hastings, where every artifice of the lawyers was
employed to prevent the evidence of these things being brought forward;
and where a House of Peers was found base or weak enough to be guided
by such artifices, to refuse the most direct evidence against the
most atrocious transactions in history; and thus to give sanction and
security to the commission of the most dreadful crimes and cruelties in
our distant colonies. Nothing could increase from this time the real
power of the English over Oude, though circumstances might occasion a
more open avowal of it. Even during the government of Lord Cornwallis
and Sir John Shore, now Lord Teignmouth, two of the most worthy and
honourable rulers that British India ever had, the miseries and
exactions continued, and the well-intentioned financial measures of
Lord Cornwallis even tended to increase them. In 1798, the governor,
Sir John Shore, proceeded to depose the ruling Nabob as illegitimate
(a plea on which the English set aside a number of Indian princes),
and elevated another in his place, and that upon evidence, says the
historian, “upon which an English court of law would not have decided
against him a question of a few pounds.”

It was not, however, till 1799, under the government of the Marquis
Wellesley, that the hand of British power was stretched to the utmost
over this devoted district. That honest and avowed usurper, who
disdained the petty acts of his predecessors, but declared that the
British dominion over the peninsula of India must be frankly avowed and
fearlessly asserted—certainly a much better doctrine than the cowardly
and hypocritical one hitherto acted upon;—that every Englishman who
did not belong to the Company must and should be expelled from that
country; and that the English power and the Corporate monopoly should
be so strenuously and unflinchingly exerted, that foreign aggression
or domestic complaint should be alike dispersed;—this straightforward
Governor-general soon drove the Nabob of Oude to such desperation, by
the severity of his measures and exactions, that he declared his wish
to abdicate. Nothing could equal the joy of the Governor-general at the
prospect of this easy acquisition of this entire territory: but that
joy was damped by discovering that the Nabob only wished to resign in
favour of—his own son! The chagrin of the Governor-general on this
discovery is not to be expressed; and the series of operations then
commenced to force the Nabob to abdicate in favour of the Company; when
that could not be effected, to compel him to sacrifice one half of his
territories to save the rest; when that sacrifice was made, to inform
him that he was to have no independent power in his remaining half—is
one of the most instructive lessons in the art of diplomatic fleecing,
of forcing a man out of his own by the forms of treaty but with the
iron-hand of irresistible power, which any despot who wishes to do a
desperate deed handsomely, and in the most approved style, can desire.
It was in vain that the Nabob declared his payment of exactions; his
hereditary right; his readiness shewn on all occasions to aid and
oblige; the force of treaties in his favour. It was in vain that he
asked to what purpose should he give up one half of his dominions if
he were not to have power over the other, when it was to secure this
independent power that he gave up that half? What are all the arguments
of right, justice, reason, or humanity, when Ahab wants the vineyard
of Naboth, and the Jezebel of political and martial power tells him
that she will give it him? The fate of Oude was predetermined, along
with that of various other states, by the Governor-general, and it was
decided as he determined it should be.

Before we close this chapter, we will give one instance of the manner
in which the territories of those who held aloof, and did not covet the
fatal friendship of the English were obtained, and the most striking of
these are the dominions of Hyder Ali—the kingdom of Mysore.

Hyder was a soldier of fortune. He had risen by an active and
enterprising disposition from the condition of a common soldier to
the head of the state. The English considered him as an ambitious,
able, and therefore very dangerous person in India. There can be no
doubt that he considered them the same. He was an adventurer; so were
they. He had acquired a great territory by means that would not bear
the strictest scrutiny; so had they;—but there was this difference
between them, Hyder acted according to the customs and maxims in which
he had been educated, and which he saw universally practised by all
the princes around him. He neither had the advantage of Christian
knowledge and principle, nor pretended to them. The English, on the
contrary, came there as merchants; they were continually instructed by
their masters at home not to commit military aggressions. They were
bound by the laws of their country not to do it. They professed to be
in possession of a far higher system of religion and morals than Hyder
and his people had. They pretended to be the disciples of the Prince of
Peace. Their magnanimous creed they declared to be, “To do to others as
they would wish to be done by.” But neither Hyder nor any other Indian
ever saw the least evidence of any such superiority of morals, or of
faith, in their conduct. They were as ambitious, and far more greedy
of money than the heathen that they pretended to despise for their
heathenism. They ought to have set a better example—but they did not.
There never was a people that grasped more convulsively at dominion, or
were less scrupulous in the means of obtaining it. They declared Hyder
cruel and perfidious. He knew them to be both. This was the ground
on which they stood. There were reasons why the English should avoid
interfering with Hyder. There were none why he should avoid encroaching
on them, for he did not profess any such grand principles of action as
they did. If they were what they pretended to be, they ought to preach
peace and union amongst the Indian princes: but union was of all things
in the world the very one which they most dreaded; for they _were not_
what they pretended to be; but sought on the divisions of the natives
to establish their own power. Had Hyder attacked them in their own
trading districts, there could have been no reason why they should not
chastise him for it. But it does not appear that he ever did attack
them at all till they fell upon him, and that with the avowed intention
to annihilate his power as dangerous. No, say they, but he attacked the
territories of our ally the Subahdar of Deccan, which we were bound to
defend. And here it is that we touch again upon that subtle policy by
which it became impossible, when they had once got a footing in the
country that, having the will and the power, they should not eventually
have the dominion. While professing to avoid conquest, we have seen
that they went on continually making conquests. But it was always on
the plea of aiding their allies. They entered knowingly into alliances
on condition of defending with arms their allies, and then, when they
committed aggressions, it was _for_ these allies. In the end the allies
were themselves swallowed up, with all the additional territories thus
gained. It was a system of fattening allies as we fatten oxen, till
they were more worthy of being devoured. They cast their subtle threads
of policy like the radiating filaments of the spider’s web, till the
remotest extremity of India could not be touched without startling
them from their concealed centre into open day, ready to run upon the
unlucky offender. It was utterly impossible, on such a system, but that
offences should come, and wo to them by whom they did come.

The English were unquestionably the aggressors in the hostilities
with Hyder. They entered into a treaty with Nizam Ali, the Subahdar
of Deccan, offensive and defensive; and the very first deed which
they were to do, was to seize the fort of Bangalore, which belonged
to Hyder. They had actually marched in 1767 into his territories,
when Hyder found means to draw the Nizam from his alliance, and in
conjunction with him fell upon them, and compelled them to fly to
Trincomalee. By this unprovoked and voluntary act they found themselves
involved at once in a war with a fierce and active enemy, who pursued
them to the very walls of Madras; scoured their country with his
cavalry; and compelled them to a dishonourable peace in 1769, by which
they bound themselves to assist _him_ too in his defensive wars! To
enter voluntarily into such conditions with such a man, betrayed no
great delicacy of moral feeling as to what wars they engaged in, or
no great honesty in their intentions as regarded the treaty itself.
They must soon either fight with some of Hyder’s numerous enemies, or
break faith with him. Accordingly the very next year the Mahrattas
invaded his territories; he called earnestly on his English allies
for aid, and aid they did not give. Hyder had now the justest reason
to term them perfidious, and to hold them in distrust. Yet, though
deeply exasperated by this treachery, he would in 1778 most willingly
have renewed his alliance with them; and the presidency of Madras
acknowledged their belief that, had not the treaty of 1769 been evaded,
Hyder would never have sought other allies than themselves.[19] There
were the strongest reasons why they should have cultivated an amicable
union with him, both to withdraw him from the French, and on account of
his own great power and revenues. But they totally neglected him, or
insulted him with words of mere cold courtesy; and a new aggression
upon the fortress of Mahé, a place tributary to Hyder, which they
attacked in order to expel the French, and which Hyder resented on the
same principle as they would resent an attack upon any tributary of
their own, well warranted the declaration of Hyder, that they “were
the most faithless and usurping of mankind.” They were these arbitrary
and impolitic deeds which brought down Hyder speedily upon them, with
an army 100,000 strong; and soon showed them Madras menaced, the
Carnatic overrun, Arcot taken, and a war of such a desperate and bloody
character raging around them, as they had never yet seen in India, and
which might probably have expelled them thence, had not death released
them in 1782 from so formidable a foe, who had been so wantonly

Tippoo Sultaun, with all his activity and cunning, had not the masterly
military genius of his father,—but he possessed all the fire of his
resentment, and it was not to be expected that, after what had passed,
there could be much interval of irritation between him and the English.
They had roused Hyder as a lion is roused from his den, and he had
made them feel his power. They would naturally look on his son with
suspicion, and Tippoo had been taught to regard them as “the most
faithless and usurping of mankind.” Whatever, therefore, may be said
for or against him, on the breaking out of the second war with him,
the original growth of hostility between the British and the Mysorean
monarchs, must be charged to the former, and in the case of the last
war, there appears to have been no real breach of treaty on the part
of Tippoo. He had been severely punished for any act of irritation
which he might have committed against any of the British allies, by
the reduction of his capital, the surrender of his sons as hostages,
and the stripping away of one half of his territories to be divided
amongst his enemies, each of whom had enriched himself with half a
million sterling of annual revenue at his expense. Tippoo must have
been nothing less than a madman in his shattered condition, and with
his past experience, to have lightly ventured on hostilities with the
English. But it was charged on him that he was seeking an alliance
with the French. What then? He had the clearest right so to do. So
long as he maintained the terms of his treaty, the English had no
just right to violate theirs towards him. The French were his ancient
and hereditary friends. Tippoo persisted to the last that he had done
nothing to warrant an attack upon him; but Lord Mornington had adopted
his notions about consolidating the British power in India, and every
possible circumstance, or suspicion of a circumstance, was to be seized
upon as a plea for carrying his plans into effect. It was enough that
a fear _might_ be entertained of Tippoo’s designs. It became good
policy to get the start; and when once that forestalling system in
hostilities, that outstripping in the race of mischief, is adopted,
there is no possible violence nor enormity which may not be undertaken,
or defended upon it. Tippoo was assailed by the British, and their
ally the Nizam; and though he again and again protested his innocence,
again and again asked for peace, he was pursued to his capital, and
killed bravely defending it. His territories were divided amongst those
who had divided the former half of them in like manner, the English,
the Nizam, and the Mahrattas, with a little state appropriated to a
puppet-rajah. Thus did the English shew what they would do to those who
dared to decline their protection. Thus did they pursue, beat down, and
destroy with all their mighty resources an independent prince, whose
whole revenue, after their first partition of his realm, did not much
exceed a million sterling. We have heard a vast deal in Europe of the
partition of Poland, but how much better was the forcible dismemberment
of Mysore? The injury of this dismemberment of his kingdom is, however,
not the least heaped upon Tippoo. On his name have been heaped all the
odious crimes that make us hate the worst of tyrants. Cruelty, perfidy,
low cunning, and all kinds of baseness, make up the idea of Tippoo
which we have derived from those who profited by his destruction. But
what say the most candid historians? “That the accounts which we have
received from our countrymen, who dreaded and feared him, are marked
with exaggeration, is proved by this circumstance, that his servants
adhered to him with a fidelity which those of few princes in any age
or country have displayed. Of his cruelty we have heard the more,
because our own countrymen were amongst the victims of it. But it is
to be observed, that unless in certain instances, the proof of which
cannot be regarded as better than doubtful, their sufferings, however
intense, were only the sufferings of a very rigorous imprisonment, of
which, considering the manner in which it is lavished upon them by
their own laws, Englishmen ought not to be very forward to complain. At
that very time, in the dungeons of Madras or Calcutta, it is probable
that unhappy sufferers were enduring calamities for debts of 100_l._,
not less atrocious than those which Tippoo, a prince born and educated
in a barbarous country, and ruling over a barbarous people, inflicted
upon imprisoned enemies, part of a nation, who, by the evils they
had brought upon him, exasperated him almost to frenzy, and whom he
regarded as the enemies both of God and man. Besides, there is among
the papers relating to the intercourse of Tippoo with the French,
a remarkable proof of his humanity, which, when these papers are
ransacked for matters to criminate him, ought not to be suppressed.
In a draught of conditions on which he desired to form a treaty with
them, these are the words of a distinct article:—‘demand that male and
female prisoners, as well English as Portuguese, who shall be taken by
the republican troops, or by mine, shall be treated with humanity; and,
with regard to their persons, that they shall (their property becoming
the right of the allies) be transported, at our joint expense, out of
India, to places far distant from the territories of the allies.’

“Another feature in the character of Tippoo was his religion, with
a sense of which his mind was most deeply impressed. He spent a
considerable part of every day in prayer. He gave to his kingdom a
particular religious title, _Cudadad_, or God-given; and he lived under
a peculiarly strong and operative conviction of the superintendence
of a Divine Providence. To one of his French advisers, who urged
him zealously to obtain the support of the Mahrattas, he replied,
‘I rely solely on Providence, expecting that I shall be alone and
unsupported; but God and my courage will accomplish everything.’...
He had the discernment to perceive, what is so generally hid from
the eyes of rulers in a more enlightened state of society, that it is
the prosperity of those who labour with their hands which constitutes
the principle and cause of the prosperity of states. He therefore
made it his business to protect them against the intermediate orders
of the community, by whom it is so difficult to prevent them from
being oppressed. His country was, accordingly, at least during the
first and better part of his reign, the best cultivated, and his
population the most flourishing, in India: while under the English and
their pageants, the population of Carnatic and Oude, hastening to the
state of deserts, was the most wretched upon the face of the earth;
and even Bengal itself, under the operations of laws ill adapted to
their circumstances, was suffering almost all the evils which the
worst of governments could inflict.... For an eastern prince he was
full of knowledge. His mind was active, acute, and ingenious. But in
the value which he set upon objects, whether as means, or as an end,
he was almost perpetually deceived. Besides, a conviction appears
to have been rooted in his mind that the English had now formed a
resolution to deprive him of his kingdom, and that it was useless
to negotiate, because no submission to which he could reconcile his
mind, would restrain them in the gratification of their ambitious

Tippoo was right. The great design of the English, from their first
secure footing in India, was to establish their control over the whole
Peninsula. The French created them the most serious alarm in the
progress of their career towards this object; and any native state
which shewed more than ordinary energy, excited a similar feeling.
For this purpose all the might of British power and policy was exerted
to expel these European rivals, and to crush such more active states.
The administration of the Marquis Wellesley was the exhibition of this
system full blown. For this, all the campaigns against Holkar and
Scindia; the wars from north to south, and from east to west of India,
were undertaken; and blood was made to flow, and debts to accumulate
to a degree most monstrous. Yet the admiration of this system of
policy in England has shewn how little human life and human welfare,
even to this day, weigh in the scale against dominion and avarice. We
hear nothing of the horrors and violence we have perpetrated, from
the first invasion of Bengal, to those of Nepaul and Burmah; we have
only eulogies on the empire achieved:—“See what a splendid empire we
have won!” True,—there is no objection to the empire, if we could
only forget the means by which it has been created. But amid all this
subtle and crooked policy—this creeping into power under the colour
of allies—this extortion and plunder of princes, under the name of
protection—this forcible subjection and expatriation of others, we
look in vain for the generous policy of the Christian merchant, and the
Christian statesman.[20]

The moderation of a Teignmouth, a Cornwallis, or a Bentinck, is deemed
mere pusillanimity. Those divine maxims of peace and union which
Christianity would disseminate amongst the natives of the countries
that we visit, are condemned as the very obstacles to the growth of our
power. When we exclaim, “what might not Englishmen have done in India
had they endeavoured to pacify and enlighten, instead of to exact and
destroy?” we are answered by a smile, which informs us that these are
but romantic notions,—that the only wisdom is to get rich!




  Rich in the gems of India’s gaudy zone,
  And plunder, piled from kingdoms not their own,
  Degenerate trade! thy minions could despise,
  The heart-born anguish of a thousand cries;
  Could lock, with impious hands their teeming store,
  While famished nations died along the shore;
  Could mock the groans of fellow-men; and bear
  The curse of kingdoms peopled with despair;
  Could stamp disgrace on man’s polluted name,
  And barter, with their gold, eternal shame.

  _Pleasures of Hope._

We have in some degree caught a glimpse of the subject of this chapter
in the course of the last. The treatment of the native chiefs in our
pursuit of territorial possession is in part the treatment of the
natives, but it is unhappily a very small part. The scene of exaction,
rapacity, and plunder which India became in our hands, and that upon
the whole body of the population, forms one of the most disgraceful
portions of human history; and while the temptations to it existed
in full force, defied all the powers of legislation, or the moral
influence of public opinion to check the evil. In vain the East India
Company itself, in vain the British Parliament legislated on the
subject; in vain did the Court of Directors from year to year, send
out the most earnest remonstrances to their servants,—the allurement
was too splendid, the opportunities too seducing, the example too
general, the security too great, to permit any one to attend to either
law, remonstrance, or the voice of humanity. The fame of India, as a
vast region of inexhaustible wealth, had resounded through the world
for ages; the most astonishing notions of it floated through Europe,
before the sea-track to it was discovered; and when that was done, the
marvellous fortunes made there by bold men, as it were in a single
day, and by a single stroke of policy, seemed more than to warrant
any previous belief. Men in power received their presents of ten,
twenty, or a hundred thousand pounds. Clive, for the assistance of the
British army, was presented with the magnificent gift of a jaghire,
or hereditary revenue of 30,000_l._ a year! On another occasion he
received his 28,000_l._, and his fellow-rulers each a similar sum.
Hastings received his twenty and his hundred thousand pounds, as
familiarly as a gold snuff-box or a piece of plate would be given as
a public testimony of respect for popular services, in England. Every
man, according to his station and his influence, found the like golden
harvest. Who could avoid being inflamed with the thirst for Indian
service?—who avoid the most exaggerated anticipations of fortune?
It was a land, and a vast land, hedged about with laws of exclusion
to all except such as went through the doors of the Company. There
were there no interlopers,—no curious, because obstructed observers.
There was but one object in going thither, and one interest when
there. It was a soil made sacred, or rather, doomed, to the exclusive
plunder of a privileged number. The highest officers in the government
had the strongest motives to corruption, and therefore could by no
possibility attempt to check the the same corruption in those below
them. When the power and influence of the Company became considerably
extended over Bengal, Bahar, Orissa, Oude, the Carnatic, and Bombay,
the harvest of presents grew into a most affluent one. Nothing was to
be expected, no chance of justice, of attention, of alleviation from
the most abominable oppression, but through the medium of presents, and
those of such amounts as fairly astonish European ears. Every man, in
every department, whether civil, military, or mercantile, was in the
certain receipt of splendid presents. When the government had found
it necessary to forbid the receipt of presents by any individual in
the service, not only for themselves, but for the Company, the highest
officers set the laws at defiance, and the mischief was made more
secret, but not less existent.

But besides presents and official incomes, there were the farming of
the revenues, and domestic trade, which opened up boundless sources
of profit. The revenues were received in each district by zemindars
from the ryots or husbandmen, and handed, after a fixed deduction, to
the chief office of the revenue. But between these zemindars and the
ryots were aumils, or other inferior officers, who farmed the revenues
in each lesser district or village; that is, contracted with the
zemindars for the revenues at a certain sum, and took the trouble of
exacting them from the ryots, who paid a rate fixed by law or ancient
custom, and could not be turned out of their lands while such rate was
regularly paid. Wherever the English obtained a claim over the revenues
of a prince, which we have seen they speedily did, they soon became the
zemindars, or their agents, the aumils, or other middlemen between them
and the ryots. Anciently, the ryots paid one tenth of their produce,
for all their taxes were paid in kind, but in time the rate grew to
more than half. When the English power became more fixed and open,
and it was found that under the native zemindars the exactions of the
revenues did not at all satisfy their demands, they took on themselves
the whole business of collecting these revenues. This, as we shall see,
on the evidence of the Company’s own officers, became a dreadful system
to the people. The Mahomedan exactions had been generally regarded more
considerate than those of the native Hindu chiefs; but the grinding
pressure of the English system brought on the unfortunate ryot the most
unexampled misery. Of this, however, anon. It only requires here to
be pointed out as one of the various sources of enormous profits and
jobbing which made India so irresistibly attractive to Englishmen.

The private trade was another grand source of revenue. The public
trade, that is, the transit of goods to and from Europe, was the
peculiar monopoly of the Company; but all coasting trade—trade to and
between the isles, and in the interior of India, became a monopoly of
the higher servants of the Company, who were at once engaged in the
Company’s concerns and their own. The monopoly of salt, opium, betel,
and other commodities became a mine of wealth. The Company’s servants
could fix the price at whatever rate they pleased, and thus enhance
it to the unfortunate people so as to occasion them the most intense
distress. Fortunes were made in a day by this monopoly, and without
the advance of a single shilling. The very Governor-general himself
engaged in this private trade; and contracts were given to favourites
on such terms, that two or three fortunes were made out of them before
they reached the merchant. In one case that came out on the trial of
Warren Hastings, a contract for opium had been given to Mr. Sullivan,
though he was going into quite a different part of India, and on public
business; this, of course, he sold again, to Mr. Benn, for 40,000_l._;
and Mr. Benn immediately sold it again for 60,000_l._, clearing
20,000_l._ by the mere passing of the contract from one hand to the
other; and the purchaser then declared that he made a large sum by it.

All these things put together, made India the theatre of sure and
splendid fortune to the adventurer, and of sore and abject misery to
the native. We have only to look about us in any part of England,
but especially in the metropolis, and within fifty miles round it,
to see what streams of wealth have flowed into this country from
India. What thousands of splendid mansions and estates are lying
in view, which, when the traveller inquires their history, have
been purchased by the gold of India. We are told that those days of
magical accumulation of wealth are over; that this great fountain of
affluence is drained comparatively dry; that fortunes are not now
readily made in India; yet the Company, though they have lost their
monopoly of trade, and their territories are laid open to the free
observation of their countrymen, are in possession of the government
with a revenue of twenty millions. But all this time, what has been
doing with and for the natives. We shall see that anon; yet it may
here be asked, What _could_ be doing? For what did men go to India?
For what did they endure its oppressive and often fatal climate? Was
it from philanthropical or personal motives? Did they seek the good
of the Indians or their own? The latter, assuredly: and it was not
to be expected that the majority of men should be so high-minded or
disinterested as to seek the good of others at the expense of their
own. The temptations to visit India were powerful, but not the less
powerful were the motives to hasten away at the very earliest possible
period. It was not to be expected from human nature that the natives
could be much thought of. What _has_ been done for them by the devoted
few, we shall recognise with delight; at present we must revert to the
evil influences of nearly two hundred years.

Amongst the first to claim our attention, are those doings in high
places which have excited so strongly the cupidity of thousands, and
especially those dazzling presents which became the direct causes of
the most violent exactions on the people, for out of them had all these
things to be drawn. The Company could, indeed, with a very bad grace,
condemn bribery in its officers, for it has always been accused of
this evil practice at home in order to obtain its exclusive privileges
from government; and so early as 1693, it appeared from parliamentary
inquiry, that its annual expenditure under the head of gifts to men
in power previous to the Revolution, seldom exceeded 1,200_l._,
but from that period to that year it had grown to nearly 90,000_l._
annually. The Duke of Leeds was impeached for a bribe of 5,000_l._,
and 10,000_l._ were even said to be traced to the king.[21] Besides
this, whenever any rival company appeared in the field, government
was tempted with the loans of enormous sums, at the lowest interest.
Like fruits were to be expected in India, and were not long wanting.
We cannot trace this subject to its own vast extent—it would require
volumes—we can only offer a few striking examples:—

None can be more remarkable than the following list, which, besides
sums that we may suppose it to have been in the power of the receivers
to conceal, and of the amount of which it is not easy to form a
conjecture, were detected and disclosed by the Committee of the House
of Commons in 1773.

The rupees are valued according to the rate of exchange of the
Company’s bills at the different periods.

  _Account of such sums as have been proved or acknowledged
  before the Committee to have been distributed by the
  Princes and other natives of Bengal, from the year 1757
  to the year 1766, both inclusive; distinguishing the
  principal times of the said distributions, and specifying
  the sums received by each person respectively_:—

  Resolution in favour of Meer Jaffier—1757.

                                            Rupees.   Rupees.       £.
  Mr. Drake (Governor)                                280,000     31,500
  Col. Clive, as second in the Select }
      Committee                       }     280,000
  Ditto, as Commander-in-Chief              200,000
  Ditto, as a private donation            1,600,000
                                          ————————— 2,080,000    234,000

  Mr. Watts, as a Member of the }
    Committee                   }           240,000
  Ditto, as a private donation              800,000
                                            ——————— 1,040,000    117,000
  Major Kilpatrick                                    240,000     27,000
  Ditto, as a private donation                        300,000     33,750
  Mr. Maningham                                       240,000     27,000
  Mr. Becher                                          240,000     27,000
  Six Members of Council, one lac each                600,000     68,000
  Mr. Walsh                                           500,000     56,250
  Mr. Scrafton                                        200,000     22,500
  Mr. Lushington                                       50,000      5,625
  Captain Grant                                       100,000     11,250
  Stipulation to the Navy and Army                               600,000
  Memorandum—the sum of two lacs to Lord
  Clive, as Commander-in-Chief, must be deducted
  from this account, it being included in
  the donation to the army                                        22,500

             Resolution in favour of Causim in 1760.

  Mr. Sumner                                                      28,000
  Mr. Holwell                                         270,000     30,937
  Mr. M’Guire                                         180,000     20,628
  Mr. Smyth                                           130,300     15,354
  Major Yorke                                         134,000     15,354
  General Caillaud                                    200,000     22,916
  Mr. Vansittart, 1762, received seven lacs, but
    the two lacs to Gen. Caillaud are included;
    so that only five lacs must be accounted for
    here                                              500,000     58,333
  Mr. M’Guire 5,000 gold morhs                         75,000      8,750

             Resolution in favour of Jaffier in 1763.

  Stipulation to the Army                           2,500,000    291,666
  Ditto to the Navy                                 1,250,000    145,833

  Major Munro, in 1764, received from Bulwant
    Sing                                                          10,000
  Ditto, from the Nabob                                            3,000
  The Officers belonging to Major Munro’s
    family from ditto                                              3,000
  The Army, from the merchants at Benares             400,000     46,666

                  Nudjeem ul Dowla’s Accession, 1765.

  Mr. Spencer                                         200,000     23,333
  Messrs. Pleydell, Burdett, and Grey, one lac each   300,000     35,000
  Mr. Johnstone                                       237,000     27,650
  Mr. Leycester                                       112,500     13,125
  Mr. Senior                                          172,500     20,125
  Mr. Middleton                                       122,500     14,291
  Mr. Gideon Johnstone                                 50,000      5,833

  General Carnac received from Bulwant Sing,
      in 1765                                          80,000      9,333
  Ditto from the king                                 200,000     23,333
  Lord Clive received from the Begum, in 1766         500,000     58,333

                     Restitution.—Jaffier, 1757.

  East India Company                                           1,200,000
  Europeans                                                      600,000
  Natives                                                        250,000
  Armenian                                                       100,000

                           Causim. 1760.

  East India Company                                              62,500

                          Jaffier. 1763.

  East India Company                                             375,000
  Europeans, Natives, etc.                                       600,000

                       Peace with Sujah Dowla.

  East India Company                                 5,000,000   583,333

  Total of Presents, £2,169,665. Restitution, etc., £3,770,833.
  Total amount, exclusive of Lord Clive’s Jaghire, £5,940,498.

These are pretty sums to have fallen into the pockets of the English,
chiefly _douceurs_, in ten years. Let the account be carried on for all
India at a similar rate for a century, and what a sum! Lord Clive’s
jaghire alone was worth 30,000_l._ per annum. And, besides this,
it appears from the above documents that he also pocketed in these
transactions 292,333_l._ No wonder at the enormous fortunes rapidly
made; at the enormous debts piled on the wretched nabobs, and the
dreadful exactions on the still more wretched people. No man could more
experimentally than Clive thus address the Directors at home, as he
did in 1765: “Upon my arrival, I am sorry to say, I found your affairs
in a condition so nearly desperate as would have alarmed any set of
men whose sense of honour and duty to their employers had not been
estranged by the too eager pursuit of their own immediate advantages.
The sudden, and among many, the unwarrantable acquisition of riches
(who was so entitled to say this?) had introduced luxury in every
shape, and in its most pernicious excess. These two enormous evils
went hand in hand together through the whole presidency, infecting
almost every member of every department. Every inferior seemed to have
grasped at wealth, that he might be enabled to assume that spirit
of profusion which was now the only distinction between him and his
superiors. Thus all distinction ceased, and every rank became, in a
manner, upon an equality. Nor was this the end of the mischief; for a
contest of such a nature amongst our servants necessarily destroyed all
proportion between their wants and the honest means of satisfying them.
In a country _where money is plenty, where fear is the principle of
government, and where your arms are ever victorious, it is no wonder
that the lust of riches should readily embrace the proffered means of
its gratification, or that the instruments of your power should avail
themselves of their authority, and proceed even to extortion in those
cases where simple corruption could not keep pace with their rapacity_.
Examples of this sort, set by superiors, could not fail being followed,
in a proportionate degree, by inferiors. The evil was contagious, and
spread among the civil and military, down to the writer, the ensign,
and the free merchant.”—Clive’s Letter to the Directors, Third Report
of Parliamentary Committee, 1772.

The Directors replied to this very letter, lamenting their conviction
of its literal truth.—“We have the strongest sense of the deplorable
state to which our affairs were on the point of being reduced, from the
corruption and rapacity of our servants, and _the universal depravity
of manners throughout the settlement_. The general relaxation of all
discipline and obedience, both military and civil, was hastily tending
to a dissolution of all government. Our letter to the Select Committee
expresses our sentiments of what has been obtained by way of donations;
and to that we must add, that we think the vast fortunes acquired in
the inland trade _have been obtained by a scene of the most tyrannic
and oppressive conduct that was ever known in any age or country_!”

But however the Directors at home might lament, they were too far
off to put an end to this “scene of the most tyrannic and oppressive
conduct that was ever known in any age or country.” This very same
grave and eloquent preacher on this oppression and corruption, Clive,
was the first to set the example of contempt of the Directors’ orders,
and commission of those evil practices. The Directors had sent out
fresh covenants to be entered into by all their servants, both civil
and military, binding them not to receive presents, nor to engage in
inland trade; but it was found that the governor had not so much as
brought the new covenants under the consideration of the council. The
receipt of presents, and the inland trade by the Company’s servants
went on with increased activity. When at length these covenants were
forwarded to the different factories and garrisons, General Carnac,
and everybody else signed them. General Carnac however delayed his
signing of them till he had time to obtain a present of two lacs of
rupees (upwards of 20,000_l._) from the reduced and impoverished
Emperor. Clive appointed a committee to inquire into these matters,
which brought to light strange scenes of rapacity, and of “threats to
extort gifts.” But what did Clive? He himself entered largely into
private trade and into a vast monopoly of salt, an article of the
most urgent necessity to the people; and this on the avowed ground of
wishing some gentlemen whom he had brought out to make a fortune. His
committee sanctioned the private trade in salt, betel-nut, and tobacco,
out of which nearly all the abuses and miseries he complained of had
grown, only confining it to the _superior servants_ of the Company:
and he himself, when the orders of the Directors were laid before
him in council, carelessly turned them aside, saying, the Directors,
when they wrote them, could not know what changes had taken place in
India. No! they did not know that he and his council were now partners
in the salt trade, and realizing a profit, including interest, of
upwards of fifty per cent.! Perhaps Clive thought he had done a great
service when he had attempted to lessen the number of harpies by
cutting off the trading of the juniors, and thus turning the tide of
gain more completely into his own pockets, and those of his fellows
of the council. It must have been a very provoking sight to one with
a development of acquisitiveness so ample as his own, to witness what
Verelst, in his “View of Bengal,” describes as then existing. “At this
time many black merchants found it expedient to purchase the name of
any young writer in the Company’s service by loans of money, and under
this sanction harassed and oppressed the natives. So plentiful a supply
was derived from this source, that many young writers were enabled to
spend 1500_l._ and 2000_l._ per annum, were clothed in fine linen,
and fared sumptuously every day.” What were the miseries and insolent
oppressions under which the millions of Bengal were made to groan by
such practices, and by the lawless violence with which the revenues
were collected about that period by the English, may be sufficiently
indicated by the following passages. Mr. Hastings, in a letter to the
President Vansittart, dated Bauglepore, April 25th, 1762, says—“I beg
to lay before you a grievance which loudly calls for redress, and will,
unless duly attended to, render ineffectual any endeavour to create a
firm and lasting harmony between the Nabobs and the Company: I mean
the oppressions committed under the sanction of the English name, and
through the want of spirit to oppose them. The evil, I am well assured,
is not confined to our dependents alone, _but is practised all over
the country, by people falsely assuming the habit of our sepoys, or
calling themselves our gomastahs_. On such occasions, the great power
of the English intimidates the people from making any resistance; so,
on the other hand, the indolence of the Bengalees, or the difficulty
of gaining access to those who might do them justice, prevents our
having knowledge of the oppressions. I have been surprised to meet with
several English flags flying in places which I have passed; and on the
river I do not believe I passed a boat without one. By whatever title
they have been assumed, I am sure their frequency can boast no good to
the Nabob’s revenues, the quiet of the country, or the honour of our
nation. A party of sepoys, who were on the march before us, afforded
sufficient proofs of the rapacious and insolent spirit of these people
when they are left to their own discretion. Many complaints against
them were made to us on the road; _and most of the petty towns and
serais were deserted at our approach, and the shops shut up, from the
apprehension of the same treatment from us_.”

Mr. Vansittart endeavoured zealously to put a stop to such abominable
practices; but what could he do? The very members of the council were
deriving vast emoluments from this state of things, and audaciously
denied its existence. Under such sanction, every inferior plunderer
set at defiance the orders of the president and the authority of the
officers appointed to prevent the commission of such oppressions on the
natives. The native collectors of the revenue, when they attempted to
levy, under the express sanction of the governor, the usual duties on
the English, were not only repelled by them, but seized and punished
as enemies of the Company and violaters of its privileges. The native
judges and magistrates were resisted in the discharge of their duties;
and even their functions usurped. Everything was in confusion, and many
of the zemindars and other collectors refused to be answerable for
the revenues. Even the nabob’s own officers were refused the liberty
to make purchases on his account. One of them, of high connexions
and influence, was seized for having purchased from the nabob some
saltpetre; the trade in which they claimed as belonging exclusively
to them. He was put in irons and sent to Calcutta, where some of the
council voted for having him publicly whipped, others desired that
his ears might be cut off, and it was all that the president could
effect to get him sent back to his own master to be punished. In Mr.
Vansittart’s own narrative, is given a letter from one officer to the
nabob, complaining that though he was furnished with instructions to
send away Europeans who were found committing disorders to Calcutta,
notwithstanding any pretence they shall make for so doing; he had used
persuasions, and conciliated, and found them of no avail. That he had
then striven by gentle means to stop their violences; upon which he
was threatened that if he interfered with them or their servants, they
would treat him in such a manner as should cause him to repent. That
all their servants had boasted publicly, that this was what would be
done to him did he presume to meddle. He adds, “Now sir, I am to inform
you what I have obstructed them in. _This place (Backergunge) was of
great trade formerly, but now brought to nothing by the following
practices._ A gentleman sends a gomastah here to buy or sell. He
immediately looks upon himself as sufficient to force every inhabitant
either to buy his goods, or to force them to sell him theirs; and
on refusal, or non-capacity, a flogging or confinement immediately
ensues. This is not sufficient even when willing; but a second force is
made use of, which is, to engross the different branches of trade to
themselves, and not to suffer any persons to buy or sell the articles
they trade in. They compel the people to buy or sell at just what rate
they please, and my interfering occasions an immediate complaint.
These, _and many other oppressions which are daily practised_, are the
reasons that this place is growing destitute of inhabitants.... Before,
justice was given in the public cutcheree, but now every gomastah is
become a judge; they even pass sentence on the zemindars themselves;
and draw money from them for pretended injuries.”

Such was the state of the country in 1762, as witnessed by Mr.
Hastings, and such it continued till Clive’s government,—Clive, who
so forcibly described it to the Directors; and what did Clive do? He
aggravated it, enriched himself enormously by the very system, and
so left it. Such it continued till Mr. Hastings,—this Mr. Hastings,
who so feelingly had written his views and abhorrence of it to the
President Vansittart, came into supreme power, and what did the wise
and benevolent Mr. Hastings? He became the Aaron’s-rod of gift-takers;
the prince of exactors, and the most unrelenting oppressor of the
natives that ever visited India, or perhaps any other country. In
the mean time this system of rapacity and extortion had reduced the
people to the most deplorable condition of poverty and wretchedness
imaginable. The monopoly of trade, and the violent abduction of all
their produce in the shape of taxes, dispirited them to the most
extreme degree, and brought on the country those famines and diseases
for which that period is so celebrated. In 1770 occurred that dreadful
famine, which has throughout Europe excited so much horror of the
English. They have been accused of having directly created it, by
buying up all the rice, and refusing to sell any of it except at the
most exorbitant price. The author of the “Short History of the English
Transactions in the East Indies,” thus boldly states the fact. Speaking
of the monopoly just alluded to, of salt, betel-nut, and tobacco, he
says, “Money in this current came but by drops. It could not quench
the thirst of those who waited in India to receive it. An expedient,
such as it was, remained to quicken it. The natives could live with
little salt, but could not want food. Some of the agents saw themselves
well situated for collecting the rice into stores; they did so. They
knew that the Gentoos would rather die than violate the principles
of their religion by eating flesh. The alternative would therefore
be between _giving what they had_, or _dying_! The inhabitants sunk.
They that cultivated the land, and saw the harvest at the disposal of
others, planted in doubt; scarcity ensued. Then the monopoly was easier
managed,—sickness ensued. In some districts, the languid living left
the bodies of their numerous dead unburied.”—p. 145.

Many and ingenious have been the attempts to remove this awful
opprobrium from our national character. It has been contended that
famines are, or were of frequent occurrence in India;—that the
natives had no providence; and that to charge the English with the
miserable consequences of this famine is unreasonable, because it was
what they could neither foresee nor prevent. Of the drought in the
previous autumn there is no doubt; but there is unhappily as little,
that the regular rapacity of the English had reduced the natives to
that condition of poverty, apathy, and despair, in which the slightest
derangement of season must superinduce famine;—that they were grown
callous to the sufferings of their victims, and were as alive to
their gain by the rising price through the scarcity, as they were in
all other cases. Their object was sudden wealth, and they cared not,
in fact, whether the natives lived or died, so that that object was
effected. This is the relation of the Abbé Raynal, a foreign historian,
and the light in which this event was beheld by foreign nations.

“It was by a drought in 1769, at the season when the rains are
expected, that there was a failure of the great harvest of 1769, and
the less harvest of 1770. It is true that the rice on the higher
grounds did not suffer greatly by this disturbance of the seasons, but
there was far from a sufficient quantity for the nourishment of all the
inhabitants of the country; add to which the English, who were engaged
beforehand to take proper care of their subsistence, as well as of
the Sepoys belonging to them, did not fail to keep locked up in their
magazines a part of the grain, though the harvest was insufficient....
This scourge did not fail to make itself felt throughout Bengal. Rice,
which is commonly sold for one sol (1/2d.) for three pounds, was
gradually raised so high as four or even six sols (3d.) for one pound;
neither, indeed, was there any to be found, except in such places where
the Europeans had taken care to collect it for their own use.

“The unhappy Indians were perishing every day by thousands under this
want of sustenance, without any means of help and without any revenue.
They were to be seen in their villages; along the public ways; in the
midst of our European colonies,—pale, meagre, emaciated, fainting,
consumed by famine—some stretched on the ground in expectation
of dying; others scarce able to drag themselves on to seek any
nourishment, and throwing themselves at the feet of the Europeans,
entreating them to take them in as their slaves.

“To this description, which makes humanity shudder, let us add other
objects, equally shocking. Let imagination enlarge upon them, if
possible. Let us represent to ourselves, infants deserted, some
expiring on the breasts of their mothers; everywhere, the dying and the
dead mingled together; on all sides, the groans of sorrow and the tears
of despair; and we shall then have some faint idea of the horrible
spectacle which Bengal presented for the space of six weeks.

“During this whole time, the Ganges was covered with carcases; the
fields and highways were choked up with them; infectious vapours filled
the air, and diseases multiplied; and one evil succeeding another,
it appeared not improbable that the plague would carry off the total
population of that unfortunate kingdom. It appears, by calculations
pretty generally acknowledged, that the famine carried off a fourth
part, that is to say—_about three millions_! What is still more
remarkable, is, that such a multitude of human creatures, amidst this
terrible distress, remained in absolute inactivity. All the Europeans,
especially the English, were possessed of magazines. These were not
touched. Private houses were so too. No revolt, no massacre, not the
least violence prevailed. The unhappy Indians, resigned to despair,
confined themselves to the request of succours they did not obtain; and
peacefully awaited the relief of death.

“Let us now represent to ourselves any part of Europe afflicted with a
similar calamity. What disorder! what fury! what atrocious acts! what
crimes would ensue! How should we have seen amongst us Europeans, some
contending for their food, dagger in hand, some pursuing, some flying,
and without remorse massacring one another! How should we have seen
men at last turn their rage on themselves; tearing and devouring their
own limbs; and, in the blindness of despair, trampling under foot all
authority, as well as every sentiment of nature and reason!

“Had it been the fate of the English to have had the like events to
dread on the part of the people of Bengal, perhaps the famine would
have been less general and less destructive. For, setting aside, as
perhaps we ought, every charge of monopoly, no one will undertake to
defend them against the reproach of negligence and insensibility. And
in what a crisis have they merited that reproach? In the very instant
of time in which the life or death of several millions of their
fellow-creatures was in their power. One would think that in such
alternative, the very love of humankind, that sentiment innate in all
hearts, might have inspired them with resources.”—i. 460-4.



“If,” says the same historian, in whose language we concluded the last
chapter, “to this picture of public oppressions we were to add that of
private extortions, we should find the agents of the Company almost
everywhere exacting their tribute with extreme rigour, and raising
contributions with the utmost cruelty. We should see them carrying
a kind of inquisition into every family, and sitting in judgment on
every fortune; robbing indiscriminately the artizan and the labourer;
imputing it often to a man, as a crime, that he is not sufficiently
rich, and punishing him accordingly. We should view them selling their
favour and their credit, as well to oppress the innocent as to oppress
the guilty. We should find, in consequence of these irregularities,
despair seizing every heart, and an universal dejection getting the
better of every mind, and uniting to put a stop to the progress and
activity of commerce, agriculture, and population.” This, which is the
language of a foreigner, was also the language of the Directors at
the same period, addressed to their servants in India. They complained
that their “orders had been disregarded; that oppression pervaded the
whole country; that youths had been suffered with impunity to exercise
sovereign jurisdiction over the natives, and to acquire rapid fortunes
by monopolizing commerce.” They ask “whether there be a thing which
had not been made a monopoly of? whether the natives are not more
than ever oppressed and wretched?” They were just then appointing
Mr. Hastings their first Governor-general, and expressed a hope that
he would “set an example of temperance, economy, and application.”
Unfortunately Mr. Hastings set an example of a very different kind. It
was almost immediately after his appointment to his high station that
he entered into that infamous bargain with the Nabob of Oude for the
extermination of the Rohillas; and during his government scarcely a
year passed without the most serious charges being preferred against
him to the supreme council, of which he himself was the head, of his
reception of presents and annuities contrary to the express injunctions
of the Company, and for the purpose of corrupt appointments. In 1775
he was charged with the receipt of 15,000 rupees, as a bribe for the
appointment of the Duan of Burdwan, or manager of the revenues; in
1776, of receiving an annual salary from the Phousdar of Hoogly of
36,000 rupees for a similar cause. About the same time it came out
too, that in 1772, that is, immediately on entering the governorship,
he received from the Munny Begum a present of one lac and a half of
rupees, for appointing her the guardian and superintendent of the
affairs of the Nabob of Bengal, a minor; and the same sum had been
received by Mr. Middleton, his agent. The council felt itself bound to
receive evidence on these charges. The Maha Rajah Nundcomar, who had
been appointed to various important offices by Mr. Hastings himself,
came forward and accused the governor of acquitting Mahmud Reza Khan,
the Naib Duan of Bengal, and Rajah Shitabroy the Naib Duan of Bahar,
of vast embezzlements in their accounts, and also offered proof of the
bribe of upwards of three and a half lacs from Munny Begum and Rajah
Gourdass. What answer did he make to these charges? He refused to enter
into them; but immediately commenced a prosecution of Nundcomar, on
a charge of conspiracy; which failing, he had him tried on a charge
of forgery, said to be committed five years before. On this he was
convicted by a jury of Englishmen, and hanged, though the crime was
not capital by the laws of his country. This was a circumstance that
cast the foulest suspicions upon him. It was said that a man standing
in the position and peculiar circumstances of the governor, accused of
the high crimes of bribery and corruption, would, had he been innocent,
have used every exertion to have saved the life of an accuser, had he
been prosecuted by others, instead of himself hastening him out of
the way; which must leave the irresistible conviction in the public
mind, of his own guilt. But on the celebrated trial of Mr. Hastings,
this was exactly the mode in which every accusation was met. When the
most celebrated men of the time had united to reiterate these and
other charges; when he stood before the House of Peers, impeached by
the Commons, instead of standing forward as a man conscious of his
innocence, and glad of the opportunity to clear his name from such foul
taint, every technical obstruction which the ingenuity of his council
could devise was thrown in the way of evidence. When the evidence of
this Rajah Nundcomar, as taken by the supreme council of Calcutta,
was tended, it was rejected because it was not given in the council
upon oath; though Mr. Hastings well knew that the Hindoos never gave
evidence upon oath, being contrary to their religion; that it was never
required,—that this very evidence had been received by the council
as legal; and that he himself had always contended during his own
government, that such evidence was legal. When a letter of Munny Begum
was presented, proving the reception of her bribe by Mr. Hastings,
that letter was not admitted because it was merely a copy, though an
attested one; the original letter itself was however produced, and
persons high in office in India at the time of the transaction, came
forward to swear to the hand and seal as those of the Begum. And what
then? the original letter itself was rejected because it made part of
the evidence before the council, which had been rejected before on
other grounds!

Such was the manner in which these and the other great charges against
this celebrated governor, which we have noticed in a former chapter,
were met. Every piece of decisive evidence against him was resisted by
every possible means: so that had he been the most innocent man alive,
the only conviction that could remain on the mind of the public must
have been that of his guilt. He had neither acted like an innocent,
high-minded man, to whom the imputation of guilt is intolerable,
himself in India, nor had his advocates in England been instructed
to do so. Evidence on every charge, of the most conclusive nature,
was offered, and resolutely rejected; and spite of all the endeavours
to clear the memory of Warren Hastings of cruelty and corruption, the
very conduct of himself and his counsel on the trial, must stamp the
accusing verdict indelibly on his name.

But his individual conduct is here of no further concern than to
shew what must have been the contagion of his example, and what the
license given by the House of Peers, by the rejection of evidence
in such a case, to all future adventurers in India. Well might
Burke exclaim, “That it held out to all future governors of Bengal
the most certain and unbounded impunity. Peculation in India would
be no longer practised, as it used to be, with caution and with
secresy. It would in future stalk abroad at noon-day, and act without
disguise; because, after such a decision as had just been made by
their lordships, there was no possibility of bringing into a court
the proofs of peculation.” And indeed every misery which the combined
evils of war, official plunder, and remorseless exaction could heap
upon the unhappy natives, seems to have reigned triumphant through
the British provinces and dependencies of India at this period. The
destructive contests with Hyder Ali, the ravages of the English and
their ally, the Nabob of Arcot, in Tanjore and the Marawars, were
necessarily productive of extreme ruin and misery. During Mr. Hastings’
government the duannee, or management of the revenues was assumed in
Bengal by the English. Reforms both in the mode of collecting the
taxes and in the administration of justice were attempted. The lands
were offered on leases of five years, and those leases put up to
auction to the best bidders. The British Parliament in 1773 appointed
a Supreme Court of Judicature, in which English judges administered
English law. But as the great end aimed at was not the relief of the
people, but the increase of the amount of taxation, these changes were
only disastrous to the natives. Native officers were in many cases
removed, and the native ryots only the more oppressed. Every change,
in fact, seemed to be tried except the simple and satisfactory one of
reducing the exactions and cultivating the blessings of peace. Ten
years after these changes had been introduced, and had been all this
time inflicting unspeakable calamities on the people, Mr. Dundas moved
inquiry into Indian affairs, and pronounced the most severe censures
on both the Indian Presidencies and the Court of Directors. He accused
the Presidencies, and that most justly, of plunging the nation into
wars for the sake of conquest, of contemning and violating treaties,
and plundering and oppressing the people of India. The Directors he
charged with blaming the misconduct of their servants only when it was
unattended with profit, and exercising a very constant forbearance as
often as it was productive of gain or territory.

Of the effects of his own military and financial changes Mr. Hastings
had a good specimen in his journey through the province of Benares
in 1784. This was only three years after he had committed the
atrocities in this province, related in a former chapter, and driven
the Rajah from his throne; and these are his own words, in a letter
to the Council, dated Lucknow, April, 1784:—“From the confines of
Buxar to Benares, I was followed and fatigued by the clamours of the
discontented inhabitants. The distresses which were produced by the
long-continued drought unavoidably tended to heighten the general
discontent: yet I have reason to fear that the cause principally
existed in a defective, if not a corrupt and oppressive administration.
From Buxar to the opposite boundary I have seen nothing but traces of
complete devastation in every village.” And what had occasioned those
devastations? The wars and the determined resolve introduced by Mr.
Hastings himself, to have the very uttermost amount that could be wrung
from the people.

For the sort of persons to whom Mr. Hastings was in the habit of
farming out the revenues of the provinces, and the motives for which
they were appointed, we must refer to particulars which came out on
his trial respecting such men as Kelleram, Govind Sing, and Deby Sing;
but nothing can give a more lively idea of the horrid treatment which
awaited the poor natives under such monsters as these collectors, than
the statements then made of the practices of the last mentioned person,
Deby or Devi Sing. This man was declared to have been placed on his
post for corrupt ends. He was a man of the most infamous character; yet
that did not prevent Mr. Hastings placing him in such a responsible
office, though he himself declared on the trial that he “so well knew
the character and abilities of Rajah Deby Sing that he could easily
conceive it was in his power both to commit great enormities and to
conceal the real grounds of them from the British collectors in the
district.”— Well, notwithstanding this opinion, the Rajah offered
a very convenient sum of money, four lacs of rupees—upwards of
40,000_l._—and he was appointed renter of the district of Dinagepore.
Complaints of his cruelties were not long in arriving at Calcutta.
Mr. Patterson, a gentleman in the Company’s service, was sent as a
commissioner to inquire into the charges against him; and the account
of them, as given by Mr. Patterson, is thus quoted by Mills, from “The
History of the Trial of Warren Hastings, Esq.”

“The poor ryots, or husbandmen, were treated in a manner that would
never gain belief if it was not attested by the records of the Company:
and Mr. Burke thought it necessary to apologize to their lordships for
the horrid relation with which he would be obliged to harrow their
feelings. The worthy Commissioner Patterson, who had authenticated
the particulars of this relation, had wished, that for the credit of
human nature, he might have drawn a veil over them; but as he had been
sent to inquire into them, he must, in the discharge of his duty state
those particulars, however shocking they were to his feelings. The
cattle and corn of the husbandmen were sold for a third of their value,
and their huts reduced to ashes! The unfortunate owners were obliged
to borrow from usurers, that they might discharge their bonds, which
had unjustly and illegally been extorted from them while they were in
confinement; and such was the determination of the infernal fiend, Devi
Sing, to have these bonds discharged, that the wretched husbandmen
were obliged to borrow money, not at twenty, or thirty, or forty, or
fifty, but at SIX HUNDRED per cent. to satisfy him! Those who could
not raise the money were most cruelly tortured. _Cords were drawn
tight round their fingers, till the flesh of the four on each hand was
actually incorporated, and became one solid mass. The fingers were then
separated again by wedges of iron and wood driven in between them!_
Others were tied, two and two, by the feet, and thrown across a wooden
bar, upon which they hung with their feet uppermost. They were then
beat on the soles of the feet till the toe-nails dropped off! They were
afterwards beat about the head till the blood gushed out at the mouth,
nose, and ears. They were also flogged upon the naked body with bamboo
canes, and prickly bushes, and above all, with some poisonous weeds,
which were of a caustic nature, and burnt at every touch. The cruelty
of the monster who had ordered all this, had contrived how to tear the
mind as well as the body. He frequently had a father and son tied naked
to one another by the feet and arms, and then flogged till the skin
was torn from the flesh; and he had the devilish satisfaction to know,
that every blow must hurt; for if one escaped the son, his sensibility
was wounded by the knowledge he had, that the blow had fallen upon his
father. The same torture was felt by the father, when he knew that
every blow that missed him had fallen upon his son.

“The treatment of the females could not be described. Dragged from the
inmost recesses of their houses, which the religion of the country
had made so many sanctuaries, they were exposed naked to public view.
The Virgins were carried to the Court of Justice, where they might
naturally have looked for protection, but they now looked for it in
vain; for in the face of the ministers of justice, in the face of the
spectators, in the face of the sun, those tender and modest virgins
were brutally violated. The only difference between their treatment
and that of their mothers was, that the former were dishonoured in the
face of day, the latter in the gloomy recesses of their dungeon. Other
females had the nipples of their breasts put in a cleft bamboo, and
torn off.” What follows is too shocking and indecent to transcribe!
It is almost impossible, in reading of these frightful and savage
enormities, to believe that we are reading of a country under the
British government, and that these unmanly deeds were perpetrated by
British agents, and for the purpose of extorting the British revenue.
Thus were these innocent and unhappy people treated, because Warren
Hastings wanted money, and sold them to a wretch whom he knew to be a
wretch, for a bribe; thus were they treated, because Devi Sing had paid
his four lacs of rupees, and must wring them again out of the miserable
ryots, though it were with their very life’s blood, and with fire and
torture before unheard of even in the long and black catalogue of
human crimes. And it should never be forgotten, that though Mr. Burke
pledged himself, if permitted, under the most awful imprecations, to
prove every word of this barbarous recital, such permission was stoutly
refused; and that, moreover, the evidence of the Commissioner Patterson
stands in the Company’s own records.

But it was not merely the commission of these outrages which the poor
inhabitants had to endure. The English courts of justice, which should
have protected them, became an additional means of torture and ruin.
The writs of the supreme court were issued at the suit of individuals
against the zemindars of the country in ordinary actions of debt.
They were dragged from their families and affairs, with the frequent
certainty of leaving them to disorder and ruin, any distance, even
as great as 500 miles, to give bail at Calcutta; a thing, which, if
they were strangers, and the sum more than trifling, it was next to
impossible they should have in their power. In default of this, they
were consigned to prison for all the many months which the delays
of English judicature might interpose between this calamitous stage
and the termination of the suit. Upon the affidavit, into the truth
of which no inquiry was made, upon the unquestioned affidavit of any
person whatsoever—a person of credibility, or directly the reverse, no
difference—the natives were seized, carried to Calcutta, and consigned
to prison, where, even when it was afterwards determined that they were
not within the jurisdiction of the court, and, of course, that they had
been unjustly persecuted, they were liable to lie for several months,
and whence they were dismissed totally without compensation. Instances
occurred, in which defendants were brought from a distance to the
Presidency, and when they declared their intention of pleading, that
is, objecting to the jurisdiction of the court, the prosecution was
dropped; but was again renewed; the defendant brought down to Calcutta,
and again upon his offering to plead, the prosecution was dropped. The
very act of being seized, was in India, the deepest disgrace, and so
degraded a man of any rank that, under the Mahomedan government, it
never was attempted but in cases of the utmost delinquency.[22]

In merely reading these cases of

  The proud man’s contumely, the oppressor’s wrong,

it is difficult to repress the burning indignation of one’s spirit.
What shame, what disgrace, that under the laws of England, and in a
country to which we owe so much wealth and power, such a system of
reckless and desperate injustice should for a long series of years
have been practising! But if it be difficult to read of it without
curses and imprecations, what must it have been to bear? How must
the wretched, hopeless, harassed, persecuted, and outraged people
have called on Brahma for that tenth Avatar which should sweep their
invincible, their iron-handed and iron-hearted oppressors, as a swarm
of locusts from their fair land! Let any one imagine what must be the
state of confusion when the zemindars, or higher collectors of the
revenues were thus plagued in the sphere of their arduous duties, and
called out of it, to the distant capital. When they were degraded in
the eyes, and removed from the presence of the ryots, what must have
been the natural consequence, but neglect and license on the part
of the ryot, only too happy to obtain a little temporary ease? But
the ryots themselves did not escape, as we have already seen. Such,
however, continued this dismal state of things to the very end of the
century. Lord Cornwallis complained in 1790, “that excepting the class
of shroffs and banyans, who reside almost entirely in great towns, the
inhabitants of these provinces were hastily advancing to a general
state of poverty and wretchedness.” Lord Cornwallis projected _his_
plans, and in 1802, Sir Henry Strachey, in answer to interrogatories
sent to the Indian judges, drew a gloomy picture of the result of
all the schemes of finance and judicature that had been adopted. He
represented that the zemindars, by the sale of their lands, in default
of the payment of their stipulated revenue, were almost universally
destroyed, or were reduced to the condition of the lowest ryots. That,
in one year (1796) nearly one tenth of all the lands in Bengal, Bahar,
and Orissa, had been advertised for sale. That in two years alone, of
the trial of the English courts, the accumulated causes threatened to
arrest the course of justice: in one single district of Burdwan more
than thirty thousand suits were before the judge; and that no candidate
for justice could expect it in the course of an ordinary life. “The
great men, formerly,” said Sir Henry, “were the Mussulman rulers, whose
places we have taken, and the Hindoo zemindars. These two classes are
now ruined and destroyed.” He adds, “exaction of revenue is now, I
presume, and, perhaps, always was, the most prevailing crime throughout
the country; and I know not how it is that extortioners appear to us
in any other light than that of the worst and most pernicious species
of robbers.” He tells us that the lands of the Mahrattas in the
neighbourhood of his district, Midnapore, were more prosperous than
ours, though they were without regular courts of justice, or police.
“Where,” says he, “no battles are fought, the ryots remain unmolested
by military exactions, and the zemindars are seldom changed, the
country was in high cultivation, and the population frequently superior
to our own.”

Such was the condition and treatment of the natives of Indostan, at the
commencement of the present century. In another chapter, on our policy
and conduct in this vast and important region—it remains only to
take a rapid glance at the effect of these two centuries of despotism
upon these subjected millions, and to inquire what we have since been
doing towards a better state of things,—more auspicious to them, and
honourable to ourselves.



  We are accustomed to govern India—a country which God
  never gave us, by means which God will never justify.

  _Lord Erskine—Speech on Stockdale’s Trial._

We have traced something of the misery which a long course of avarice
and despotism has inflicted on the natives of India, but we have not
taken into the account its moral effect upon them. Generation after
generation of Englishmen flocked over to Indostan, to gather a harvest
of wealth, and to return and enjoy it at home. Generation after
generation of Indians arose to create this wealth for their temporary
visitors, and to sink deeper and deeper themselves into poverty. Happy
had it been for them, had poverty and physical wretchedness come alone.
But the inevitable concomitant of slavery and destitution appeared
with them, and to every succeeding generation in a more appalling
form—demoralization, vast as their multitude and dreadful as their
condition. They were not more unhappy than they were degraded in
spirit and debased in feeling. Ages of virtual though not nominal
slavery, beneath Mahomedan and Christian masters, had necessarily
done their usual work on the Hindus. They had long ceased to be the
gentle, the pure-minded, the merciful Hindus. They had become cruel,
thievish, murderous, licentious, as well as blindly superstitious.
They had seen no religious purity, no moral integrity practised—how
were they to become pure and honest? They had felt only cruelty and
injustice—how were they to be anything but cruel and unjust? They
had seen from age to age, from day to day, from hour to hour, every
sacred tie of blood or honour, every moral obligation, every great and
eternal principle of human action violated around them—how were they
to reverence such things? How were they to regard them but as solemn
and unprofitable mockeries? They were accordingly corrupted into a
mean, lying, depraved, and perfidious generation—could the abject
tools of a money-scraping race of conquerors be anything else?—was
it probable? was it possible? Philosophers and poetical minds, when
such, now and then, reached India, were astonished to find, instead of
those delicate and spiritual children of Brahma, of whom they had read
such delightful accounts—a people so sordid, and in many instances so
savage and cruel. They had not calculated, as they might have done, the
certain consequences of long years of slavery’s most fatal inflictions.
What an eternal debt of generous and Christian retribution do we owe
India for all this! What, indeed, are the pangs we have occasioned,
the poverty we have created, the evils of all kinds that we have
perpetrated, to the moral degradation we have induced, and the gross
darkness, gross superstition, the gross sensuality we have thus, in
fact, fostered and perpetuated? Had we appeared in India as Christians
instead of conquerors; as just merchants instead of subtle plotters,
shunning the name of tyrants while we aimed at the most absolute
tyranny; had we been as conspicuous for our diffusion of knowledge as
for our keen, ceaseless, and insatiable gathering of coin; long ago
that work would have been done which is but now beginning, and our
power would have acquired the most profound stability in the affections
and the knowledge of the people.

At the period of which I have been speaking—the end of the last and
the opening of the present century, the character of the Hindus, as
drawn by eye witnesses of the highest authority, was most deplorable.
Even Sir William Jones, than whom there never lived a man more
enthusiastic in his admiration of the Hindu literature and antiquities,
and none more ready to see all that concerned this people in sunny
hues—even he, when he had had time to observe their character, was
compelled to express his surprise and disappointment. He speaks of
their cruelties with abhorrence: in his charge to the grand jury at
Calcutta, June 10th, 1787, he observed, “Perjury seems to be committed
by the meanest, and encouraged by some of the better sort of the
Hindus and Mussulmans with as little remorse as if it were a proof of
ingenuity, or even of merit”—that he had “no doubt that affidavits
of any imaginary fact might be purchased in the markets of Calcutta as
readily as any other article—and that, could the most binding form of
religious obligation be hit upon, there would be found few consciences
to bind.”

All the travellers and historians of the time, Orme, Buchanan,
Forster, Forbes, Scott Waring, etc., unite in bearing testimony to
their grossness, filth, and disregard of their words; their treachery,
cowardice, and thievishness; their avarice, equal to that of the
whites, and their cunning and duplicity more than European; their foul
language and quarrelsome habits—all the features of a people depraved
by hereditary oppression and moral neglect. Their horrid and barbarous
superstitions, by which thousands of victims are destroyed every
year, are now familiar to all Europe. Every particular of these evil
lineaments of character were most strikingly attested by the Indian
judges, in their answers to the circular of interrogatories put to
them in 1801, already alluded to. They all coincided in describing the
general moral character of the inhabitants as at the lowest pitch of
infamy; that very few exceptions to that character were to be found;
that there was no species of fraud or villany that the higher classes
would not be guilty of; and that, in the lower classes, were to be
added, murder, robbery, adultery, perjury, etc., on the slightest
occasion. One of them, the magistrate of Juanpore, added, “I have
observed, among the inhabitants of this country, some possessed of
abilities qualified to rise to eminence in other countries, _but a
moral, virtuous man, I have never met amongst them_.”

Mr. Grant described the Bengalese as depraved and dishonest to a degree
to which Europe could furnish no parallel; that they were “cunning,
servile, intriguing, false, and hypocritically obsequious; that
they, however, indemnified themselves for their passiveness to their
superiors by their tyranny, cruelty, and violence to those in their
power.” Amongst themselves he says, “discord, hatred, abuse, slanders,
injuries, complaints, and litigations prevail to a surprising degree.
No stranger can sit down among them without being struck with the
temper of malevolent contention and animosity as a prominent feature
in the character of the society. It is seen in every village: the
inhabitants live amongst each other in a sort of repulsive state. Nay,
it enters into almost every family: seldom is there a household without
its internal divisions and lasting enmities, most commonly, too, on the
score of interest. The women, too, partake of this spirit of discord.
Held in slavish subjection by the men, they rise in furious passions
against each other, which vent themselves in such loud, virulent, and
indecent railings, as are hardly to be heard in any other part of the
world.... Benevolence has been represented as a leading principle in
the minds of the Hindus; but those who make this assertion know little
of their character. Though a Hindu would shrink with horror from the
idea of directly slaying a cow, which is a sacred animal amongst them,
yet he who drives one in his cart, galled and excoriated as she is by
the yoke, beats her unmercifully from hour to hour, without any care or
consideration of the consequence.” Mr. Fraser Tytler, Lord Teignmouth,
Sir James Mackintosh, and others, only expand the dark features of
this melancholy picture; we need not therefore dwell largely upon it.
The French missionary, the Abbé Dubois, and Mr. Ward, the English one,
bear a like testimony. The latter, on the subject of Hindu humanity,
asks—“Are these men and women, too, who drag their dying relations to
the banks of rivers, at all seasons, day and night, and expose them to
the heat and cold in the last agonies of death, without remorse; who
assist men to commit self-murder, encouraging them to swing with hooks
in their backs, to pierce their tongues and sides—to cast themselves
on naked knives or bury themselves alive—throw themselves in rivers,
from precipices, and under the cars of their idols;—who murder their
own children—burying them alive, throwing them to the alligators, or
hanging them up alive in trees, for the ants and crows, before their
own doors, or by sacrificing them to the Ganges;—who burn alive,
amidst savage shouts, the heart-broken widow, by the hands of her own
son, and with the corpse of a deceased father;—who every year butcher
thousands of animals, at the call of superstition, covering themselves
with blood, consigning their carcases to the dogs, and carrying their
heads in triumph through the streets? are these the benignant Hindus.”

It may be said that these cruelties are the natural growth of their
superstitions. True; but, up to the period in question, who had
endeavoured to correct, or who cared for their superstitions so that
they paid their taxes? To this hour, or, at least, till but yesterday,
many of these bloody superstitions have had the actual sanction of the
British countenance! To this hour the dreadful indications of their
cruel and treacherous character, apart from their superstitions,
from time to time affright Europe. We have latterly heard much of
the horrible deeds of the Thugs and Phasingars. Where such dreadful
associations and habits are prevalent to the extent described, there
must be a most monstrous corruption of morals, shocking neglect of the
people, and consequent annihilation of everything like social security
and civilization. In what, indeed, does the practice and temper of the
Thugs differ from those of the Decoits, who abounded at the period
in question? These were gangs of robbers who associated for their
purposes, and practised by subtle subterfuge or open violence, as best
suited the occasion. They went in troops, and made a common assault on
houses and property, or dispersed themselves under various disguises,
to inveigle their victims into their power. Mr. Dowdeswell, in a report
to government, in 1809, says, “robbery, rape, and murder itself are not
the worst figures in this horrid and disgusting picture. An expedient
of common occurrence with the Decoits, merely to induce a confession
of property supposed to be concealed, is to burn the proprietor with
straws or torches until he discloses the property or perishes in the
flames.” He mentions one man who was convicted of having committed
fifteen murders in nineteen days, and adds that, “volumes might be
filled with the atrocities of the Decoits, every line of which would
make the blood run cold with horror.” He does, indeed, give some
details of them of the most amazing and harrowing description.

Sir Henry Strachey in his Report already quoted, says, “the crime of
decoity, in the district of Calcutta, has, I believe, greatly increased
since the British administration of justice. The number of convicts
confined at the six stations of this division (independent of Zillah
twenty-four pergunnahs) is about 4000. Of them _probably nine-tenths
are decoits_. Besides these, some hundreds of late years have been
transported. The number of persons convicted of decoity, however great
it may appear, is certainly small in proportion to those who are
guilty of the crime. At Midnapore I find, by the reports of the police
darogars, that in the year 1802, a period of peace and tranquillity,
they sent intelligence of no less than ninety-three robberies, most of
them, as usual, committed by large gangs. With respect to fifty-one of
these robberies, not a man was taken, and for the remaining forty-two,
very few, frequently only one or two in each gang.” Other judges
describe the extent to which decoity existed, as being much vaster than
was generally known, and calculated to excite the most general terror
throughout the country.

This is an awful picture of a people approaching to one hundred
millions, and of a great and splendid country, which has been for the
most part in our hands for more than a century. It only remains now to
inquire what has been done since the opening of the nineteenth century
for the instruction and general amelioration of the condition of this
vast multitude of human beings, and thereby for our own justification
as a Christian nation. Warren Hastings said most truly, that throwing
aside all pretences of any other kind that many were disposed to set
up, the simple truth was that “by the sword India had been acquired,
and by the sword it must be maintained.” If the forcible conquest of a
country be, therefore, a crime against the rights of nations and the
principles of religion, what retribution can we make for our national
offences, except by employing our power to make the subjected people
happy and virtuous? But if we do not even hold conquest to be a crime,
or war to be unchristian, where is the man that will not deem that
we have assumed an awful responsibility on the plainest principles
of the gospel, by taking into our hands the fate of so many millions
of human creatures, thus degraded, thus ignorant and unhappy? It is
impossible either to “do justice, to love mercy, or to walk humbly
before God,” without as zealously seeking the social and eternal
benefit of so great a people, as we have sought, and still seek, our
own advantage, in the possession of their wealth. Over this important
subject I am unfortunately bound to pass, by my circumscribed limits,
in a hasty manner. The subject would require a volume. It is with
pleasure, however, that we can point to certain great features in the
modern history of improvement in India. It is with pleasure that we can
say that some of the most barbarous rites of the Hindu superstitions
have been removed. That infanticide, and the burning of widows have
been abolished by the British influence; and that though the horrible
immolations of Juggernaut are not terminated, they are no longer so
unblushingly sanctioned, and even encouraged by British interference.
These are great steps in the right path. To Colonel Walker, and Mr.
Duncan, the governor of Bombay, immortal thanks and honour are due,
for first leading the way in this track of great reforms, by at once
discouraging, dissuading from, and finally abolishing infanticide in
Guzerat. One of the most beneficial acts of the Marquis Wellesley’s
government, was to put this horrible custom down in Saugur. How little
anything, however, but the extraction of revenue had throughout all the
course of our dominion in India been regarded till the present century,
the Christian Researches of Mr. Buchanan made manifest. The publication
of that book, coming as it did from a gentleman most friendly to our
authorities there, was the commencement of a new era in our Indian
history. It at once turned, by the strangeness of its details, the eyes
of all the religious world on our Indian territories, and excited a
feeling which more than any other cause has led to the changes which
have hitherto been effected. At that period (1806), in making a tour
through the peninsula of Indostan, he discovered that everything like
attention to the moral or religious condition of either natives or
colonists was totally neglected. That all the atrocious superstitions
of the Hindus were not merely tolerated, but even sanctioned, and some
of them patronized by our government. That though there were above
twenty English regiments in India at that time, _not one of them had a
chaplain_, (p. 80). That in Ceylon, where the Dutch had once thirty-two
Protestant churches, we had then but two English clergymen in the
whole island! (p. 93). That there were in it by computation 500,000
natives professing Christianity; who, however, “had not one complete
copy of the Scriptures in the vernacular tongue,” and consequently,
they were fast receding into paganism, (p. 95). That the very English
were more notorious for their infidelity than for anything else, and
by their presence did infinite evil to the natives. That, in that very
year, when the governor of Bombay announced to the supreme government
at Calcutta, his determination to attempt to extirpate infanticide
from Guzerat—a practice, be it remembered, which in that province
alone _destroyed annually 3000 children_![23]—this cool commercial
body warned him, not “even for the _speculative_ success of that
benevolent project, to hazard the _essential interests_ of the state!”
(p. 52). That all the horrors of burning widows were perpetrated to
the amount of from seven hundred to _one thousand_ of such diabolical
scenes annually. That the disgusting and gory worship of Juggernaut
was not merely practised, but was actually licensed and patronized by
the English government. That very year it had imposed a tax on all
pilgrims going to the temples in Orissa and Bengal, had appointed
British officers, British gentlemen to superintend the management of
this hideous worship and the receipt of its proceeds. That the internal
rites of the temple consisted in one loathsome scene of prostitution,
hired bands of women being kept for the purpose; its outward rites the
crushing of human victims under the car of the idol.

Thus the Indian government had, in fact, instead of discouraging such
practices in the natives, taken up the trade of public murderers,
and keepers of houses of ill fame, and that under the sacred name of
religious tolerance! A more awful state of things it is impossible to
conceive; nor one which more forcibly demonstrates what the whole of
this history proclaims, that there is no state of crime, corruption,
or villany, which by being familiarized to them, and coming to regard
them as customary, educated men, and men of originally good hearts and
pure consciences, will not eventually practise with composure, and even
defend as right. What defences have we not heard in England of these
very practices? It was not till recently that public opinion was able
to put down the immolation of widows,[24] nor till this very moment
that the Indian government has been shamed out of trading in murder and
prostitution in the temples of Juggernaut. Thus, for more than thirty
years has this infamous trade at Juggernaut been persisted in, from
the startling exposure of it by Buchanan, and in the face of all the
abhorrence and remonstrances of England—for more than a century and a
half it has been tolerated. The plea on which it has been defended is
that of delicacy towards the _opinions_ of the natives. That delicacy
thus delicately extended where money was to be made, has not in a
single case been practised for a single instant where our interest
prompted a different conduct. We have seized on the lands of the
natives; on their revenues; degraded their persons by the lash, or put
them to death without any scruple. But this plea has been so strongly
rebutted by one well acquainted with India, in the Oriental Herald,
that before quitting this subject it will be well to quote it here.
“The assumption that our empire is an empire of opinion in India, and
that it would be endangered by restraining the bloody and abominable
rites of the natives, is as false as the inference is unwarranted. Our
empire is _not_ an empire of opinion, it is not even an empire of law:
it has been acquired; it is still governed; and can only be retained,
unless the whole system of its government is altered, by the direct
influence of force. No portion of the country has been voluntarily
ceded, from the love borne to us by the original possessors. We
were first permitted to land on the sea coast to sell our wares, as
humble and solicitous traders, till by degrees, sometimes by force
and sometimes by fraud, we have possessed ourselves of an extent of
territory containing nearly a hundred millions of human beings. We
have put down the ancient sovereigns of the land, we have stripped the
nobles of all their power; and by continual drains on the industry
and resources of the people, we take from them all their surplus and
disposable wealth. There is not a single province of that country that
we have ever acquired but by the direct influence which our strength
and commanding influence could enforce, or by the direct agency of
warlike operations and superior skill in arms. There is not a spot
throughout the whole of this vast region whereon we rule by any other
medium than that by which we first gained our footing there—simple
force. There is not a district in which the natives would not gladly
see our places as rulers supplied by men of their own nation, faith,
and manners, so that they might have a share in their own affairs; nor
is there an individual, out of all the millions subject to our rule
in Asia, whose opinion is ever asked as to the policy or impolicy of
any law or regulation about to be made by our government, however it
may press on the interests of those subject by its operation. It is a
delusion which can never be too frequently exposed, to believe that our
empire in India is an empire of opinion, or to imagine that we have any
security for our possession of that country, except the superiority of
our means for maintaining the dominion of force.”—vol. ii. p. 174.



The preceding chapter is an awful subject of contemplation for a
Christian nation. An empire over one hundred millions acquired by
force, and held by force for the appropriation of their revenues!
Even this dominion of force is a fragile tenure. We even now watch
the approaches of the gigantic power of Russia towards these regions
with jealousy and alarm; and it is evident that at once security to
ourselves, and atonement to the natives, are only to be found in the
amelioration of their condition: in educating and Christianizing
them, and in amalgamising them with British interests and British
blood as much as possible. The throwing open of these vast regions,
by the abolition of the Company’s charter of trade, to the enterprise
and residence of our countrymen, now offers us ample means of moral
retribution; and it is with peculiar interest that we now turn to every
symptom of a better state of things.

A new impulse is given to both commerce and agriculture. The march of
improvement in the cultivation and manufacture of various productions
is begun. The growth of wheat is encouraged, and even large quantities
of fine flour imported thence into England. The indigo trade has become
amazing by the improvement in the manipulation of that article. Sugar,
coffee, opium, cotton, spices, rice, every product of this rich and
varied region, will all find a greater demand, and consequently a
greater perfection from culture, under these circumstances. There is,
in fact, no species of vegetable production which, in this glorious
country, offering in one part or another the temperature of every
known climate, may not be introduced. Such is the fertility of the
land under good management, that the natives often now make 26_l._ per
acre of their produce. The potato is becoming as much esteemed there
as it has long been in Europe and America. Tea is likely to become one
of its most important articles of native growth. Our missionaries of
various denominations—episcopalians, catholics, baptists, methodists,
moravians, etc., are zealously labouring to spread knowledge and
Christianity; and there is nothing, according to the Christian brahmin,
Rammohun Roy, which the Indian people so much desire as an English
education. Let that be given, and the fetters of caste must be broken
at once. The press, since the great struggle in which Mr. Buckingham
was driven from India for attempting its freedom, has acquired a great
degree of freedom. The natives are admitted to sit on petty juries;
slavery is abolished; and last, and best, education is now extensively
and zealously promoted. The Company was bound by the terms of its
charter in 1813 to devote 10,000_l._ annually to educating natives
in the English language and English knowledge, which, though but
a trifling sum compared with the vast population, aided by various
private schools, must have produced very beneficial effects. Bishop
Heber states that on his arrival in Bengal he found that there
were fifty thousand scholars, chiefly under the care of Protestant
missionaries. These are the means which must eventually make British
rule that blessing which it ought to have been long ago. These are the
means by which we may atone, and more than atone, for all our crimes
and our selfishness in India. But let us remember that we are—after
the despotism of two centuries, after oceans of blood shed by us, and
oceans of wealth drained by us from India, and after that blind and
callous system of exaction and European exclusion which has perpetuated
all the ignorance and all the atrocities of Hindu superstition, and
laid the burthen of them on our own shoulders—but at this moment on
the mere threshold of this better career. Let us remember that still,
at this hour, Indostan is, in fact, the IRELAND OF THE EAST! It is
a country pouring out wealth upon us, while it is swarming with a
population of one hundred millions in the lowest state of poverty and
wretchedness. It swarms with robbers and assassins of the most dreadful
description: and it is impossible that it should be otherwise. It is
said to be happy and contented under our rule; but such a happiness
as its boldest advocates occasionally give us a glimpse of, may God
soon remove from that oppressed country. Indeed, such are the features
of it, even as drawn by its eulogists, as make us wonder that such
wretchedness should exist under English sway. Our travellers describe
the mass of the labouring people as stunted in stature, especially
the women; as half famished, and with hardly a rag to their backs.
Mr. Tucker, himself a Director, and Deputy-Chairman of the Court of
Directors, asks, “Whether it be possible for them to believe that
a government, which seems disposed to appropriate a vast territory
as _universal landlord_, and to collect, not _revenue_, but _rent_,
can have any other view than to extract from the people the utmost
portion which they can pay?” and adds, that “if the deadly hand of the
tax-gatherer perpetually hover over the land, and threaten to grasp
that which is not yet called into existence, its benumbing influence
must be fatal, and the fruits of the earth will be stifled in the very

Yet this is the constant system; and the poor ryots who cultivate
farms of from six to twenty-four acres, but generally of the smaller
kind, requiring only one plough, which, with other implements and a
team of oxen, costs about 6_l._, are compelled to farm not such as
they chose, but such as are allotted to them; to pay from one-half to
two-thirds of their gross produce. If they attempt to run away from
it, they are brought back and flogged, and forced to work. If after
all, they cannot pay their quota, Sir Thomas Munro tells you, “_it must
be assessed upon the rest_.” That where a crop _even is less than the
seed_, the peasantry _should always be made to pay the full_ rent where
they can. And that all complaints on the part of the ryot, “should be
listened to with very great caution.” Is it any wonder that Indostan
is, and always has been full of robbers? Is this system not enough to
make men run off, and do anything but work thus without hope? But it
is not merely the work: look at the task-masters set over them. “A
very large proportion of the talliars,” says Sir Thomas Munro, “are
themselves thieves; all the kawilgars are themselves robbers exempting
them; and though they are now afraid to act openly, there is no doubt
that many of them still secretly follow their former practices. Many
potails and curnums also harbour thieves; so that no traveller can
pass through the ceded districts without being robbed, who does not
employ his own servants or those of the village to watch at night; and
even this precaution is often ineffectual. Many offenders are taken,
but great numbers also escape, for connivance must also be expected
among the kawilgars and the talliars, who are themselves thieves; and
the inhabitants are often backward in giving information from the
fear of _assassination_.” Colonel Stewart in 1825, asserted in his
“Considerations on the Policy of the Government of India,” that “if
we look for absolute and bodily injury produced by our misgovernment,
he did not believe that all the cruelties practised _in the lifetime_
of the worst tyrant that ever sat upon a throne, even amounted to the
quantity of human suffering inflicted by the Decoits _in one year_ in
Bengal.” The prevalence of Thugs and Phasingars does not augur much
improvement in this respect yet; nor do recent travellers induce us to
believe that the picture of popular misery given us about half a dozen
years ago by the author of “Reflections on the Present state of British
India,” is yet become untrue.

“Hitherto the poverty of the cultivating classes, men who have both
property and employment, has been alone considered; but the extreme
misery to which the immense mass of the unemployed population are
reduced, would defy the most able pen adequately to describe, or the
most fertile imagination to conceive.... On many occasions of ceremony
in families of wealthy individuals, it is customary to distribute alms
to the poor; sometimes four annas, about three-pence, and rarely more
than eight annas each. When such an occurrence is made known, the poor
assemble in astonishing numbers, and the roads are covered with them
from twenty to fifty miles in every direction. On their approaching
the place of gift, no notice is taken of them, though half famished,
and almost unable to stand, till towards the evening, when they are
called into an inclosed space, and huddled together for the night, in
such crowds, that notwithstanding their being in the open air, it is
surprising how they escape suffocation. When the individual who makes
the donation perceives that all the applicants are in the inclosure,
(by which process he guards against the possibility of any poor wretch
receiving his bounty twice), he begins to dispense his alms, either in
the night, or on the following morning, by taking the poor people, one
by one, from the place of their confinement, and driving them off as
soon as they have received their pittance. The number of people thus
accumulated, generally amounts to from twenty to fifty thousand; and
from the distance they travel, and the hardships they endure for so
inconsiderable a bounty, some idea may be formed of their destitute

“In the interior of Bengal there is a class of inhabitants who live by
catching fish in the ditches and rivulets; the men employing themselves
during the whole day, and the women travelling to the nearest city,
often a distance of fifteen miles, to sell the produce. The rate at
which these poor creatures perform their daily journey is almost
incredible, and the sum realized is so small as scarcely to afford
them the necessaries of life. In short, throughout the whole of the
provinces the crowds of poor wretches who are destitute of the means of
subsistence are beyond belief. On passing through the country, they are
seen to pick the undigested grains of food from the dung of elephants,
horses, and camels; and if they can procure a little salt, large
parties of them sally into the fields at night, and devour the green
blades of corn or rice the instant they are seen to shoot above the
surface. Such, indeed, is their wretchedness that they envy the lot of
the convicts working in chains upon the roads, and have been known to
incur the danger of criminal prosecution, in order to secure themselves
from starving by the allowance made to those who are condemned to hard

Such is the condition of these native millions, from whose country our
countrymen, flocking over there, according to the celebrated simile
of Burke, “like birds of prey and of passage, to collect wealth, have
returned with most splendid fortunes to England.” What is the avowed
slavery of some half million of negroes in the West Indies, who have
excited so much interest amongst us, to the virtual slavery of these
_hundred millions_ of Hindus in their own land? It is declared that
these poor creatures are happy under our government,—but it should be
recollected that so it has been, and is, said of the negroes; and it
should be also recollected what Sir John Malcolm said, in 1824, in a
debate at the India-house—himself a governor and a laudator of our
system, that “even the instructed classes of natives have a hostile
feeling towards us, which was not likely to decrease from the necessity
they were under of concealing it. My attention,” he said, “has been
during the last five-and-twenty years particularly directed to this
dangerous species of secret war carried on against our authority,
which is _always carried on_ by numerous though unseen hands. The
spirit is kept up by letters, by exaggerated reports, and by pretended
prophecies. When the time appears favourable from the occurrence of
misfortune to our arms, from rebellion in our provinces, or from mutiny
in our troops, circular letters and proclamations are dispersed over
the country with a celerity that is incredible. _Such documents are
read with avidity._ Their contents are in most cases the same. The
English are depicted as _usurpers_ of low caste, and as tyrants, who
have sought India only to degrade them, to rob them of their wealth,
and subvert their usages and religion. The native soldiers are always
appealed to, and the advice to them is in all instances I have met
with, the same,—‘your European tyrants are few in number—_murder

How far are these evils diminished since the last great political
change in India—since the abolition of the Company’s charter, and
they became, not the commercial monopolists, but the governors of
India? Dr. Spry, of the Bengal Medical Staff, can answer that in
his “Modern India,” published in 1837. The worthy doctor describes
himself as a short time ago (1833) being on an expedition to reduce
some insurrectionary Coles in the provinces of Benares and Dinapore.
“Next morning,” he says, “Feb. 9th, we went out in three parties to
burn and destroy villages! Good fun, burning villages!” The mode of
expression would lead one to suppose that the doctor extremely enjoyed
“the good fun of burning villages;” but the general spirit of his work
being sensible and humane, we are bound to suppose that his expressions
and his notes of admiration are ironical, and meant to indicate the
abhorrence such acts deserves; for he immediately tells us that these
Coles seemed very inoffensive sort of people, and laid down their arms
in large numbers the moment they were invited to do so.

Dr. Spry tells us that the Anglo-Indian government, in 1836, had come
to the admirable resolution to make the English language the vernacular
tongue throughout Indostan. That would be, in effect, to make it
entirely an English land—to leaven it rapidly, and for ever, with the
spirit, the laws, the literature, and the religion of England. It is
impossible to make the English language the vernacular tongue, without
at the same time producing the most astonishing moral revolution which
ever yet was witnessed on the earth. English ideas, English tastes,
English literature and religion, must follow as a matter of course.
It is curious, indeed, already to hear of the instructed natives of
Indostan holding literary and philosophical meetings in English forms,
debating questions of morals and polite letters, and adducing the
opinions of Milton, Shakspeare, Newton, Locke, etc. Dr. Spry states
that the Committee of Public Instruction are about to establish schools
for educating the natives in English, at Patnah, Dacca, Hazeeribagh,
Gohawati, and other places; and that the native princes in Nepaul,
Manipúr, Rajpootanah, the Punjaub, etc. were receiving instruction in
English, and desirous to promote it in their territories. This is most
encouraging; but Dr. Spry gives us other facts of a less agreeable
nature. From these we learn that the ancient canker of India, excessive
and unremitting exaction, is at this moment eating into the very
vitals of the country as actively as ever. He says that “it is in the
territories of the independent native chiefs and princes that great and
useful works are found, and maintained. In our territories, the canals,
bridges, reservoirs, wells, groves, temples, and caravansaries, the
works of our predecessors, from revenues expressly appropriated to such
undertakings, are going fast to decay, together with the feelings which
originated them; and unless a new and more enlightened policy shall be
followed, of which the dawn may, perhaps, be distinguished, will soon
leave not a trace behind. A persistence for a short time longer in our
selfish administration will level the face of the country, as it has
levelled the ranks of society, and leave a plain surface for wiser
statesmen to act on.

“At present, the aspect of society presents no middle class, and the
aspect of the country is losing all those great works of ornament and
utility with which we found it adorned. Great families are levelled,
and lost in the crowd; and great cities have dwindled into farm
villages. The work of destruction is still going on; and unless we
act on new principles will proceed with desolating rapidity. How
many thousand links by which the affections of the people are united
to the soil, and to their government, are every year broken and
destroyed by our selfishness and ignorance; and yet, if our views in
the country extended beyond the returns of a single harvest, beyond
the march of a single detachment, or the journey of a single day, we
could not be so blind to their utility and advantage.” He adds: “By
our revenue management we have shaken the entire confidence of the
rural population, who now no longer lay out their little capital in
village improvement, lest our revenue officers, at the expiration of
their leases, should take advantage of their labours, and impose an
additional rent.... With regard to Hindustan, those natives who are
unfriendly to us _might with justice declare our conduct to be more
allied to Vandalism than to civilization_.... Burke’s severe rebuke
still holds good,—that if the English were driven from India, they
would leave behind them no memorial worthy of a great and enlightened
nation; no monument of art, science, or beneficence; no vestige of
their having occupied and ruled over the country, except such traces
as the vulture and the tiger leave behind them.”—pp. 10-18. He tells
us that a municipal tax was imposed under pretence of improving and
beautifying the towns, but that the improvements very soon stopped,
while the tax is still industriously collected. In the appendix to his
first volume, we find detailed all the miseries of the ryots as we have
just reviewed them; and he tells us that of this outraged class are
_eleven-twelfths of the population_! and quotes the following sentence
from “The Friend of India.” “A proposal was some time since made, or
rather a wish expressed, to domesticate the art of caricaturing in
India. Here is a fine subject. The artist should first draw the lean
and emaciated ryot, scratching the earth at the tail of a plough drawn
by two half-starved, bare-ribbed bullocks. Upon his back he would place
the more robust Seeputneedar, and upon his shoulders the Durputneedar;
he, again, should sustain the well-fed Putneedar; and, seated upon his
shoulders should be represented, to crown the scene, the big zemindar,
that compound of milk, sugar, and clarified butter.... The poor ryot
pays for all! He is drained by these middle-men; he is cheated by his
banker out of twenty-four per cent. at least; and his condition is
beyond description or imagination.”

Dr. Spry attests the present continuance of those scenes of destitution
and abject wretchedness which I have but a few pages back alluded to.
He has seen the miserable creatures picking up the grains of corn from
the soil of the roads. “I have seen,” says he, “hundreds of famishing
poor, traversing the jungles of Bundlecund, searching for wild berries
to satisfy the cravings of hunger. Many, worn down by exhaustion
or disease, die by the road-side, while mothers, to preserve their
offspring from starvation, sell or give them to any rich man they can
meet!” He himself, in 1834, was offered by such a mother her daughter
of six years old for fourteen shillings!—vol. i. 297.

These are the scenes and transactions in our great Indian empire—that
splendid empire which has poured out such floods of wealth into this
country; in which such princely presents of diamonds and gold have been
heaped on our adventurers; from the gleanings of which so many happy
families in England[25] “live at home at ease,” and in the enjoyment
of every earthly luxury and refinement. For every palace built by
returned Indian nabobs in England; for every investment by fortunate
adventurers in India stock; for every cup of wine and delicious viand
tasted by the families of Indian growth amongst us, how many of these
Indians themselves are now picking berries in the wild jungles,
sweltering at the thankless plough only to suffer fresh extortions, or
snatching with the bony fingers of famine, the bloated grains from the
manure of the high-ways of their native country!

I wonder whether the happy and fortunate—made happy and fortunate by
the wealth of India, ever think of these things?—whether the idea
ever comes across them in the luxurious carriage, or at the table
crowded with the luxuries of all climates?—whether they glance in
a sudden imagination from the silken splendour of their own abodes,
to the hot highways and the pestilential jungles of India, and see
those naked, squalid, famishing, and neglected creatures, thronging
from vast distances to the rich man’s dole, or feeding on the more
loathsome dole of the roads? It is impossible that a more strange
antithesis can be pointed out in human affairs. We turn from it with
even a convulsive joy, to grasp at the prospects of education in that
singular country. Let the people be educated, and they will soon cease
to permit oppression. Let the English engage themselves in educating
them, and they will soon feel all the sympathies of nature awaken in
their hearts towards these unhappy natives. In the meantime these are
all the features of a country suffering under the evils of a long and
grievous thraldom. They are the growth of ages, and are not to be
removed but by a zealous and unwearying course of atoning justice.
Spite of all flattering representations to the contrary, the British
public should keep its eye fixed steadily on India, assuring itself
that a debt of vast retribution is their due from us; and that we have
only to meet the desire now anxiously manifested by the natives for
education, to enable us to expiate towards the children all the wrongs
and degradations heaped for centuries on the fathers; and to fix our
name, our laws, our language and religion, as widely and beneficently
there as in the New World!



We may dismiss the French in a few pages, merely because they are
only so much like their neighbours. It would have been a glorious
circumstance to have been able to present them as an exception; but
while they have shown as little regard to the rights or feelings
of the people whose lands they have invaded for the purpose of
colonization, they seem to have been on the whole more commonplace in
their cruelties. In Guiana they drove back the Indians as the Dutch
and the Portuguese did in their adjoining settlements. In the West
Indies, they exterminated or enslaved the natives very much as other
Europeans did. They were as assiduous as any people in massacring the
Charaibs, and they suffered perhaps more than any other nation from
the Charaibs in return. Their historian, Du Tertre, describes them as
returning from a slaughtering expedition in St. Christopher’s “_bien
joyeux_;” so that it would appear as though they executed the customary
murders of the time, with their accustomed gaiety. In the Mauritius
they found nobody to kill. In Madagascar, they alternately massacred
and were massacred themselves, and finally driven out of of the
country by the exasperated natives for their cruelties. If they made
themselves masters of countries of equal importance with the Spaniards,
Portuguese, English, or even the Dutch, they had not the art to make
them so, for if we include Louisiana, Canada, Newfoundland, Nova
Scotia, Cape Breton, Madagascar, Mauritius, Guiana, various West Indian
islands and settlements on the Indian and African coasts, the amount of
territory is vast. The value of it to them, however, at no time, was
ever proportionate in the least degree to the extent; and no European
nation has been so unfortunate in the loss of colonies. Their attempt
to possess themselves of Florida was abortive, but it was attended by a
circumstance which deserves recording.

The Spaniards hearing that some Frenchmen had made a settlement in
Florida about 1566, a fleet sailed thither, and discovered them at Fort
Carolina. They attacked them, massacred the majority, and hanged the
rest upon a tree, with this inscription,—“_Not as Frenchmen, but as
heretics_.” They were Huguenots. Dominic de Gourgues, a Gascon of the
same faith, a skilful and intrepid seaman, an enemy to the Spaniards,
from whom he had received personal injuries, passionately fond of his
country, of hazardous expeditions, and of glory, sold his estate,
built some ships, and with a select band of his own stamp, embarked
for Florida. He found, attacked, and defeated the Spaniards. All that
he could catch he hung upon trees, with this inscription,—“_Not as
Spaniards, but as assassins_;”—a sentence which, had it been executed
with equal justice on all who deserved it in that day, would have
half depopulated Europe; for almost every man who went abroad was an
assassin; and the rest who stayed at home applauded, and therefore
abetted. Having thus satisfied his indignant sense of justice, de
Gourgues returned home, and the French abandoned the country.

The French seemed to take the firmest hold on Canada; but their
powerful neighbours, the English, took even that from them, as they
had done their Acadia (Nova Scotia), Hudson’s Bay, Newfoundland, Cape
Breton, and the Island of St. John.

In all these settlements, they treated the Indians just as creatures
that might be spared or destroyed,—driven out or not, as it best
suited themselves. Francis I. invaded the papal charter to Spain and
Portugal of all the New World, with an expression very characteristic
of him. “_What! shall the kings of Spain and Portugal quietly divide
all America between them, without suffering me to take a share as their
brother? I would fain see the article of Adam’s will that bequeaths
that vast inheritance to them!_” But he did not seem to suspect for
a moment, that if Adam’s will could be found, the most conspicuous
clause in it would have been that the earth should be fairly divided
amongst his children; and that one family should not covet the heritage
of another, much less that Cain should be always murdering Abel.
Accordingly, Samuel de Champlain, whose name has been given to Lake
Champlain, had scarcely laid the foundations of Quebec, the future
capital of Canada, than the subjects of Francis began to violate every
clause which could possibly have been in Adam’s will. Champlain found
the Indians divided amongst themselves, and he adopted the policy
since employed by the English in the East with so much greater success,
not exactly that recommended by the apostle, to live in peace with all
men, as far as in you lies, but to set your neighbours by the ears, so
that you may take the advantage of their quarrels and disasters.

One of the greatest curses which befel the North American Indians on
the invasion of the Europeans, was, that several of these _refined_
and _Christian_ nations came and took possession of neighbouring
regions. Being indeed so refined and Christian, one might naturally
have supposed that this would prove a happy circumstance for the
savages. One would have supposed that thus surrounded on all sides, as
it were, by the light of civilization and the virtue of Christianity,
nothing could possibly prevent the savages from becoming civilized and
Christian too. One would have supposed that such miserable, cruel,
and dishonest savages, seeing whichever way they turned, nothing but
images of peace, wisdom, integrity, self-denial, generosity, and
domestic happiness, would have become speedily and heartily ashamed
of themselves. That they would have been fairly overwhelmed with the
flood of radiance covering those nations which had been for so many
ages in the possession of Christianity. That they would have been
penetrated through and through with the benevolence and goodness, the
sublime graces, and winning sweetness of so favoured and regenerated
a race! Nothing of the sort, however, took place. The savages looked
about them, and saw people more powerful, indeed, but in spirit and
practice ten times more savage than themselves. What a precious crew
of hypocrites must they have regarded these white invaders when they
heard them begin to talk of their superior virtue, and to call them
barbarians! There were the French in Canada, Nova Scotia, and other
settlements; there were the Dutch in their Nova Belgia, and the English
in Massachusets, all regarding each other with the most deadly hatred,
and all rampant to wrest, either from the Indians, or from one another,
the very ground that each other stood upon.

The people brought with them from Europe, crimes and abominations
that the Indians never knew. The Indians never fought for conquest,
but to defend their hunting grounds—lands which their ancestors had
inhabited for generations, and which they firmly believed were given
to them by the Great Spirit; but these white invaders had a boundless
and quenchless thirst for every region that they could set their eyes
upon. They claimed it by pretences, of which the simple Indians could
neither make head nor tail—they talked of popes and kings on the
other side of the water as having given them the Indians’ countries,
and the Indians could not conceive what business these kings and popes
had with them. But the whites had arguments which they _could not_
withstand—_gunpowder and rum_! They forced a footing in the Indian
countries, and then they gave them rum to take away their brains, that
they might take away first their peltries, and then more land. There
is nothing in history more horrible than the conduct to which the
Dutch, French and English resorted in their rivalries in the north-east
of America. Each party subdued the tribes of Indians in their own
immediate neighbourhood, by force and fraud, and then employed them
against the Indians who were in alliance with their rivals. Instead
of mutually, as Christians should, inculcating upon them the beauty
and the duty, and the advantages of peace, they instigated them, by
every possible means, and by the most devilish arguments, to betray and
exterminate one another, and not only one another, but to betray and
exterminate, if possible, their white rivals. They made them furious
with rum, and put fire-arms into their hands, and hounded them on
one another with a demoniac glee. They took credit to themselves for
inducing the Indians to _scalp_ one another! They gave them a premium
upon these horrible outrages, and we shall see that even the Puritans
of New England gave at length so much as 1000_l._ for every Indian
scalp that could be brought to them! They excited these poor Indians
by the most diabolical means, and by taking advantage of their weak
side, the proneness to vengeance, to acts of the most atrocious nature,
and then they branded them, when it was convenient, as most fearful
and bloody savages, and on that plea drove them out of their rightful
possessions, or butchered them upon them.

I am not talking of imaginary horrors—I am speaking with all the
soberness which the contemplation of such things will permit—of a
deliberate system of policy pursued by the French, Dutch, and English,
in these regions for a full century, and which eventually terminated in
the destruction of the greater part of these Indian nations, and in the
expulsion of the remainder. We shall see that even the English urged
their allies—the Five Nations—continually to attack and murder the
French and their Indian allies; and in all their wars with the French
in Canada, hired, or bribed, or compelled these savages to accompany
them, and commit the very devastations for which they afterwards
upbraided them, and which they made a plea for their extirpation.
But of that anon; my present business is with the French; and though
the facts which I have now to relate regard their conduct rather in
our colonies than their own, yet they cannot be properly introduced
anywhere else; and they could not have been introduced impartially here
without these few preliminary observations.

The French were soon stripped of their other settlements in this
quarter by the English. It was from Canada that they continued to
annoy their rivals of New York and New England, till finally driven
thence by the victory of Wolfe at Quebec; and it was principally on the
northern side of the St. Lawrence that their territory lay. On that
side, the great tribe of the Adirondacks, or, as they termed them, the
Algonquins, lay, and became their allies; with tribes of inferior note.
On the south side lay the great nation of the Iroquois, so termed by
them; or “The Five Nations of United Indians,” as they were called by
the English. These were very warlike nations—the Mohawks, Oneidas,
Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senekas—whose territories extended along the
south-eastern side of the St. Lawrence, into the present States of
Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and New
Hampshire—a country eighty leagues in length, and more than forty

To drive out these nations, so as to deprive them of any share in the
profitable fur trade which the Algonquins carried on for them, and to
get possession of so fine a country, Champlain readily accompanied
the Algonquins in an expedition of extermination against them. The
Algonquins knew all the intricacies of the woods, and all the modes and
stratagems of Indian warfare; and, aided by the arms and ammunition of
the French, they would soon have accomplished Champlain’s desire of
exterminating the Iroquois, had not the Dutch, then the possessors of
New York, furnished the Iroquois also with arms and ammunition, for it
was not to their interest that these five nations, who brought their
furs to them, should be reduced.

In 1664 the English dispossessed the Dutch of their Nova Belgia, and
turned it into New York; and began to trade actively with the Indian
nations for their furs. The French, who had hoped to monopolise this
trade, which they had found very profitable, by exterminating the
Iroquois, and throwing the whole hunting business into the hands
of tribes in their alliance, now saw the impolicy of having vainly
attacked so powerful a race as that of the Iroquois, or Five Nations.
They now used every means to reconcile them, and win them over. They
sent Jesuit missionaries, who lived in the simplest manner amongst
them, and with their powers of insinuation and persuasion laboured
to give them favourable ideas of their nation. But the English were
as zealous in their endeavours, and, as might naturally be expected,
succeeded in engrossing all the fur trade with the Iroquois, who had
received so many injuries from the French.[26] Irritated by this
circumstance, the French again determined on the ferocious scheme of
exterminating the Iroquois. Nursing this horrible resolve, they waited
their opportunity, and put upon themselves a desperate restraint,
till they should have collected a force in the colony equal to the
entire annihilation of the Iroquois people. This time seemed to
have arrived in 1687, when, under Denonville, they had a population
of 11,249 persons, one third of whom were capable of bearing arms.
Having a disposable force of near 4,000 people, they were secure in
their own mind of the accomplishment of their object; but, to make
assurance doubly sure, they hit upon one of those schemes that have
been so much applauded through all Christian Europe, under the name of
“happy devices,”—“profound strokes of policy,”—“chefs d’œuvres of
statesmanship,”—that is, in plain terms, plans of the most wretched
deceit, generally for the compassing of some piece of diabolical
butchery or oppression. The “happy device,” in this instance, was to
profess a desire for peace and alliance, in order to get the most
able Indian chiefs into their power before they struck the decisive
blow. There was a Jesuit missionary residing amongst the Iroquois—the
worthy Lamberville. This good man, like his brethren in the South,
whose glorious labours and melancholy fate we have already traced,
had won the confidence of the Iroquois by his unaffected piety, his
constant kindness, and his skill in healing their differences and their
bodily ailments. They looked upon him as a father and a friend. The
French, on their part, regarded this as a fortunate circumstance,—not
as one might have imagined, because it gave them a powerful means of
reconciliation and alliance with this people, but because it gave them
a means of effecting their murderous scheme. They assured Lamberville
that they were anxious to effect a _lasting peace_ with the Iroquois,
for which purpose they begged him to prevail on them to send their
principal chiefs to meet them in conference. He found no difficulty
in doing this, such was their faith in him. The chiefs appeared, and
were immediately clapped in irons, embarked at Quebec, and sent to the

I suppose there are yet men calling themselves Christians, and priding
themselves on the depth of their policy, that will exclaim—“Oh,
capital!—what a happy device!” But who that has a head or a heart
worthy of a man will not mark with admiration the conduct of the
Iroquois on this occasion. As soon as the news of this abominable
treachery reached the nation, it rose as one man, to revenge the
insult and to prevent the success of that scheme which now became too
apparent. In the first place they sent for Lamberville, who had been
the instrument of their betrayal, and—put him to death! No, they did
_not_ put him to death. That was what the _Christians_ would have done,
without any inquiry or any listening to his defence. The _savage_
Iroquois thus addressed him—“We are authorised by every motive to
treat you as an enemy; but we cannot resolve to do it. Your heart has
had no share in the insult that has been put upon us; and it would be
unjust to punish you for a crime you detest still more than ourselves.
But you must leave us. Our rash young men might consider you in the
light of a traitor, who delivered up the chiefs of our nation to
shameful slavery.” These savages, whom Europeans have always termed
Barbarians, gave the Missionary guides, who conducted him to a place of
safety, and then flew to arms.[27]

The wretched Denonville and his politic people soon found themselves in
a situation which they richly merited. They had a numerous and warlike
nation thus driven to the highest pitch of irritation, surrounding them
in the woods. On the borders of the lakes, or in the open country, the
French could and did carry devastation amongst the Iroquois; but on the
other hand the Indians, continually sallying from the forests, laid
waste the French settlements, destroyed the crops of the planters, and
drove them from their fields. The French became heartily sick of the
war they had thus wickedly raised, and were on the point of putting an
end to it when one of their own Indian allies, a Huron, called by the
English authors Adario, but by the French Le Rat, one of the bravest
and most intelligent chiefs that ever ranged the wilds of America,
prevented it by a stratagem as cunning, and more successful, than their
own. He delivered an Iroquois prisoner with some story of an aggravated
nature to the French commandant of the fort of Machillimakinac, who,
not aware of Denonville being in treaty with the Iroquois, put him to
death, and thus roused again all the ancient flame.

In this war, such were the barbarities of the French and their Indian
allies, that they roused a spirit of revenge that soon brought the
most cruel evils upon themselves. They laid waste the villages of the
Five Nations with fire. Near Cadarakui Fort, they surprised and put to
death the inhabitants of two villages who had settled there at their
own invitation, and on their faith, but whom they now feared might act
as spies against them. Many of these people were given up to a body of
the Canadian Indians, called _Praying_ or _Christian_ Indians, to be
tormented at the stake. In another village finding only two old men,
they were cut to pieces, and put into the war kettle for the _Praying
Indians_ to feast on.[28] To revenge these unheard of abominations,
the Five Nations carried a war of retaliation into Canada. They came
suddenly in July of the next year, 1688, upon Montreal, 1200 strong,
while Denonville and his lady were there; burnt and laid waste all the
plantations round it, and made a terrible massacre of men, women, and
children. Above a thousand French are said to have been killed on this
occasion, and twenty-six taken, most of whom were burnt alive. In the
autumn they returned, and carried fire and tomahawk through the island;
and had they known how to take fortified places would have driven the
French entirely out of Canada. As it was, they reduced them to the most
frightful state of distress.

To such a pitch of fury did the French rise against the Five Nations
through the sufferings which they received at their hands, that they
now seemed to have lost the very natures of men. It is to the eternal
disgrace of both French and English that they instigated and bribed the
Indians to massacre and scalp their enemies—but it seems to be the
peculiar infamy of the French to have imitated the Indians in their
most barbarous customs, and have even prided themselves on displaying
a higher refinement in cruelty than the savages themselves. The New
Englanders, indeed, are distinctly stated by Douglass, to have handed
over their Indian prisoners to be tormented by their Naraganset allies,
but with the French this savage practice seems to have been frequent.
I have just noticed a few instances of such inhuman conduct; but the
old governor, Frontenac, stands pre-eminent above all his nation for
such deeds. From 1691 to 1695, nothing was more common than for his
Indian prisoners to be given up to his Indian allies to be tormented.
One of the most horrible of these scenes on record was perpetrated
under his own eye at Montreal in 1691. The intendant’s lady, the
Jesuits, and many influential people used all possible intreaties to
save the prisoner from such a death, but in vain. He was given up to
the _Christian_ Indians of _Loretto_, and tormented in such a manner
as none but a fiend could tolerate.[29] There was only one step beyond
this, and that was for the French to enact the torturers themselves.
That step was reached in 1695, at Machilimakinak Fort; and whoever has
not strong nerves had better pass the following relation, which yet
seems requisite to be given if we are to understand the full extent of
the inflictions the American Indians have received from Europeans.

The successes of the Iroquois had driven the French to madness—and the
prisoner was an Iroquois. “The prisoner being made fast to a stake,
so as to have room to move round it, a _Frenchman_ began the horrid
tragedy by broiling the flesh of the prisoner’s legs, from his toes to
his knees, with the red-hot barrel of a gun. His example was followed
by an _Utawawa_, and they relieved one another as they grew tired. The
prisoner all this while continued his death-song, till they clapped a
red-hot frying-pan on his buttocks, when he cried out ‘Fire is strong,
and too powerful.’ Then all their Indians mocked him as wanting courage
and resolution. ‘You,’ they said, ‘a soldier and a captain, as you say,
and afraid of fire:—you are not a man.’”

They continued their torments for two hours without ceasing. An
_Utawawa_, being desirous to outdo the _French_ in their refined
cruelty, split a furrow from the prisoner’s shoulder to his garter,
and, filling it with gunpowder, set fire to it. This gave him exquisite
pain, and raised excessive laughter in his tormentors. When they found
his throat so much parched that he was no longer able to gratify their
ears with his howling, they gave him water to enable him to continue
their pleasure longer. But, at last, his strength failing, an _Utawawa_
flayed off his scalp, and threw burning coals on his skull. Then they
untied him, and bid him run for his life. He began to run, tumbling
like a drunken man. They shut up the way to the east; and made him run
westward, the way, as they think, to the country of miserable souls.
He had still force left to throw stones, till they put an end to his
misery by knocking him on the head with one. After this, every one cut
a slice from his body, to conclude the tragedy with a feast.[30]

Such is the condition to which the practice of injustice and cruelty
can reduce men calling themselves civilized. We need not pursue further
the history of the French in Canada, which consists only in bickerings
with the English and butchery of the Indians. Having, therefore, given
this specimen of their treatment of the natives in their colonies,
or in the vicinity of them, we will dismiss them with an incident
illustrative of their policy, which occurred in Louisiana.

When the French settled themselves in that country, they found,
amongst the neighbouring tribes, the Natchez the most conspicuous.
Their country extended from the Mississippi to the Appalachian
mountains. It had a delightful climate, and was a beautiful region,
well watered, most agreeably enlivened with hills, fine woods, and rich
open prairies. Numbers of the French flocked over into this delicious
country, and it was believed that it would form the centre of the
great colony they hoped to found in that part of America. If the
Natchez were such a people as Chateaubriand has pictured them, they
must have been a noble race indeed. They were, like the Peruvians,
worshippers of the sun, and had vast temples erected to their god. They
received the French as the natives of most discovered countries have
received the Europeans, with the utmost kindness. They even assisted
them in forming their new plantations amongst them, and the most
cordial and advantageous friendship appeared to have grown between the
two nations. Such friendship, however, could not possibly exist between
the common run of Europeans and Indians. The Europeans did not go so
far from home for friendship; they went for dominion. Accordingly, the
French soon threw off the mask of friendship, and treated their hosts
as slaves. They seized on whatever they pleased, dictated their will
to the Natchez, as their masters, and drove them from their cultivated
fields, and inhabited them themselves. The deceived and indignant
people did all in their power to stop these aggressions. They reasoned,
implored, and entreated, but in vain. Finding this utterly useless,
they entered into a scheme to rid themselves of their oppressors, and
engaged all the neighbouring nations to aid in the design. A secret and
universal league was established amongst the Indian nations wherever
the French had any settlements. They were all to be massacred on a
certain day. To apprise all the different nations of the exact day,
the Natchez sent to every one of them a little bundle of bits of wood,
each containing the same number, and that number being the number of
the days that were to precede the day of general doom. The Indians
were instructed to burn in each town one of these pieces of wood every
day, and on the day that they burnt the last they were simultaneously
to fall on the French, and leave not one alive. As usual, the success
of the conspiracy was defeated by the compassion of an individual.
The wife, or mother, of the great chief of the Natchez had a son by
a Frenchman, and from this son she learned the secret of the plot.
She warned the French commandant of the circumstance, but he treated
her warning with indifference. Finding, therefore, that she could not
succeed in putting the French on their guard against a people they had
now come to despise, she resolved that, if she could not avert the fate
of the whole, she would at least afford a chance of safety to a part.
The bits of wood were deposited in the temple of the sun, and her rank
gave her access to the temple. She abstracted a number of the bits of
wood, and thus precipitated the day of rising in that province. The
Natchez, on the burning of the last piece, fell on the French, and,
out of two hundred and twenty-two French, massacred two hundred,—men,
women, and children. The remainder were women, whom they retained as

The Natchez, having accomplished this destruction, were astonished
to find that not one of their allies had stirred; and the allies
were equally astonished at the rising of the Natchez, whilst they
had yet several pieces of wood remaining. The French, however, in
the other parts of the country, were saved; fresh reinforcements
arrived from Europe, and the unfortunate Natchez felt all the fury
of their vengeance. Part were put to the sword; great numbers were
caught and sent to St. Domingo, as slaves; the rest fled for safety
into the country of the Chickasaws. The Chickasaws were called upon
to give them up; but they had more sense of honour and humanity than
Europeans,—they indignantly refused; and, when the French marched
into their territories, to compel them by force, bravely attacked and
repelled them, with repeated loss. As in Canada, Madagascar, India,
and other places, the French reaped no permanent advantage from their
treachery and cruelties, as the other European nations did. Louisiana
was eventually ceded, in 1762, to the Spaniards, just as the French
families, from Nova Scotia, Canada, St. Vincent, Granada, and other
colonies won by the English, were flocking into it as a place of
refuge. They had all the odium and the crime of aboriginal oppression,
and left the earth so basely obtained, to the enjoyment of others no
better than themselves.



  The man who finds an unknown country out,
  By giving it a name, acquires, no doubt,
  A gospel title, though the people there
  The pious Christian thinks not worth his care.
  Bar this pretence, and into air is hurled,
  The claim of Europe to the _Western World_.


We shall now have to deal entirely with our own nation, or with those
principally derived from it. We shall now have to observe the conduct
entirely of Protestants towards the aborigines of their settlements:
and the Catholic may ask with triumphant scorn, “Where is the mighty
difference between the ancient professors of our faith, and the
professors of that faith which you proudly style the reformed! You
accuse the papal church of having corrupted and debased national
morality in this respect,—in what does the morality of the Protestants
differ?” I am sorry to say in nothing. The Protestants have only too
well imitated the conduct and clung to the doctrine of the Catholics
as it regards the rights of humanity. It is to the disgrace of the
papal church that it did not inculcate a more Christian morality; it
is to the far deeper disgrace of Protestants, that, pretending to
abandon the corruptions and cruelties of the papists, they did not
abandon their wretched pretences for seizing upon the possessions of
the weak and the unsuspecting. So far, however, from the behaviour of,
the Protestants forming a palliation for that of the Catholics, it
becomes an aggravation of it; for it is but the ripened fruit of that
tree of false and mischievous doctrine which they had planted. They had
set the example, and boldly preached the right, and pleaded the divine
sanction for invasion, oppression, and extermination—such example and
exhortation are only too readily adopted—and the Protestant conduct
was but the continuation of papal heresy. The

  New Presbyter was but old Priest writ large.

While we see, then, to the present hour the perpetuated consequences
of the long inculcation of papal delusions, we must, however, confess
that for the Protestants there was, and is, less excuse than for
the Catholic laity. They had given up the Bible into the hands of
their priests, and as a matter of propriety received the faith which
they held from their dictation: the Protestants professed that “the
Bible and the Bible alone, was the religion of the Protestants.” The
Catholics having once persuaded themselves that the Pope was the
infallible vicegerent of God on earth, might, in their blind zeal,
honestly take all that he proclaimed to them as gospel truth; but the
Protestants disavowed and renounced his authority and infallibility.
They declared him to be the very antiChrist, and his church the great
sorceress that made drunk the nations with the cup of her enchantments.
What business then had they with the papal doctrine, that the heathen
were given to the believers as a possession? The Pope declared that,
as the representative of the Deity on earth, he claimed the world, and
disposed of it as he pleased. But the Protestants protested against
any such assumption, and appealed to the Bible; and where did they
find any such doctrine in the Bible? Yet Elizabeth of England, granted
charters to her subjects to take possession of all countries not yet
seized on by Christian nations, with as much implicit authority as
the Pope himself. It is curious to hear her proclaiming her intimate
acquaintance with the Scripture, and yet so blindly and unceremoniously
setting at defiance all its most sacred precepts. “I am supposed,”
said she, in her speech on proroguing parliament in 1585, “to have
many studies, but most philosophical. I must yield this to be true,
that I suppose few that are not professors, have read more; and I need
not tell you that I am not so simple that I understand not, nor so
forgetful that I remember not; and yet, amidst my many volumes, I hope
God’s book hath not been my seldomest lectures, in which we find that
which by reason all ought to believe.”

It had been well if she had made good her boasting by proving
practically that she had understood, and had not forgotten the real
doctrines of the Christian code. But Elizabeth, as well as her father,
was, in every respect, except that of admitting the Pope’s supremacy,
as thorough a Catholic as the best of them; and we see her granting to
Sir Humphrey Gilbert, of Compton in Devonshire, in 1578, a charter as
ample in its endowments as that which the king of Spain himself gave to
Columbus, on the authority of the Pope’s bull, and securing to herself
exactly the same ratio of benefit: the Spanish commission was, in fact,
her model. She conferred on Sir Humphrey all lands and countries that
he might discover, that were not already taken possession of by some
Christian prince. He was to hold them of England, with full power of
willing them to his heirs for ever, or disposing of them in sale, on
the simple condition of reserving one-fifth of all the gold and silver
found to the crown. She afterwards gave a similar charter to Sir Walter
Raleigh: and her successor, James I., still further imitated the Pope
by dividing the continent of North America, under the name of North and
South Virginia, between two trading companies, as the Pope had divided
the world between Spain and Portugal.

It is really lamentable to see how utterly empty was the pretence of
reformation in the government of England at that time. How utterly
ignorant or regardless Protestant England was of the most sacred and
unmistakeable truths of the New Testament, while it professed to model
itself upon them. The worst principles of the papal church were clung
to, because they favoured the selfishness of despotism. The rights of
nations were as infamously and recklessly violated; and from that time
to this, Protestant England and Protestant America continue to spurn
every great principle of Christian justice in their treatment of native
tribes: they have substituted power for conscience, gunpowder and
brandy for truth and mercy, and expulsion from their lands and houses
for charity, “that suffereth long and is kind.”

The shameless impudence and hypocrisy by which nations calling
themselves Christians have ever persisted, and still persist, in
this sweeping and wholesale public robbery and violence, was happily
ridiculed by Churchill.

  Cast by a tempest on a savage coast,
  Some roving buccaneer set up a post;
  A beam, in proper form, transversely laid,
  Of his Redeemer’s cross the figure made,—
  Of that Redeemer, with whose laws his life,
  From first to last, had been one scene of strife;
  His royal master’s name thereon engraved,
  _Without more process the whole race enslaved_;
  _Cut off that charter they from Nature drew_,
  _And made them slaves to men they never knew_!
  Search ancient histories, consult records,
  Under this title the _most Christian Lords_,
  Hold,—thanks to conscience—more than half the ball;—
  O’erthrow this title, they have none at all.

But the national cupidity that was proof to the caustic ridicule of
Churchill, has been proof to the still more powerful assault of public
execration, under the growth of Christian knowledge. The Bible is now
in almost every man’s hand; its burning and shining light blazes full
on the grand precept, “Do as thou would’st be done by;” and are the
tribes of India, or Africa, or America, or Oceanica, the better for it?
Are they not still our slaves and our Gibeonites, and driven before our
arms like the wild beasts of the desert? We need not therefore stay to
express our abhorrence of Spanish cruelty, or describe at great length
the deeds of own countrymen in any quarter of the globe,—it is enough
to say that English and American treatment of the aborigines of their
colonies is but Spanish cruelty repeated. With one or two beautiful
exceptions, which we shall have the greatest pleasure in pointing out,
no more regard has been paid to the rights or the feelings of the North
American Indians by the English and their descendants, than was paid to
the South Americans by the Spanish and Portuguese.

Every reader of history is aware of the melancholy and disastrous
commencement of most of our American colonies. The great cause was that
they were founded in injustice. Adventurers, with charters from the
English monarch in their pockets, as the Spaniards and Portuguese had
the Pope’s bull in theirs, landed on the coast of America and claimed
it for their own, reckoning the native inhabitants of no more account
than the bears and fallow-deer of the woods. They had got a grant of
the country from their own king; but whence had he got _his_ grant?
That is not quite so clear. The Pope’s claim is intelligible enough: he
was, in his own opinion, God’s viceroy and steward, and disposed of his
world in that character; but the Bible was the English monarch’s law,
and where did the Bible appoint Elizabeth or James God’s steward? Where
did it appoint either of them “a judge and a ruler over” the Indians?
Truly Elizabeth, with all her vaunting, had read her Bible to little
purpose, as we fear most monarchs and their ministers to the present
hour have done. We must say of the greater part of North America, as
Erskine said of India—“it is a country which God never gave us, and
acquired by means that he will never justify.”

The misery attending the first planting of our colonies in America was
equal to the badness of our principles. The very first thing which the
colonists in the majority of cases seem to have done, was to insult
and maltreat the natives, thus making them their mortal enemies, and
thus cutting off all chance of the succours they needed from the
land, and the security essential to their very existence. For about a
century, nothing but wretchedness, failure, famine, massacres by the
Indians, were the news from the American colonies. The more northern
ones, as Nova Scotia, Canada, and New York, we took from the French and
the Dutch; the more southern, as Florida and Louisiana, were obtained
at a later day from the Spaniards. We shall here therefore confine our
brief notice chiefly to the manner of settling the central eastern
states, particularly Virginia, New England, and Pennsylvania.

For eighty-two years from the granting of the charter by Elizabeth to
Sir Humphrey Gilbert, to the abandonment of the country by Sir Walter
Raleigh for his El Dorado visions, the colony of Virginia suffered
nothing but miseries, and was become, at that period, a total failure.
The first settlers were, like the Spaniards, all on fire in quest of
gold. They got into squabbles with the Indians, and the remnant of them
was only saved by Sir Francis Drake happening to touch there on his
way home from a cruise in the West Indies. A second set of adventurers
were massacred by the Indians, not without sufficient provocation;
and a third perished by the same means, or by famine induced by
their unprincipled and impolitic treatment of the natives. The first
successful settlement which was formed was that of James-Town, on James
River, in Chesapeak Bay, in 1607. But even here scarcely had they
located themselves, when their abuse of the Indians involved them in a
savage warfare with them. They took possession of their hunting-grounds
without ceremony; and they cheated them in every possible way in
their transactions with them, especially in the purchases of their
furs. That they might on the easiest terms have lived amicably with
the Indians, the history of the celebrated Captain John Smith of
that time sufficiently testifies. He had been put out of his rank,
and treated with every contumely by his fellow colonists, till they
found themselves on the verge of destruction from the enraged natives.
They then meanly implored him to save them, and he soon effected
their safety by that obvious policy which, if men were not blinded by
their own wickedness, would universally best answer their purpose. He
began to conciliate the offended tribes; to offer them presents and
promises of kindness; and the consequence was, they soon flocked into
the settlement again in the most friendly manner, and with plenty of
provisions. But even Smith was not sufficiently aware of the power of
friendship; he chose rather to attack some of the Indians than to treat
with them, and the consequence was that he fell into their hands, and
was condemned to die the death of torture.

But here again, the better nature of the Indians saved him: and that
incident occurred which is one of the most romantic in American
history. He was saved from execution at the last moment, by the Indian
beauty Pocahontas, the daughter of the great Sachem Powhatan. This
young Indian woman, who is celebrated by the colonists and writers of
the time, as of a remarkably fine person, afterwards married a Mr.
Rolfe, an English gentleman of the colony. She was brought over by
him to see England, and presented at court, where she was received
in a distinguished manner by James and his queen. This marriage,
which makes a great figure in the early history of the colony, was a
most auspicious event for it. It warmly disposed the Indians towards
the English. They were anxious that the colonists should make other
alliances with them of the same nature, and which might have been
attended with the happiest consequences to both nations; but though
some of the best families of Virginia now boast of their descent from
this connexion, the rest of the colonists of the period held aloof
from Indian marriages as beneath them. They looked on the Indians
rather as creatures to be driven to the woods—for, unlike the negroes,
they could not be compelled to become slaves—than to be raised and
civilized; and therefore, spite of the better principles which the
short government of that excellent man Lord Delaware had introduced,
they were soon again involved in hostilities with them. The Indians
felt deeply the insult of the refusal of alliance through marriage with
them; they felt the daily irritation of attempts to overreach them in
their bargains, and they saw the measures they were taking to seize on
their whole country. They saw that there was to be no common bond of
interest or sympathy between them; that there was to be a usurping and
a suffering party only; and they resolved to cut off the grasping and
haughty invaders at a blow. A wide conspiracy was set on foot; and had
it not been in this case, as in many others, that the compassionate
feelings of one of the Indians partially revealed the plot at the
very moment of its execution, not an Englishman would have been left
alive. As it was, a dreadful massacre ensued; and more than a fourth
of the colonists perished. The English, in their turn, fell on the
Indians, and a bloody war of extermination followed. When the colonists
could no longer reach them in the depths of their woods, they offered
them a deceitful peace. The Indians, accustomed in their own wars to
enter sincerely into their treaties of peace when inclined to bury the
tomahawk—were duped by the more artful Europeans. They came forth from
their woods, planted their corn, and resumed their peaceful hunting.
Just as the harvest was ripe, the English rushed suddenly upon them,
trampled down their crops, set fire to their wigwams, and chased them
again to the woods with such slaughter, that some of the tribes were
totally exterminated!

Such was the mode of settling Virginia. What trust or cordiality could
there afterwards be between such parties? Accordingly we find, from
time to time, in the history of this colony, fresh plots of the natives
to rid themselves of the whites, and fresh expeditions of the whites to
clear the country of what they termed the wily and perfidious Indians.
These dreadful transactions, which continued for the most part while
the English government continued in that country, gave occasion to that
memorable speech of Logan, the chief of the Shawanees, to Lord Dunmore
the governor: a speech which will remain while the English language
shall remain, to perpetuate the memory of English atrocity, and Indian
pathos.—“I now ask of every white man, whether he hath ever entered
the cottage of Logan when hungry, and been refused food? Whether
coming naked, and perishing with cold, and Logan has not clothed him?
During the last war, so long and so bloody, Logan has remained quietly
upon his mat, wishing to be the advocate of peace. Yes, such is my
attachment to white men, that even those of my nation, when they pass
by me, pointed at me, saying—‘_Logan is the friend of white men!_’ I
had even thought of living among you; but that was before the injury
I received from one of you. Last summer, Colonel Cressup massacred in
cold blood, and without any provocation, all the relations of Logan. He
spared neither his wife nor his children. _There is not now one drop of
my blood in the veins of any living creature!_ This is what has excited
my revenge. I have sought it. I have killed several of your people, and
my hatred is appeased. For my country I rejoice at the beams of peace;
but imagine not that my joy is instigated by my fear. Logan knows not
what fear is. He will never turn his back in order to save his life.
_But alas! no one remains to mourn for Logan when he shall be no more!_”

The conduct of the English towards the natives in THE CAROLINAS may
be summed up in a single passage of the Abbé Raynal: “Two wars were
carried on against the natives of the most extravagant description.
All the wandering or fixed nations between the ocean and Appalachian
mountains, were attacked and massacred without any interest or motive.
Those who escaped being put to the sword, either submitted or were
dispersed.” The remnant of the tribe of the Tuscaroras fled into the
state of New York.

MARYLAND, in its early history, also exhibits its quota of Indian
bloodshed; but much of this is chargable to the account of the
colonists of Virginia. Lord Baltimore, who first colonised this
province in the reign of Charles I., was a Catholic, who sought an
asylum for his persecuted brethren of the same faith. Since the change
of religion in England, the Catholics had experienced the bitterness of
that persecution of which they, while in power, had been so liberal.
This seems to have had an excellent effect upon some of them. Lord
Baltimore and the colonists who went out with him, being most of them
of good Catholic families, determined to allow liberty of conscience,
and admitted people of all sorts. This gave great offence to their
royalist neighbours in Virginia, who, not permitting any liberty
of religious sentiment, found those whom they drove away by their
severities flocking into Maryland, and being there well received,
strengthening it at their expense. They therefore circulated all kinds
of calumnies amongst the Indians against the Maryland Catholics,
especially telling them that they were Spaniards—a name of horror to
Indian ears. Alarmed by this representation, they fell on the colonists
whom they had at first received with their usual kindness, laid waste
their fields, massacred without mercy all that they could meet; and
were not undeceived till after a long course of patient endurance and
friendly representation.

The settlement of NEW ENGLAND presents some new features. It was not
merely a settlement of English Protestants, but of the Protestants of
Protestants—the Puritans. A class of persons having thus made two
removes from Popery; having not only protested against the errors of
Rome, but against those of the very church which had seceded from Rome,
and professed to purify itself from its corruptions; having, moreover,
suffered severely for their religious faith, might be supposed to
have acquired far clearer views of the rights of humanity from their
better acquaintance with the Bible, and might be expected to respect
the persons and the property of the natives in whose lands they went
to settle, more than any that went before them. They went as men who
had been driven out of their own country, and from amongst their own
kindred, for the maintenance of the dearest privileges and the most
sacred claims of men; and they might be supposed to address the natives
as they reached their coast in terms like these: “Ancient possessors of
a free country, give us a place of refuge amongst you. You are termed
savages, but you cannot be more savage than the people of our own land,
who have inflicted dreadful cruelties and mutilations on us and our
friends for the faith we have in God. We fly from savages who pretend
to be civilized, but have learned no one principle of civilization, to
savages who pretend to no civilization, but yet have, on a thousand
occasions, received white men to their shores with benevolence and
tears of joy. What the savages of Europe are, a hundred regions
drenched in the blood of their native children can tell; that we deem
you less savage than them, the very act of our coming to you testifies.
Give us space amongst you, and let us live as brethren.”

For a time, indeed, they acted as men who might be supposed thus to
speak. The going out and landing in this new country of this band of
religious adventurers, have been and continue to be celebrated as the
setting forth and landing of “The Pilgrim Fathers.” It is in itself
an interesting event: the pilgrimage of a little host of voluntary
exiles, for the sake of their religion, from their native country, to
establish a new country in the wilderness of the New World. It is more
interesting from the fact, that their associates and descendants have
grown into one of the most intelligent and powerful portions of the
freest, and, perhaps, happiest nation on the globe. Their landing on
the coast of Massachusets was effected under circumstances of peculiar
hardship. It took place at a spot to which they gave the name of New
Plymouth, on the 11th of November, 1620. The weather was extremely
severe; and they were but badly prepared to contend with it. During the
winter one half of their number perished through famine, and diseases
brought on by their hardships. The natives, too, came down to oppose
their settlement,[31] and it is difficult now to imagine how such
religious people could reconcile to their consciences an entrance by
force on the territories of a race on whom they had no claim. They had,
indeed, purchased a tract of land of one of the chartered companies
in England; but one is at a loss to conceive how any English company
could sell a country in another hemisphere already inhabited, and to
which they had not the slightest title to show, except “the Bucanier’s
Post.” As well might a company of Indians sell some of their countrymen
a slice of territory on the coast of Kent; and just as good a title
would the Indians have to land, if they could, in spite of our Kentish
yeomen, and establish themselves on the spot. Moreover, these Pilgrim
Fathers had wandered from their original destination, and had not
purchased this land at all of anybody at that time. No doubt the
Fathers _thought_ that they had a right to settle in a wild country;
and simply fell in with the customs and doctrines of the times. We
might, however, have expected clearer notions of natural right from
their acquaintance with the Bible; for we shall presently see that
there were men of their own country, and in their own circumstances,
that would not have been easy to have taken such possession in such a
manner. We may safely believe that the Fathers did according to their
knowledge; but the precedent is dangerous, and could not in these times
be admitted: the Fathers did not, in fact, obtain any grant from the
English till four years afterwards (1624). When they had once got a
firm footing, Massasoit, the father of the famous Philip of Pokanoket,
whom these same settlers pursued to the death with all his tribe,
except such as they sold for slaves to Bermudas, granted them a certain
extent of lands. Subsequently purchases from the Indians began to be
considered more necessary to a good title.

Eight years afterwards another company of the same people, under
John Endicott, formed a settlement in Massachusets Bay, and founded
the town of Salem. In the following year a third company, of not
less than three hundred in number, joined them. These in the course
of time seeking fresh settlements, founded at different periods,
Boston, Charlestown, Dorchester, Roxborough, and other towns; great
numbers now, allured by the flourishing state of the colony, flocked
over, and amongst them Harry Vane, the celebrated Sir Harry Vane
of the revolutionary parliament, and Hugh Peters, the chaplain of
Oliver Cromwell. Some difference of opinion amongst them occasioned a
considerable body of them to settle in Providence and Rhode Island.
These were under the guidance of their venerable pastor Roger Williams,
a man who deserves to be remembered while Christianity continues to
shed its blessings on mankind. Mr. Williams had penetrated through
the mists of his age, to the light of divine truth, and had risen
superior to the selfishness of his countrymen. He maintained the
freedom of conscience, the right of private judgment, the freedom of
religious opinion from the touch of the magistrate. The spirit of true
Christianity had imbued his own spirit with its love. Above all—for
it was the most novel doctrine, and as we have seen by the practice
of the whole Christian world, the hardest to adopt—he maintained the
sacred right of the natives to their own soil; and refused to settle
upon it without their consent. _He and his followers purchased of the
Indians the whole territory which they took possession of!_ This is
a fact which we cannot record without a feeling of intense delight,
for it is the first instance of such a triumph of Christian knowledge
and principle, over the corrupt morality of Europe. We nowhere read
till now, through all this bloody and revolting history of European
aggressions, of any single man treating with the savage natives
as with men who had the same inalienable rights as themselves.[32]
It is the first bright dawn of Christian day from the darkness of
ages; the first boundary mark put down between the possessions of
the unlettered savage, and the lawless desires of the schooled but
uncivilized European; the first recognition of that law of property
in the possessors of the soil of every country of the earth, until
the complete establishment of which, blood must flow, the weak must
be trodden down by the strong, and civilization and Christianity must
pause in their course. Honour to Roger Williams and his flock in
Narraganset Bay! The Puritan settlements still continued to spread.
Connecticut, and New Hampshire, and Maine were planted by different
bodies from Massachusets Bay; and the Indians, who found that the
whites diffused themselves farther and farther over their territories,
and soon ceased to purchase as Roger Williams had done, or even to
ask permission; began to remonstrate. Remonstrances however produced
little effect. The Indians saw that if they did not make a stand
against these encroachments they must soon be driven out of their
ancestral lands, and exterminated by those tribes on which they must be
forced. They resolved therefore to exterminate the invaders that would
hear no reason. The Pequods, who lay near the colony of Connecticut,
called upon the Narragansets in 1637, to join them in their scheme.
The Narragansets revealed it to the English, and both parties were
speedily in arms against each other. The different colonies of New
England had entered into an association for common defence. The people
of Connecticut called on those of Massachusets Bay for help, which
was accorded; but before its arrival the soldiers of Connecticut, who
seemed on all occasions eager to shed Indian blood, had attacked the
Pequods where they had posted themselves, in a sort of rude camp in
a swamp, defended with stakes and boughs of trees. The Pequods were
supposed to be a thousand strong, besides having all their women and
children with them; but their simple fortification was soon forced, and
set fire to; and men, women, children perished in the flames, or were
cut down on rushing out, or seized and bound. The Massachusets forces
soon after joined them, and then the Indians were hunted from place
to place with unrelenting fury. They determined to treat them, not as
brave men fighting for their invaded territories, for their families
and posterity, but as wild beasts. They massacred some in cold blood,
others they handed over to the Narragansets to be tortured to death;
and great numbers were sold into Bermudas as slaves. In less than
three months, the great and ancient tribe of the Pequods had ceased
to exist. What did Roger Williams say to this butchery by a Christian
people? But the spirit of resentment against the Indians grew to such a
pitch in those states that nothing but the language of Cotton Mather,
(the historian of New England,) can express it. He calls them devils
incarnate, and declares that unless he had “a pen made of a porcupine’s
quill and dipped in aquafortis he could not describe all their
cruelties.” Could they be possibly greater than those of the Puritan
settlers, who were at once the aggressors, and bore the name of
Christian? So deadly, indeed, became the vengeance of these colonists,
that they granted a public reward to any one who should kill an Indian.
The Assembly, says Douglass, in 1703, voted 40_l._ premium for each
Indian scalp or captive. In the former war the premium was 12_l._ In
1706, he says, “about this time premiums for Indian scalps and captives
were advanced by act of Assembly; viz.: per piece to impressed men
10_l._, to volunteers in pay 20_l._, to volunteers serving without pay
50_l._, with the benefit of the captives and plunder. Col. Hilton,
with 220 men, ranges the eastern frontiers, and kills many Indians.
In 1722 the premium for scalps was 100_l._ In 1744 it had risen to
400_l._ old tenor; for the years 1745, 6, and 7, it stood at the
enormous sum of 1000_l._ per head to volunteers, scalp or captive (!)
and 400_l._ per head to impressed men, wages and subsistence money
to be deducted.[33] In 1744 the Cape-Sables, and St. John’s Indians
being at war with the colonies, Massachusets-Bay declared them rebels;
forbad the Pasamaquody, Penobscot, Noridgwoag, Pigwocket, and all other
Indians west of St. John’s to hold any communication with them, and
offered for their scalps,—males 12 years old, and upwards, 100_l._ new
tenor; for such, as captives, 105_l._ For _women and children _50_l._,
scalps!—55_l._, captives! The Assembly soon after, hearing that the
Penobscot and Noridgwoag Indians had joined the French, extended
premiums for scalps and captives to all places west of Nova Scotia,
and advanced them to 250_l._ new tenor, to volunteers; and 100_l._ new
tenor to troops in pay.”[34]

In 1722, a Captain Harman, with 200 men, surprised the Indians at
Noridgwoag, and brought off twenty-six scalps, _and that of Father
Ralle_, a French Jesuit.[35] The savage atrocities here committed by
the New Englanders were frightful. They massacred men, women, and
children; pillaged the village, robbed and set fire to the church,
and mangled the corpse of Father Ralle most brutally.[36] For these
twenty-six scalps, at the then premium, the good people of Massachusets
paid 2600_l._ A Captain Lovel, also, seems to have been an active
scalper. “He collected,” says Raynal, “a band of settlers as ferocious
as himself, and set out to hunt savages. One day he discovered ten of
them quietly sleeping round a large fire. He murdered them, carried
their scalps to Boston, and secured the promised reward, of course
1000_l._! Who could suppose that the land of the Pilgrim Fathers, the
land of the noble Roger Williams, could have become polluted with
horrors like these!”

And why were the Indians now so sharply pursued—why such sums given
as tempted these Harmans and Lovels? Why the scalp of Father Ralle
to be stripped away from him?—Because Father Ralle had proclaimed a
very certain, but very disagreeable truth. He preached to the Indians,
“That their lands were given to them and their children unalienably
and for ever, according to the Christian sacred oracles.” What is
so inconvenient as to preach Bible truth in countries flagrant with
injustice? The Indians began to murmur; gave the English formal warning
to leave the lands within a set time, and as they did not move, began
to drive off their cattle. This was declared rebellion, the soldiery
were set on them, and 100_l._ a head proclaimed for their scalps.

This is called Governor Dummer’s war; but the most celebrated war was
that of Philip of Pokanoket, which occurred between this war and that
of the destruction of the Pequods. The cause of Philip’s war, which
broke out in 1675, and lasted upwards of a year, was exactly that of
this subsequent one, and indeed of every war of New England with the
Indians—the dissatisfaction of the Indians with the usurpation of the
whites. The New England people, religious people though they were,
seem to have been more irritable, more jealous, more regardless of the
rights of the Indians, and more quick and deadly in their vengeance
on any shew of spirit in the natives, than any other of the North
American colonies. The monstrous, and were it not for the testimony
of unimpeachable history, incredible sums offered for scalps by these
states, testify to the malignant spirit of revenge which animated
them. Even towards the Narragansets, their firmest and most constant
friends, who lived amongst them, they shewed an irritability and a
savage relentlessness that are to us amazing. On the faintest murmur of
any dissatisfaction of this tribe on account of their lands, or of any
other tribe making overtures of alliance to it, they were up in arms,
and ready to exterminate it. So early as 1642, they charged Miantinomo,
the great sachem of the Narragansets, with conspiring to raise the
Indians against them. The people of Connecticut immediately proposed,
without further proof or examination, to fall on the Indians and kill
them. This bloody haste was, however, withstood by Massachusets.[37]
They summoned Miantinomo before the court. He came, and it is
impossible not to admire his sedate and dignified bearing there. He
demanded that his accusers should be brought face to face, and that if
they could prove him guilty of conspiracy against the colony, he was
ready to suffer death; but if they could not, they should suffer the
same punishment. “His behaviour,” says Hutchinson, “was grave, and he
gave his answers with great deliberation and seeming ingenuity. _He
would never speak but in the presence_ of two of _his counsellors_,
that they might be witnesses of everything which passed. (No doubt he
had seen enough of ‘that pen and ink work,’ of which the Indians so
often complained). Two days were spent in treaty. He denied all that he
was charged with, and pretended that the reports to his disadvantage
were raised by Uncas, the sachem of the Mohegins, or some of his
people. He was willing to renew his former engagements; that if any of
the Indians, even the Niantics, who, he said, were as his own flesh and
blood, should do any wrong to the English, so as neither he nor they
could satisfy without blood, he would deliver them up, and leave them
to mercy. _The people of Connecticut put little confidence in him, and
could hardly be kept from falling upon him_, but were at last prevailed
upon by the Massachusets to desist for the present.”[38]

Poor Miantinomo did not long escape. Two years afterwards, in a war
with his enemy, Uncas, he was taken prisoner, and the colonists were
only too glad to have an opportunity of getting rid of a man of mind
and influence, who felt their aggressions and feared for his race—they
outdid the savage captor in their resentment against him. Instead
of interceding on his behalf and recommending mercy, by which they
might, at once, have set a Christian example, and have made a fast
friend, they procured his death. Uncas, with a generosity worthy of
the highest character, instead of killing his captive, as he was
entitled by the rules of Indian war, delivered him into the hands
of the New-Englanders, and the New-Englanders again returned him to
Uncas, desiring him to kill him, but without the usual tortures. It is
wonderful that they did not purchase his scalp, or that they excused
the torture; but a number of the English inhabitants went out and
gratified themselves with witnessing his death.[39]

It was not to be marvelled at that such general treatment, and such a
crowning deed exasperated the Narragansets to a dangerous degree. They
nourished a rooted revenge, which shewed itself on the breaking out
of Philip of Pokanoket’s war. They engaged to bring to his aid 4000

Philip was one of the noblest specimens of the North American
Indian. He was of a fine and active person; accomplished in all
exercises of his nation, in war and hunting. He had that quick sense
of injuries, and that sense of the honour and rights of his people
which characterise the patriot; qualities which, though in the most
cultivated and enlightened mind they may hurry their possessor on
occasionally to sharp and vindictive acts, are the very essentials
of that lofty and noble disposition without which no great deed is
ever done. Had Philip contended for his country against its invaders
on anything like equal terms, he would have been its saviour,—the
naked Indians against the powers and resources of the English! It was
hopeless,—he could only become the Caractacus, or the Cassibelaunus of
his nation.

Philip has been painted by his enemies as a dreadful, perfidious, and
cruel wretch;—but had Philip been the survivor how would he have
painted them? With their shameless encroachments, their destruction of
Indians, their blood-money, and their scalps, purchased at 1000_l._
each! Philip had the deepest causes of resentment. His father,
Massasoit, had received the strangers and sold them land. They speedily
compelled him to sign a deed, in which by “that pen and ink work” which
the Indians did not understand, but which they soon learned to know
worked them the most cruel wrongs, they had made him to acknowledge
himself and his subjects the subjects of King James. Philip denied that
his father had any idea of the meaning of such a treaty,—any idea of
surrendering to the English more than the land he sold them; or if he
had done so, that he had any right to give away the liberties of his
nation and posterity; the government amongst the Indians not being
hereditary, but elective. Philip, however, was compelled to retract
and renounce such doctrines in another public document. But the moment
he became at liberty, he held himself, and very justly, free from the
stipulations of a compulsory deed.

But these were not all Philip’s grievances. His only and elder brother,
Wamsutta, or Alexander, for the entertainment of similar patriotic
sentiments, had been seized in his own house by ten armed men sent by
Governor Winslow, and carried before him as a caitiff, though he was at
that time the powerful sachem of the Narragansets, his father being
dead. The outrage and insult had such an effect upon the high-spirited
youth, that they threw him into a fever, which speedily proved

They were these and the like injuries that drove Philip to concert
that union of the Indians which, in 1675, alarmed New England. We need
not follow the particulars of the war. It was hastened by a premature
disclosure; and Philip has been always taxed as a murderer for putting
to death John Sausaman, a renegade Indian who betrayed the plot to the
English. The man was a confessed and undoubted traitor, and his death
was exactly what the English would have inflicted, and was justified,
not merely by the summary proceeding in such cases of the Indians,
but by the laws of _civilized war_, if such an odd contradiction of
terms may pass. Philip, after a stout resistance, and after performing
prodigies of valour, was chased from swamp to swamp, and at length shot
by another traitor Indian, who cut off his hand and head, and brought
them to the English. His head was exposed on a gibbet at Plymouth for
twenty years; his hand, known by a particular scar, was exhibited in
savage triumph, and his mangled body refused burial. His only son, a
mere boy, was sold into slavery.

It was during this war that the settlers lived in such a state of
continual alarm from the Indians, and such adventures and passages
of thrilling interest took place, as will for ever furnish topics of
conversation in that country. It was then that the congregation was
alarmed while in church at Hadley, in Massachusets, on a fast-day by
the Indians, and were compelled to leave their devotions to defend
themselves, when they were surprised by seeing a grave and commanding
personage, whom they had not before noticed, assume the command, lead
them to victory, and as suddenly again disappear. This person was
afterwards found to be Goffe, one of the English regicide judges, then
hiding in that neighbourhood. These facts Mr. Cooper has made good use
of in his story of “The Borderers.”

But the facts of more importance to our history are, that in this war
3000 Indians were said to be destroyed. The Narragansets alone, were
reduced from 2000 to about 100 men. After the peace was restored 400
Indians were ordered to assemble at Major Walker’s, at Catchecho, 200
of whom were culled as most notorious, some of them put to death, and
the rest sent abroad and sold as slaves. Yet all these severities and
disasters to the Indians did not extinguish their desire to resist
the aggressions of the whites. On all sides, the Tarrateens, the
Penobscots, the Five Nations, and various other tribes, continued to
harass them; filling them with perpetual fears, and inflicting awful
cruelties and devastations on the solitary borderers. These were the
necessary fruits of that rancorous spirit with which the harshness
and injustice of the settlers had inspired them. Randolph, writing to
William Penn from New England in 1688, says—“This barbarous people,
the Indians, were now evilly treated by this government, who made it
their business to encroach upon their lands, and by degrees to drive
them out of all. That was the grounds and the beginning of the last
war.” And that was the ground of all the wars waged in the country
against this unhappy people.



But it may be said, it is one thing to sit at home in our study
and write of Christian principles, and another to go out into new
settlements amongst wild tribes, and maintain them; that it is easy
to condemn the conduct of others, but might not be so easy to govern
our own temper, when assailed on all sides with signal dangers,
and irritated with cruelties; that the Indians would not listen to
persuasion; that they were faithless, vindictive beyond measure, and
fonder of blood than of peace; that there was no possible mode of
dealing with them but driving them out, or exterminating them.—Arise,
William Penn, and give answer! These are the very things that in his
day he heard on all hands. On all hands he was pointed to arms, by
which the colonies were defended: he was told that nothing but force
could secure the colonists against the red men: he was told that
there was no faith in them, and therefore no faith could be kept with
them. He believed in the power of Christianity, and therefore he did
not believe these assertions. He believed the Indians to be men, and
that they were, therefore, accessible to the language and motives of
humanity. He believed in the omnipotence of justice and good faith, and
disbelieved all the sophistry by which wars and violence are maintained
by an interested generation. He resolved to try the experiment of
kindness and peace: it was a grand and a momentous trial: it was no
other than to put the truth of Christianity to the test, and to learn
whether the World’s philosophy or that of the Bible were the best.
It was attempted to alarm him by all kinds of bloody bugbears: he
was ridiculed as an enthusiast, but he calmly cast himself on his
conviction of the literal truth of the Gospel, and the result was the
most splendid triumph in history. He demonstrated, in the face of the
world, and all its arguments and all its practice, that peace may be
maintained when men will it; and that there is no need, and therefore
no excuse, for the bloodshed and the violence that are perpetually
marking the expanding boundaries of what is oddly enough termed

William Penn received a grant of the province to which he gave the name
of Pennsylvania, as payment for money owing to his father, Admiral
Penn, from the government. He accepted this grant, because it secured
him against any other claimant from Europe. It gave him a title in
the eyes of the Christian world; but he did not believe that it gave
him any other title. He knew in his conscience that the country was
already in the occupation of tribes of Indians, who inherited it from
their ancestors by a term of possession, which probably was unequalled
by anything which the inhabitants of Europe had to shew for their
territories. I cannot better state Penn’s proceedings on this occasion
than in the words of the Edinburgh Review, when noticing Clarkson’s
Life of this Christian statesman.

“The country assigned to him by the royal charter was yet full of
its original inhabitants; and the principles of William Penn did not
allow him to look upon that gift as a warrant to dispossess the first
inhabitants of the land. He had accordingly appointed his commissioners
the preceding year to treat with them for the fair purchase of part
of their lands, and for their joint possession of the remainder; and
the terms of the settlement being now nearly agreed upon, he proceeded
very soon after his arrival to conclude the settlement, and solemnly to
pledge his faith, and to ratify and confirm the treaty, in right both
of the Indians and the planters. For this purpose a grand convocation
of the tribes had been appointed near the spot where Philadelphia now
stands; and it was agreed that he and the presiding Sachems should
meet and exchange faith under the spreading branches of a prodigious
elm-tree that grew on the banks of the river. On the day appointed,
accordingly, an innumerable company of the Indians assembled in that
neighbourhood, and were seen, with their dark faces and brandished
arms, moving in vast swarms in the depth of the woods that then
overshaded that now cultivated region. On the other hand, William
Penn, with a moderate attendance of friends, advanced to meet them. He
came, of course, unarmed—in his usual plain dress—without banners,
or mace, or guard, or carriages, and only distinguished from his
companions by wearing a blue sash of silk network (which, it seems,
is still preserved by Mr. Kett, of Seething Hall, near Norwich), and
by having in his hand a roll of parchment, on which was engrossed the
confirmation of the treaty of purchase and amity. As soon as he drew
near the spot where the Sachems were assembled, the whole multitude
of the Indians threw down their weapons, and seated themselves on the
ground in groups, each under his own chieftain, and the presiding chief
intimated to William Penn that the natives were ready to hear him.

“Having been thus called upon he began:—‘The Great Spirit,’ he said,
‘who made him and them, who ruled the heaven and the earth, and who
knew the innermost thoughts of man, knew that he and his friends had
a hearty desire to live in peace and friendship with them, and to
serve them to the uttermost of their power. It was not their custom to
use hostile weapons against their fellow-creatures, for which reason
they had come unarmed. Their object was not to do injury, and thus
provoke the Great Spirit, but to do good. They were then met on the
broad pathway of goodfaith and goodwill, so that no advantage was to
be taken on either side, but all was to be openness, brotherhood, and
love.’ After these and other words, he unrolled the parchment, and, by
means of the same intrepreter, conveyed to them, article by article,
the conditions of the purchase, and the words of the compact then
made for their eternal union. Among other things, they were not to be
molested, even in the territory they had alienated, for it was to be
common to them and the English. They were to have the same liberty to
do all things therein relating to the improvement of their grounds
and providing sustenance for their families, which the English had.
If disputes should arise between the two, they should be settled by
twelve persons, half of whom should be English, and half Indians. He
then paid them for the land, and made them many presents besides from
the merchandise which had been open before them. Having done this,
he laid the roll of parchment on the ground, observing again that
the ground should be common to both people. He then added that he
would not do as the Marylanders did, that is, call them children, or
brothers only: for often parents were apt to whip their children too
severely, and brothers sometimes would differ; neither would he compare
the friendship between him and them to a chain, for the rain might
sometimes rust it, or a tree might fall and break it; but he should
consider them as the same flesh and blood as the Christians, and the
same as if one man’s body was to be divided into two parts. He then
took up the parchment, and presented it to the Sachem who wore the horn
in the chaplet, and desired him and the other Sachems to preserve it
carefully for three generations, that their children might know what
had passed between them, just as if he himself had remained with them
to repeat it.

“The Indians in return, made long and stately harangues, of which,
however, no more seems to have been remembered, but that ‘they pledged
themselves to live in love with William Penn and his children as long
as the sun and moon shall endure.’ Thus ended this famous treaty, of
which Voltaire has remarked with so much truth and severity, ‘That it
was the only one ever concluded which was not ratified by an oath, and
the only one that never was broken.’

“Such indeed was the spirit in which the negotiation was entered into,
and the corresponding settlement concluded, that for the space of more
than seventy years, and so long indeed as the Quakers retained the
chief power in the government, the peace and amity were never violated;
and a large and most striking, though solitary, example afforded of
the facility with which they who are really sincere and friendly in
their own views, may live in harmony with those who are supposed to be
peculiarly fierce and faithless. We cannot bring ourselves to wish that
there were nothing but Quakers in the world, because we fear it would
be insupportably dull; but when we consider what tremendous evils daily
arise from the petulance and profligacy, and ambition and irritability
of sovereigns and ministers, we cannot help thinking it would be the
most efficacious of all reforms to choose all those ruling personages
out of that plain, pacific, and sober-minded sect.”

There is no doubt that Penn may be declared the most perfect Christian
statesman that ever lived. He had the sagacity to see that men, to be
made trustworthy, need only to be treated as men;—that the doctrines
of the New Testament were to be taken literally and fully; and he
had the courage and honesty, in the face of all the world’s practice
and maxims, to confide in Christian truth. It fully justified him.
What are the cunning and the so-called profound policy of the most
subtle statesmen to this? This confidence, at which the statesmen of
our own day would laugh as folly and simplicity, proved to be a reach
of wisdom far beyond their narrow vision. But it is to be feared
that the selfishness of governments is as much concerned as their
short-sightedness in the clumsy and ruinous manner in which affairs
between nations are managed; for what would become of armies and
navies, places and pensions, if honest treatment should take place of
the blow first and the word after, and of all that false logic by which
aggression is made to appear necessary?

The results of this treaty were most extraordinary. While the Friends
retained the government of Pennsylvania it was governed without an
army, and was never assailed by a single enemy. The Indians retained
their firm attachment to them; and, more than a century afterwards, and
after the government of the state had long been resumed by England,
and its old martial system introduced there, when civil war broke out
between the colonies and the mother country, and the Indians were
instigated by the mother to use the tomahawk and the scalping-knife
against the children, using,—according to her own language, which
so roused the indignation of Lord Chatham,—“every means which God
and Nature had put into her power,” to destroy or subdue them,—these
Indians, who laid waste the settlements of the colonists with fire, and
drenched them in blood, remembered the treaty with the _sons of Onas_,
AND KEPT IT INVIOLATE! They had no scruple to make war on the other
colonists, for they had not been scrupulous in their treatment of them,
and they had many an old score to clear off; but they had always found
the Friends the same,—their friends and the friends of peace,—and
they reverenced in them the sacred principles of faith and amity. Month
after month the Friends saw the destruction of their neighbours’ houses
and lands; yet they lived in peace in the midst of this desolation.
They heard at night the shrieks of the victims of the red men’s wrath,
and they saw in the morning where slaughter had reached neighbouring
hearths, and where the bloody scalp had been torn away; but their
houses remained untouched. Every evening the Indians came from their
hidden lairs in the woods, and lifted the latches of their doors, to
see if they remained in full reliance on their faith, and then they
passed on. Where a house was secured with lock or bolt, they knew that
suspicion had entered, and they grew suspicious too. But, through all
that bloody and disgraceful war, only two Friends were killed by the
Indians; and it was under these circumstances:—A young man, a tanner,
had gone from the village where he lived to his tan-yard, at some
distance, through all this period of outrage. He went and came daily,
without any arms, with his usual air of confidence, and therefore in
full security. The Indians from the thickets beheld him, but they never
molested him. Unfortunately, one day he went as usual to his business,
but carried a gun on his arm. He had not proceeded far into the country
when a shot from the bush laid him dead. When the Indians afterwards
learned that he was merely carrying the gun to kill birds that were
injuring his corn, “Foolish young man,” they said; “we saw him carrying
arms, and we inferred that he had changed his principles.”

The other case was that of a woman. She had lived in a village which
had been laid waste, and most of the inhabitants killed, by the
Indians. The soldiers, from a fort not far off, came, and repeatedly
entreated her to go into the fort, before she experienced the same
fate as her neighbours. For a long time she refused, but at length fear
entered her mind, and she went with them. In the fort, however, she
became wretched. She considered that she had abandoned the principles
of peace by putting herself under the protection of arms. She felt that
she had cast a slander on the hitherto inviolate faith of the Indians,
which might bring most disastrous consequences on other Friends who yet
lived in the open country on the faith of the Indian integrity. She
therefore determined to go out again, and return to her own house. She
went forth, but had scarcely reached the first thicket when she was
shot by the Indians, who now looked upon her as an enemy, or at least
as a spy.

These are the only exceptions to the perfect security of Friends
through all the Indian devastations in America; for wherever there
were Friends, any tribe of Indians felt bound to recognize the sons of
Father Onas: they would have been ashamed to injure an unarmed man,
who was unarmed because he preserved peace as the command of the Great
Spirit. It was during this war that the very treaty made with Penn was
shewn by the Indians to some British officers, being preserved by them
with the most sacred care, as a monument of a transaction without a
parallel, and equally honourable to themselves as to the Friends.

What a noble testimony is this to the divine nature and perfect
adaptation of Christianity to all human purposes; and yet when has
it been imitated? and how little is heard of it! From that day to
the present both Americans and English have gone on outraging and
expelling the natives from their lands; and it was but the other day
that the English officers at the Cape were astonished that a similar
conduct towards the Caffres produced a similar result. How lost are
the most splendid deeds of the Christian philosopher on the ordinary
statesman! But the Friends are a peaceable people, and “doing good
they blush to find it fame.” If they would make more noise in the
world, and din their good deeds in its ears, they would be never the
worse citizens. The landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in America is
annually celebrated in New England with great ceremony and eclat.
It has been everywhere extolled by those holding similar religious
views, and has been eulogised in poetry and prose. The landing of the
Friends in Pennsylvania was a landing of the Pilgrim Fathers not less
important: they went there under similar circumstances: they fled from
persecution at home—a bitterer and more savage persecution even than
befel the Puritans—to seek a home in the wilderness. They equalled
the good Roger Williams in their justice to the Indians—they bought
their lands of them—and they far exceeded him and his followers in
their conception of the power of Christianity, and their practical
demonstration of it. They are the only people in the history of the
world that have gone into the midst of a fierce and armed race, and
a race irritated with rigour too, without arms;[41] established a
state on the simple basis of justice, and to the last hour of their
government maintained it triumphantly on the same. Their conduct to the
Indians never altered for the worse; Pennsylvania, while under their
administration, never became, as New England, a slaughter-house of the
Indians. The world cannot charge them with the extinction of a single
tribe—no, nor with that of a single man!

It is delightful to close this chapter of American settlements with so
glorious a spectacle of Christian virtue;—would to God that it were
but more imitated![42]



  In Carolina’s palmy bowers,
  Amid Kentucky’s wastes of flowers,
  Where even the way-side hedge displays
  Its jasmines and magnolias;
  O’er the monarda’s vast expanse
  Of scarlet, where the bee-birds glance
  Their flickering wings, and breasts that gleam
  Like living fires;—that dart and scream—
  A million little knights that run
  Warring for wild-flowers in the sun;—
  His eye might rove through earth and sky,
  His soul was in the days gone by.

We may pass rapidly over this space. The colonial principles of action
were established regarding the Indians, and they went on destroying
and demoralizing them till the reduction of Canada by the English.
That removed one great source of Indian destruction; for while there
was such an enemy to repulse, the Indians were perpetually called upon
and urged forward in the business of slaughter and scalping. It was
the same, indeed, on every frontier where there was an enemy, French
or Spanish. We have the history of Adair, who was a resident in the
south-western states for above forty years. This gentleman, who has
given us a very minute account of the manners, customs, and opinions
of the Choctaws, Cherokees, and Chickasaws, amongst whom he chiefly
resided in the Carolinas, and who is firmly convinced that they are
descended from the Ten Tribes of Israel, and, moreover, gives us many
proofs of the excellence of their nature—yet, most inconsistently, is
loud in praise of the French policy of setting the different Indian
nations by the ears; and condemnation of anything like conciliation
and forbearance. Speaking of some such attempts in 1736, he says—“Our
rivals, the French, never neglect so favourable an opportunity of
securing and promoting their interests. We have known more than one
instance wherein _their wisdom_ has not only found out proper means
to disconcert the most dangerous plans of disaffected savages, _but
likewise to foment, and artfully to encourage, great animosities
between the heads of ambitious rival families, till they fixed them in
an implacable hatred against each other, and all of their respective

That he was in earnest in his admiration of such a policy, he goes
on to relate to us, with the greatest _naiveté_ and in the most
circumstantial manner, how he recommended to the Governor of South
Carolina to employ the Choctaws to scalp and extirpate the French
traders in Louisiana, who, no doubt, interfered with his own gains. He
lets us know that he got such a commission; and informs us particularly
of the presents and flatteries with which he plied a great Choctaw
chief, called Red Shoes, to set him on this work; in which he was
successful. “I supplied each of them with arms, ammunition, and
presents in plenty; gave them a French scalping-knife, which had been
used against us, and even vermilion, to be used in the flourishing
way, with the dangerous French snakes, when they killed and scalped
them.... They soon went to work—they killed the strolling French
pedlars—turned out against the Mississippi Indians and Mobillians,
and the flame raged very high. A Choctaw woman gave a French pedlar
warning: he mounted his horse, but Red Shoes ran him down in about
fifteen minutes, and had scalped him before the rest came up.... Soon
after a great number of Red Shoes’ women came to me with the French
scalps and other trophies of war.”... “In the next spring, 1747,” he
tells us “a large body of Muskohges and Chickasaws embarked on the
Mississippi, and went down it to attack the French settlements. Here
they burned a large village, and their leader being wounded, they
in revenge killed all their prisoners; and overspread the French
settlements in their fury like a dreadful whirlwind, destroying all
before them, to the astonishment and terror even of those that were far
remote from the skirts of the direful storm.” This candid writer tells
us that the French Louisianians were now in a lamentable state—but,
says he, “they had no reason to complain; we were only retaliating
innocent blood which _they_ had caused to be shed by _their_ red
mercenaries!” He laments that some treacherous traders put a stop
to his scheme, or they would soon have driven all the French out of

Who were the savages? and how did the English expect the Indians, under
such a course of tuition, to become civilized? This was the state
of things in the south. In the north, not a war broke out between
England and France, but the same scenes were acting between the English
American settlements and Canada. In 1692 we find Captain Ingoldsby
haranguing the chiefs of the Five Nations at Albany, and exhorting them
to “keep the enemy in perpetual alarm by the incursions of parties
into their country.” And the Indian orator shrewdly replying—“Brother
Corlear (their name for the governor of New York) is it not to secure
your frontiers? Why, then, not one word of your people that are to join
us? We will carry the war into the heart of the enemy’s country—but,
brother Corlear, how comes it that none of our brethren, fastened in
the same chain with us, offer their hand in this general war? Pray,
Corlear, how come Maryland, Delaware River, and New England to be
disengaged? Do they draw their arms out of the chain? or has the great
king commanded that the few subjects he has in this place should make
war against the French alone?”[45]

It was not always, however, that the Indians had to complain that the
English urged them into slaughter of the French and did not accompany
them. The object of England in America now became that of wresting
Canada entirely from France. For this purpose, knowing how essential
it was to the success of this enterprise that they should not only
have the Indians well affected, so as to prevent any incursions of the
French Indians into their own states while the British forces were
all concentrated on Canada, and still more how absolutely necessary
to have a large body of Indians to pioneer the way for them through
the woods, without which their army would be sure to be cut off by the
French Indians—great endeavours were now made to conclude treaties of
peace and mutual aid with all the great tribes in the British American
colonies. Such treaties had long existed with the Five Nations, now
called the Six Nations, by the addition of the remainder of the
Tuscarora Indians who had escaped from our exterminating arms in North
Carolina, and fled to the Five Nations; and also with the Delaware and
Susquehanna Indians. Conferences were held with the chiefs of these
tribes and British Commissioners from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New
York and Virginia, and, ostensibly, a better spirit was manifested
towards the Indian people. The most celebrated of these conferences
were held at Philadelphia in 1742; at Lancaster in Pennsylvania in
1744; and at Albany, in the state of New York, in 1746. The details
of the conferences developed many curious characteristics both of
the white and the red men. Canassateego, an Onondaga chief, was the
principal speaker for the Indians on all these occasions, and it would
be difficult to point to the man in any country, however civilized and
learned, who has conducted national negotiations with more ability,
eloquence, and sounder perception of actual existing circumstances,
amid all the sophistry employed on such occasions by European

  That lead to bewilder, and dazzle to blind.—_Beattie._

It had been originally agreed that a certain sum should be given to the
Indians, or rather its value in goods, to compensate them for their
trouble and time in coming to these conferences; that their expenses
should be paid during their stay; and that all their kettles, guns, and
hatchets should be mended for them; and the speakers took good care to
remind the colonists of these claims, and to have them duly discharged.
As it may be interesting to many to see what sort of goods were given
on these occasions, we may take the following as a specimen, which were
delivered to them at the conference of 1742, in part payment for the
cession of some territory.

   500 pounds of powder.
   600 pounds of lead.
    45 guns.
    60 Stroud matchcoats.
   100 blankets.
   100 Duffil matchcoats.
   200 yards half-thick.
   100 shirts.
    40 hats.
    40 pairs shoes and buckles.
    40 pairs stockings.
   100 hatchets.
   500 knives.
   100 hoes.
    60 kettles.
   100 tobacco tongs.
   100 scissors.
   500 awl blades.
   120 combs.
  2000 needles.
  1000 flints.
    24 looking-glasses.
     2 pounds of vermilion.
   100 tin pots.
  1000 tobacco pipes.
   200 pounds of tobacco.
    24 dozen of gartering.
    25 gallons of rum.

In another list we find no less than _four dozens of jew’s harps_.
Canassateego, on the delivery of the above goods, made a speech which
lets us into the real notions and feelings of the Indians on what was
going on in that day. “We received from the proprietor,” said he,
“yesterday, some goods in consideration of our release of the lands on
the west side of Susquehanna. It is true, we have the full quantity
according to agreement; but, if the proprietor had been here in person,
we think, in regard to our numbers and poverty, he would have made
an addition to them. If the goods were only to be divided amongst the
Indians present, a single person would have but a small portion; but if
you consider what numbers are left behind equally entitled with us to
a share, there will be extremely little. We therefore desire, if you
have the keys of the proprietor’s chest, you will open it and take out
a little more for us.

“We know our lands are now become more valuable. _The white people
think we don’t know their value; but we are sensible that the land is
everlasting, and the few goods we receive for it, are soon worn out and
gone._ For the future we will sell no lands but when Brother Onas is
in the country; and we will know beforehand the quantity of goods we
are to receive. Besides, we are not well used with respect to the lands
still unsold by us. Your people daily settle on our lands, and spoil
our hunting. We must insist on your removing them, as you know they
have no right to settle to the north of the Kittochtinny Hills.”

As it was necessary to conciliate them, more goods were given and
justice promised. On the other hand, the English complaining of the
Delawares having sold some land without authority from the Six Nations,
on whom they were dependent, Canassateego pronounced a very severe
reprimand to the Delawares, and ordered them to do so no more.

At the conference of 1744, the Indians gave one of those shrewd turns
for their own advantage to the boastings of the whites, which shew the
peculiar humour that existed in the midst of their educational gravity.
The governor of Maryland vaunting of a great sea-fight in which the
English had beaten the French; Canassateego immediately observed:
“In that great fight you must have taken a great quantity of rum, the
Indians will therefore thank you for a glass.” It was handed round to
them in _very small_ glasses, called by the governor _French glasses_.
The Indians drank it, and at the breaking up of the council that day,
Canassateego said, “Having had the pleasure of drinking a _French
glass_ of the great quantity of rum taken, the Indians would now,
before separating be glad to drink an English glass, to make us rejoice
with you in the victory.” It was impossible to waive so ingenious a
demand, and a _large glass_, to indicate the superiority of English
liberality, was now handed round.

In this conference, the Indians again complained of the daily
encroachments upon them, and of the inadequate price given for the
lands they sold. The Governor of Maryland boldly told them that the
land was in fact acquired by the English by conquest, and that they had
besides a claim of possession of 100 years. To this injudicious speech
the Indians replied with indignation, “What is one hundred years in
comparison of the time since _our claim_ began?—since we came out of
this ground? For we must tell you that long before one hundred years
_our ancestors came out of this very ground_, and their children have
remained here ever since. _You_ came out of the ground in a country
that lies beyond the seas; _there_ you may have a just claim; but
_here_ you must allow us to be your elder brethren, and the lands to
belong to us long before you knew anything of them.” They then reminded
them of the manner in which they had received them into the country. In
figurative language they observed, “When the Dutch came here, above a
hundred years ago, we were so well pleased with them that we tied their
ship to the bushes on the shore; and afterwards liking them better the
longer they stayed with us, and thinking the bushes too slender, we
removed the rope and tied it to the trees; and as the trees were liable
to be blown down, or to decay of themselves, we, from the affection
that we bore them, again removed the rope, and tied it to a strong and
high rock (here the interpreter said they mean the Oneido country); and
not content with this, for its further security, we removed the rope
to the big mountain (here the interpreter said, they mean the Onondaga
country), and there we tied it very fast, and rolled wampum about it,
and to make it still more secure, we stood upon the wampum, and sat
down upon it to defend it, and to prevent any hurt coming to it, and
did our best endeavours that it might remain for ever. During all this
time the Dutch acknowledged our right to the lands, and solicited us
from time to time, to grant them parts of our country. When the English
governor came to Albany, and we were told the Dutch and English were
become one people, the governor looked at the rope which tied the ship
to the big mountain, and seeing that it was only of wampum and liable
to rot, break, and perish in a course of years, he gave us a silver
chain, which he told us would be much stronger, and would last for ever.

“We had then,” said they pathetically, “room enough and plenty of
deer, which was easily caught; and though we had not knives, hatchets,
or guns, we had knives of stone, and hatchets of stone, and bows and
arrows, which answered our purpose as well as the English ones do now,
for we are now straitened; we are often in want of deer; we have to go
far to seek it, and are besides liable to many other inconveniences,
and particularly from that _pen-and-ink work that is going on at the
table_!” pointing to the secretary. “You know,” they continued, “when
the white people came here they were poor—they have got our lands, and
now _they_ are become rich, and _we_ are poor. _What little we get for
the land soon goes away, but the land lasts for ever!_”

It was necessary to soothe them—the governor had raised a spirit
which told him startling truths. It shewed that the Indians were not
blind to the miserable fee for which they were compelled to sell their
country. “Your great king,” said they, “might send you over to conquer
the Indians; but it looks to us that God did not send you—if he had,
he would not have placed the sea where he has, to keep you and us
asunder.” The governor addressed them in flattering terms, and added,
“We have a chest of new goods, and the key is in our pockets. You are
our brethren: the Great King is our common Father, and we will live
with you as children ought to do—in peace and love.”

The Indians were strenuously exhorted to use all means to bring the
western natives into the league. At the Conference of 1746, held
at Albany, it became sufficiently evident for what object all this
conciliation and these endeavours to extend their alliance amongst
the Indians were used. A great and decisive attack upon Canada was
planning: and it is really awful to read the language addressed to
the assembled Indians, to inflame them with the spirit of the most
malignant hatred and revenge against the French. Mr. Cadwallader
Colden, one of His Majesty’s Council and Surveyor-general of New York,
and the historian of the Five Nations, on whose own authority these
facts are stated, addressed the Indians, owing to the Governor’s
illness, in the speech prepared for the occasion. He called upon them
to remember all the French had done to them; what they did at Onondaga;
how they invaded the Senekas; what mischiefs they did to the Mohawks;
how many of their countrymen suffered at the fire at Montreal; how
they had sent priests amongst them to lull them to sleep, when they
intended to knock them on the head. “I hear,” then added he, “they
are attempting to do the same now. I need not remind you what revenge
your fathers took for these injuries, when they put all the isle of
Montreal, and a great part of Canada, to fire and sword. Can you think
the French forget this? No! they are watching secretly to destroy you.
But if your fathers could now rise out of their graves, how would their
hearts leap with joy to see this day, when so glorious an opportunity
is put into your hands to revenge all the injuries of your country,
etc. etc.” He called on them to accompany the English, to win glory,
and promised them great reward.

But these horrible fire-brands of speech,—these truly “burning words”
were not all the means used. English gentlemen were sent amongst the
tribes to arouse them by every conceivable means. The celebrated Mr.
William Johnson of Mohawk, who had dreamed himself into a vast estate
in that country,[46] and who afterwards, as Sir William Johnson, was
so distinguished as the leader of the Indians at the fall of Quebec,
and the conquest of Canada, now went amongst the Mohawks, dressed like
a Mohawk chief. He feasted them at his castle on the Mohawk river; he
gave them dances in their own country style, and danced with them; and
led the Mohawk band to this very conference.

This enterprise came to nothing; but for the successful one of 1759 the
same stimulants were applied, and the natives, to the very Twightwees
and Chickasaws, brought into the league, either to march against
the French, or to secure quiet in the states during the time of the
invasion of Canada. And what was their reward? Scarcely was Canada
reduced, and the services of the Indians no longer needed, when they
found themselves as much encroached upon and insulted as ever. Some of
the bloodiest and most desolating wars which they ever waged against
the English settlements, took place between our conquest of Canada
and our war against the American colonies themselves. It was the
long course of injuries and insults which the Indians had suffered
from the settlers that made them so ready to take up the tomahawk
and scalping-knife at the call, and induced by the blood-money, of
the mother-country against her American children. The employment and
instigation of the Indians to tomahawk the settlers brings down British
treatment of the Indians to the very last moment of our power in that
country. What were our notions of such enormities may be inferred
from their being called in the British Parliament “_means which God
and nature have put into our hands_,”—and from Lord Cornwallis, our
general then employed against the Americans, expressing, in 1780, his
“_satisfaction_ that the Indians had pursued and _scalped_ many of the

This was our conduct towards the Indians to the last hour of our
dominion in their country. We drove them out of their lands, or cheated
them out of them by making them drunk. We robbed them of their furs
in the same manner; and on all occasions we inflamed their passions
against their own enemies and ours. We made them ten times more
cruel, perfidious, and depravedly savage than we found them, and then
upbraided them as irreclaimable and merciless, and thereon founded
our convenient plea that they must be destroyed, or driven onward as
perishing shadows before the sun of civilization.

Before quitting the English in America, we need only, to complete our
view of their treatment of the natives, to include in it a glance at
that treatment in those colonies which we yet retain there; and that is
furnished by the following Parliamentary Report, (1837.)


  To take a review of our colonies, beginning with Newfoundland. There,
  as in other parts of North America, it seems to have been, for a
  length of time, accounted a “meritorious act” to kill an Indian.[47]

  On our first visit to that country, the natives were seen in every
  part of the coast. We occupied the stations where they used to hunt
  and fish, thus reducing them to want, while we took no trouble to
  indemnify them, so that, doubtless, many of them perished by famine;
  we also treated them with hostility and cruelty, and “many were
  slain by our own people, as well as by the Micmac Indians,” who were
  allowed to harass them. They must, however, have been recently very
  numerous, since, in one place, Captain Buchan found they had “run up
  fences to the extent of 30 miles,” with a variety of ramifications,
  for the purpose of conducting the deer down to the water, a work
  which would have required the labour of a multitude of hands.

  It does not appear that any measures were taken to open a
  communication with them before the year 1810, when, by order of Sir.
  J. Duckworth, an attempt was made by Captain Buchan, which proved
  ineffectual. At that time he conceived that their numbers around
  their chief place of resort, the Great Lake, were reduced to 400 or
  500. Under our treatment they continued rapidly to diminish; and it
  appears probable that the last of the tribe left at large, a man
  and a woman, were shot by two Englishmen in 1823. Three women had
  been taken prisoners shortly before, and they died in captivity. In
  the colony of Newfoundland, it may therefore be stated that we have
  exterminated the natives.[48]


  The general account of our intercourse with the North American
  Indians, as distinct from missionary efforts, may be given in the
  words of a converted Chippeway chief, in a letter to Lord Goderich:
  “We were once very numerous, and owned all Upper Canada, and lived
  by hunting and fishing; but the white men who came to trade with
  us taught our fathers to drink the fire-waters, which has made our
  people poor and sick, and has killed many tribes, till we have become
  very small.”[49]

  It is a curious fact, noticed in the evidence, that, some years ago,
  the Indians practised agriculture, and were able to bring corn to
  our settlements, then suffering from famine; but we, by driving them
  back and introducing the fur trade, have rendered them so completely
  a wandering people, that they have very much lost any disposition
  which they might once have felt to settle. All writers on the Indian
  race have spoken of them, in their native barbarism, as a noble
  people; but those who live among civilised men, upon reservations
  in our own territory, are now represented as “reduced to a state
  which resembles that of gipsies in this country.” Those who live in
  villages among the whites “are a very degraded race, and look more
  like dram-drinkers than people it would be possible to get to do any

  To enter, however, into a few more particulars.—The Indians of New
  Brunswick are described by Sir H. Douglass, in 1825, as “dwindled in
  numbers,” and in a “wretched condition.”

  Those of Nova Scotia, the Micmacs (by Sir J. Kempt), as disinclined
  to settle, and in the habit of bartering their furs, “unhappily, for

  General Darling’s statement as to the Indians of the Canadas, drawn
  up in 1828, speaks of the interposition of the government being
  urgently called for in behalf of the helpless individuals whose
  landed possessions, where they have any assigned to them, are daily
  plundered by their designing and more enlightened white brethren.[51]

  Of the Algonquins and Nipissings, General Darling writes, “Their
  situation is becoming alarming, by the rapid settlement and
  improvement of the lands on the banks of the Ottawa, on which they
  were placed by the government in the year 1763, and which tract they
  have naturally considered as their own. The result of the present
  state of things is obvious, and such as can scarcely fail in time
  to be attended with bloodshed and murder; for, driven from their own
  resources, they will naturally trespass on those of other tribes,
  who are equally jealous of the intrusion of their red brethren as
  of white men. Complaints on this head are increasing daily, while
  the threats and admonitions of the officers of the department have
  been insufficient to control the unruly spirit of the savage, who,
  driven by the calls of hunger and the feelings of nature towards
  his offspring, will not be scrupulous in invading the rights of his
  brethren, as a means of alleviating his misery, when he finds the
  example in the conduct of his white father’s children practised, as
  he conceives, towards himself.”[52]

  The general also speaks of the “degeneracy” of the Iroquois, and
  of the degraded condition of most of the other tribes, with the
  exception of those only who had received Christian instruction. Later
  testimony is to the same effect. The Rev. J. Beecham, secretary to
  the Wesleyan Missionary Society, says he has conversed with the
  Chippeway chief above referred to, on the condition of the Indians
  on the boundary of Upper Canada. That he stated most unequivocally
  that previously to the introduction of Christianity they were rapidly
  wasting away; and he believed that if it had not been for the
  introduction of Christianity they would speedily have become extinct.
  As the causes of this waste of Indian life, he mentions the decrease
  of the game, the habit of intoxication, and the European diseases.
  The small-pox had made great ravages. He adds, “The information which
  I have derived from this chief has been confirmed by our missionaries
  stationed in Upper Canada, and who are now employed among the Indian
  tribes on the borders of that province. My inquiries have led me to
  believe, that where Christianity has not been introduced among the
  aboriginal inhabitants of Upper Canada, they are melting away before
  the advance of the white population. This remark applies to the
  Six Nations, as they are called, on the Great River; the Mohawks,
  Oneidas, Onondagas, Senacas, Cayugas, and Tuscaroras, as well as to
  all the other tribes on the borders of the province.” Of the ulterior
  tribes, the account given by Mr. King, who accompanied Captain
  Back in his late Arctic expedition, is deplorable: he gives it as
  his opinion, that “the Northern Indians have decreased greatly, and
  decidedly from contact with the Europeans.”

  Thus, the Cree Indians, once a powerful tribe, “have now degenerated
  into a few families, congregated about the European establishments,
  while some few still retain their ancient rights, and have become
  partly allies of a tribe of Indians that were once their slaves.”
  He supposes their numbers to have been reduced within thirty or
  forty years from 8,000 or 10,000, to 200, or at most 300, and has
  no doubt of the remnant being extirpated in a short time, if no
  measures are taken to improve their morals and to cultivate habits
  of civilization. It should be observed that this tribe had access to
  posts not comprehended within the Hudson’s Bay Company’s prohibition,
  as to the introduction of spirituous liquors, and that they miserably
  show the effects of the privilege.

  The Copper Indians also, through ill-management, intemperance, and
  vice, are said to have decreased within the last five years to
  one-half the number of what they were.

  The early quarrels between the Hudson’s Bay and the North West
  Companies, in which the Indians were induced to take a bloody
  part, furnished them with a ruinous example of the savageness of


  In South America, British Guiana occupies a large extent of country
  between the rivers Orinoco and Amazons, giving access to numbers
  of tribes of aborigines who wander over the vast regions of the
  interior. The Indian population within the colony of Demerara and
  Essequibo, is derived from four nations, the Caribs, Arawacks,
  Warrows, and Accaways.

  It is acknowledged that they have been diminishing ever since the
  British came into possession of the colony. In 1831 they were
  computed at 5096; and it is stated “it is the opinion of old
  inhabitants of the colony, and those most competent to judge, that
  a considerable diminution has taken place in the aggregate number
  of the Indians of late years, and that the dimunition, although
  gradual, has become more sensibly apparent within the last eight or
  ten years.” The diminution is attributed, in some degree, to the
  increased use of rum amongst them.[54]

  There are in the colony six gentlemen bearing the title of
  “Protectors of Indians,” whose office it is to superintend the
  tribes; and under them are placed post-holders, a principal part
  of whose business it is to keep the negroes from resorting to the
  Indians, and also to attend the distribution of the presents which
  are given to the latter by the British government; of which, as was
  noticed with reprehension by Lord Goderich, rum formed a part.

  It does not appear[55] that anything has been done by government for
  their moral or religious improvement, excepting the grant in 1831, by
  Sir B. D’Urban, of a piece of land at Point Bartica, where a small
  establishment was then founded by the Church Missionary Society. The
  Moravian Mission on the Courantin was given up in 1817; and it does
  not appear that any other Protestant Society has attended to these

  In 1831, Lord Goderich writes,[56] “I have not heard of any effort to
  convert the Indians of British Guiana to Christianity, or to impart
  to them the arts of social life.”

  It should be observed that no injunctions to communicate either are
  given in the instructions for the “Protectors of Indians,” or in
  those for the post-holders; and two of the articles of the latter,
  (Art. 14 and Art. 15,) tend directly to sanction and encourage
  immorality. All reports agree in stating that these tribes have been
  almost wholly neglected, are retrograding, and are without provision
  for their moral or civil advancement; and with due allowance for
  the extenuating remarks on the poor account to which they turned
  their lands, when they had them, and the gifts (baneful gifts some
  of them) which have been distributed, and on the advantage of living
  under British laws, we must still concur in the sentiment of Lord
  Goderich, as expressed in the same letter, upon a reference as to
  sentence of death passed upon a native Indian for the murder of
  another. “It is a serious consideration that we have subjected these
  tribes to the penalties of a code of which they unavoidably live in
  profound ignorance; they have not even that conjectural knowledge of
  its provisions which would be suggested by the precepts of religion,
  if they had even received the most elementary instruction in the
  Christian faith. They are brought into acquaintance with civilised
  life not to partake its blessings, but only to feel the severity of
  its penal sanctions.”

  “A debt is due to the aboriginal inhabitants of British Guiana of a
  very different kind from that which the inhabitants of Christendom
  may, in a certain sense, be said to owe in general to other barbarous
  tribes. The whole territory which has been occupied by Europeans,
  on the northern shores of the South American Continent, has been
  acquired by no other right than that of superior power; and I fear
  that the natives whom we have dispossessed, have to this day received
  no compensation for the loss of the lands on which they formerly
  subsisted. However urgent is the duty of economy in every branch of
  the public service, it is impossible to withhold from the natives
  of the country the inestimable benefit which they would derive from
  appropriating to their religious and moral instruction some moderate
  part of that income which results from the culture of the soil to
  which they or their fathers had an indisputable title.”[57]


  Of the Caribs, the native inhabitants of the West Indies, we need not
  speak, as of them little more remains than the tradition that they
  once existed.



  “We were born on this spot; our fathers lie buried in it.
  Shall we say to the bones of our fathers—‘Arise and come
  with us into a foreign land?’”—_Speech of a Canadian
  Indian to the French invaders._

It was to be hoped that that great republic, the United States of North
America, having given so splendid an example of resistance to the
injustice of despotism, and of the achievement of freedom in a struggle
against a mighty nation, calculated to call forth all the generous
enthusiasm of brave men, would have given a practical demonstration of
true liberty to the whole world: that they would have shewn that it was
possible for a republic to exist, which was wise and noble enough to be
entirely free: that the sarcasm of Milton should not at least be thrown
at them—

  License they mean when they cry liberty!

The world, however, was doomed to suffer another disappointment in this
instance, and the enemies of freedom to enjoy another triumph. The
Americans left that highest place in human legislation, the adoption
of the divine precept of doing as they would be done by, as the basis
of their constitution, still unoccupied. We had the mortification of
seeing the old selfishness which had disgraced every ancient republic,
and had furnished such destructive arguments to the foes of mankind,
again unblushingly displayed. The Americans proclaimed themselves
not noble, not generous, not high-minded enough to give that freedom
to others which they had declared, by word and by deed, of the same
price as life to themselves. They once more mixed up the old crumbling
composition of iron and clay, slavery and freedom, and moulded them
into an image of civil polity, which must inevitably fall asunder. They
published a new libel on man—in the very moment of his most heroic and
magnanimous enthusiasm—shewing him as mean and sordid. While he raised
his hand to protest to admiring and huzzaing millions, that there was
no value in life without liberty, the manacles prepared for the negroes
protruded themselves from his pocket, his impassioned action at once
took the air of theatrical rant, and the multitudes who were about to
admire, laughed out, or groaned, as they were more or less virtuous.
The pompous phrases of “Divine liberty! Glorious liberty! Liberty the
birthright of every man that breathes!” became the most bitter and
humbling mockery, and gave way to the merry sneer of Matthews—“What!
d’ye call it liberty when a man may not larrup his own nigger?”

A more natural tone was assumed as regarded the Indians. They
were declared to be free and independent nations; not citizens of
the United States, but the original proprietors of the soil, and
therefore as purely irresponsible to the laws of the United States
as any neighbouring nations. They were treated with, as such, on
every occasion; their territories and right of self-government were
acknowledged by such treaties. “There is an abundance of authorities,”
says Mr. Stuart, in his ‘Three Years in North America,’ “in opposition
to the pretext, that the Indians are not now entitled to live under
their own laws and constitutions; but it would be sufficient to refer
to the treaties entered into, year after year, between the United
States and them as separate nations.”

“There are two or three authorities, independent of state papers,
which most unambiguously prove that it was never supposed that the
state governments should have a right to impose their constitution or
code of laws upon any of the Indian nations. Thus Mr. Jefferson, in an
address to the Cherokees, says—“I wish sincerely you may succeed in
your laudable endeavours to save the remnant of your nation by adopting
industrious occupations. In this you may always rely on the counsel
and assistance of the United States.” In the same way the American
negotiators at Ghent, among whom were the most eminent American
statesmen, Mr. John Quincy Adams and Mr. Henry Clay, in their note
addressed to the British Commissioners, dated September 9, 1814, use
the following language:—“The Indians residing within the United States
are so far independent that they live under their own customs, and
not under the laws of the United States.” Chancellor Kent, of New York
state (the Lord Coke or Lord Stair of the United States), has expressly
laid it down, that “it would seem idle to contend that the Indians were
citizens or subjects of the United States, and not alien and sovereign
tribes;” and the Supreme Court of the United States have expressly
declared, that “the person who purchases land from the Indians within
their territory incorporates himself with them; and, so far as respects
the property purchased, holds his title under their protection,
_subject to their laws_: if they annul the grant, we know of no
tribunal which can revise and set aside the proceeding.” Mr. Clay’s
language is quite decided:—“The Indians residing within the United
States are so far independent that they live under their own customs,
and not under the laws of the United States; that their rights, where
they inhabit or hunt, are secured to them by boundaries defined in
amicable treaties between the United States and themselves.” Mr. Wirt,
the late Attorney-General of the United States, a man of great legal
authority, has stated it to be his opinion, “that the territory of the
Cherokees is not within the jurisdiction of the State of Georgia, but
within the sole and exclusive jurisdiction of the Cherokee nation; and
that, consequently, the State of Georgia has no right to extend her
laws over that territory.” General Washington in 1790, in a speech to
one of the tribes of Indians, not only recognizes the same national
independence, but adds many solemn assurances on behalf of the United
States. “The general government only has the power to treat with the
Indian nations, and any treaty formed and held without its authority
will not be binding.

“Here, then, is the security for the remainder of your lands. No state
nor person can purchase your lands, unless by some public treaty held
under the authority of the United States. _The general government will
never consent to your being defrauded, but it will protect you in all
your just rights._

“But your great object seems to be the security of your remaining
lands, and I have, therefore, upon this point, meant to be sufficiently
strong and clear.... That, in future, you cannot be defrauded of your
lands. That you possess the right to sell, and the right of refusing to
sell your lands.... That, therefore, the sale of your lands in future
will depend entirely upon yourselves. But that, when you find it for
your interest to sell any part of your lands, the United States must be
present, by their agent, and will be your security that you shall not
be defrauded in the bargain you make.... The United States will be true
and faithful to their engagements.”

These are plain and just declarations; and, had they been faithfully
maintained, would have conferred great honour on the United States.
How they have been maintained, all the world knows. The American
republicans have followed faithfully, not their own declarations,
but the maxims and the practices of their English progenitors. The
Indians have been declared savage and irreclaimable. They have been
described as inveterately attached to hunting and a roving life, as a
stumbling-block in the path of civilization. As perfectly incapable of
settling down to the pursuits of agriculture, social arts, and domestic
habits. It has been declared necessary, on these grounds, to push them
out of the settled territories, and every means has been used to compel
them to abandon the lands of their ancestors, and to seek a fresh
country in the wilds beyond the Mississippi. Even so respectable an
author as Malte Brun has, in Europe, advanced a doctrine in defence of
this sweeping system of Indian expatriation. “Even admitting that the
use of ardent spirits has deteriorated their habits and thinned their
numbers, we cannot suppose that the Indian population was ever more
than twice as dense as at present, or that it exceeded one person for
each square mile of surface. Now, in highly civilized countries, like
France and England, the population is at the rate of 150 or 200 persons
to the square mile. It may safely be affirmed, therefore, that the same
extent of land from which one Indian family derives a precarious and
wretched subsistence, would support 150 families of civilized men, in
plenty and comfort. But most of the Indian tribes raise melons, beans,
and maize; and were we to take the case of a people who lived entirely
by hunting, the disproportion would be still greater. _If God created
the earth for the sustenance of mankind, this single consideration
decides the question_ as to the sacredness of the Indians’ title to
the lands which they roam over, but do not, in any reasonable sense,
occupy.”—v. 224.

A more abominable doctrine surely never was broached. It breathes the
genuine spirit of the old Spaniard; and, if acted upon, would produce
an everlasting confusion. Every nation which is more densely populated
than another, may, on this principle, say to that less densely peopled
state, you are not as thickly planted as God intended you to be;
you amount only to 150 persons to the square mile, we are 200 to the
same space; therefore, please to walk out, and give place to us, who
are your superiors, and who more justly fulfil God’s intentions by
the law of density. The Chinese might fairly lay claim to Europe on
that ground; and our own swarming poor to every large park and thinly
peopled district that they happened to see.

“This single consideration,” indeed, is a very good reason why the
Indians should be advised to leave off a desultory life, and take to
agriculture and the arts; or it is a very sufficient reason why the
Europeans should ask leave to live amongst them, and thus more fully
occupy the country, in what the French geographer calls a reasonable
sense. And it remained for M. Malte Brun to show that they have ever
refused to do either the one or the other. They have, on all occasions
when the Europeans have gone amongst them, “in a reasonable sense,”
received them with kindness, and even joy. They have been willing to
listen to their instructions, and ready to sell them their lands to
live upon. But it has been the “unreasonableness” of the whites that
has everywhere soon turned the hearts, and made deaf the ears, of
the natives. We have seen the lawless violence with which the early
settlers seized on the Indians’ territories, the lawless violence
and cruelty with which they rewarded them evil for good, and pursued
them to death, or instigated them to the commission of all bloody and
desperate deeds. These are the causes why the Indians have remained
uncivilized wanderers; why they have refused to listen to the precepts
of Christianity; and why they roam over, rather than occupy, those
lands on which they have been suffered to remain. From the days of
Elliot, Mayhew, Brainard, and their zealous compeers, there have never
wanted missionaries to endeavour to civilize and christianize; but they
have found, for the most part, their efforts utterly defeated by the
wicked and unprincipled acts, the wicked and unprincipled character
of the Europeans. When the missionaries have preached to the shrewd
Indians the genuine doctrines of Christianity, they have immediately
been struck with the total discrepancy between these doctrines and
the lives and practices of their European professors. “If these are
the principles of your religion,” they have continually said, “go and
preach them to your countrymen. If they have any efficacy in them,
let us see it shewn upon them. Make them good, just, and full of this
love you speak of. Let them regard the rights and property of Indians.
You have also a people amongst you that you have torn from their own
country, and hold in slavery. Go home and give them freedom; do as your
book says,—as you would be done by. When you have done that, come
again, and we will listen to you.”

This is the language which the missionaries have had everywhere in the
American forests to contend with.[58] When they have made by their
truly kind and christian spirit and lives some impression, the spirit
and lives of their countrymen have again destroyed their labours. The
fire-waters, gin, rum, and brandy, have been introduced to intoxicate,
and in intoxication to swindle the Indians out of their furs and lands.
Numbers of claims to lands have been grounded on drunken bargains,
which in their soberness the Indians would not recognize; and the
consequences have been bloodshed and forcible expulsion. Before these
causes the Indians have steadily melted away, or retired westwards
before the advancing tide of white emigration. Malte Brun would have
us believe that in the United States there never were many more than
twice the present number. Let any one look at the list of the different
tribes, and their numbers in 1822, quoted by himself from Dr. Morse,
and then look at the numbers of all the tribes which inhabited the old
States at the period of their settlement.

  In New England                               2,247
  New York                                     5,184
  Ohio                                         2,407
  Michigan and N. W. territories              28,380
  Illinois and Indiana                        17,006
  Southern States east of Mississippi         65,122
  West of Mississippi and north of Missouri   33,150
  Between Missouri and Red River             101,070
  Between Red River and Rio del Norte         45,370
  West of Rocky Mountains                    171,200

The slightest glance at this table shews instantly the fact, that where
the white settlers have been the longest there the Indians have wofully
decreased. The farther you go into the Western wilderness the greater
the Indian population. Where are the populous tribes that once camped
in the woods of New York, New England, and Pennsylvania? In those
states there were twenty years ago about 8000 Indians; since then, a
rapid diminution has taken place. In the middle of the seventeenth
century, and after several of the tribes were exterminated, and after
all had suffered severely, there could not be less, according to the
historians of the times, than forty or fifty thousand Indians within
the same limits. The traveller occasionally meets with a feeble
remnant of these once numerous and powerful tribes, lingering amid the
now usurped lands of their country, in the old settled states; but
they have lost their ancient spirit and dignity, and more resemble
troops of gypsies than the noble savages their ancestors were. A
few of the Tuscaroras live near Lewistown, and are agriculturists:
and the last of the Narragansets, the tribe of Miantinomo, are to
be found at Charlestown, in Rhode Island, under the notice of the
Boston missionaries. Fragments of the Six Nations yet linger in the
State of New York. A few Oneidas live near the lake of that name, now
christianized and habituated to the manners of the country. Some of the
Senecas and Cornplanters remain about Buffalo, on the Niagara, and at
the head-waters of the Alleghany river. Amongst these Senecas, lived
till 1830, the famous orator Red-Jacket; one of the most extraordinary
men which this singular race has produced. The effect of his
eloquence may be imagined from the following passage, to be found in
“Buckingham’s Miscellanies selected from the Public Journals.”

“More than thirty years (this was written about 1822) have rolled away
since a treaty was held on the beautiful acclivity that overlooks the
Canandaigua Lake. Two days had passed away in negotiation with the
Indians for the cession of their lands. The contract was supposed to
be nearly completed, when Red-Jacket arose. With the grace and dignity
of a Roman senator he drew his blanket around him, and with a piercing
eye surveyed the multitude. All was hushed. Nothing interposed to break
the silence, save the gentle rustling of the tree-tops under whose
shade they were gathered. After a long and solemn, but not unmeaning
pause, he commenced his speech in a low voice and sententious style.
Rising gradually with the subject, he depicted the primitive simplicity
and happiness of his nation, and the wrongs they had sustained from
the usurpations of white men, with such a bold but faithful pencil,
that every auditor was soon roused to vengeance, or melted into tears.
The effect was inexpressible. But ere the emotions of admiration and
sympathy had subsided, the white men became alarmed. They were in the
heart of an Indian country, surrounded by ten times their number,
who were inflamed by the remembrance of their injuries, and excited
to indignation by the eloquence of a favourite chief. Appalled and
terrified, the white men cast a cheerless gaze upon the hordes around
them. A nod from one of the chiefs might be the onset of destruction,
but at this portentous moment _Farmers-brother_ interposed.”

In the year 1805 a council was held at Buffalo, by the chiefs and
warriors of the Senecas, at the request of Mr. Cram from Massachusets.
The missionary first made a speech, in which he told the Indians that
he was sent by the Missionary Society of Boston, to instruct them “how
to worship the Great Spirit,” and not to get away their lands and
money; that there was but one true religion, and they were living in
darkness, etc. After consultation, Red-Jacket returned, on behalf of
the Indians, the following speech, which is deservedly famous, and not
only displays the strong intellect of the race, but how vain it was to
expect to christianize them, without clear and patient reasoning, and
in the face of the crimes and corruptions of the whites.

“_Friend and brother_, it was the will of the Great Spirit that we
should meet together this day. He orders all things, and he has given
us a fine day for our council. He has taken his garment from before
the sun, and caused it to shine with brightness upon us. Our eyes are
opened that we see clearly; our ears are unstopped that we have been
able to hear distinctly the words that you have spoken. For all these
favours we thank the Great Spirit and him only.

“_Brother_, this council-fire was kindled by you. It was at your
request that we came together at this time. We have listened with great
attention to what you have said; you requested us to speak our minds
freely: this gives us great joy, for we now consider that we stand
upright before you, and can speak whatever we think. All have heard
your voice, and all speak to you as one man; our minds are agreed.

“_Brother_, you say you want an answer to your talk before you leave
this place. It is right you should have one, as you are at a great
distance from home, and we do not wish to detain you; but we will first
look back a little, and tell you what our fathers have told us, and
what we have heard from the white people.

“_Brother, listen to what we say._ There was a time when our
forefathers owned this great island. Their seats extended from the
rising to the setting sun. The Great Spirit had made it for the use of
Indians. He had created the buffalo, the deer, and other animals for
food. He made the beaver and the bear, and their skins served us for
clothing. He had scattered them over the country, and taught us how to
take them. He had caused the earth to produce corn for bread. All this
he had done for his red children, because he loved them. If we had any
disputes about hunting-grounds, they were generally settled without the
shedding of much blood; but an evil day came upon us: your forefathers
crossed the great waters, and landed on this island. Their numbers were
small; they found friends, and not enemies; they told us they had fled
from their own country for fear of wicked men, and came here to enjoy
their religion. They asked for a small seat. We took pity on them,
granted their request, and they sate down among us. We gave them corn
and meat, they gave us poison[59] in return. The white people had now
found out our country, tidings were carried back, and more came amongst
us; yet we did not fear them, we took them to be friends: they called
us brothers, we believed them, and gave them a larger seat. At length
their numbers had greatly increased, they wanted more land,—they
wanted our country! Our eyes were opened, and our minds became uneasy.
Wars took place; _Indians were hired to fight against Indians_, and
many of our people were destroyed. They also brought strong liquors
among us; it was strong and powerful, and has slain thousands.

“_Brother_, our seats were once large, and yours were very small.
You have now become a great people, and we have scarcely a place
left to spread our blankets. You have got our country, but are not
satisfied;—_you want to force your religion upon us_.

“_Brother, continue to listen._ You say that you are sent to instruct
us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeably to his mind, and if we do
not take hold of the religion which you white people teach, we shall
be unhappy hereafter. You say that you are right, and we are lost; how
do you know this? We understand that your religion is written in a
book; if it was intended for us as well as you, why has not the Great
Spirit given it to us, and not only to us, why did he not give to our
forefathers the knowledge of that book, with the means of understanding
it rightly? We only know what you tell us about it; how shall we know
when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people?

“_Brother_, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great
Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so
much about it? why not all agree, as you can all read the book?

“_Brother_, we do not understand these things. We are told that your
religion was given to your forefathers, and has been handed down
from father to son. We also have a religion which was given to our
forefathers, and has been handed down to us their children. We worship
that way. _It teaches us to be thankful for all the favours we receive;
to love each other, and to be united;—we never quarrel about religion._

“_Brother_, the Great Spirit has made us all; but he has made a great
difference between his white and red children. He has given us a
different complexion, and different customs. To you he has given the
arts; to these he has not opened our eyes. We know these things to
be true. Since he has made so great a difference between us in other
things, why may we not conclude that he has given us a different
religion according to our understanding? The Great Spirit does right:
he knows what is best for his children: we are satisfied.

“_Brother_, we do not wish to destroy your religion, or take it from
you; we only want to enjoy our own.

“_Brother_, you say you have not come to get our land or our money, but
to enlighten our minds. I will now tell you that I have been at your
meetings, and saw you collecting money from the meeting. I cannot tell
what this money was intended for, but suppose it was your minister;
and, if we should conform to your way of thinking, perhaps you may want
some from us.

“_Brother_, we are told that you have been preaching to the white
people in this place. These people are our neighbours; we are
acquainted with them: we will wait a little while, and see what effect
your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them
honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again
what you have said.

“_Brother_, you have now heard our answer to your talk; and this is all
we have to say at present. As we are going to part, we will come and
take you by the hand, and hope the Great Spirit will protect you on
your journey, and return you safe to your friends.”

The Missionary, hastily rising from his seat, refused to shake hands
with them, saying “there was no fellowship between the religion of
God and the works of the devil.” The Indians smiled and retired in a
peaceable manner.[60] Which of these parties best knew the real nature
of religion? At all events the missionary was awfully deficient in the
spirit of his own, and in the art of winning men to embrace it.



The Friends have for many years had schools for the education of the
children in different States, and persons employed to engage the
Indians in agriculture and manual arts, but they, as well as the
missionaries, complain that their efforts have been rendered abortive
by the continual removals of the red people by the government.

Scarcely was the war over, and American independence proclaimed, when
a great strife began betwixt the Republicans and the Indians, for
the Indian lands—a strife which extended from the Canadian lakes to
the gulph of Florida, and has continued more or less to this moment.
Under the British government, the boundaries of the American states
had never been well defined. The Americans appointed commissioners to
determine them, and appear to have resolved that all Indian claims
within the boundaries of the St. Lawrence, the great chain of lakes,
and the Mississippi, should be extinguished. They certainly embraced a
compact and most magnificent expanse of territory. It was true that the
Indians, the ancient and rightful possessors of the soil, had yet large
tracts within these lines of demarcation; but, then, what was the power
of the Indians to that of the United States? They _could_ be compelled
to evacuate their lands, and it was resolved that they _should_. It
is totally beyond the limits of my work to follow out the progress of
this most unequal and iniquitous strife; whoever wishes to see it fully
and very fairly portrayed may do so in a work by an American—“Drake’s
Book of the North American Indians.” I can here only simply state,
that a more painful and interesting struggle never went on between the
overwhelming numbers of the white men, armed with all the powers of
science, but unrestrained by the genuine sentiments of religion, and
the sons of the forest in their native simplicity. The Americans tell
us that this apparently hard and arbitrary measure will eventually
prove the most merciful. That the Indians cannot live by the side of
white men; they are always quarrelling with and murdering them; and
that is but too true; and the Indians in strains of the most indignant
and pathetic eloquence, tell us the reason why. It is because the white
invaders are eternally encroaching on their bounds, destroying their
deer and their fish, and murdering the Indians too without ceremony.
It is this recklessness of law and conscience, and the ever-rolling
tide of white population westward, which raised up Tecumseh, and
his companions, to combine the northern tribes in resistance. Brant
assured the American commissioners, that unless they made the Ohio
and the Muskingum their boundaries, there could be no peace with the
Indians. These are the causes that called forth Black-Hauk from the
Ouisconsin, with the Winnebagoes, the Sacs, and Foxes; that roused the
Little-Turtle, with his Miamies, and many other chiefs and tribes,
to inflict bloody retribution on their oppressors, but finally to be
compelled themselves only the sooner to yield up their native lands.
These are the causes that, operating to the most southern point of the
United States, armed the great nations of the Seninoles, the Creeks,
the Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Cherokees; and have made famous the
exterminating campaigns of General Jackson, the bloody spots of Fort
Mimms, Autossee, Tippecanoe, Talladega, Horse-shoe-bend, and other
places of wholesale carnage. At Horse-shoe-bend, General Jackson
says—“determined to exterminate them, I detached General Coffee with
the mounted and nearly the whole of the Indian force, early in the
morning (March 27, 1814), to cross the river about two miles below
their encampment, and to surround the Bend, so that none of them should
escape by crossing the river.”

“At this place,” says Drake, “the disconsolate tribes of the South
had made a last great stand; and had a tolerably fortified camp. It
was said they were 1000 strong.” They were attacked on all sides; the
fighting was kept up five hours; _five hundred and fifty-seven_ were
left dead on the peninsula, and a great number killed by the horsemen,
in crossing the river. _It is believed that not more than twenty
escaped!_ “We continued,” says the _brave General Jackson_, “to destroy
many of them who had concealed themselves under the banks of the river,
until we were prevented by the night!”

And what had these unfortunate tribes done, that they should be
exterminated? Simply this:—When the United States remodelled the
southern states, reducing the Carolinas and Georgia, and creating the
new states of Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, they stipulated,
in behalf of Georgia, to extinguish all the Indian titles to lands in
that State, “as soon as it could be done on peaceable terms.” Georgia,
impatient to seize on these lands, immediately employed all means to
effect this object. When the Indians, in national council, would not
sell their lands, they prevailed on a half-breed chief, M’Intosh, and
a few others, of no character, to sell them; and, on this mock title,
proceeded to expel the Indians. The Indians resisted; an alarm of
rebellion was sounded through the States, and General Jackson sent to
put it down. The Indians, as in all other quarters, were compelled to
give way before the irresistible American power. We cannot go at length
into this bloody history of oppression; but the character of the whole
may be seen in that of a part.

But the most singular feature of the treatment of the Indians by
the Americans is, that while they assign their irreclaimable nature
as the necessary cause of their expelling or desiring to expel them
from all the states east of the Mississippi, their most strenuous and
most recent efforts have been directed against those numerous tribes,
that were not only extensive but rapidly advancing in civilization.
So far from refusing to adopt settled, orderly habits, the Choctaws,
Chickasaws, Creeks, and Cherokees, were fast conforming both to the
religion and the habits of the Americans. The Creeks were numbered
in 1814 at 20,000. The Choctaws had some years ago 4041 warriors, and
could not therefore be estimated at less than four times that number in
total population, or 16,000. In 1810, the Cherokees consisted of 12,400
persons; in 1824 they had increased to 15,000. The Chickasaws reckoned
some years ago 1000 warriors, making the tribe probably 4000.

The Creeks had twenty years ago cultivated lands, flocks, cattle,
gardens, and different kinds of domestic manufactures. They were
betaking themselves to manual trades and farming. “The Choctaws,” Mr.
Stuart says, “have both schools and churches. A few books have been
published in the Choctaw language. In one part of their territory,
where the population amounted to 5627 persons, there were above
11,000 cattle, about 4000 horses, 22,000 hogs, 530 spinning-wheels,
360 ploughs, etc.” The missionaries speak in the highest terms of
their steadiness and sobriety; and one of their chiefs had actually
offered himself as a candidate for Congress. All these tribes are
described as rapidly progressing in education and civilization, but
the Cherokees present a character which cannot be contemplated without
the liveliest admiration. These were the tribes amongst whom Adair
spent so many years, about the middle of the last century, and whose
customs and ideas as delineated by him, exhibited them as such fine
material for cultivation. Since then the missionaries, and especially
the Moravians, have been labouring with the most signal success. A
school was opened in this tribe by them in 1804, in which vast numbers
of Cherokee children have been educated. Such, indeed, have been the
effects of cultivation on this fine people, that they have assumed
all the habits and pursuits of civilized life. Their progress may be
noted by observing the amount of their possessions in 1810, and again,
fourteen years afterwards, in 1824. In the former year they had 3
schools, in the latter 18; in the former year 13 grist-mills, in the
latter 36; in the former year 3 saw-mills, in the latter 13; in the
former year 467 looms, in the latter 762; in the former year 1,600
spinning-wheels, in the latter 2,486; in the former year 30 wagons, in
the latter 172; in the former year 500 ploughs, in the latter 2,923;
in the former year 6,100 horses, in the latter 7,683; in the former
year 19,500 head of cattle, in the latter 22,531; in the former year
19,600 swine, in the latter 46,732; in the former year 1,037 sheep,
in the latter 2,546, and 430 goats; in the former year 49 smiths, in
the latter 62 smiths’ shops. Here is a steady and prosperous increase;
testifying to no ordinary existence of industry, prudence, and good
management amongst them, and bearing every promise of their becoming a
most valuable portion of the community. They have, Mr. Stuart tells us,
several public roads, fences, and turnpikes. The soil produces maize,
cotton, tobacco, wheat, oats, indigo, sweet and Irish potatoes. The
natives carry on a considerable trade with the adjoining states, and
some of them export cotton to New Orleans. Apple and peach orchards are
common, and gardens well cultivated. Butter and cheese are the produce
of their dairies. There are many houses of public entertainment kept
by the natives. Numerous and flourishing villages are seen in every
section of the country. Cotton and woollen cloths and blankets are
everywhere. Almost every family in the nation produces cotton for its
own consumption. Nearly all the nation are native Cherokees.

A printing-press has been established for several years; and a
newspaper, written partly in English, and partly in Cherokee, has been
successfully carried on. This paper, called the Cherokee Phœnix,
is written entirely by a Cherokee, a young man under thirty. It had
been surmised that he was assisted by a white man, on which he put
the following notice in the paper:—“No white has anything to do with
the management of our paper. No other person, whether white or red,
besides the ostensible editor, has written, from the commencement of
the Phœnix, half a column of matter which has appeared under the
editorial head.”[61]

The starting of this Indian newspaper by an Indian, is one of the most
interesting facts in the history of civilization. In this language
nothing had been written or printed. It had no written alphabet.
This young Indian, already instructed by the missionaries in English
literature, is inspired with a desire to open the world of knowledge
to his countrymen in their vernacular tongue. There is no written
character, no types. Those words familiar to all native ears, have
no corresponding representation to the eye. These are gigantic
difficulties to the young Indian, and as the Christian would call him,
_savage_ aspirant and patriot. But he determines to conquer them all.
He travels into the eastern states. He invents letters which shall
best express the sounds of his native tongue; he has types cut, and
commences a newspaper. There is nothing like it in the history of
nations in their first awakening from the long fixedness of wild life.
This mighty engine, the press, once put in motion by native genius
in the western wilderness, books are printed suitable to the nascent
intelligence of the country. The Gospel of St. Matthew is translated
into Cherokee, and printed at the native press. Hymns are also
translated and printed. Christianity makes rapid strides. The pupils
in the schools advance with admirable rapidity. There is a new and
wonderful spirit abroad. Not only do the Indians throng to the churches
to listen to the truths of life and immortality, but Indians themselves
become diligent ministers, and open places of worship in the more
remote and wild parts of the country. Even temperance societies are
formed. Political principles develop themselves far in philosophical
advance of our proud and learned England. The constitution of the
native state contains admirable stamina; trial by jury prevails; and
universal suffrage—a right, to this moment distrustfully withheld from
the English people, is there freely granted, and judiciously exercised;
every male citizen of eighteen years old having a vote in all public

The whole growth and being, however, of this young Indian civilization
is one of the most delightful and animating subjects of contemplation
that ever came before the eye of the lover of his race. Here were these
Indian savages, who had been two hundred years termed irreclaimable;
whom it had been the custom only to use as the demons of carnage, as
creatures fit only to carry the tomahawk and the bloody scalping-knife
through Cherry-Valley, Gnadenhuetten, or Wyoming; and whom, that work
done, it was declared, must be cast out from the face of civilized
man, as the reproach of the past and the incubus of the future,—here
were they gloriously vindicating themselves from those calumnies and
wrongs, and assuming in the social system a most beautiful and novel
position. It was a spectacle on which one would have thought the United
States would hang with a proud delight, and point to as one of the most
noble features of their vast and noble country. What did they do? They
chose rather to give the lie to all their assertions, that they drove
out the Indians because they were irreclaimable and unamalgamable, and
to shew to the world that they expelled them solely and simply because
they scorned that one spot of the copper hue of the aborigines should
mar the whiteness of their population. They compel us to exclaim with
the indignant Abbé Raynal, “And are these the men whom both French and
English have been conspiring to extirpate for a century past?” and
suggest to us his identical answer,—“But perhaps they would be ashamed
to live amongst such models of heroism and magnanimity!”

However, everything which irritation, contempt, political chicanery,
and political power can effect, have been long zealously at work to
drive these fine Nations out of their delightful country, and beyond
the Mississippi; the boundary which American cupidity at present sets
between itself and Indian extirpation. Spite of all those solemn
declarations, by the venerable Washington and other great statesmen
already quoted; spite of the most grave treaties, and especially one
of July 2d, 1791, which says, “The United States solemnly guarantee
to the Cherokee nation all their lands not hereby ceded,” by a
juggle betwixt the State of Georgia and Congress, the Cherokees
have been virtually dispossessed of their country. From the period
of the American independence to 1802, there had been a continual
pressure on the Cherokees for their lands, and they had been induced
by one means or another to cede to the States more than _two hundred
millions_ of acres. How reluctantly may be imagined, by the decided
stand made by them in 1819, when they peremptorily protested that
they would not sell another foot. That they needed all they had, for
that they were becoming more and more agricultural, and progressing
in civilization. One would have thought this not only a sufficient
but a most satisfactory plea to a great nation by its people; but
no, Georgia ceded to Congress territories for the formation of two
new states, Alabama and Mississippi, and Georgia in part of payment
receives the much desired lands of the Cherokees. Georgia, therefore,
assumes the avowed language of despotism, and decrees by its senate, in
the very face of the clear recognitions of Indian independence already
quoted, _that the right of discovery and conquest was the title of
the Europeans; that every foot of land in the United States was held
by that title; that the right of the Indians was merely temporary;
that they were tenants at will, removable at any moment, either by
negotiation or force_. “It may be contended,” says the Report of 1827,
“with much plausibility, that there is in these claims more of force
than of justice; _but they are claims which have been recognized and
admitted by the whole civilized world_, AND IT IS UNQUESTIONABLY TRUE,

This language once adopted there needed no further argument about right
or justice. Georgia took its stand upon Rob Roy’s law,

  That he shall take who has the power,
    And he shall keep who can;

and it forthwith proceeded to act upon it. It decreed in 1828, that the
territories of the Cherokees should be divided amongst the different
counties of Georgia; that after June 1st, 1830, the Cherokees should
become the subjects of Georgia; that all Cherokee laws should be
abolished, and all Cherokees should be cut off from any benefit of the
laws of the State—that is, that no Indian, or _descendent of one_,
should be capable to act as a witness, or to be a party in any suit
against a white man. The Cherokees refusing to abandon their hereditary
soil without violence, an act was passed prohibiting any white man from
residing in the Cherokee country without a permit from the governor,
and on the authority of this, soldiers were marched into it, and _the
missionaries carried off_ on a Sunday. An attempt was made to crush
that interesting newspaper press, by forcing away every white man
assisting in the office. Forcible possession was taken of the Indian
gold mines by Georgian laws, and the penal statutes exercised against
the Indians who did not recognize their authority. The Cherokees, on
these outrages, vehemently appealed to Congress. They said—“how far
we have contributed to keep bright the chain of friendship which binds
us to these United States, is within the reach of your knowledge; it
is ours to maintain it, until, perhaps, the plaintive voice of an
Indian from the south shall no more be heard within your walls of
legislation. Our nation and our people may cease to exist, before
another revolving year reassembles this august assembly of great men.
We implore that our people may not be denounced as savages, unfit for
the good neighbourhood guaranteed to them by treaty. We cannot better
express the rights of our nation, than they are developed on the face
of the document we herewith submit; and the desires of our nation, than
to pray a faithful fulfilment of the promises made by its illustrious
author through his secretary. Between the compulsive measures of
Georgia and our destruction, we ask the interposition of your
authority, and remembrance of the bond of perpetual peace pledged for
our safety—the safety of the last fragments of some mighty nations,
that have grazed for a while upon your civilization and prosperity, but
which are now tottering on the brink of angry billows, whose waters
have covered in oblivion other nations that were once happy, but are
now no more.

“The schools where our children learn to read the Word of God; the
churches where our people now sing to his praise, and where they are
taught ‘that of one blood he created all the nations of the earth;’
the fields they have cleared, and the orchards they have planted; the
houses they have built,—are dear to the Cherokees; and there they
expect to live and to die, on the lands inherited from their fathers,
as the firm friends of the people of these United States.”

This is the very language which the simple people of all the new
regions whither Europeans have penetrated, have been passionately
and imploringly addressing for three hundred years, but in vain.
We seem again to hear the supplicating voice of the people of the
Seven Reductions of Paraguay, addressed to the expelling Spaniards
and Portuguese. In each case it was alike unavailing. The Congress
returned them a cool answer, advising the Cherokees to go over the
Mississippi, where “the soil should be theirs while the trees grow,
or the streams run.” But they had heard that language before, and
they knew its value. The State of Georgia had avowed the doctrine of
conquest, which silences all contracts and annuls all promises. It is
to the honour of the Supreme Court of the United States that, on appeal
to it, _it_ annulled the proceedings of Georgia, and recognised the
rightful possession of the country by the Cherokees. But what power
shall restrain all those engines of irritation and oppression, which
white men know how to employ against coloured ones, when they want
their persons or their lands. Nothing will be able to prevent the final
expatriation of these southern tribes: they must pass the Mississippi
till the white population is swelled sufficiently to require them to
cross the Missouri; there will then remain but two barriers between
them and annihilation—the rocky mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Whenever we hear now of those tribes, it is of some fresh act of
aggression against them—some fresh expulsion of a portion of them—and
of melancholy Indians moving off towards the western wilds.

Such is the condition to which the British and their descendants
have reduced the aboriginal inhabitants of the vast regions of North
America,—the finest race of men that we have ever designated by the
name of savage.

  What term we savage? The untutored heart
    Of Nature’s child is but a slumbering fire;
  Prompt at a breath, or passing touch to start
    Into quick flame, as quickly to retire;

  Ready alike its pleasance to impart,
    Or scorch the hand which rudely wakes its ire:
  Demon or child, as impulse may impel,
  Warm in its love, but in its vengeance fell.

  And these Columbian warriors to their strand
    Had welcomed Europe’s sons, and rued it sore:—
  Men with smooth tongues, but rudely armed hand;
    Fabling of peace, when meditating gore;
  Who their foul deeds to veil, ceased not to brand
    The Indian name on every Christian shore.
  What wonder, on such heads, their fury’s flame
  Burst, till its terrors gloomed their fairer fame?

  For they were not a brutish race, unknowing
    Evil from good; their fervid souls embraced
  With virtue’s proudest homage, to o’erflowing,
    The mind’s inviolate majesty. The past
  To them was not a darkness; but was glowing
    With splendour which all time had not o’ercast;
  Streaming unbroken from creation’s birth,
  When God communed and walked with men on earth.

  Stupid idolatry had never dimmed
    The Almighty image in their lucid thought.
  To Him alone their zealous praise was hymned;
    And hoar Tradition from her treasury brought
  Glimpses of far-off times, in which were limned,
    His awful glory;—and their prophets taught
  Precepts sublime,—a solemn ritual given,
  In clouds and thunder, to their sires from heaven.[63]

  And in the boundless solitude which fills,
    Even as a mighty heart, their wild domains;
  In caves and glens of the unpeopled hills;
    And the deep shadow that for ever reigns
  Spirit-like, in their woods; where, roaring, spills
    The giant cataract to the astounded plains,—
  Nature, in her sublimest moods, had given
  Not man’s weak lore,—but a quick flash from heaven.

  Roaming in their free lives, by lake and stream;
    Beneath the splendour of their gorgeous sky;
  Encamping, while shot down night’s starry gleam,
    In piny glades, where their forefathers lie;
  Voices would come, and breathing whispers seem
    To rouse within, the life which may not die;
  Begetting valorous deeds, and thoughts intense,
    And a wild gush of burning eloquence.

Such appeared to me ten years ago, when writing these stanzas, the
character of the North American Indians; such it appears to me now.
What an eternal disgrace to both British and Americans if this race of
“mighty hunters before the Lord” shall, at the very moment when they
shew themselves ready to lay down the bow and throw all the energies
of their high temperament into civilized life, still be repelled and
driven into the waste, or to annihilation. Their names and deeds
and peculiar character are already become part of the literature of
America; they will hereafter present to the imagination of posterity,
one of the most singular and interesting features of history. Their
government, the only known government of pure intellect; their grave
councils; their singular eloquence; their stern fortitude; their wild
figures in the war-dance; their “fleet foot” in the ancient forest;
and all those customs, and quick keen thoughts which belong to them,
and them alone, will for ever come before the poetic mind of every
civilized people. Shall they remain, to look back to the days in which
the very strength of their intellects and feelings made them repel the
form of civilization, while they triumph in the universal diffusion of
knowledge and Christian hope? or shall it continue to be said,

  The vast, the ebbless, the engulphing tide
    Of the white population still rolls on!
  And quailed has their romantic heart of pride,—
    The kingly spirit of the woods is gone.
  Farther and farther do they wend to hide
    Their wasting strength; to mourn their glory flown;
  And sigh to think how soon shall crowds pursue
  Down the lone stream where glides the still canoe.



Having now quitted North America, let us sail southward. There we may
direct our course east or west, we may pass Cape Horn, or the Cape
of Good Hope, and enter the Pacific or the Indian Ocean, secure that
on whatever shore we may touch, whether on continent or island, we
shall find the Europeans oppressing the natives on their own soil, or
having exterminated them, occupying their place. We shall find our own
countrymen more than all others widely diffused and actively employed
in the work of expulsion, moral corruption, and destruction of the
aboriginal tribes. We talk of the atrocities of the Spaniards, of the
deeds of Cortez and Pizarro, as though they were things of an ancient
date, things gone by, things of the dark old days; and seem never for
a moment to suspect that these dark old days were not a whit more
shocking than our own, or that our countrymen, protestant Englishmen of
1838, can be compared for a moment to the Red-Cross Knights of Mexican
and Peruvian butcheries. If they cannot be compared, I blush to say
that it is because our infamy and crimes are even more wholesale and
inhuman than theirs. Do the good people of England, who “sit at home
at ease,” who build so many churches and chapels, and flock to them
in such numbers,—who spend about 170,000_l._ annually on Bibles,
and more than half a million annually in missions and other modes of
civilizing and christianizing the heathen, and therefore naturally
flatter themselves that they are rapidly bringing all the world to the
true faith; do they or can they know that at this very moment, wherever
their Bibles go, and wherever their missionaries are labouring, their
own government and their own countrymen are as industriously labouring
also, to scatter the most awful corruption of morals and principles
amongst the simple natives of all, to us, new countries? that they are
introducing diseases more pestilent than the plague, more loathsome
than the charnel-house itself, and more deadly than the simoom of the
tropical deserts, that levels all before it? Do they know, that even
where their missionaries, like the prophets of old, have gone before
the armies of God, putting the terrors of heathenism to flight, making
a safe path through the heart of the most dreadful deserts; dividing
the very waters, and levelling the old mountains of separation and of

  By Faith supported and by Freedom led,
  A fruitful field amid the desert making,
  And dwell secure where kings and priests were quaking,
  And taught the waste to yield them wine and bread.—_Pringle._

Do they know, that when these holy and victorious men have thus
conquered all the difficulties they calculated upon, and seen, by
God’s blessing, the savage reclaimed, the idolater convinced, the
wilderness turned into a garden, and arts, commerce, and refined
life rising around them, a more terrible enemy has appeared in the
shape of European, and chiefly English corruption? That out of
that England—whence they had carried such beneficent gifts, such
magnificent powers of good—have come pouring swarms of lawless
vagabonds worse than the Spaniards, and worse than the Buccaneers of
old, and have threatened all their works with destruction? Do they
know that in South Africa, where Smidt, Vanderkemp, Philip, Read,
Kay and others, have done such wonders, and raised the Hottentot,
once pronounced the lowest of the human species, and the Caffre, not
long since styled the most savage, into the most faithful Christians
and most respectable men; and in those beautiful islands that Ellis
and Williams have described in such paradisiacal colours, that
roving crews of white men are carrying everywhere the most horrible
demoralization, that every shape of European crime is by them exhibited
to the astonished people—murder, debauchery, the most lawless
violence in person and property; and that the liquid fire which, from
many a gin-shop in our own great towns, burns out the industry, the
providence, the moral sense, and the life of thousands of our own
people, is there poured abroad by these monsters with the same fatal
effect? Whoever does not know this, is ignorant of one of the most
fearful and gigantic evils which beset the course of human improvement,
and render abortive a vast amount of the funds so liberally supplied,
and the labours so nobly undergone, in the cause of Christianity.
Whoever does not know this, should moreover refer to the Parliamentary
Report of 1837, on the Aboriginal Tribes.

The limits which I have devoted to a brief history of the treatment
of these tribes by the European nations have been heavily pressed
upon by the immense mass of our crimes and cruelties, and I must now
necessarily make a hasty march across the scenes here alluded to; but
enough will be seen to arouse astonishment, and indicate the necessity
of counter-agencies of the most impulsive kind.

The Dutch have been applauded by various historians for the justice
and mildness which they manifested towards the natives of their Cape
colony. This may have been the case at their first entrance in 1652,
and until they had purchased a certain quantity of land for their new
settlement with a few bottles of brandy and some toys. It was their
commercial policy, in the language of the old school of traders, to
“first creep and then go.” It was in the same assumed mildness that
they insinuated themselves into the spice islands of India. Nothing,
however, is more certain than that in about a century they had
possessed themselves of all the Hottentot territories, and reduced the
Hottentots themselves to a state of the most abject servitude. The
Parliamentary Report just alluded to, describes the first governor, Van
Riebeck, in the very first year of the settlement, looking over the
mud-walls of his fortress on “the cattle of the natives, and wondering
at the ways of Providence that could bestow such very fine gifts on
heathens.” It also presents us with two very characteristic extracts
from his journal at this moment.

“December 13th, 1652.—To-day the Hottentots came with thousands of
cattle and sheep close to our fort, so that their cattle nearly mixed
with ours. We feel vexed to see so many fine head of cattle, and not
to be able to buy to any considerable extent. If it had been indeed
allowed, we had opportunity to-day to deprive them of 10,000 head,
which, however, if we obtain orders to that effect, can be done at
any time, and even more conveniently, because they will have greater
confidence in us. With 150 men, 10,000 or 11,000 head of black cattle
might be obtained without danger of losing one man; and many savages
might be taken without resistance, in order to be sent as slaves to
India, as they still always come to us unarmed.

“December 18.—To-day the Hottentots came again with thousands of
cattle close to the fort. If no further trade is to be expected with
them, what would it matter much to take at once 6,000 or 8,000 beasts
from them? There is opportunity enough for it, as they are not strong
in number, and very timid; and since not more than two or three men
often graze a thousand cattle close to our cannon, who might be easily
cut off, and as we perceive they place very great confidence in us,
we allure them still with show of friendship to make them the more
confident. It is vexatious to see so much cattle, so necessary for the
refreshment of the Honourable Company’s ships, of which it is not every
day that any can be obtained by friendly trade.”

It is sufficiently clear that no nice scruples of conscience withheld
Governor Van Riebeck from laying hand on 10 or 11,000 cattle, or
blowing a few of the keepers away with his cannons.

The system of oppression, adds the Report, thus began, never slackened
till the Hottentot nation were cut off, and the small remnant left
were reduced to abject bondage. From all the accounts we have seen
respecting the Hottentot population, it could not have been less than
200,000, but at present they are said to be only 32,000 in number.

In 1702 the Governor and Council stated their inability to restrain
the plunderings and outrages of the colonists upon the natives, on the
plea that such an act would implicate and ruin half the colony; and in
1798, Barrow, in his Travels in Southern Africa, thus describes their
condition:—“Some of their villages might have been expected to remain
in this remote and not very populous part of the colony. Not one,
however, was to be found. There is not, in fact, in the whole district
of Graaff Reynet, a single horde of independent Hottentots, and perhaps
not a score of individuals who are not actually in the service of the
Dutch. These weak people—the most helpless, and, in their present
condition, perhaps the most wretched of the human race,—duped out of
their possessions, their country, and their liberty, have entailed
upon their miserable offspring a state of existence to which that of
slavery might bear the comparison of happiness. It is a condition,
however, not likely to continue to a very remote posterity. Their
numbers, of late years, have been rapidly on the decline. It has
generally been observed, that where Europeans have colonized, the less
civilized nations have always dwindled away, and at length totally
disappeared.... There is scarcely an instance of cruelty said to
have been committed against the slaves in the West Indian islands,
that could not find a parallel from the Dutch farmers towards the
Hottentots in their service. Beating and cutting with thongs of the
sea-cow (hippopotamus), or rhinoceros, are only gentle punishments;
though those sort of whips, which they call _sjambocs_, are most horrid
instruments, being tough, pliant, and heavy almost as lead. Firing
small shot into the legs and thighs of a Hottentot is a punishment
not unknown to some of the monsters who inhabit the neighbourhood of
Camtoos. By a resolution of the old government, a boor was allowed to
claim as his property, till the age of twenty-five, all the children
of the Hottentots to whom he had given in their infancy a morsel of
meat. At the expiration of this period, the odds are two to one that
the slave is not emancipated; but should he be fortunate enough to
escape at this period, the best part of his life has been spent in a
profitless servitude, and he is turned adrift without any thing he can
call his own, except the sheep-skin on his back.”

These poor people were fed on the flesh of old ewes, or any animal that
the boor expected to die of age; or, in default of that, a few quaggas
or such game were killed for them. They were tied to a wagon-wheel and
flogged dreadfully for slight offences; and when a master wanted to
get rid of one, he was sometimes sent on an errand, followed on the
road, and shot.[64] The cruelties, in fact, practised on the Hottentots
by the Dutch boors were too shocking to be related. Maiming, murder,
pursuing them like wild beasts, and shooting at them in the most
wanton manner, were amongst them. Mr. Pringle stated that he had in
his possession a journal of such deeds, kept by a resident at so late
a period as from 1806 to 1811, which consisted of forty-four pages of
such crimes and cruelties, which were too horrible to describe. Such
as we found them when the Cape finally became our possession, such
they remained till 1828, when Dr. Philip published his “Researches in
South Africa,” which laying open this scene of barbarities, Mr. Fowell
Buxton gave notice of a motion on the subject in Parliament. Sir George
Murray, then Colonial Secretary, however, most honourably acceded to
Mr. Buxton’s proposition before such motion was submitted, and an Order
in Council was accordingly issued, directing that the Hottentots should
be admitted to all the rights, and placed on the same footing as the
rest of his Majesty’s free subjects in the colony. This transaction
is highly honourable to the English government, and the result has
been such as to shew the wisdom of such liberal measures. But before
proceeding to notice the effect of this change upon the Hottentots,
let us select as a specimen of the treatment they were subject to,
even under our rule, the destruction of the last independent Hottentot
kraal, as related by Pringle.

“Among the principal leaders of the Hottentot insurgents in their wars
with the boors, were three brothers of the name of Stuurman. The manly
bearing of Klaas, one of these brothers, is commemorated by Mr. Barrow,
who was with the English General Vandeleur, near Algoa Bay, when this
Hottentot chief came, with a large body of his countrymen, to claim the
protection of the British.” “We had little doubt,” says Mr. Barrow,
“that the greater number of the Hottentot men who were assembled at
the bay, after receiving favourable accounts from their comrades of
the treatment they experienced in the British service, would enter
as volunteers into this corps; but what was to be done with the old
people, the women and children? Klaas Stuurman found no difficulty in
making provision for them. ‘Restore,’ said he, ‘the country of which
our fathers have been despoiled by the Dutch, and we have nothing
more to ask.’ I endeavoured to convince him,” continues Mr. Barrow,
“how little advantage they were likely to obtain from the possession
of a country, without any other property, or the means of deriving a
subsistence from it. But he had the better of the argument. ‘We lived
very contentedly,’ said he, ‘before these Dutch plunderers molested
us; and why should we not do so again if left to ourselves? Has not
the _Groot Baas_ (the Great Master) given plenty of grassroots, and
berries, and grasshoppers for our use? and, till the Dutch destroyed
them, abundance of wild animals to hunt? and will they not turn and
multiply when these destroyers are gone?’”

How uniform is the language of the uncivilized man wherever he has been
driven from his ancient habits by the white invaders,—trust in the
goodness of Providence, and regret for the plenty which he knew before
they came. These words of Klaas Stuurman are almost the same as those
of the American Indian Canassateego to the English at Lancaster in 1744.

But we are breaking our narrative. Klaas was killed in a buffalo hunt,
and his brother David became the chief of the kraal. “The existence of
this independent kraal gave great offence to the neighbouring boors.
The most malignant calumnies were propagated against David Stuurman.
The kraal was watched most jealously, and every possible occasion
embraced of preferring complaints against the people, with a view of
getting them rooted out, and reduced to the same state of servitude
as the rest of their nation. For seven years no opportunity presented
itself; but in 1810, when the colony was once more under the government
of England, David Stuurman became outlawed in the following manner:—

“Two Hottentots belonging to this kraal, had engaged themselves for
a certain period in the service of a neighbouring boor; who, when
the term of their agreement expired, refused them permission to
depart—a practice at that time very common, and much connived at by
the local functionaries. The Hottentots, upon this, went off without
permission, and returned to their village. The boor followed them
thither, and demanded them back; but their chief, Stuurman, refused
to surrender them. Stuurman was, in consequence, summoned by the
landdrost Cuyler, to appear before him; but, apprehensive probably
for his personal safety, he refused or delayed compliance. His arrest
and the destruction of his kraal were determined upon. But as he was
known to be a resolute man, and much beloved by his countrymen, it was
considered hazardous to seize him by open force, and the following
stratagem was resorted to:—

“A boor, named Cornelius Routenbach, a heemraad (one of the landdrost’s
council), had by some means gained Stuurman’s confidence, and this
man engaged to entrap him. On a certain day, accordingly, he sent an
express to his friend Stuurman, stating that the Caffres had carried
off a number of his cattle, and requested him to hasten with the most
trusty of his followers to aid him in pursuit of the robbers. The
Hottentot chief and his party instantly equipped themselves and set
out. When they reached Routenbach’s residence, Stuurman was welcomed
with every demonstration of cordiality, and, with four of his principal
followers, was invited into the house. On a signal given, the door
was shut, and at the same moment the landdrost (Major Cuyler), the
field-commandant Stoltz, and a crowd of boors, rushed upon them from an
inner apartment, and made them all prisoners. The rest of the Hottentot
party, who had remained outside, perceiving that their captain and
comrade had been betrayed, immediately dispersed themselves. The
majority, returning to their kraal, were, together with their families,
distributed by the landdrost into servitude to the neighbouring boors.
Some fled into Caffreland; and a few were, at the earnest request
of Dr. Vanderkemp, permitted to join the missionary institution at
Bethelsdorp. The chief and his brother Boschman, with two other leaders
of the kraal, were sent off prisoners to Cape Town, where, after
undergoing their trial before the court of justice, upon an accusation
of resistance to the civil authorities of the district, they were
condemned to work in irons for life, and sent to Robben Island to be
confined among other colonial convicts.

“Stuurman’s kraal was eventually broken up, the landdrost Cuyler _asked
and obtained_, as a grant for himself—(Naboth’s vineyard again!)—the
lands the Hottentots had occupied. _Moreover this functionary kept in
his own service, without any legal agreement_, some of the children of
the Stuurmans, until after the arrival of the Commissioners of Inquiry
in 1823.

“Stuurman and two of his comrades, after remaining some years prisoners
in Robben Island, contrived to escape, and effected their retreat
through the whole extent of the colony into Caffreland, a distance
of more than six hundred miles! Impatient, however, to return to
his family, Stuurman, in the year 1816, sent out a messenger to the
missionary, Mr. Read, from whom he had formerly experienced kindness,
entreating him to endeavour to procure permission for him to return in
peace. Mr. Read, as he himself informed me, made application on his
behalf to the landdrost Cuyler,—but without avail. That magistrate
recommended that he should remain where he was. Three years afterwards,
the unhappy exile ventured to return into the colony without
permission. But he was not long in being discovered and apprehended,
and once more sent a prisoner to Cape Town, where he was kept in close
confinement till the year 1823, when he was finally transported as a
convict to New South Wales. What became of Boschman, the third brother,
I never learned. Such was the fate of the last Hottentot chief who
attempted to stand up for the rights of his country.”

Mr. Pringle adds, “that this statement, having been published
by him in England in 1826, the benevolent General Bourke, then
Lieutenant-Governor at the Cape, wrote to the Governor of New South
Wales, and obtained some alleviation of the hardships of his lot for
Stuurman; that, in 1829, the children of Stuurman, through the aid of
Mr. Bannister, presented a memorial to Sir Lowry Cole, then governor at
the Cape, for their father’s recall, but in vain; but that, in 1831,
General Bourke, being himself Governor of New South Wales, obtained an
order for his liberation; but, ere it arrived, ‘the last chief of the
Hottentots’ had been released by death.”

Such was the treatment of the Hottentots under the Dutch and under the
English; such were the barbarities and ruthless oppressions exercised
on them till the passing of the 50th Ordinance by Acting-Governor
Bourke in 1828, and its confirmation by the Order in Council in
1829, for their liberation. This act, so honourable to the British
government, became equally honourable to the Hottentots, by their
conduct on their freedom, and presents another most important proof
that political justice is political wisdom. After the clamour of
the interested had subsided, and after a vain attempt to reverse
this ordinance, a grand experiment in legislation was made. A
tract of country was granted to the Hottentots; they were placed
on the frontiers with arms in their hands, to defend themselves,
if necessary, from the Caffres; and they were told that they must
now show whether they were capable of maintaining themselves as a
people, in peace, civil order, and independence. Most nobly did
they vindicate their national character from all the calumnies of
indolence and imbecility that had been cast upon them,—most amply
justify the confidence reposed in them! “The spot selected,” says
Pringle, “for the experiment, was a tract of wild country, from which
the Caffre chief, Makomo, had been expelled a short time before. It
is a sort of irregular basin, surrounded on all sides by lofty and
majestic mountains, from the numerous kloofs of which six or seven
fine streams are poured down the subsidiary dells into the central
valley. These rivulets, bearing the euphonic Caffre names of Camalu,
Zebenzi, Umtóka, Mankazána, Umtúava, and Quonci, unite to form the
Kat River, which finds its way through the mountain barrier by a
stupendous _poort_, or pass, a little above Fort Beaufort. Within this
mountain-basin, which from its great command of the means of irrigation
is peculiarly well adapted for a dense population, it was resolved to
fix the Hottentot settlement.”

It was in the middle of the winter when the settlement was located.
Numbers flocked in from all quarters; some possessing a few cattle,
but far the greater numbers possessing nothing but their hands to
work with. They asked Captain Stockenstrom, their great friend, the
lieutenant-governor of the frontier, and at whose suggestion this
experiment was made, what they were to do, and how they were to
subsist. He told them, “if they were not able to cultivate the ground
with their fingers, they need not have come there.” Government, even
under such rigorous circumstances, gave them no aid whatever except
the gift of fire-arms, and some very small portion of seed-corn to the
most destitute, to keep them from thieving. Yet, even thus tried, the
Hottentots, who had been termed the fag-end of mankind, did not quail
or despair. In the words of Mr. Fairbairn, the friend of Pringle, “The
Hottentot, escaped from bonds, stood erect on his new territory; and
the feeling of being restored to the level of humanity and the simple
rights of nature, softened and enlarged his heart, and diffused vigour
through every limb!” They dug up roots and wild bulbs for food, and
persisted without a murmur, labouring surprisingly, with the most
wretched implements, and those who had cattle assisting those who had
nothing, to the utmost of their ability. All winter the Caffres, from
whom this location had been unjustly wrested by the English, attacked
them with a fury only exceeded by their hope of now regaining their
territory from mere Hottentots, thus newly armed, and in so wretched
a condition. But, though harassed night and day, and never, for a
moment, safe in their sleep, they not only repelled the assailants,
but continued to cultivate their grounds with prodigious energy. They
had to form dams across the river, as stated by Mr. Read, before the
Parliamentary committee, and water-courses, sometimes to the depth of
ten, twelve, and fourteen feet, and that sometimes through solid rocks,
and with very sorry pickaxes, iron crows, and spades; and few of them.
These works, says Mr. Read, have excited the admiration of visitors, as
well as the roads, which they had to cut to a considerable height on
the sides of the mountains.

At first, from the doubts of colonists as to the propriety of
entrusting fire-arms, and so much self-government to these newly
liberated men, it was proposed that a certain portion of the Dutch and
English should be mixed with them. The Hottentots, who felt this want
of confidence keenly, begged and prayed that they might be trusted
for two years; and Captain Stockenstrom said to them, “Then show to
the world that you can work as well as others, and that without the
whip.” Such indeed was their diligence, that the very next summer they
had abundance of vegetables, and a plentiful harvest. In the second
year they not only supported themselves, but disposed of 30,000 lbs.
of barley for the troops, besides carrying other produce to market
at Graham’s Town. Their enemies the Caffres made peace with them,
and those of their own race flocked in so rapidly that they were
soon 4,000 in number, seven hundred of whom were armed with muskets.
The settlement was left without any magistrate, or officers, except
the native field-cornets, and heads of parties appointed by Captain
Stockenstrom, yet they continued perfectly orderly. Nay, they were not
satisfied without possessing the means of both religious and other
instruction. Within a few months after their establishment, they sent
for Mr. Read, the missionary, and Mr. Thompson was also appointed Dutch
minister amongst them. They established temperance societies, and
schools. Mr. Read says, that during the four years and a half that he
was there, they had established seven schools for the larger children,
and one school of industry, besides five infant schools. And Captain
Stockenstrom, writing to Mr. Pringle in 1833, says, “So eager are they
for instruction, that when better teachers cannot be obtained, if they
find any person that can merely spell, they get him to teach the rest
the little he knows. They travel considerable distances to attend
divine service regularly, and their spiritual guides speak with delight
of the fruits of their labours. Nowhere have temperance societies
been half so much encouraged as among this people, formerly so prone
to intemperance; and they have of their own account petitioned the
government that their grants of land may contain a prohibition against
the establishment of canteens, or brandy-houses. They have repulsed
the Caffres on every side on which they have been attacked, and are
now upon the best terms with that people. They pay every tax like the
rest of the inhabitants. They have cost the government nothing except
a little ammunition for their defence, about fifty bushels of maize,
and a similar quantity of oats for seed-corn, and the annual stipend
for their minister. _They have rendered the Kat river by far the
safest part of the frontier; and the same plan followed up on a more
extensive scale would soon enable government to withdraw the troops
altogether._” In 1834, Captain Bradford found that they had subscribed
499_l._ to build a new church, and had also proposed to lay the
foundation of another. In 1833 they paid in taxes 2,300 rix-dollars,
and their settlement was in a most flourishing condition. Dr. Philip,
before the Parliamentary Committee of 1837, stated that their schools
were in admirable order; their infant schools quite equal to anything
to be seen in England; and the Committee closed its evidence on this
remarkable settlement with this striking opinion: “_Had it, indeed,
depended on the Hottentots, we believe the frontier would have been
spared the outrages from which they as well as others have suffered_.”

Of two things in this very interesting relation, we hardly know which
is the most surprising—the avidity with which a people long held in
the basest thraldom grasp at knowledge and civil life, or the blind
selfishness of Englishmen, who, in the face of such splendid scenes
as these, persist in oppression and violence. How easy does it seem
to do good! How beautiful are the results of justice and liberality!
How glorious and how profitable too, beyond all use of whips, and
chains, and muskets, are treating our fellow men with gentleness and
kindness—and yet after this came the Caffre commandoes and the Caffre

Of the same, or a kindred race with the Hottentots, are the Bosjesmen,
or Bushmen, and the Griquas; their treatment, except that they could
not be made slaves of, has been the same. The same injustice, the same
lawlessness, the same hostile irritation, have been practised towards
them by the Dutch and English as towards the Hottentots. The bushmen,
in fact, were Hottentots, who, disdaining slavery and resenting the
usurpations of the Europeans on their lands, took arms, endeavoured
to repel their aggressors, and finding that impracticable, fled to
the woods and the mountains; others, from time to time escaping from
intolerable thraldom, joined them. These bushmen carried on a predatory
warfare from their fastnesses with the oppressors of their race, and
were in return hunted as wild beasts. Commandoes, a sort of military
battu, were set on foot against them. Every one knows what a battu for
game is. The inhabitants of a district assemble at the command of an
officer, civil or military, to clear the country of wild beasts. They
take in a vast circle, beating up the bushes and thickets, while they
gradually contract the circle, till the whole multitude find themselves
inclosing a small area filled with the whole bestial population of the
neighbourhood, on which they make a simultaneous attack, and slaughter
them in one promiscuous mass. A commando is a very similar thing,
except that in it not only the bestial population of the country, but
the human too, are slaughtered by the inhuman. These commandoes, though
they have only acquired at the Cape a modern notoriety, have been used
from the first day of discovery. They were common in the Spanish and
Portuguese colonies, and under the same name, as may be seen in almost
any of the Spanish and Portuguese historians of the West Indies and
South America.

The manner in which these commandoes were conducted at the Cape was
described, before the Parliamentary Committee of 1837,[65] to be a
joint assemblage of burghers and military force for the purpose of
enforcing restitution of cattle. Sir Lowry Cole authorized in 1833 any
field-cornet, or deputy field-cornet, to whom a boor may complain, to
send a party of soldiers on the track and recover the cattle. These
persons are often of the most indifferent class of society. It is the
interest of these men, as much as that of the boors, to make inroads
into the country of the Griquas, Bushmen, or Caffres, and sweep off
droves of cattle. These people can call on everybody to aid and
assist, and away goes the troop. The moment the Caffres perceive these
licensed marauders approaching their kraal, they collect their cattle
as fast as they can, and drive them off towards the woods. The English
pursue—they surround them if possible—they fall on them; the Caffres,
or whoever they are, defend their property—their only subsistence,
indeed; then ensues bloodshed and devastation. The cattle are driven
off; the calves left behind to perish; the women and children, the
whole tribe, are thrown into a state of absolute famine. Besides these
“joint assemblages of burghers and military force,” there are parties
entirely military sent on the same errand; and to such a pitch of
vengeance have the parties arrived that whole districts have been laid
in flames and reduced to utter deserts. Such has been our system—the
system of us humane and virtuous English, till 1837! To these dreadful
and wicked expeditions there was no end, and but little cessation, for
the boors were continually going over the boundaries into the countries
of Bushmen, Caffres, or Guiquas, just as they pleased. They went over
with vast herds and eat them up. “In 1834 there were said to be,”
says the Report, “about 1,500 boors on the other side of the Orange
River, and for the most part in the Griqua country. Of these there
were 700 boors for several months during that year in the district of
Philipolis alone, with at least 700,000 sheep, cattle, and horses.
Besides destroying the pastures of the people, in many instances their
corn-fields were destroyed by them, and in some instances they took
possession of their houses. It was contended that the evil could not be
remedied; that the state of the country was such that the boors could
not be stopped; and yet an enormous body of military was kept up on the
frontiers at a ruinous expense to this country. The last Caffre war,
brought on entirely by this system of aggression, by these commandoes,
and the reprisals generated by them, cost this country 500,000_l._, and
put a stop to trade and the sale of produce to the value of 300,000_l._
more!” Yet the success of a different policy was before the colony, in
the case of the Kat River Hottentots, and that so splendid a one, that
the Report says, had it been attended to and followed out, all these
outrages might have been spared.

Such are commandoes.—So far as they related to the Bushmen, the
following facts are sufficiently indicative. In 1774 an order was
issued for the extirpation of the Bushmen, and three commandoes were
sent to execute it. In 1795, the Earl of Macartney, by proclamation,
authorized the landdrosts and magistrates to take the field against the
Bushmen, in such expeditions; and Mr. Maynier gave in evidence, that
in consequence, when he was landdrost of Graaf Reynet, parties of from
200 to 300 boors were sent out, who killed many hundreds of Bushmen,
_chiefly women and children_, the men escaping; and the children too
young to carry off for slaves had their brains knocked out against the
rocks.[66] Col. Collins, in his tour to the north-eastern boundary in
1809, says one man told him that within a period of six years parties
under his orders had killed or taken 3,200 of these unfortunate
creatures; and another, that the actions in which he had been engaged
had destroyed 2,700. That the total extinction of the Bushmen race
was confidently hoped for, but sufficient force for the purpose could
not be raised. But Dr. Philips’ evidence, presented in a memorial to
government in 1834, may well conclude these horrible details of the
deeds of our countrymen and colonists.

“A few years ago, we had 1,800 Boschmen belonging to two missionary
institutions, among that people in the country between the Snewbergen
and the Orange River, a country comprehending 42,000 square miles;
and had we been able to treble the number of our missionary stations
over that district, we might have had 5,000 of that people under
instruction. In 1832 I spent seventeen days in that country, travelling
over it in different directions. I then found the country occupied
by the boors, and the Boschmen population had disappeared, with the
exception of those that had been brought up from infancy in the
service of the boors. In the whole of my journey, during the seventeen
days I was in the country, I met with two men and one woman only of the
free inhabitants, who had escaped the effects of the commando system,
and they were travelling by night, and concealing themselves by day, to
escape being shot like wild beasts. Their tale was a lamentable one:
their children had been taken from them by the boors, and they were
wandering about in this manner from place to place, in the hope of
finding out where they were, and of getting a sight of them.”

I have glanced at the treatment of the Griquas in the last page but
one. Those people were the offspring of colonists by Hottentot women,
who finding themselves treated as an inferior race by their kinsmen of
European blood, and prevented from acquiring property in land, or any
fixed property, fled from contumely and oppression to the native tribes.

Amongst the vast mass of colonial crime, that of the treatment of the
half-breed race by their European fathers constitutes no small portion.
Everywhere this unfortunate race has been treated alike; in every
quarter of the globe, and by every European people. In Spanish America
it was the civil disqualification and social degradation of this race
that brought on the revolution, and the loss of those vast regions to
the mother country. In our East Indies, what thousands upon thousands
of coloured children their white fathers have coolly abandoned; and
while they have themselves returned to England with enormous fortunes,
and to establish new families to enjoy them, have left there their
coloured offspring to a situation the most painful and degrading—a
position of perpetual contempt and political degradation. In our
West Indies how many thousands of their own children have been sold
by their white fathers, in the slave-market, or been made to swelter
under the lash on their own plantations. Here, in South Africa, this
class of descendents were driven from civilization to the woods and
the savages, and a miserable and savage race they became. It was not
till 1800 that any attempts were made to reclaim them, and then it was
no parental or kindred feeling on the part of the colonists that urged
it; it was attempted by the missionaries, who, as in every distant
scene of our crimes, have stepped in between us and the just vengeance
of heaven, between us and the political punishment of our own absurd
and wicked policy, between us and the miserable natives. Mr. Anderson,
their first missionary, found them “a herd of wandering and naked
savages, subsisting by plunder and the chase. Their bodies were daubed
with red paint, their heads loaded with grease and shining powder,
with no covering but the filthy caross over their shoulders. Without
knowledge, without morals, or any traces of civilization, they were
wholly abandoned to witchcraft, drunkenness, licentiousness, and all
the consequences which arise from the unchecked growth of such vices.
With his fellow-labourer, Mr. Kramer, Mr. Anderson wandered about with
them five years and a half, exposed to all the dangers and privations
inseparable from such a state of society, before they could induce them
to locate where they are now settled.”

With one exception, they had not one thread of European clothing
amongst them. They were in the habit of plundering one another, and
saw no manner of evil in this, or any of their actions. Violent deaths
were common. Their usual manner of living was truly disgusting, and
they were void of shame. They were at the most violent enmity with the
Bushmen, and treated them on all occasions where they could, with the
utmost barbarity. So might these people, wretched victims of European
vice and contempt of all laws, human or divine, have remained, had not
the missionaries, by incredible labours and patience, won their good
will. They have now reduced them to settled and agricultural life;
brought them to live in the most perfect harmony with the Bushmen; and
in 1819 such was their altered condition that a fair was established
at Beaufort for the mutual benefit of them and the colonists, at which
business was done to the amount of 27,000 rix dollars; and on the goods
sold to the Griquas, the colonists realized a profit of from 200 to 500
per cent.!

Let our profound statesmen, who go on from generation to generation
fighting and maintaining armies, and issuing commandoes, look at this,
and see how infinitely simple men, with but one principle of action
to guide them—Christianity—outdo them in their own profession. They
are your missionaries, after all the boast and pride of statesmanship,
who have ever yet hit upon the only true and sound policy even in a
worldly point of view;[67] who, when the profound statesmen have turned
men into miserable and exasperated savages, are obliged to go and
again turn them from savages to men,—who, when these wise statesmen
have spent their country’s money by millions and shed blood by oceans,
and find troubles and frontier wars, and frightful and fire-blackened
deserts only growing around—go, and by a smile and a shake of the
hand, restore peace, replace these deserts by gardens and green fields,
and hamlets of cheerful people; and instead of involving you in debt,
find you a market with 200 to 500 per cent. profit!

“It was apparent,” says Captain Stockenstrom, “to every man, that if it
had not been for the influence which the missionaries had gained over
the Griquas we should have had the whole nation down upon us.” What a
humiliation to the pride of political science, to the pride of so many
_soi-disant_ statesmen, that with so many ages of experience to refer
to, and with such stupendous powers as European statesmen have now in
their hands, a few simple preachers should still have to shew them the
real philosophy of government, and to rescue them from the blundering
and ruinous positions in which they have continually placed themselves
with uneducated nations! “If these Griquas had come down upon us,”
continues Captain Stockenstrom, “we had no force to arrest them; and I
have been informed, that since I left the colony, the government has
been able to enter into a sort of treaty with the chief Waterboer, of a
most beneficial nature to the Corannas and Griquas themselves, as well
as to the safety of the northern frontier.”

If noble statesmen wish to hear the true secret of good and prosperous
government, they have only to listen to this chief, “who boasts,”
to use the words of the Parliamentary Report, “no higher ancestry
than that of the Hottentot and the Bushman.”—“I feel that I am
bound to govern my people by Christian principles. The world knows
by experience, and I know in my small way, and I know also from my
Bible, that the government which is not founded on the principles of
the Bible must come to nothing. When governments lose sight of the
principles of the Bible, partiality, injustice, oppression and cruelty
prevail, and then suspicion, want of confidence, jealousy, hatred,
revolt, and destruction succeed. Therefore I hope it will ever be my
study, that the Bible should form the foundation of every principle
of my government; then I and my people will have a standard to which
we can appeal, which is clear, and comprehensive, and satisfactory,
and by which we shall all be tried, and have our condition determined
in the day of judgment. The relation in which I stand to my people as
their chief, as their leader, binds me, by all that is sacred and dear,
to seek their welfare and promote their happiness; and by what means
shall I be able to do this? This I shall best be able to do by alluding
to the principles of the Bible. Would governors and governments act
upon the simple principle by which we are bound to act as individuals,
that is, to do as we would be done by, all would be well. I hope, by
the principles of the gospel, the morals of my people will continue
to improve; and it shall be my endeavour, in humble dependence on the
Divine blessing, that those principles shall lose none of their force
by my example. Sound education I know will civilize them, make them
wise, useful, powerful, and secure amongst their neighbours; and the
better they are educated, the more clearly will they see that the
principles of the Bible are the best principles for the government of
individuals, of families, of tribes, and of nations.”

Not only governors but philosophers may listen to this African chief
with advantage. Some splendid reputations have been made in Europe by
merely taking up some one great principle of the Christian code and
vaunting it as a wonderful discovery. A thousand such principles are
scattered through the Bible, and the greatest philosophers of all, as
well as the profoundest statesmen, are they who are contented to look
for them there, and in simple sincerity to adopt them.



The details of our barbarisms toward the Hottentots, Bushmen, and
Griquas, in the last chapter, are surely enough at this late period of
the world to make the wise blush and the humane weep, yet what are they
compared to our atrocities towards the Caffres? These are, as described
by Pringle, a remarkably fine race of people. “They a are tall,
athletic, and handsome race of men, with features often approaching
to the European, or Asiatic model, and, excepting their woolly hair,
exhibiting few of the peculiarities of the negro race. Their colour is
a clear dark brown. Their address is frank, cheerful, and manly. Their
government is patriarchal, and the privileges of rank are carefully
maintained by the chieftains. Their principal wealth and means of
subsistence consist in their numerous herds of cattle. The females also
cultivate pretty extensively maize, millet, water-melons, and a few
other esculents; but they are decidedly a nation of _herdsmen_—war,
hunting, barter, and agriculture being only occasional occupations.

“In their customs and traditions there seem to be indications of their
having sprung, at some remote period, from a people of much higher
civilization than is now exhibited by any of the tribes of Southern
Africa; whilst the rite of circumcision, universally practised among
them without any vestige of Islamism, and several other traditionary
customs greatly resembling the Levitical rules of purification, would
seem to indicate some former connexion with a people of Arabian,
Hebrew, or perhaps, Abyssinian lineage. Nothing like a regular system
of idolatry exists among them; but we find some traces of belief of a
Supreme Being, as well as of inferior spirits, and sundry superstitious
usages that look like the shattered wrecks of ancient religious

One of the first of this race, whom this amiable and excellent man
encountered in South Africa, was at Bethelsdorp, the missionary
settlement, and under the following circumstances:—“A Caffre woman,
accompanied by a little girl of eight or ten years of age, and having
an infant strapped on her back above her mantle of tanned bullock’s
hide. She was in the custody of a black constable, who stated that
she was one of a number of female Caffres who had been made prisoners
by order of the Commandant on the frontier for crossing the line of
demarcation without permission, and that they were now to be _given
out in servitude_ among the white inhabitants of this district. While
the constable was delivering his message, the Caffre woman looked at
him and us with keen and intelligent glances, and though she very
imperfectly understood his language, she appeared fully to comprehend
its import. When he had finished she stepped forward, drew her
figure up to its full height, extended her right arm, and commenced
a speech in her native language, the Amakosa dialect. Though I did
not understand a single word that she uttered, I have seldom been
more struck with surprise and admiration. The language, to which she
appeared to give full and forcible intonation, was highly musical and
sonorous; her gestures were natural, graceful, and impressive, and
her dark eyes and handsome bronze countenance were full of eloquent
expression. Sometimes she pointed back to her own country, and then
to her children. Sometimes she raised her tones aloud, and shook her
clenched hand, as if she denounced our injustice, and threatened us
with the vengeance of her tribe. Then, again, she would melt into
tears, as if imploring clemency, and mourning for her helpless little
ones. Some of the villagers who gathered round, being whole or half
Caffres, interpreted her speech to the missionary, but he could do
nothing to alter her destination, and could only return kind words to
console her. For my part, I was not a little struck by the scene, and
could not help beginning to suspect that my European countrymen, who
thus made captives of harmless women and children, were, in reality,
greater barbarians than the savage natives of Caffraria.” He had soon
only too ample proofs of the correctness of his surmise. This fine race
of people, who strikingly resemble the North American Indians in their
character, their eloquence, their peculiar customs and traditions of
Asiatic origin, have exactly resembled them in their fate. They have
been driven out of their lands by the Europeans, and massacred by
thousands when they have resented the invasion.

The Hottentots were exterminated, or reduced to thraldom, and the
European colonists then came in contact with the Caffres, who were
numerous and warlike, resisted aggression with greater effect, but
still found themselves unable with their light assagais to contend with
fire-arms, and were perpetually driven backwards with shocking carnage,
and with circumstances of violent oppression which it is impossible
to read of without the strongest indignation. Up to 1778 the Camtoos
River had been considered the limit of the colony on that side; but at
that period the Dutch governor, Van Plattenburgh, says Pringle, “in the
course of an extensive tour into the interior, finding great numbers of
colonists occupying tracts beyond the frontier, instead of recalling
them within the legal limits, he extended the boundary (according to
the ordinary practice of Cape governors before and since), adding,
by a stroke of his pen, about 30,000 square miles to the colonial
territory.” The Great Fish River now became the boundary; which Lord
Macartney in 1798, claiming all that Van Plattenburgh had so summarily
claimed, confirmed.

It is singular how uniform are the policy and the modes of seizing
upon native possessions by Europeans. In America we have seen how
continually, when the bulk of the people, or the legitimate chiefs,
would not cede territory, the whites made a mock purchase from somebody
who had no right whatever to sell, and on that title proceeded to drive
out the real owners. In this case, Plattenburgh, to give a colour of
justice to his claim, sent out Colonel Gordon in search of Caffres
as far as the Keiskamma, who conducted a _few_ to the governor, who
consented that the Great Fish River _should_ be the boundary. The real
chief, Jalumba, it appears, however, had not been consulted; but the
colonists the next year _reminded_ him of the recent treaty with his
tribe, and requested him to evacuate that territory. Jalumba refused—a
commando was assembled—the _intruders_, in colonial phrase, but
the real and actual owners, were expelled: Jalumba’s own son Dlodlo
was killed, and 5,200 head of cattle driven off. This was certainly
a wholesale beginning of plunder and bloodshed; but, says the same
author, “this was not the worst—Jalumba and his clan were destroyed by
a most infamous act of treachery and murder; the details of which may
be found in Thompson and Kay.”

It was on such a title as this, that Lord Macartney claimed this tract
of country for the English in 1797, the Cape having been conquered by
us. It does not appear, however, that any very vigorous measures were
employed for expelling the natives from this region till 1811, when it
was resolved to drive them out of it, and a large military and burgher
force under Col. Graham was sent out for that purpose. The expulsion
was effected with the most savage rigour. This _clearing_ took up about
a year. In the course of it Landdrost Stokenstrom lost his life by
the Caffres, and T’Congo, the father of the chiefs Pato, Kamo, and
T’Congo, was butchered by a party of boors while he lay on his mat
dying of a mortal disease. The Caffres begged to be allowed to wait
to cut their crops of maize and millet, nearly ripe, arguing that the
loss of them would subject them to a whole year of famine;—not a day
was allowed them. They were driven out with sword and musket. Men and
women, wherever found, were promiscuously shot, though they offered
no resistance. “Women,” says Lieutenant Hart, whose journal of these
transactions is quoted by Pringle, “were killed _unintentionally_,
because the boors could not distinguish them from men among the bushes,
and so, to make sure work, they shot _all_ they could reach.” They
were very anxious to seize Islambi, a chief who had actively opposed
them, for they had been, like Plattenburgh, treating with _one_ chief,
Gaika, for cession of claims which he frankly told them belonged to
_several_ quite independent of him. On this subject, occurs this entry
in Mr. Hart’s journal:—“Sunday, Jan. 12, 1812. At noon, Commandant
Stollz went out with two companies to look for Slambi (Islambi), but
saw nothing of him. _They met only with a few Caffres, men and women,
most of whom they shot._ About sunset, five Caffres were seen at a
distance, one of whom came to the camp with a message from Slambi’s
son, requesting permission to wait till the harvest was over, and that
then he (if his father would not), would go over the Great Fish River
quietly. This messenger would not give any information respecting
Slambi, but said he did not know where he was. However, _after having
been put in irons, and fastened to a wheel with a riem_ (leathern
thong) _about his neck_, he said, that if the commando went with him,
before daylight he would bring them upon 200 Caffres, all asleep.”
Having thus treated a messenger from a free chief, and attempted
to compel him to betray his master, away went this commando on the
agreeable errand of surprising and murdering 200 innocent people in
their sleep. But the messenger was made of much better stuff than the
English. He led them about on a wild-goose chase for three days, when
finding nothing they returned, and brought him back too.

Parties of troops were employed for several weeks in burning down the
huts and hamlets of the natives, and destroying their fields of maize,
by trampling them down with large herds of cattle, and at length the
Caffres were forced over the Great Fish River, to the number of 30,000
souls, leaving behind them a large portion of their cattle, captured by
the troops; many of their comrades and females, shot in the thickets,
and not a few of the old and diseased, whom they were unable to carry
along with them, to perish of hunger, or become a prey to the hyenas.

“The results of this war of 1811 were,” says the Parliamentary Report
of 1837, “first, a succession of new wars, not less expensive, and
more sanguinary than the former; second, the loss of thousands of
good labourers to the colonists (and this testimony as to the actual
service done by Caffre labourers, comprises the strong opinion of Major
Dundas, when landdrost in 1827, as to their good dispositions, and
that of Colonel Wade to the same effect); and thirdly, the checking of
civilization and trade with the interior for a period of twelve years.”

The gain was some hundreds of thousands of acres of land, which might
have been bought from the natives for comparatively a trifle.

In 1817, those negotiations which had been entered into with Gaika,
as if he were the sole and paramount king of Caffreland, were renewed
by the governor, Lord Charles Somerset. Other chiefs were present,
particularly Islambi, but no notice was taken of them; it was resolved,
that Gaika was the paramount chief, and that he should be selected as
the champion of the frontiers against his countrymen. Accordingly,
we hear, as was to be expected, that the very next year a formidable
confederacy was entered into amongst the native chiefs against this
Gaika. In the league against him, and for the protection of their
country, were his own uncles, Islambi and Jaluhsa, Habanna, Makanna,
young Kongo, chief of the Gunuquebi, and Hintza, the principal chief of
the Amakosa, to whom in rank Gaika was only secondary. To support their
adopted puppet, Col. Brereton was ordered to march into Caffreland. The
inhabitants were attacked in their hamlets, plundered of their cattle,
and slaughtered or driven into the woods; 23,000 cattle carried off,
9000 of which were given to Gaika to reimburse him for his losses.

Retaliation was the consequence. The Caffres soon poured into the
colony in numerous bodies eager for revenge. The frontier districts
were overrun; several military posts were seized; parties of British
troops and patroles cut off; the boors were driven from the Zureveld,
and Enon plundered and burnt.

This and the other efforts of the outraged Caffres, which were now
made to avenge their injuries and check the despoiling course of the
English, were organized under the influence and counsel of Makanna,
a prophet who assumed the sacred character to combine and rouse his
countrymen to overturn their oppressors: for not knowing the vast
resources of the English, he fondly deemed that if they could vanquish
those at the Cape they should be freed from their power; “and then,”
said he, “we will sit down and eat honey!”

In this, as in so many other particulars, the Caffres resemble the
American Indians. Scarcely a confederacy amongst those which have
appeared for the purpose of resisting the aggressions on the Indians
but have been inspired and led on by prophets, as the brother of
Tecumseh, amongst the Shawanees; the son of Black-Hauk, Wabokieshiek,
amongst the Sacs; Monohoe, and others, amongst the Creeks who fell at
the bloody battle of Horse-shoe-bend.

Makanna had by his talents and pretences raised himself from the common
herd to the rank of a chief, and soon gained complete ascendency
over all the chiefs except Gaika, to whom he was opposed as the
ally of the English. He went amongst the missionaries and acquired
so much knowledge of Christianity as served him to build a certain
motley creed upon, by which he mystified and awed the common people.
After Col. Brereton’s devastations he roused up his countrymen to a
simultaneous attack upon Graham’s Town. He and Dushani, the son of
Islambi, mustered their exasperated hosts to the number of nine or ten
thousand in the forests of the Great Fish River, and one morning at
the break of day these infuriated troops were seen rushing down from
the mountains near Graham’s Town to assault it. A bloody conflict
ensued: the Caffres, inflamed by their wrongs and the eloquence of
Makanna, fought desperately; but they were mown down by the European
artillery, fourteen hundred of their warriors were left on the field,
and the rest fled to the hills and woods. The whole burgher militia of
the colony were called out to pursue them, and to ravage their country
in all directions. It was resolved to take ample vengeance on them:
their lands were laid waste—their corn trampled down under the feet
of the cavalry, their villages burnt to the ground—and themselves
chased into the bush, where they were bombarded with grape-shot and
congreve-rockets. Men, women, and children, were massacred in one
indiscriminate slaughter. A high price was set upon the heads of the
chiefs, especially on that of Makanna, and menaces added, that if they
were not brought in, nothing should prevent the total destruction
of their country. Not a soul was found timid or traitorous enough
to betray their chiefs; but to the surprise of the English, Makanna
himself, to save the remainder of his nation, walked quietly into the
English camp and presented himself before the commander. “The war,”
said he, “British chiefs, is an unjust one; for you are striving to
extirpate a people whom you forced to take up arms. When our fathers,
and the fathers of the Boors first settled in the Zureveld, they
dwelt together in peace. Their flocks grazed on the same hills; their
herdsmen smoked together out of the same pipes; they were brothers,
until the herds of the Amakosa increased so as to make the hearts of
the boors sore. What these covetous men could not get from our fathers
for old buttons, they took by force. Our fathers were MEN; they loved
their cattle; their wives and children lived upon milk; they fought for
their property. They began to hate the colonists, who coveted their
all, and aimed at their destruction.

“Now their kraals and our fathers’ kraals were separate. The boors made
commandoes on our fathers. Our fathers drove them out of the Zureveld.
We dwelt there because we had conquered it. There we married wives, and
there our children were born. The white men hated us, but they could
not drive us away. When there was war, we plundered you. When there was
peace, some of our bad people stole; but our chiefs forbade it. Your
treacherous friend, Gaika, always had peace with you, yet, when his
people stole he shared in the plunder. Have your patroles ever, in time
of peace, found cattle, runaway slaves, or deserters in the kraals of
_our_ chiefs? Have they ever gone into Gaika’s country without finding
such cattle, such slaves, such deserters in Gaika’s kraals? But he was
your friend; and you wished to possess the Zureveld. You came at last
like locusts.[69] We stood; we could do no more. You said, ‘Go over the
Fish River—that is all we want.’ We yielded, and came here. We lived
in peace. Some bad people stole, perhaps; but the nation was quiet—the
chiefs were quiet. Gaika stole—his chiefs stole—his people stole. You
sent him copper; you sent him beads; you sent him horses—on which he
rode to steal more. _To us you sent only commandoes!_

“We quarrelled with Gaika about grass—no business of yours. You sent
a commando.[70] You took our last cow. You left only a few calves,
which died for want, along with our children. You gave half the spoil
to Gaika—half you kept yourselves. Without milk—our corn destroyed,
we saw our wives and children perish—we saw that we must ourselves
perish. We fought for our lives—we failed—and you are here. Your
troops cover the plains and swarm in the thickets, where they cannot
distinguish the men from the women, and shoot all.[71]

“You want us to submit to Gaika. That man’s face is fair to you, but
his heart is false; leave him to himself, and _we_ shall not call on
you for help. Set Makanna at liberty; and Islambi, Dushani, Kongo, and
the rest, will come to make peace with you at any time you fix. But if
you will make war, you may indeed kill the last man of us; but Gaika
shall not rule over the followers of those who think him a woman.”[72]

It is said that this energetic address, containing so many awful
truths, affected some of those who heard it even to tears. But what
followed? The Caffres were still sternly commanded to deliver up their
other chiefs; treachery is said to have been used to compass it, but in
vain; so the English made a desert of the whole country, and carried
off 30,000 head of cattle.[73] Makanna was sent to Cape-Town, and
thence transported to Robben Island, a spot appropriated to felons and
malefactors doomed to work in irons. Here, in an attempt with some few
followers to effect his escape, he was drowned by the upsetting of the
boat, and died cheering his unfortunate companions till the billows
swept him from a rock to which he clung.[74]

The English had hitherto gratified their avarice and bad passions
with their usual freedom in their colonies, on those who had no
further connexion with them than happening to possess goodly herds
under their eye; but now they turned their hand upon their _friend_
and ally, Gaika. Having devoured, by his aid, his countrymen, they
were ready now to devour him. Gaika was called upon to give up a large
portion of Caffre land, that is, from the Fish River to the Keisi and
Chumi rivers—a tract which added about 2,000 square miles to our own
boundaries. This he yielded most reluctantly, and only on condition
that the basin of the Chumi, a beautiful piece of country, should not
be included, and that all his territory should be considered neutral
ground. Gaika himself narrowly escaped being seized by the English in
1822—for what cause does not appear,—but it does appear that he only
effected his escape in the mantle of his wife; and that in 1823 a large
force, according to the evidence of Capt. Aichison, in which he was
employed, surprised the kraals of his son Macomo, and took from them
7,000 beasts. Well might Gaika say—“When I look at the large tract of
fine country that has been taken from me, I am compelled to say that
_though protected, I am rather oppressed by my protectors_.”[75]

This Macomo, the son of Gaika, seems to be a fine fellow. Desirous
of cultivating peace and the friendship of the English; desirous of
his people receiving, the benefits of civilization and the Christian
religion; yet, notwithstanding this, and notwithstanding the alliance
which had subsisted between the English and his father, his treatment
at the hands of the Cape government has always been of the most
harsh and arbitrary kind. He has been driven with his people from one
location to another, and the most serious devastation committed on
his property. Pringle’s words regarding him are—“He has uniformly
protected the missionaries and traders; has readily punished any of
his people who committed depredations on the colonists, and on many
occasions has given four or five-fold compensation for stolen cattle
driven through his territory by undiscovered thieves from other clans.
Notwithstanding all this, however, and much more stated on his behalf
in the Cape papers, colonial oppression continues to trample down this
chief with a steady, firm, relentless foot.” The same writer gives the
following instance of the sort of treatment which was received from the
authorities by this meritorious chief.

“On the 7th of October last (1833), Macomo was invited by Mr. Read to
attend the anniversary meeting of an auxiliary missionary society at
Philipton, Kat River. The chief went to the military officer commanding
the nearest frontier post, and asked permission to attend, but was
peremptorily refused. He ventured, nevertheless, to come by another
way, with his ordinary retinue, but altogether unarmed, and delivered
in his native tongue a most eloquent speech at the meeting, in which he
seconded a motion, proposed by the Rev. Mr. Thompson, the established
clergyman, for promoting the conversion of the Caffres. Alluding to the
great number of traders residing in Caffreland, contrasted with the
rude prohibition given to his attending this Christian assembly, he
said, in the forcible idiom of his country—‘There are no Englishmen
at Kat River; there are no Englishmen at Graham’s Town; they are all
in my country, with their wives and children, in perfect safety, while
I stand before you as a rogue and a vagabond, having been obliged to
come by stealth.’[76] Then, addressing his own followers, he said—‘Ye
sons of Kahabi, I have brought you here to behold what the Word of God
hath wrought. These Hottentots were but yesterday as much despised and
oppressed as to-day are we—the Caffres: but see what the GREAT WORD
has done for them! They were dead—they are now alive; they are men
once more. Go and tell my people what you have seen and heard; for such
things as you have seen and heard, I hope ere long to witness in my own
land. God is great, who has said it, and will surely bring it to pass!’
In the midst of this exhilarating scene—the African chief recommending
to his followers the adoption of that Great Word which brings with it
at once both spiritual and social regeneration—they were interrupted
by the sudden appearance of a troop of dragoons, despatched from the
military post to arrest Macomo for having crossed the frontier line
without permission. This was effected in the most brutal and insulting
manner possible, and not without considerable hazard to the chieftain’s
life, from the ruffian-like conduct of a drunken sergeant, although not
the slightest resistance was attempted.”[77]

It should be borne in mind by the reader that this Kat River
settlement, where Macomo was attending the meeting, is the same from
which he had been expelled in 1829, and in which the Hottentots were
located, and, as I have already related, were making such remarkable
progress. Macomo had therefore not only repassed the boundary line
over which he had been driven, and the repassing of which the
government would naturally regard with great jealousy, knowing well
what injury they had done him, and which the sight of his old country
must forcibly revive in his mind, knowing also that they were at this
moment planning fresh outrages against him. This meeting took place in
October, 1833, and therefore, at that very time, an order was signed
by the governor for his removal from the lands he was then occupying;
for the Parliamentary Report informs us that Sir Lowry Cole, before
leaving the colony for Europe, on the 10th of August, 1833, signed an
order for removing the chief Tyalie from the Muncassana beyond the
boundaries; and in November of that year Captain Aichison was ordered
to remove Macomo, Botman, and Tyalie, beyond the boundary; that is,
beyond the Keiskamma, which he says he did. Capt. Aichison stated in
evidence before the Select Committee, that he could assign no cause
for this removal, and he never heard any cause assigned. But this was
not the worst. These poor people, thus driven out in November, when
all their corn was green, and that and the crops of their gardens and
their pumpkins thus lost, were suffered to return in February, 1834,
and again, in October of that year, driven out a second time! Colonel
Wade stated in evidence, that at the time of their second removal, 21st
of October, 1834, “they had rebuilt their huts, established their
cattle kraals, and commenced the cultivation of their gardens.” He
stated that, together with Colonel Somerset, he made a visit to Macomo
and Botman’s kraal, across the Keiskamma, and that Macomo rode back
with them, when they had recrossed the river and reached the Omkobina,
a tributary of the Chumie. “These valleys were swarming with Caffres,
as was the whole country in our front as far as the Gaga; the people
were all in motion, carrying off their effects, and driving away their
cattle towards the drifts of the river, and to my utter amazement the
whole country around and before us was in a blaze. Presently we came
up with a strong patrol of the mounted rifle corps, which had, it
appeared, come out from Fort Beaufort that morning; the soldiers were
busily employed in burning the huts and driving the Caffres towards the

Another witness said, “the second time of my leaving Caffreland was
in October, last year, in company with a gentleman who was to return
towards Hantam. We passed through the country of the Gaga at ten
o’clock at night; the Caffres were enjoying themselves after their
custom, with their shouting, feasting, and midnight dances; they
allowed us to pass on unmolested. Some time after I received a letter
from the gentleman who was my travelling companion on that night,
written just before the breaking out of the Caffre war: in it he says,
‘you recollect how joyful the Caffres were, when we crossed the Gaga;
but on my return a dense smoke filled all the vales, and the Caffres
were seen lurking here and there behind the mimosa; a patrol, commanded
by an officer, was driving them beyond the colonial boundary.’ (This
piece of country has very lately been claimed by the colony.) I saw
one man near me, and I told my guide to call him to me: the poor fellow
said, ‘No, I cannot come nearer; that white man looks too much like a
soldier;’ and all our persuasions could not induce him to advance near
us. ‘Look,’ said he, pointing to the ascending columns of smoke, ‘what
the white men are doing.’ Their huts and folds were all burned.”

Such was the treatment of the Caffres up to the end of 1834,
notwithstanding the most forcible and pathetic appeals to their
English tyrants. Dr. Philip stated that, speaking with these chiefs
at this time, he said to Macomo, that he had reason to believe that
the governor, when he came to the frontier, would listen to all
his grievances, and treat him with justice and generosity. “These
promises,” he replied, “we have had for the last fifteen years;” and
pointing to the huts then burning, he added, “things are becoming
worse: these huts were set on fire last night, and we were told that
to-morrow the patrol is to scour the whole district, and drive every
Caffre from the west side of the Chumie and Keiskamma at the point
of the bayonet.” And Dr. Philip having stated rather strongly the
necessity the chiefs would be under of preventing all stealing from the
colony as the condition of any peaceable relations the governor might
enter into with them, Botman made the following reply: “The governor
cannot be so unreasonable as to make our existence as a nation depend
upon a circumstance which is beyond the reach of human power. Is it
in the power of any governor to prevent his people stealing from each
other? Have you not within the colony magistrates, policemen, prisons,
whipping-posts, and gibbets? and do you not perceive that in spite of
all these means to make your people honest, that your prisons continue
full, and that you have constant employment for your magistrates,
policemen, and hangmen, without being able to keep down your colonial
thieves and cheats? A thief is a wolf; he belongs to no society, and
yet is the pest and bane of all societies. You have your thieves,
and we have thieves among us; but we cannot as chiefs, extirpate the
thieves of Caffreland, more than we can extirpate the wolves, or
you can extirpate the thieves of the colony. There is however this
difference between us: we discountenance thieves in Caffreland, and
prevent, as far as possible, our people stealing from the colony; but
you countenance the robbery of your people upon the Caffres, by the
sanction you give to the injustice of the patrol system. Our people
have stolen your cattle, but you have, by the manner by which you have
refunded your loss, punished the innocent; and after having taken our
country from us, without even a shadow of justice, and shut us up to
starvation, you threaten us with destruction for the thefts of those to
whom you left no choice but to steal or die by famine.”

What force and justice of reasoning in these abused Caffres! what
force and injustice of action in the English! Who could have believed
that from the moment of our becoming masters of the Cape colony such
dreadful and wicked scenes as these could be going on, up to 1834,
by Englishmen. But the end was not yet come; other, and still more
abominable deeds were to be perpetrated. Another war broke out, and
the people of England asked, why? Dr. Philip, before the Parliamentary
Committee, said,— “The encroachments of the colonists upon the
Caffres, when they came in contact with them on the banks of the
Gamtoos river; their expulsion from the Rumfield, now Albany, in 1811;
the commandoes of Colonel Brereton, in 1818; our conduct to Gaika, our
ally, in 1819, in depriving him of the country between the Fish and
Keiskamma Rivers; the injury inflicted upon Macomo and Gaika, by the
ejectment of Macomo and his people, with many of the people of Gaika,
from the Kat River, in 1829; the manner in which the Caffres were
expelled from the west bank of the Chumie and Keiskamma, in 1833, and,
subsequently, again (after having been allowed to return) in 1834;
and the working of the commando system, down to December, 1834,—were
sufficient in themselves to account for the Caffre war, if the Caffres
are allowed to be human beings, and to possess passions like our own.”

To all this series of insults and inflictions were soon added fresh

“On the 2nd December, of this very year,” continued Dr. Philip, “Ensign
Sparkes went to one of the Chief Eno’s kraals, for the purpose of
getting some horses, supposed to have been stolen. Not finding them
there, he proceeded to take by force a large quantity of cattle as an
indemnity. This proceeding roused the dormant anger of the Caffres;
they surrounded his party, and manifested an intention of attacking
it. They did not, however, venture upon a general engagement, though
one of them, more daring, and perhaps a greater loser than the rest,
wounded Ensign Sparkes in the arm with an assagai, or spear, whilst
the soldiers under his command were busily employed in driving the
cattle out of the bush. Macomo no sooner heard of this affair, than he
gave up of his own property, to the colony, 400 head of cattle, and
went himself frequently to visit the young man who had been wounded,
expressing great sorrow at what had occurred. This conduct was highly
praiseworthy, as it was evidently for the sake of preventing any
misunderstanding, but more especially so, because the deed had been
committed, not by one of his people, but by a Caffre belonging to Eno’s
tribe. On the 18th of the same month, a patrol under Lieut. Sutton
seized a number of cattle at one of Tyalie’s kraals, for some horses
alleged to have been stolen, but not found there. On this occasion the
Caffres seem to have determined to resist to the last. An affray took
place, in which they were so far successful as to retake the cattle.
Two of them were, however, shot dead, and two dangerously wounded, one
of whom was Tyalie’s own brother (not, however, Macomo), who had two
slugs in his head. An individual residing in the neutral territory,
referring to this affair, thus expressed his opinion: ‘The system
carried on, and that to the last moment, is the cause the Caffres could
not bear it any longer. The very immediate cause was the wounding of
Gaika’s son, at which the blood of every Caffre boiled.’”

According to the evidence of John Tzatzoe, “every Caffre who saw
Xo-Xo’s wound, went back to his hut, took his assagai and shield, and
set out to fight, and said, ‘It is better that we die than be treated

The war being thus wantonly and disgracefully provoked by the English,
Sir Benjamin D’Urban, the governor, marched into the territory of
the Caffre king Hintza, and summoned him to his presence. The king,
alarmed, and naturally expecting some fresh act of mischief, fled,
driving off his cattle to a place of security. He was threatened with
immediate proclamation of war if he did not return; and to convince
him that there would be no dallying, Colonel Smith immediately marched
his troops into the mountain districts where Hintza had taken refuge,
was very near seizing him by surprise, and carried off 10,000 head
of cattle. Hintza, now, on sufficient security being given, came to
the camp, where the various charges were advanced against him, and
the following modest conditions of peace proposed,—that he should
surrender 50,000 head of cattle, 1,000 horses, and emancipate all
his Fingoe slaves. There was no alternative but agreeing to these
terms; but unfortunately for him, the Fingoe slaves, now considering
themselves put under the patronage of the governor, and knowing
how fond the English are of Caffre cattle, carried off 15,000 head
belonging to the people. The people flew to arms—and Hintza was made
responsible. The governor declared to him that if he did not put a stop
to the fighting in three hours, and order the delivery of the 50,000
head of cattle, he would hang him, his son Creili, and his counsellor
and brother Bookoo, on the tree under which they were sitting.[78]
Poor Hintza issued his orders—the fighting ceased, but the cattle did
not arrive. He therefore proposed to go, under a sufficient guard, to
enforce the delivery himself. The proposal was accepted, and he set
out with Col. Smith and a body of cavalry. Col. Smith assured him
on commencing their march, that if he attempted to escape he should
certainly shoot him. We shall soon see how well he kept his word. They
found the people had driven the cattle to the mountains, and Hintza
sent one of his counsellors to command them to stop. On the same day
they came to a place where the cattle-track divided, and they followed
that path, at the advice of Hintza, which led up an abrupt and wooded
hill to the right, over the precipitous banks of the Kebaka river. What
followed we give in the language of Col. Smith:—

“It had been observed that this day Hintza rode a remarkably fine
horse, and that he led him up every ascent; the path up this abrupt and
wooded hill above described is by a narrow cattle-track, occasionally
passing through a cleft of the rock. I was riding alone at the head
of the column, and having directed the cavalry to lead their horses,
I was some three or four horses’ length in front of every one, having
previously observed Hintza and his remaining two followers leading
their horses behind me, the corps of Guides close to them; when nearing
the top, I heard a cry of ‘Hintza,’ and in a moment he dashed past
me through the bushes, but was obliged, from the trees, to descend
again into the path. I cried out, ‘Hintza, stop!’ I drew a pistol, and
presenting it at him, cried out, ‘Hintza,’ and I also reprimanded his
guard, who instantly came up; he stopped and smiled, and I was ashamed
of my suspicion. Upon nearing the top of this steep ascent, the country
was perfectly open, and a considerable tongue of land running parallel
with the rugged bed of the Kebaka, upon a gradual descent of about two
miles, to a turn of the river, where were several Caffre huts. I was
looking back to observe the march of the troops, when I heard a cry of
‘Look, Colonel!’ I saw Hintza had set off at full speed, and was 30
yards a-head of every one; I spurred my horse with violence; and coming
close up with him, called to him; he urged his horse the more, which
could beat mine; I drew a pistol, it snapped; I drew another, it also
snapped; I then was sometime galloping after him, when I spurred my
horse alongside of him, and struck him on the head with the butt-end of
a pistol; he redoubled his efforts to escape, and his horse was three
lengths a-head of mine. I had dropped one pistol, I threw the other
after him, and struck him again on the head. Having thus raced about a
mile, we were within half a mile of the Caffre huts; I found my horse
was closing with him; I had no means whatever of assailing him, while
he was provided with his assagais; I therefore resolved to attempt to
pull him off his horse, and I seized the athletic chief by the throat,
and twisting my hand in his karop, I dragged him from his seat, and
hurled him to the earth; he instantly sprang on his legs, and sent
an assagai at me, running off towards the rugged bed of the Kebaka.
My horse was most unruly, and I could not pull him up till I reached
the Caffre huts. This unhorsing the chief, and his waiting to throw
an assagai at me, brought Mr. George Southey of the corps of Guides
up; and, at about 200 yards’ distance, he twice called to Hintza, in
Caffre, to stop, or he would shoot him. He ran on; Mr. Southey fired,
and only slightly struck him in the leg, again calling to him to stop,
without effect; he fired, and shot him through the back; he fell
headlong forwards, but springing up and running forwards, closely
pursued by my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Balfour, he precipitated himself
down a kloof into the Kebaka, and posting himself in a narrow niche
of the rock, defied any attempt to secure him; when, still refusing
to surrender, and raising an assagai, Mr. George Southey fired, and
shot him through the head. Thus terminated the career of the chief
Hintza, whose treachery, perfidy, and want of faith, made him worthy of
the nation of atrocious and indomitable savages over whom he was the
acknowledged chieftain. One of his followers escaped, the other was
shot from an eminence. About half a mile off I observed the villain
Mutini and Hintza’s servant looking on.”

Such is the relation of the destroyer of Hintza, and surely a more
brutal and disgusting detail never came from the chief actor of such a
scene. England has already testified its opinion both of this act and
of this war; and “this nation of atrocious and indomitable savages,”
both before and since this transaction, have given such evidences
of sensibility to the law of kindness as leave no doubt where the
“treachery, perfidy, and want of faith,” really lay. At the very
time this affair was perpetrated, two British officers had gone with
proposals from the governor to the Caffre camp. While they remained
there they were treated most respectfully and honourably by these
“irreclaimable savages,” and dismissed unhurt when the intelligence
arrived of Hintza’s having been made prisoner. What a contrast does
this form to our own conduct!

The war was continued after the event of the death of Hintza, until the
Caffres had received what the governor considered to be “sufficient”
punishment; this consisted in the slaughter of 4,000 of their
warriors, including many principal men. “There have been taken from
them also,” says a despatch, “besides the conquest and alienation
of their country, about 60,000 head of cattle, almost all their
goats; their habitations everywhere destroyed, and their gardens and
corn-fields laid waste.”[79]

The cost of this war to the British nation, is estimated at 241,884_l._
besides putting a stop to the trade with the colony amounting to
30,000_l._ per annum, though yet in its infancy. If any one wishes
to know how absurd it is to talk of the Caffres as “atrocious and
indomitable savages,” he has only to look into the Parliamentary
Report, so often referred to in this chapter, in order to blush for our
own barbarism, and to execrate the wickedness which could, by these
reckless commandoes and exterminating wars, crush or impede that rising
civilization, and that growing Christianity, which shew themselves
so beautifully in this much abused country. It is the wickedness of
Englishmen that has alone stood in the way of the rapid refinement of
the Caffre, as it has stood in the way of knowledge and prosperity in
all our colonies.

“Whenever,” says John Tzatzoe, a Caffre chief, who had, before the war
at his own place, a missionary and a church attended by 300 people,
“the missionaries attempt to preach to the Caffres, or whenever I
myself preach or speak to my countrymen, they say, ‘Why do not the
missionaries first go and preach to the people on the other side; why
do not they preach to their own countrymen, and convert them first?’”

But the very atrocity of this last war roused the spirit of the
British nation, awakened parliamentary investigation; the Caffre
territory is restored by order of government; a new and more rational
system of policy is adopted, and it is to be hoped will be steadily
persevered in.



In this chapter we shall take a concluding view of our countrymen
amongst the aborigines of the countries they have visited or settled
in; and in doing this it will not be requisite to go back at all into
the past. To trace the manner in which they possessed themselves of
these regions, or in which they have from that period to the present
extended their power, and driven back the natives, would be only
treading over for the tenth time the scenes of arbitrary assumption
and recklessness of right, which must be, now, but too familiar to
my readers. We will, therefore, merely look at the present state of
English conduct in those remote regions; and, for this purpose, the
materials lie but too plentifully before us. With the exception of
the missionary labours, the presence of the Europeans in these far
regions is a fearful curse. The two great prominent features of their
character there, are violence and debauchery. If they had gone thither
only to seize the lands of the natives, as they have done everywhere
else, it might have excited no surprise; for who, after perusing this
volume, should wonder that the Europeans are selfish: if they had
totally exterminated the aborigines with the sword and the musket,
it might even then have passed in the ordinary estimate of their
crimes, and there might have been hope that they might raise some more
imposing, if not more virtuous, fabric of society than that which they
had destroyed; but here, the danger is that they will demolish a rising
civilization of a beautiful and peculiar character, by their pestilent
profligacy. That dreadful and unrighteous system, which Columbus
himself introduced in the very first moment of discovery, and which
I have more than once pointed to, in the course of this volume, as a
very favourite scheme of the Europeans, and especially the English, the
convict system—the penal colony system—the throwing off the putrid
matter of our corrupt social state on some simple and unsuspecting
country, to inoculate it with the rankness of our worst moral diseases,
without relieving ourselves at all sensibly by the unprincipled deed,
has here shewn itself in all its hideousness. New South Wales and Van
Dieman’s Land have been sufficient to curse and demoralize all this
portion of the world. They have not only exhibited the spectacle of
European depravity in the most frightful forms within themselves, but
the contagion of their evil and malignity has been blown across the
ocean, and sped from island to island with destructive power.

In these colonies, no idea of any right of the natives to the soil, or
any consideration of their claims, comforts, or improvements, seem to
have been entertained. Colonies were settled, and lands appropriated,
just as they were needed; and if the natives did not like it, they were
shot at. The Parliamentary Inquiry of 1836, elicited by Sir William
Molesworth, drew forth such a picture of colonial infamy as must
have astonished even the most apathetic; and the Report of 1837 only
confirms the horrible truth of the statements then made.

It says: “These people, unoffending as they were towards us, have, as
might have been expected, suffered in an aggravated degree from the
planting amongst them of our penal settlements. In the formation of
these settlements it does not appear that the territorial rights of the
natives were considered, and very little care has since been taken to
protect them from the violence or the contamination of the dregs of our

“The effects have consequently been dreadful beyond example, both in
the diminution of their numbers and in their demoralization.”

Mr. Bannister, late attorney-general for that colony, says in his
recent work, “British Colonization and the Coloured Tribes,”—“In
regard to New South Wales, some disclosures were made by the secretary
of the Church Missionary Society, Mr. Coates, and by others, that are
likely to do good in the pending inquiries concerning transportation;
and if that punishment is to be continued, it would be merciful to
destroy all the natives by military massacre, as a judge of the colony
once coolly proposed for a particular district, rather than let them
be exposed to the lingering death they now undergo. _But half the truth
was not told as to New South Wales._ Military massacres have been
probably more common there than elsewhere; in 1826, Governor Darling
ordered such massacres—and in consequence, one black native, at
least, was shot at a stake in cool blood. The attorney-general of the
colony[80] remonstrated against illegal orders of this kind, and was
told that the secretary of state’s instructions authorized them.”

Lord Glenelg, however, adopted in his despatch to Sir James Stirling
in 1835 a very different language, in consequence of an affair on the
Murray River. “The natives on this river, in the summer of the year
1834, murdered a British soldier, having in the course of the previous
five years killed three other persons. In the month of October, 1834,
Sir James Stirling, the governor, proceeded with a party of horse to
the Murray River, in search of the tribe in question. On coming up with
them, it appears that the British horse charged this tribe without any
parley, and killed fifteen of them, not, as it seems, confining their
vengeance to the actual murderers.” After the rout, the women who had
been taken prisoners were dismissed, having been informed, “that the
punishment had been inflicted because of the misconduct of the tribe;
that the white men never forget to punish murder; that on this occasion
the women and children had been spared; but if any other persons should
be killed by them, not one would be allowed to remain on this side of
the mountains.”

That is, these white men, “who never forget to punish murder,” would,
if another person was killed by the natives, commit a wholesale murder,
and drive the natives out of one other portion of their country. Lord
Glenelg, however, observed that it would be necessary that inquiry
should be made whether some act of harshness or injustice had not
originally provoked the enmity of the natives, before such massacres
could be justified. His language is not only just, but very descriptive
of the cause of these attacks from the natives.

“It is impossible to regard such conflicts without regret and anxiety,
when we recollect how fatal, in too many instances, our colonial
settlements have proved to the natives of the places where they have
been formed; and this too by a series of conflicts in every one of
which it has been asserted, and apparently with justice, that the
immediate aggression has not been on our side. The real causes of these
hostilities are to be found in a course of petty encroachments and acts
of injustice committed by the new settlers, at first submitted to by
the natives, and not sufficiently checked in the outset by the leaders
of the colonists. Hence has been generated in the minds of the injured
party a deadly spirit of hatred and vengeance, which breaks out at
length into deeds of atrocity, which, in their turn, make retaliation a
necessary part of self-defence.”[81]

It is some satisfaction that the recent inquiries have led to the
appointment of a protector of the Aborigines, but who shall protect
them from the multitudinous evils which beset them on all sides from
their intercourse with the whites—men expelled by the laws from their
own country for their profligacy, or men corrupted by contact with
the plague of their presence? Grand individual massacres, and cases of
lawless aggression, such as occasioned the abandonment of the colony
at Raffles’ Bay, on the northern coast of Australia, where for the
trifling offence of the theft of an axe, the sentinels were ordered
to fire on the natives whenever they approached, and who yet were
found by Captain Barker, the officer in command when the order for the
abandonment of the place arrived, to be “a mild and merciful race of
people;” such great cases of violence may be prevented, or reduced in
number, but what ubiquitous protector is to stand between the natives
and the stock-keepers (convicts in the employ of farmers in the
outskirts of the colony), of the cedar-cutters, the bush-rangers, and
free settlers in the remote and thinly cultivated districts?—a race
of the most demoralized and fearful wretches on the face of the earth,
and who will shoot a native with the same indifference as they shoot
a kangaroo. Who shall protect them from the diseases and the liquid
fire which these penal colonies have introduced amongst them? These are
the destroying agencies that have compelled our government to commit
one great and flagrant act of injustice to remedy another—actually to
pursue, run down, and capture, as you would so many deer in a park, or
as the Gauchos of the South American Pampas do wild cattle with their
lassos, the whole native population of Van Dieman’s land; and carry
them out of their own country, to Flinder’s Island? Yes, to save these
wretched people from the annihilation which our moral corruption and
destitution of all Christian principle were fast bringing upon them,
we have seized and expelled them all from their native land. What
a strange alternative, between destruction by our violence and our
vices, and the commission of an act which in any other part or age of
the world would be regarded as the most wicked and execrable. We have
actually turned out the inhabitants of Van Dieman’s Land, because we
saw that it was “a goodly heritage,” and have comfortably sate down in
it ourselves; and the best justification that we can set up is, that if
we did not pass one general sentence of transportation upon them, we
must burn them up with our liquid fire, poison them with the diseases
with which our vices and gluttony have covered us, thick as the quills
on a porcupine, or knock them down with our bullets, or the axes of our
wood-cutters! What an indescribable and monstrous crime must it be in
the eye of the English to possess a beautiful and fertile island,—that
the possessors shall be transported as convicts to make way for the
convicts from this kingdom who have been pronounced by our laws too
infamous to live here any longer! To such a pass are we come, that the
Jezebel spirit of our lawless cupidity does not merely tell us that it
will give us a vineyard, but whatever country or people we lust after.

We have then, totally cleared Van Dieman’s Land of what Colonel Arthur
himself, an agent of this sweeping expulsion of a whole nation, calls
“a noble-minded race,”[82] and have reduced the natives of New Holland,
so far as we have come in contact with them, to misery.

This is the evidence given by Bishop Broughton:—“They do not so much
retire as decay; wherever Europeans meet with them, they appear to
wear out, and gradually to decay: they diminish in numbers; they
appear actually to vanish from the face of the earth. I am led to
apprehend that within a very limited period, a few years,” adds the
Bishop, “those who are most in contact with Europeans will be utterly
extinct—I will not say exterminated—but they will be extinct.”

As to their moral condition, the bishop says of the natives around
Sidney—“They are in a state which I consider one of extreme
degradation and ignorance; they are, in fact, in a situation much
inferior to what I suppose them to have been before they had any
communication with Europe.” And again, in his charge, “It is an awful,
it is even an appalling consideration, that, after an intercourse of
nearly half a century with a Christian people, these hapless human
beings continue to this day in their original benighted and degraded
state. I may even proceed farther, so far as to express my fears that
our settlement in their country has even deteriorated a condition of
existence, than which, before our interference, nothing more miserable
could easily be conceived. While, as the contagion of European
intercourse has extended itself among them, they gradually lose the
better properties of their own character, they appear in exchange to
acquire none but the most objectionable and degrading of ours.”

The natives about Sidney and Paramatta are represented as in a state of
wretchedness still more deplorable than those resident in the interior.

“Those in the vicinity of Sidney are so completely changed, they
scarcely have the same pursuits now; they go about the streets begging
their bread, and begging for clothing and rum. From the diseases
introduced among them, the tribes in immediate connexion with those
large towns almost became extinct; not more than two or three remained,
when I was last in New South Wales, of tribes which formerly consisted
of 200 or 300.”

Dr. Lang, the minister of the Scotch church, writes, “From the
prevalence of infanticide, from intemperance, and from European
diseases, their number is evidently and rapidly diminishing in all the
older settlements of the colony, and in the neighbourhood of Sidney
especially, they present merely the shadow of what were once numerous
tribes.” Yet even now “he thinks their number within the limits of the
colony of New South Wales cannot be less than 10,000—an indication of
what must once have been the population, and what the destruction. It
is only,” Dr. Lang observes, “through the influence of Christianity,
brought to bear upon the natives by the zealous exertions of devoted
missionaries, that the progress of extinction can be checked.”

Enormous as are these evils, it would be well if they stopped here;
but the moral corruption of our penal colonies overflows, and is
blown by the winds, like the miasma of the plague, to other shores,
and threatens with destruction one of the fairest scenes of human
regeneration and human happiness to which we can turn on this huge
globe of cruelty for hope and consolation. Where is the mind that has
not dwelt in its young enthusiasm on the summer beauty of the Islands
of the Pacific? That has not, from the day that Captain Cook first
fell in with them, wandered in imagination with our voyagers and
missionaries through their fairy scenes—been wafted in some magic
bark over those blue and bright seas—been hailed to the sunny shore by
hundreds of simple and rejoicing people—been led into the hut overhung
with glorious tropical flowers, or seated beneath the palm, and feasted
on the pine and the bread-fruit? These are the things which make part
of the poetry of our memory and our youth. There is not a man of the
slightest claims to the higher and better qualities of our nature to
whom the existence of these oceanic regions of beauty has not been a
subject of delightful thought, and a source of genial inspiration. Here
in fancy—

  The white man landed!—need the rest be told?
  The New World stretched its dusk hand to the old;
  Each was to each a marvel, and the tie
  Of wonder warmed to better sympathy.
  Kind was the welcome of the sun-born sires,
  And kinder still their daughters’ gentler fires.
  Their union grew: the children of the storm
  Found beauty linked with many a dusky form;
  While these in turn admired the paler glow,
  Which seem’d so white in climes that knew no snow.
  The chase, the race, the liberty to roam
  The soil where every cottage shewed a home;
  The sea-spread net, the lightly launched canoe,
  Which stemmed the studded Archipelago,
  O’er whose blue bosom rose the starry isles;
  The healthy slumber caused by sportive toils;
  The palm, the loftiest dryad of the woods,
  Within whose bosom infant Bacchus broods,
  While eagles scarce build higher than the crest
  Which shadows o’er the vineyard in her breast;
  The cava feast, the yam, the cocoa’s root,
  Which bears at once the cup, and milk, and fruit;
  The bread-tree, which, without the ploughshare, yields
  The unreaped harvest of unfurrowed fields,
  And bakes its unadulterated loaves
  Without a furnace in unpurchased groves,
  And flings off famine from its fertile breast,
  A priceless market for the gathering guest:—
  These, with the solitudes of seas and woods,
  The airy joys of social solitudes:—

  _The Island—Lord Byron._

These were the dreams of many a young dreamer—and yet they were the
realities of the Indian seas. But even there, regeneration was needed
to make this ocean-paradise perfect. Superstition and evil passions
marred the enjoyment of the natives. Mr. William Ellis, the able
secretary of the London Missionary Society, and author of Polynesian
Researches, says—“They were accustomed to practise infanticide,
probably more extensively than any other nation; they offered human
sacrifices in greater numbers than I have read of their having been
offered by any other nation; they were accustomed to wars of the most
savage and exterminating kind. They were lazy too, for they found all
their wants supplied by nature. ‘The fruit ripens,’ said they, ‘and
the pigs get fat while we are asleep, and that is all we want; why,
therefore, should we work?’ The missionaries have presented them with
that which alone they needed to insure their happiness,—Christianity;
and the consequence has been, that within the last twenty years they
have conveyed a cargo of idols to the depôt of the Missionary Society
in London; they have become factors to furnish our vessels with
provisions, and merchants to deal with us in the agricultural growth of
their own country. Their language has been reduced to writing, and they
have gained the knowledge of letters. They have, many of them, emerged
from the tyranny of the will of their chiefs into the protection of a
written law, abounding with liberal and enlightened principles, and
200,000 of them are reported to have embraced Christianity.”

The most beautiful thing is, that when they embraced Christianity,
they embraced it in its fulness and simplicity. They had no ancient
sophisms and political interests, like Europe, to induce them to
accept Christianity by halves, admitting just as much as suited their
selfishness, and explaining away, or shutting their eyes resolutely
to the rest; they, therefore, furnished a most striking practical
proof of the manner in which Christianity would be understood by the
simple-hearted and the honest, and in doing this they pronounced the
severest censures upon the barbarous and unchristian condition of
proud Europe. “When,” says Mr. Ellis, “Christianity was adopted by the
people, human sacrifices, infant murder, and _war, entirely ceased_.”
Mr. Ellis and Mr. Williams agree that _they also immediately gave
freedom to all their slaves. They never considered the two things

According to the evidence of Mr. Williams, the Tahitian and Society
Islands are christianized; the Austral Island group, about 350 miles
south of Tahiti; the Harvey Islands, about 700 miles west of Tahiti;
the Vavou Islands, and the Hapai and the Sandwich Islands, where the
American missionaries are labouring, and are 3,000 miles north of
Tahiti, and the inhabitants also of the eastern Archipelago, about 500
or 600 miles east of Tahiti.

The population of these Islands, including the Sandwich Islands, are
about 200,000. The Navigators’ Islands, Tongatabu, and the Marquesas,
are partially under the influence of the gospel, where missionary
labours have just been commenced. They are supposed to contain from
100,000 to 150,000 people.

Wherever Christianity has been embraced by them, the inhabitants have
become actively industrious, and, to use the words of Mr. Williams, are
“very apt indeed” at learning European trades. Mr. Ellis’s statement
is:—“There are now carpenters who hire themselves out to captains
of ships to work at repairs of vessels, etc., for which they receive
regular wages; and there are blacksmiths that hire themselves out to
captains of ships, for the purpose of preparing ironwork required in
building or repairing ships. The natives have been taught not only
to construct boats, but to build vessels, and there are, perhaps,
twenty (there have been as many as forty) small vessels, of from forty
to eighty or ninety tons burthen, built by the natives, navigated
sometimes by Europeans, and manned by natives, all the fruit of the
natives’ own skill and industry. They have been taught to build neat
and comfortable houses, and to cultivate the soil. _They have new
wants_; a number of articles of clothing and commerce are necessary
to their comfort, and they cultivate the soil to supply them. At
one island, where I was once fifteen months without seeing a single
European excepting our own families, there were, I think, twenty-eight
ships put in for provisions last year, and all obtained the supplies
they wanted. Besides cultivating potatoes and yams, and raising stock,
fowls and pigs, the cultivation, the spinning and the weaving of the
cotton has been introduced by missionary artizans; and there are some
of the chiefs, and a number of the people, especially in one of the
islands, who are now decently clothed in garments made after the
European fashion, produced from cotton grown in their own gardens, spun
by their own children, and woven in the islands. One of the chiefs of
the island of Rarotonga, as stated by the missionaries, never wears any
other dress than that woven in the island. They have been taught also
to cultivate the sugarcane, which is indigenous, and to make sugar,
and some of them have large plantations, employing at times forty men.
They supply the ships with this useful article, and, at some of the
islands, between fifty and sixty vessels touch in a single year. The
natives of the islands send a considerable quantity away; I understand
that one station sent as much as forty tons away last year. In November
last a vessel of ninety tons burthen, built in the islands, was sent
to the colony of New South Wales laden with Tahitian-grown sugar.
Besides the sugar they have been taught to cultivate, they prepare
arrow-root, and they sent to England in one year, as I was informed
by merchants in London, more than had been imported into this country
for nearly twenty previous years. Cattle also have been introduced and
preserved, chiefly by the missionaries; pigs, dogs, and rats were the
only animals they had before, but the missionaries have introduced
cattle among them. While they continued heathen, they disregarded, nay,
destroyed some of those first landed among them; but since that time
they have highly prized them, and by their attention to them they are
now so numerous as to enable the natives to supply ships with fresh
beef at the rate of threepence a pound. The islanders have also been
instructed by the missionaries in the manufacture of cocoa-nut oil, of
which large quantities are exported. They have been taught to cultivate
tobacco, and this would have been a valuable article of commerce had
not the duty in New South Wales been so high as to exclude that grown
in the islands from the market. The above are some of the proofs that
Christianity prepares the way for, and necessarily leads to, the
civilization of those by whom it is adopted. There are now in operation
among a people who, when the missionaries arrived, were destitute of a
written language, seventy-eight _schools, which contain between 12,000
and 13,000 scholars_. The Tahitians have also a simple, explicit,
and wholesome _code of laws_, as the result of their imbibing the
principles of Christianity. This code of laws is printed and circulated
among them, understood by all, and acknowledged by all as the supreme
rule of action for all classes in their civil and social relations. The
laws have been productive of great benefits.”

Here again they have far outstripped us in England. When shall we have
a code of laws, so simple and compact, that it may be “printed and
circulated amongst us, and understood by all?” The benefits resulting
from this intelligible and popular code, Mr. Ellis tells us, have been
great. No doubt of it. The benefits of such a code in England would be
incalculable; but when will the lawyers, or our enlightened Parliament
let us have it? The whole scene of the reformation, and the happiness
introduced by Christianity into the South-Sea Islands, is, however,
most delightful. Such a scene never was exhibited to the world since
its foundation. Mr. Williams’ recent work, descriptive of these islands
and the missionary labours there, is fascinating as Robinson Crusoe
himself, and infinitely more important in its relations. If ever the
idea of the age of gold was realized, it is here; or rather,

  Where none contest the fields, the woods, the streams;—
  The goldless ages, where gold disturbs no dreams.

Besides the benefits accruing from this improved state to the natives,
great are the benefits that accrue from it to the Europeans. The
benefit of commerce, from their use of European articles, is and must
be considerable. They furnish, too, articles of commerce in no small
quantities. Instead of European crews now, in case of wreck on their
coasts, being murdered and devoured, they are rescued from the waves at
the risk of the lives of the people themselves, and received, as the
evidence and works of Ellis and Williams testify, in most remarkable
instances, with the greatest hospitality.

But all this springing civilization—this young Christianity,—this
scene of beauty and peace, are endangered. The founders of a new and
happier state, the pioneers and artificers of civilization, stand
aghast at the ruin that threatens their labours,—that threatens the
welfare,—nay, the very existence of the simple islanders amongst
whom they have wrought such miracles of love and order. And whence
arises this danger? whence comes this threatened ruin? Is some race
of merciless savages about to burst in upon these interesting people,
and destroy them? Yes, the same “irreclaimable and indomitable
savages,” that have ravaged and oppressed every nation which they have
conquered, “from China to Peru.” The same savages that laid waste the
West Indies; that massacred the South Americans; that have chased the
North Americans to the “far west;” that shot the Caffres for their
cattle; that have covered the coasts of Africa with the blood and
fires and rancorous malice of the slave-wars; that have exterminated
millions of Hindus by famine, and hold a hundred millions of them, at
this moment, in the most abject condition of poverty and oppression;
the same savages that are at this moment also carrying the Hill
Coolies from the East—as if they had not a scene of enormities there
wide enough for their capacity of cruelty—to sacrifice them in the
West, on the graves of millions of murdered negroes; the same savages
are come hither also. The savages of Europe, the most heartless and
merciless race that ever inhabited the earth—a race, for the range
and continuance of its atrocities, without a parallel in this world,
and, it may be safely believed, in any other, are busy in the South Sea
Islands. A roving clan of sailors and runaway convicts have revived
once more the crimes and character of the old buccaneers. They go from
island to island, diffusing gin, debauchery, loathsome diseases, and
murder, as freely as if they were the greatest blessings that Europe
had to bestow. They are the restless and triumphant apostles of misery
and destruction; and such are their achievements, that it is declared
that, unless our government interpose some check to their progress,
they will as completely annihilate the islanders, as the Charibs were
annihilated in the West Indies. When Captain Cook was at the Sandwich
Islands, he estimated the inhabitants at 400,000. In 1823, Mr. Williams
made a calculation, and found them about 150,000. Mr. Daniel Wheeler,
a member of the Society of Friends, who has just returned from those
regions, states that they now are reduced to 110,000; a diminution
of 40,000 in fifteen years. Captain Cook estimated the population of
Tahiti at 200,000: when the missionaries arrived there, there were not
above 8,000.

What a shocking business is this, that when Christianity has been
professed in Europe for this 1800 years, it is from Europe that the
most dreadful corruption of morals, and the most dismal defiance of
every sound principle come. If Christianity, despised and counterfeited
by its ancient professors, flies to some remote corner of the globe,
and there unfolds to simple admiring eyes her blessings and her charms,
out, from Europe, rush hordes of lawless savages, to chase her thence,
and level to the dust the dwellings and the very being of her votaries.
Shall this be! Will no burning blush rise to European cheeks at this
reflection? But let us hear what was said on this subject before the
British Parliament.

“It will be hard, we think, to find compensation, not only to
Australia, but to New Zealand, and to the innumerable islands of the
South Seas, for the murders, the misery, the contamination which we
have brought upon them. Our runaway convicts are the pests of savage
as well as of civilized society; so are our runaway sailors; and the
crews of our whaling vessels, and of the traders from New South Wales,
too frequently act in the most reckless and immoral manner when at a
distance from the restraints of justice: in proof of this we need only
refer to the evidence of the missionaries.

“It is stated that there have been not less than 150 or 200 runaways
at once on the island of New Zealand, counteracting all that was done
for the moral improvement of the people, and teaching them every vice.

“‘I beg leave to add,’ remarks Mr. Ellis, ‘the desirableness of
preventing, by every practicable means, the introduction of ardent
spirits among the inhabitants of the countries we may visit or
colonize. There is nothing more injurious to the South Sea islanders
than seamen who have absconded from ships, setting up huts for the
retail of ardent spirits, called grog-shops, which are the resort of
the indolent and vicious of the crews of the vessels, and in which,
under the influence of intoxication, scenes of immorality, and even
murder, have been exhibited, almost beyond what the natives witnessed
among themselves while they were heathen. The demoralization and
impediments to the civilization and prosperity of the people that have
resulted from the activity of foreign traders in ardent spirits, have
been painful in the extreme. In one year it is estimated that the
sum of 12,000 dollars was expended, in Taheité alone, chiefly by the
natives, for ardent spirits.’

“The lawless conduct of the crews of vessels must necessarily have
an injurious effect on our trade, and on that ground alone demands
investigation. In the month of April, 1834, Mr. Busby states there were
twenty-nine vessels at one time in the Bay of Islands; and that seldom
a day passed without some complaint being made to him of the most
outrageous conduct on the part of their crews, which he had not the
means of repressing, since these reckless seamen totally disregarded
the usages of their own country, and the unsupported authority of the
British resident.

“The Rev. J. Williams, missionary in the Society Islands, states,
‘that it is the common sailors, and the lowest order of them, the very
vilest of the whole, who will leave their ship and go to live amongst
the savages, and take with them all their low habits and all their
vices.’ The captains of merchant vessels are apt to connive at the
absconding of such worthless sailors, and the atrocities perpetrated
by them are excessive; they do incalculable mischief by circulating
reports injurious to the interests of trade. On an island between the
Navigator’s and the Friendly group, he heard there were on one occasion
a hundred sailors who had run away from shipping. Mr. Williams gives
an account of a gang of convicts who stole a small vessel from New
South Wales, and came to Raiatia, one of the Sandwich Islands, where he
resided, representing themselves as shipwrecked mariners. Mr. Williams
suspected them, and told them he should inform the governor, Sir T.
Brisbane, of their arrival, on which they went away to an island twenty
miles off, and were received with every kindness in the house of the
chief. They took an opportunity of stealing a boat belonging to the
missionary of the station, and made off again. The natives immediately
pursued, and desired them to return their missionary’s boat. Instead of
replying, they discharged a blunderbus that was loaded with cooper’s
rivets, which blew the head of one man to pieces; they then killed two
more, and a fourth received the contents of a blunderbus in his hand,
fell from exhaustion amongst his mutilated companions, and was left as
dead. This man, and a boy who had saved himself by diving, returned to
their island. ‘The natives were very respectable persons; and had it
not been that we were established in the estimation of the people, our
lives would have been sacrificed. The convicts then went in the boat
down to the Navigator’s Islands, and there entered with savage ferocity
into the wars of the savages. One of these men was the most savage
monster that ever I heard of: he boasted of having killed 300 natives
with his own hands.’

“And in June 1833, Mr. Thomas, Wesleyan missionary at the Friendly
Islands, still speaks of the mischief done by ill-disposed captains
of whalers, who, he says, ‘send the refuse of their crews on shore to
annoy us;’ and proceeds to state, ‘the conduct of many of these masters
of South-Sea whalers is most abominable; they think no more of the life
of an heathen than of a dog. And their cruel and wanton behaviour at
the different islands in those seas has a powerful tendency to lead
the natives to hate the sight of a white man.’ Mr. Williams mentions
one of these captains, who with his people had shot twenty natives, at
one of the islands, for no offence; and ‘another master of a whaler,
from Sidney, made his boast, last Christmas, at Tonga, that he had
killed about twenty black fellows,—for so he called the natives of the
Samoa, or Navigator’s Islands—for some very trifling offence; and not
satisfied with that, he designed to disguise his vessel, and pay them
another visit, and get about a hundred more of them.’ ‘Our hearts,’
continues Mr. Thomas, ‘almost bleed for the poor Samoa people; they are
a very mild, inoffensive race, very easy of access; and as they are
near to us, we have a great hope of their embracing the truth, viz.
that the whole group will do so; for you will learn from Mr. Williams’
letter, that a part of them have already turned to God. But the conduct
of our English savages has a tone of barbarity and cruelty in it which
was never heard of or practised by them.’”

But these are not all the exploits of these white savages. Those who
have seen in shop-windows in London, dried heads of New Zealanders,
may here learn how they come there, and to whom the phrenologists and
_curiosi_ are indebted.

“Till lately the tattooed heads of New Zealanders were sold at Sidney
as objects of curiosity; and Mr. Yate says he has known people give
property to a chief for the purpose of getting them to kill their
slaves, that they might have some heads to take to New South Wales.

“This degrading traffic was prohibited by General Darling, the
governor, upon the following occasion: In a representation made to
Governor Darling, the Rev. Mr. Marsden states, that the captain of an
English vessel being, as he conceived, insulted by some native women,
set one tribe upon another to avenge his quarrel, and supplied them
with arms and ammunition to fight.

“In the prosecution of the war thus excited, a party of forty-one Bay
of Islanders made an expedition against some tribes of the South. Forty
of the former were cut off; and a few weeks after the slaughter, a
Captain Jack went and purchased thirteen chiefs’ heads, and, bringing
them back to the Bay of Islands, emptied them out of a sack in the
presence of their relations. The New Zealanders were, very properly, so
much enraged that they told this captain they should take possession of
the ship, and put the laws of their country into execution. When he
found that they were in earnest, he cut his cable and left the harbour,
and afterwards had a narrow escape from them at Taurunga. He afterwards
reached Sidney, and it came to the knowledge of the governor, that
he brought there ten of these heads for sale, on which discovery the
practice was declared unlawful. Mr. Yate mentions an instance of a
captain going 300 miles from the Bay of Islands to East Cape, enticing
twenty-five young men, sons of chiefs, on board his vessel, and
delivering them to the Bay of Islanders, with whom they were at war,
merely to gain the favour of the latter, and to obtain supplies for
his vessel. The youths were afterwards redeemed from slavery by the
missionaries, and restored to their friends. Mr. Yate once took from
the hand of a New-Zealand chief a packet of corrosive sublimate, which
a captain had given to the savage in order to enable him to poison his

Such is the general system. The atrocious character of particular cases
would be beyond credence, after all that has now been shewn of the
nature of Europeans, were they not attested by the fullest and most
unexceptionable authority. The following case was communicated by the
Rev. S. Marsden, to Governor-general Darling, and was also afterwards
reported to the governor in person by two New Zealand chiefs. Governor
Darling forwarded the account of it to Lord Goderich, together with
the depositions of two seamen of the brig _Elizabeth_, and those of J.
B. Montefiore, Esq., and A. Kennis, Esq. merchants of Sidney, who had
embarked on board the _Elizabeth_ on its return to Entry Island, and
had there learned the particulars of the case, had seen the captive
chief sent ashore, and had been informed that he was sacrificed.

“In December 1830, a Captain Stewart, of the brig _Elizabeth_, a
British vessel, on promise of ten tons of flax, took above 100 New
Zealanders concealed in his vessel, down from Kappetee Entry Island,
in Cook’s Strait, to Takou, or Bank’s Peninsula, on the Middle Island,
to a tribe with whom they were at war. He then invited and enticed
on board the chief of Takou, with his brother and two daughters:
‘When they came on board, the captain took hold of the chief’s hand
in a friendly manner, and conducted him and his two daughters into
the cabin; shewed him the muskets, how they were arranged round the
sides of the cabin. When all was prepared for securing the chief, the
cabin-door was locked, and the chief was laid hold on, and his hands
were tied fast; at the same time a hook, with a cord to it, was struck
through the skin of his throat under the side of his jaw, and the
line fastened to some part of the cabin: in this state of torture he
was kept for some days, until the vessel arrived at Kappetee. One of
his children clung fast to her father, and cried aloud. The sailors
dragged her from her father, and threw her from him; her head struck
against some hard substance, which killed her on the spot.’ The
brother, or nephew, Ahu (one of the narrators), ‘who had been ordered
to the forecastle, came as far as the capstan and peeped through into
the cabin, and saw the chief in the state above mentioned.’ They also
got the chief’s wife and two sisters on board, with 100 baskets of
flax. All the men and women who came in the chief’s canoe were killed.
‘Several more canoes came off also with flax, and the people were all
killed by the natives of Kappetee, who had been concealed on board for
the purpose, and the sailors who were on deck, who fired upon them with
their muskets.’ The natives of Kappetee were then sent on shore with
some sailors, with orders to kill all the inhabitants they could find;
and it was reported that those parties who went on shore murdered many
of the natives; none escaped but those who fled into the woods. The
chief, his wife and two sisters were killed when the vessel arrived at
Kappetee, and other circumstances yet more revolting are added.”

We will now close this black recital of crimes by one more case, in
which the natives are represented as the aggressors, though alone upon
the evidence of the accused party, and particularly on that of Captain
Guard, of whom Mr. Marshall of the _Alligator_, stated that, “‘in the
estimation of the officers of the _Alligator_, the general sentiment
was one of dislike and disgust at his conduct on board, and his conduct
on shore.’ He has himself heard him say, that a musketball for every
New Zealander was the best mode of civilizing the country.

“In April, 1834, the barque _Harriet_, J. Guard, master, was wrecked
at Cape Egmont, on the coast of New Zealand. The natives came down
to plunder, but refrained from other violence for about ten days, in
which interval two of Guard’s men deserted to the savages. They then
got into a fray with the sailors, and killed twelve of them: on the
part of the New Zealanders twenty or thirty were shot. The savages
got possession of Mrs. Guard and her two children. Mr. Guard and the
remainder were suffered to retreat, but surrendered themselves to
another tribe whom they met, and who finally allowed the captain to
depart, on his promising to return, and to bring back with him a ransom
in powder; and they retained nine seamen as hostages. Three native
chiefs accompanied Guard to Sidney. Captain Guard had been trading with
the New Zealanders from the year 1823, and it was reported that his
dealings with them had, in some instances, been marked with cruelty. On
Mr. Guard’s representation to the government at Sidney, the _Alligator_
frigate, Captain Lambert, and the schooner _Isabella_, with a company
of the 50th regiment, were sent to New Zealand for the recovery of Mrs.
Guard and the other captives, with instructions, if practicable, to
obtain the restoration of the captives by amicable means. On arriving
at the coast near Cape Egmont, Captain Lambert steered for a fortified
village or pah, called the Nummo, where Mrs. Guard was known to be
detained. He sent two interpreters on shore, who made promises of
payment (though against Captain Lambert’s order) to the natives, and
held out also a prospect of trade in whalebone, on the condition that
the women and children should be restored. The interpreter could not,
from stress of weather, be received on board for some days. The vessel
proceeded to the tribe which held the men in captivity, and they were
at once given up on the landing of the chiefs whom Captain Lambert
had brought back from Sidney. Captain Lambert returned to the tribe
at the Nummo, with whom he had communicated through the interpreter,
and sent many messages to endeavour to persuade them to give up the
woman and one child (the other was held by a third tribe), but without
offering ransom. On the 28th September, the military were landed,
and two unarmed and unattended natives advanced along the sands. One
announced himself as the chief who retained the woman and child, and
rubbed noses with Guard in token of amity, expressing his readiness to
give them up on the receipt of the promised ‘payment.’ ‘In reply,’ as
Mr. Marshall, assistant-surgeon of the _Alligator_, who witnessed the
scene, states, ‘he was instantly seized upon as a prisoner of war’ (by
order of Captain Johnson, commanding the detachment), ‘dragged into
the whale-boat, and despatched on board the _Alligator_, in custody of
John Guard and his sailors. On his brief passage to the boat insult
followed insult; one fellow twisting his ear by means of a small swivel
which hung from it, and another pulling his long hair with spiteful
violence; a third pricking him with the point of a bayonet. Thrown to
the bottom of the boat, she was shoved off before he recovered himself,
which he had no sooner succeeded in doing than he jumped overboard, and
attempted to swim on shore, to prevent which he was repeatedly fired
upon from the boat; but not until he had been shot in the calf of the
leg was he again made a prisoner of. Having been a second time secured,
he was lashed to a thwart, and stabbed and struck so repeatedly, that,
on reaching the _Alligator_, he was only able to gain the deck by a
strong effort, and there, after staggering a few paces aft, fainted,
and fell down at the foot of the capstan in a gore of blood. When I
dressed his wounds, on a subsequent occasion, I found ten inflicted by
the point and edge of the bayonet over his head and face, one in his
left breast, which it was at first feared would prove, what it was
evidently intended to have proved, a mortal thrust, and another in the

“Captain Lambert, who did not himself see the seizure, admits that
the chief was unarmed when he came down to the shore, and that he
‘certainly was severely wounded: he had a ball through the calf of his
leg, and he had been struck violently on the head.’

“Captain Johnson proceeded to the pah or fortified village, found it
deserted, and burnt it the next morning. On the 30th September, Mrs.
Guard and one child were given up, and the wounded chief thereupon
was very properly sent on shore, without waiting for the delivery
of the other child; but ‘in the evening of the same day,’ Captain
Lambert states, ‘I again sent Lieutenant Thomas to ask for the child,
whose patience and firmness during the whole of the negotiations,
notwithstanding the insults that were offered to him, merit the
greatest praise. He shortly after returned on board, having been fired
at from one of the pahs while waiting outside the surf. Such treachery
could not be borne, and I immediately commenced firing at them from
the ship; a reef of rocks, which extend some distance from the shore,
I regret, prevented my getting as near them as I could have wished.
Several shots fell into the pahs, and also destroyed their canoes.’[83]

“October 8. After some fruitless negotiation, all the soldiers and
several seamen were landed, making a party of 112 men, and were
stationed on two terraces of the cliff, one above the other, with a
six-pounder carronade, while the interpreter and sailors were left
below to wait for the boy. The New Zealanders approached at first with
distrust; but at length a fine tall man came forward, and assured Mr.
Marshall that the child should be immediately forthcoming, and also
forbade our fighting, alleging that his ‘tribe had no wish to fight at
all.’ Soon afterwards the boy was brought down on the shoulders of a
chief, who expressed to Lieutenant McMurdo his desire to go on board
for the purpose of receiving a ransom:—

“On being told that none would be given, he turned away, when one of
the sailors seized hold of the child, and discovered it was fastened
with a strap or cord; to use his own expression, he had recourse to
cutting away, and the child fell upon the beach. Another seaman,
thinking the chief would make his escape, levelled his firelock,
and shot him dead. The troops hearing the report of the musket, and
thinking it was fired by the natives, immediately opened a fire from
the top of the cliff upon them, who made a precipitate retreat to the
pahs. The child being now in our possession, I made a signal to the
ships for the boats, intending to reimbark the troops; but the weather
becoming thick, and a shift of wind obliging the vessels to stand out
to sea, and, at the same time, finding myself attacked by the natives,
who were concealed in the high flax, I found my only alternative was to
advance on the pahs. I therefore ordered Lieutenant Gunton with thirty
men to the front, in skirmishing order, for the purpose of driving the
natives from the high flax from which they were firing: this was done,
and, as I have reason to think, with considerable loss on the part of
the natives.’[84]

“The body of the chief is said to have been mutilated, and the head
cut off by a soldier, and kicked about. It was identified by means of
a brooch, which Mrs. Guard said belonged to the chief, who had adopted
and protected her son. It is scarcely necessary to add, that this
wanton act met with the reprobation it deserved from Captain Lambert
and his officers.

“Captain Lambert states, that he should think there were between twenty
and thirty of the natives wounded (and this, be it observed, after the
child was recovered), but it was not ascertained. ‘The English went
straight forward to attack the pahs, and they had no communication with
the natives after.’ The troops immediately took possession of the two
villages; and on quitting them, three days afterwards, burnt them to
the ground.’”

The language of Lord Goderich, on reviewing some of these cases, must
be that of every honourable man.

“‘It is impossible to read, without shame and indignation, the details
which these documents disclose. The unfortunate natives of New Zealand,
unless some decisive measures of prevention be adopted, will, I
fear, be shortly added to the number of those barbarous tribes who,
in different parts of the globe, have fallen a sacrifice to their
intercourse with civilized men, who bear and disgrace the name of
Christians.... I cannot contemplate the too probable results without
the deepest anxiety. There can be no more sacred duty than that of
using every possible method to rescue the natives of those extensive
islands from the further evils which impend over them, and to deliver
our own country from the disgrace and crime of having either occasioned
or tolerated such enormities.’”



  Two gods divide them all—pleasure and gain:
  For these they live, they sacrifice to these,
  And in their service wage perpetual war
  With conscience and with thee. Lust in their hearts,
  And mischief in their hands, they roam the earth
  To prey upon each other; stubborn, fierce,
  High-minded, pouring out their own disgrace.
  Thy prophets speak of such; and, noting down
  The features of the last degenerate times,
  Exhibit every lineament of these.
  Come then, and added to thy many crowns,
  Receive one yet, as radiant as the rest,
  Due to thy last and most effectual work,
  Thy word fulfilled, the conquest of a world.

  _Cowper—The Task._

We have now followed the Europeans to every region of the globe, and
seen them planting colonies, and peopling new lands, and everywhere
we have found them the same—a lawless and domineering race, seizing
on the earth as if they were the firstborn of creation, and having a
presumptive right to murder and dispossess all other people. For more
than three centuries we have glanced back at them in their course,
and everywhere they have had the word of God in their mouth, and the
deeds of darkness in their hands. In the first dawn of discovery,
forth they went singing the Te Deum, and declaring that they went to
plant the cross amongst the heathen. As we have already observed,
however, it turned out to be the cross of one of the two thieves,
and a bitter cross of crucifixion it has proved to the natives where
they have received it. It has stood the perpetual sign of plunder and
extermination. The Spaniards were reckless in their carnage of the
Indians, and all succeeding generations have expressed their horror of
the Spaniards. The Dutch were cruel, and everybody abominated their
cruelty. One would have thought that the world was grown merciful.
Behold North America at this moment, with its disinherited Indians! See
Hindustan, that great and swarming region of usurpations and exactions!
Look at the Cape, and ask the Caffres whether the English are
tender-hearted and just: ask the same question in New Holland: ask it
of the natives of Van Dieman’s Land,—men, transported from the island
of their fathers. Ask the New Zealanders whether the warriors whose
tattooed heads stare us in the face in our museums, were not delicately
treated by us. Go, indeed, into any one spot, of any quarter of the
world, and ask—no you need not ask, you shall hear of our aggressions
from every people that know us. The words of Red-Jacket will find an
echo in the hearts of tens of millions of sorrowful and expatriated and
enthralled beings, who will exclaim, “you want more land!—you want
our country!” It is needless to tell those who have read this history
that there is, and can be, nothing else like it in the whole record of
mortal crimes. Many are the evils that are done under the sun; but
there is and can be no evil like that monstrous and earth-encompassing
evil, which the Europeans have committed against the Aborigines of
every country in which they have settled. And in what country have they
not settled? It is often said as a very pretty speech—that the sun
never sets on the dominions of our youthful Queen; but who dares to
tell us the far more horrible truth, that it never sets on the scenes
of our injustice and oppressions! When we have taken a solemn review
of the astounding transactions recorded in this volume, and then add
to them the crimes against humanity committed in the slave-trade and
slavery, the account of our enormities is complete; and there is no sum
of wickedness and bloodshed—however vast, however monstrous, however
enduring it may be—which can be pointed out, from the first hour of
creation, to be compared for a moment with it.

The slave-trade, which one of our best informed philanthropists asserts
is going on at this moment to the amount of 170,000 negroes a year, is
indeed the dreadful climax of our crimes against humanity. It was not
enough that the lands of all newly discovered regions were seized on by
fraud or violence; it was not enough that their rightful inhabitants
were murdered or enslaved; that the odious vices of people styling
themselves the followers of the purest of beings should be poured like
a pestilence into these new countries. It was not enough that millions
on millions of peaceful beings were exterminated by fire, by sword, by
heavy burdens, by base violence, by deleterious mines and unaccustomed
severities—by dogs, by man-hunters, and by grief and despair—there
yet wanted one crowning crime to place the deeds of Europeans beyond
all rivalry in the cause of evil,—and that unapproachable abomination
was found in the slave-trade. They had seized on almost all other
countries, but they could not seize on the torrid regions of Africa.
They could not seize the land, but they could seize the people. They
could not destroy them in their own sultry clime, fatal to the white
men, they therefore determined to immolate them on the graves of
the already perished Americans. To shed blood upon blood, to pile
bones upon bones, and curses upon curses. What an idea is that!—the
Europeans standing with the lash of slavery in their hands on the bones
of exterminated millions in one hemisphere, watching with remorseless
eyes their victims dragged from another hemisphere—tilling, not with
their sweat, but with their heart’s blood, the soil which is, in fact,
the dust of murdered generations of victims. To think that for three
centuries this work of despair and death has been going on—for three
centuries!—while Europe has been priding itself on the growth of
knowledge and the possession of the Christian faith; while mercy,
and goodness, and brotherly love, have been preached from pulpits,
and wafted towards heaven in prayers! That from Africa to America,
across the great Atlantic, the ships of outrage and agony have been
passing over, freighted with human beings denied all human rights. The
mysteries of God’s endurance, and of European audacity and hypocrisy
are equally marvellous. Why, the very track across the deep seems to me
blackened by this abominable traffic;—there must be the dye of blood
in the very ocean. One might surely trace these monsters by the smell
of death, from their kidnapping haunts to the very sugar-mills of the
west, where canes and human flesh are ground together. The ghosts of
murdered millions, were enough, one thinks, to lead the way without
chart or compass! The very bed of the ocean must be paved with bones!
and the accursed trade is still going on! We are still strutting about
in the borrowed plumes of Christianity, and daring to call God our
father, though we are become the tormentors of the human race from
China to Peru, and from one pole to the other![85]

The whole history of European colonization is of a piece. It is with
grief and indignation, that passing before my own mind the successive
conquests and colonies of the Europeans amongst the native tribes of
newly-discovered countries, I look in vain for a single instance of a
nation styling itself Christian and civilized, acting towards a nation
which it is pleased to term barbarous with Christian honesty and common
feeling. The only opportunity which the aboriginal tribes have had of
seeing Christianity in its real form and nature, has been from William
Penn and the missionaries. But both Penn and the missionaries have in
every instance found their efforts neutralized, and their hopes of
permanent good to their fellow-creatures blasted, by the profligacy
and the unprincipled rapacity of the Europeans as a race. Never was
there a race at once so egotistical and so terrible! With the most
happy complacency regarding themselves as civilized and pious, while
acting the savage on the broadest scale, and spurning every principle
of natural or revealed religion. But where the missionaries have been
permitted to act for any length of time on the aboriginal tribes,
what happy results have followed. The savage has become mild; he has
conformed to the order and decorum of domestic life; he has shewn
that all the virtues and affections which God has implanted in the
human soul are not extinct in him; that they wanted but the warmth of
sympathy and knowledge to call them forth; he has become an effective
member of the community, and his productions have taken their value in
the general market. From the Jesuits in Paraguay to the missionaries
in the South Seas, this has been the case. The idiocy of the man who
killed his goose that he might get the golden eggs, was wisdom compared
to the folly of the European nations, in outraging and destroying the
Indian races, instead of civilizing them. Let any one look at the
immediate effect amongst the South Sea Islanders, the Hottentots, or
the Caffres, of civilization creating a demand for our manufactures,
and of bringing the productions of their respective countries into
the market, and then from these few and isolated instances reflect
what would have been now the consequence of the civilization of North
and South America, of a great portion of South Africa, of the Indian
Islands, of the good treatment and encouragement of the millions of
Hindustan. Let him imagine, if he can, the immense consumption of our
manufactured goods through all these vast and populous countries, and
the wonderful variety of their natural productions which they would
have sent us in exchange.

There is no more doubt than of the diurnal motion of the earth, that
by the mere exercise of common honesty on the part of the whites, the
greater part of all these countries would now be civilized, and a
tide of wealth poured into Europe, such as the strongest imagination
can scarcely grasp; and that, too, purchased, not with the blood and
tears of the miserable, but by the moral elevation and happiness of
countless tribes. The waste of human life and human energies has
been immense, but not more immense than the waste of the thousand
natural productions of a thousand different shores and climates. The
arrow-root, the cocoa-nut oil, the medicinal oils and drugs of the
southern isles; the beautiful flax of New Zealand; sugar and coffee,
spices and tea, from millions of acres where they might have been
raised ill abundance—woods and gums, fruits and gems and ivories, have
been left unproduced or wasted in the deserts, because the wonderful
and energetic race of Europe chose to be as lawless as they were
enterprising, and to be the destroyers rather than the benefactors of
mankind. For more than three centuries, and down to the very last hour,
as this volume testifies, has this system, stupid as it was wicked,
been going on. Thank God, the dawn of a new era appears at last!

The wrongs of the Hottentots and Caffres, brought to the public
attention by Dr. Philip and Pringle,[86] have led to Parliamentary
inquiry; that inquiry has led to others;—the condition of the natives
of the South Seas, and finally of all the aboriginal tribes in our
colonies, has been brought under review. The existence of a mass of
evils and injuries, so enormous as to fill any healthy mind with horror
and amazement, has been brought to light; and it is impossible that
such facts, once made familiar to the British public, can ever be lost
sight of again. Some expiation has already been made to a portion of
our victims. Part of the lands of the Caffres has been returned, a
milder and more rational system of treatment has been adopted towards
them. Protectors of the Aborigines have in one or two instances been
appointed. New and more just principles of colonization have been
proposed, and in a degree adopted. In the proposed Association for
colonizing New Zealand, and in the South Australian settlement[87]
already made, these better notions are conspicuous. But these symptoms
of a more honourable conduct toward the Aborigines, are, with respect
to the evils we have done, and the evils that exist, but as the
light of the single morning star before the sun has risen. Many
are the injuries and oppressions of our fellow-creatures which the
philanthropic have to contend against; but there is no evil, and no
oppression, that is a hundredth part so gigantic as this. There is no
case in which we owe such a mighty sum of expiation: all other wrongs
are but the wrongs of a small section of humanity compared with the
whole. The wrongs of the Negro are great, and demand all the sympathy
and active attention which they receive; but the numbers of the negroes
in slavery are but as a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers
of the aborigines who are perishing beneath our iron and unchristian
policy. The cause of the aborigines is the cause of three-fourths of
the population of the globe. The evil done to them is the great and
universal evil of the age, and is the deepest disgrace of Christendom.
It is, therefore, with pleasure that I have seen the “ABORIGINES’
PROTECTION SOCIETY” raise its head amongst the many noble societies for
the redress of the wrongs and the elevation of humanity that adorn this
country. Such a society must become one of the most active and powerful
agents of universal justice: it must be that or nothing, for the evil
which it has to put down is tyrannous and strong beyond all others.
It cannot fail without the deepest disgrace to the nation—for the
honour of the nation, its Christian zeal, and its commercial interests,
are all bound up with it. Where are we to look for a guarantee for
the removal of the foulest stain on humanity and the Christian name?
Our government may be well disposed to adopt juster measures; but
governments are not yet formed on those principles, and with those
views, that will warrant us to depend upon them.

There is no power but the spirit of Christianity living in the heart
of the British public, which can secure justice to the millions that
are crying for it from every region of the earth. It is that which must
stand as the perpetual watch and guardian of humanity; and never yet
has it failed. The noblest spectacle in the world is that constellation
of institutions which have sprung out of this spirit of Christianity in
the nation, and which are continually labouring to redress wrongs and
diffuse knowledge and happiness wherever the human family extends. The
ages of dreadful inflictions, and the present condition of the native
tribes in our vast possessions, once known, it were a libel on the
honour and faith of the nation to doubt for a moment that a new era of
colonization and intercourse with unlettered nations has commenced; and
I close this volume of the unexampled crimes and marvellous impolicy of
Europe, with the firm persuasion—

  That heavenward all things tend. For all were once
  Perfect, and all must be at length restored.
  So God has greatly purposed; who would else
  In his dishonoured works himself endure
  Dishonour, and be wronged without redress.
  Haste, then, and wheel away a shattered world
  Ye slow revolving seasons! We would see—
  A sight to which our eyes are strangers yet—
  A world that does not hate and dread His laws,
  And suffer for its crime; would learn how fair
  The creature is that God pronounces good,
  How pleasant in itself what pleases Him.—_Cowper._


[1] Mickle’s Camoens.

[2] Mickle.

[3] How affecting is Peter Martyr’s account of these poor Lucayans,
thus fraudulently decoyed from their native countries. “Many of them,
in the anguish of despair, obstinately refuse all manner of sustenance,
and retiring to desert caves and unfrequented woods, silently give up
the ghost. Others, repairing to the sea-coast on the northern side
of Hispaniola, cast many a longing look towards that part of the
ocean where they suppose their own islands to be situated; and as the
sea-breeze rises, they eagerly inhale it—fondly believing that it
has lately visited their own happy valleys, and comes fraught with
the breath of those they love, their wives and their children. With
this idea, they continue for hours on the coast, until nature becomes
utterly exhausted, when, stretching out their arms towards the ocean,
as if to take a last embrace of their distant country and relatives,
they sink down and expire without a groan.... One of them, who was more
desirous of life, or had greater courage than most of his countrymen,
took upon him a bold and difficult piece of work. Having been used to
build cottages in his native country, he procured instruments of stone,
and cut down a large spongy tree, called _jaruma_ (the _bombax_, or
wild cotton), the body of which he dexterously scooped into a canoe.
He then provided himself with oars, some Indian corn, and a few gourds
of water, and prevailed on another man and woman to embark with him on
a voyage to the Lucayos. Their navigation was prosperous for near two
hundred miles, and they were almost within sight of their long-lost
shores, when unfortunately they were met by a Spanish ship, which
brought them back to slavery and sorrow! The canoe is still preserved
in Hispaniola as a curiosity, considering the circumstances under which
it was made.”—_Decad._ vii.

[4] In less than fifty years from the arrival of the Spaniards, not
more than two hundred Indians could be found in Hispaniola; and Sir
Francis Drake states that when he touched there in 1585, not one was
remaining; yet so little were the Spaniards benefited by their cruelty,
that they were actually obliged _to convert pieces of leather into
money_!—See Hakluyt’s Voyages, vol. iii.

[5] Las Casas, in his zeal for the Indians, has been charged with
exaggerating the numbers destroyed, but no one has attempted to deny
the following fact asserted by him: “I once beheld four or five
principal Indians roasted alive at a slow fire; and as the miserable
victims poured forth dreadful screams, which disturbed the commanding
officer in his afternoon slumbers—he sent word that they should be
strangled; but the officer on guard (I KNOW HIS NAME—I KNOW HIS
RELATIVES IN SEVILLE) would not suffer it; but causing their mouths
to be gagged, that their cries might not be heard, he stirred up the
fire with his own hands, and roasted them deliberately till they all
expired. I SAW IT MYSELF!!!”

[6] Clavigero gives a curious account of the mode in which Cortez took
possession of the province of Tabasco, on the plains of Coutla, where
he killed eight hundred of the natives, and founded a small city in
memory thereof, calling it _Madonna della Victoria_! Here he put on his
shield, unsheathed his sword, and gave three stabs with it to a large
tree which was in the principal village, declaring that if any person
durst oppose his possession, he would defend it with that sword.

[7] Thus called by Herrera. Bernal Diaz also calls Teuhtlile, Teudili.
It is singular that scarcely two writers, ancient or modern, call the
same South American person by the same name. Our modern travellers not
only differ from the Spanish historians, but from one another. Even
the familiar name of Montezuma, is Moctezuma and Motezuma; that of
Guatimozin, Guatimotzin and Quauhtemotzin. The same confusion prevails
amongst our authors, in nearly all the proper names of America, Asia,
or Africa.

[8] Engravings of these may be seen in Clavigero.

[9] The Ithualco of other authors.

[10] Clavigero says only six days.

[11] Charlevoix gives another instance of that sort of Catholic
_piety_ which such ruffians as these find quite compatible with the
commission of the blackest crimes. During these expeditions these
man-hunters surprised the Reduction of St. Theresa, and carried off
all the inhabitants. This happened a few days before Christmas; yet on
Christmas day these banditti came to church, every man with a taper in
his hand, in order to hear mass. The minute the Jesuit had finished,
he mounted the pulpit, and reproached them in the bitterest terms for
their injustice and cruelty; to all which they listened with as much
calmness as if it did not at all concern them.

[12] “I sincerely believe they are as fine a set of men as ever
existed, under the circumstances in which they are placed. In the mines
I have seen them using tools which our miners declared they had not
strength to work with, and carrying burdens which no man in England
could support; and I appeal to those travellers who have been carried
over the snow on their backs, whether they were able to have returned
the compliment; and if not, what can be more grotesque than the figure
of a civilized man riding upon the shoulders of a fellow-creature whose
physical strength he has ventured to despise?”

  _Head’s Rough Notes_, p. 112.

[13] Mills’s Hist. of British India, i. 74. Bruce, iii. 78.

[14] According to Orme, 2,750,000_l._

[15] Tanjore Papers. Mills’ History.

[16] Governor-general’s own Narrative. Second Report of Select
Committee, 1781.

[17] Fifth Parliamentary Report.—Appendix, No. 21.

[18] Mills, ii. 624.

[19] Mills, ii. 480.

[20] Sir Thomas Roe was sent in 1614, on an embassy to the Great
Mogul. In his letters to the Company, he strongly advised them against
the expensive ambition of acquiring territory. He tells them, “It
is greater than trade can bear; for to maintain a garrison will cut
out your profit: a war and traffic are incompatible. The Portuguese,
notwithstanding their many rich residences, are beggared by keeping
of soldiers: and yet their garrisons are but mean. They never made
advantage of the Indies since they defended them;—observe this well.
It has also been the error of the Dutch, who seek plantations here by
the sword. They turn a wonderful stock; they prowl in all places; they
possess some of the best: yet their dead pays consume all the gain. Let
this be received as a rule, that if you will profit, seek it at sea,
and in quiet trade: for without controversy, it is an error to affect
garrisons, and land-wars in India.”

Had Sir Thomas been inspired, could he have been a truer prophet? The
East India Company, after fighting and conquering in India for two
centuries, have found themselves, at the dissolution of their charter,
nearly fifty millions in debt; while their trade with China, a country
in which they did not possess a foot of land, had become the richest
commerce in the world! The article of tea alone returning between three
and four millions annually, and was their sole preventive against
bankruptcy. Can, indeed, any colonial acquisition be pointed out that
is not a loss to the parent state?

[21] Macpherson’s Annals, ii. 652, 662.

[22] Mills, ii. 560-2.

[23] It is said that infanticide, spite of the legal prohibition, is
still privately perpetrated to a great extent in Cutch and Guzerat.

[24] Nominally, in 1829; but not actually till considerably later.

[25] Even so recently as 1827 we find some tolerably regal instances
of regal gifts to our Indian representatives. Lord and Lady Amherst
on a tour in the provinces arrived at Agra. Lady Amherst received a
visit from the wife of Hindoo Row and her ladies. They proceeded to
invest Lady Amherst with the presents sent for her by the Byza Bhye.
They put on her a turban richly adorned with the most costly diamonds,
a superb diamond necklace, ear-rings, anklets, bracelets, and amulets
of the same, valued at 30,000_l._ sterling. A complete set of gold
ornaments, and another of silver, was then presented. Miss Amherst was
next presented with a pearl necklace, valued at 5,000_l._, and other
ornaments of equal beauty and costliness. Other ladies had splendid
presents—the whole value of the gifts amounting to 50,000_l._ sterling!

In the evening came Lord Amherst’s turn. On visiting the Row, his hat
was carried out and brought back on a tray covered. The Row uncovered
it, and placed it on his lordship’s head, overlaid with the most
splendid diamonds. His lordship was then invested with other jewels to
the reputed amount of 20,000_l._ sterling. Presents followed to the
members of his suite. Lady Amherst took this opportunity of retiring to
the tents of the Hindu ladies, _where presents were again given_; and a
bag of 1000 rupees to her ladyship’s female servants, and 500 rupees to
her interpretess.

_Oriental Herald_, vol. xiv. p. 444.

[26] How clearly these shrewd Indians saw through the designs of their
enemies, and how happily they could ridicule them, is shewn by the
speech of Garangula, one of their chiefs, when M. de la Barre, the
governor in 1684, was proposing one of these hollow alliances. All
the time that de la Barre spoke, Garangula kept his eyes fixed on the
end of his pipe. As soon as the governor had done, he rose up, and
said most significantly, “Yonondio!” (the name they always gave to the
governor of Canada), “you must have believed, when you left Quebec,
that the sun had burnt up all the forests which render our country
inaccessible to the French; or that the lakes had so far overflowed
their banks that they had surrounded our castles, and that we could not
get out of them. Yes, Yonondio, surely you must have dreamt so, and
the curiosity of seeing so great a wonder has brought you so far. Now
you are undeceived, since I and the warriors here present, are come to
assure you that the Senekas, Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and Mohawks,
are yet alive! I thank you, in their name, for bringing back into their
country the _Calumut_ which your predecessor received from their hands.
It was happy for you that you left under ground that murdering hatchet
that has been so often dyed in the blood of the French. Hear, Yonondio!
I do not sleep; I have my eyes open; and the sun which enlightens me,
shews me a great captain at the head of a company of soldiers, who
speaks as if he were dreaming. _He_ says that he came to the lake to
smoke on the great _Calumut_ with the Onondagas; but _Garangula_ says
that he sees to the contrary—it was to knock them on the head, if
sickness had not weakened the arms of the French.”

_Colden’s Hist. of the Five Nations_, vol. i. p. 70.

[27] Raynal.

[28] Colden, i. 81.

[29] Colden, i. 441.

[30] Colden’s Hist. of “The Five Nations,” i. 195.

[31] The natives of this coast had some years before been carried
off in considerable numbers by a British kidnapper, one Captain
Hunt, who sold them in the Mediterranean to the Spaniards as Moors
of Barbary. The indignation of the Indians on the discovery of this
base transaction and their warlike character, put a stop to this
trade, which might otherwise have become as regular a department of
commerce as the African slave-trade; but it naturally threw the most
formidable obstacles in the way of settling colonies here, and brought
all the miseries of mutual outrage and revenge on both settlers and
natives.—_Douglass’s Summary of the First Planting of North America_,
vol. i. p. 364.

[32] Purchases were, indeed, made by others; but it was seize first,
and bargain afterwards, when the soil was already defended by muskets,
and the only question with the natives was, “Shall we take a trifle for
our lands, or be knocked on the head for them?”

[33] Douglass’ Summary, i. 556-65.

[34] Ibid. i. 321.

[35] Douglass’ Summary, i. 199.

[36] Drake’s Book of the Indians.

[37] Hutchinson—Gov. Winthrop’s Journal.

[38] Hutchinson’s Massachusets Bay, p. 113.

[39] Hutchinson, p. 138.

[40] Hutchinson’s Hist. of Massachusets Bay. Also Douglass, Hubbard,
Gorge, and other historians of the time.

[41] Missionaries, especially the Jesuits, and the English in the
South Sea Islands, form the only exceptions, and these partially.
The Jesuits, though they did not commonly bear arms, taught the use
of them, and led, in fact, the most effective troops to battle in
Paraguay. The South Sea missionaries form the strongest exceptions:
they are, indeed, but guests, and not the governors; but their conduct
is admirable, and we may believe will not alter with power.

[42] Mr. Bannister, in an excellent little work (British Colonization
and the Coloured Tribes), just published, and which ought to be read by
every one for its right-mindedness and sound and most important views,
has regretted that William Penn did not take a guarantee from the
British crown, in his charter, for the protection of the Indians from
other states, and from his own successors. It is to be regretted; nor
is it meant here to assert that the provisions of his government were
as complete as they were pure in principle. Embarrassments of various
kinds prevented him from perfecting what he had so nobly begun; yet the
feeling with which his political system is regarded, must be that of
the following passage:—

“Virtue had never perhaps inspired a legislation better calculated to
promote the felicity of mankind. The opinions, the sentiments, and
the morals, corrected whatever might be defective in it. Accordingly
the prosperity of Pennsylvania was very rapid. This republic, without
either wars, conquests, struggles, or any of those revolutions which
attract the eyes of the vulgar, soon excited the admiration of the
whole universe. Its neighbours, notwithstanding their savage state,
were softened by the sweetness of its manners; and distant nations,
notwithstanding their corruption, paid homage to its virtues. All
delighted to see those heroic days of antiquity realized, which
European manners and laws had long taught every one to consider as
entirely fabulous.”—_Raynal_, vol. vii. p. 292.

[43] Adair’s History of the American Indians, p. 249.

[44] Adair, p. 314-321.

[45] Colden, i. 148.

[46] Mr. Johnson, who was originally a trader amongst the Mohawks,
indulged them in all their whims. They were continually dreaming that
he had given them this, that, and the other thing; and no greater
insult can, according to their opinions, be offered to any man than to
call in question the spiritual authenticity of his dream. At length
the chief _dreamed_ that Mr. Johnson had given him his uniform of
scarlet and gold. Mr. Johnson immediately made him a present of it:
but the next time he met him, he told him that _he_ had now begun to
dream, and that he had dreamed that the Mohawks had given him certain
lands, describing one of the finest tracts in the country, and of great
extent. The Indians were struck with consternation. They said: “He
surely had not dreamed that, had he?” He replied that he certainly had.
They therefore held a council, and came to inform him that they had
confirmed his dream; but begged that he would not dream any more. He
had no further occasion.

[47] Cotton Mather records that, amongst the early settlers, it was
considered a “religious act to kill Indians.”

A similar sentiment prevailed amongst the Dutch boors in South Africa,
with regard to the natives of the country. Mr. Barrow writes, “A farmer
thinks he cannot proclaim a more meritorious action than the murder
of one of these people. A boor from Graaf Reinet, being asked in the
secretary’s office, a few days before we left town, if the savages were
numerous or troublesome on the road, replied, ‘he had only shot four,’
with as much composure and indifference as if he had been speaking of
four partridges. I myself have heard one of the humane colonists boast
of having destroyed, with his own hands, near 300 of these unfortunate

[48] See Evidence given by Capt. Buchan.

[49] Papers, Abor. Tribes, 1834, p. 135.

[50] Ibid. 147.

[51] Ibid. 22.

[52] Papers, Abor. Tribes, p. 24.

[53] See Papers relating to Red River Settlement, 1815, 1819:
especially Mr. Coltman’s Report, pp. 115, 125.

[54] Letter from Jas. Hackett, Esq., Civil Commissioner, to Sir B.
D’Urban. Papers, Abor. Tribes, 1834, pp. 194, 198.

[55] Papers, Abor. Tribes, pp. 183, 193.

[56] Papers, p. 182.

[57] Papers, Abor. Tribes, pp. 181, 182.

[58] Mr. Mayhew in his journal, writes, that the Indians told him, that
they could not observe the benefit of Christianity, because the English
cheated them of their lands and goods; and that the use of books made
them more cunning in cheating. In his Indian itineraries, he desired of
Ninicroft, sachem of the Narragansets, leave to preach to his people.
Ninicroft bid him go and make the English good first, and desired Mr.
Mayhew not to hinder him in his concerns. Some Indians at Albany being
asked to go into a meeting-house, declined, saying, “the English went
into those places to study how to cheat poor Indians in the price of
beaver, for they had often observed that when they came back from those
places they offered less money than before they went in.”

[59] Spirituous liquors.

[60] Winterbottom’s America.

[61] Stuart’s Three Years in North America, ii. 177.

[62] Stuart, ii. 173.

[63] See Adair’s History of the American Indians.

[64] Pringle’s African Sketches, p. 380.

[65] See pp. 38-42 of Ball’s edit.

[66] Report, 1837, p. 32, 33.

[67] William Penn is the only exception, and he was a preacher and in
some degree a missionary.

[68] African Sketches, p. 414.

[69] Col. Graham’s Campaign in 1811-12.

[70] Col. Brereton’s Expedition in 1818.

[71] Thompson, ii. 347.

[72] Ibid. and Kay, 266.

[73] Captain Stockenstrom.

[74] Pringle’s African Sketches.

[75] Thompson, ii. 348.

[76] There were about 200 traders from the colony residing in
Caffreland, many of them with their wives and children, at the moment
Macomo was thus treated!

[77] African Sketches, 467.

[78] Dr. Murray’s Letter in the South African Advertizer, Feb. 20, 1836.

[79] Report on the Aboriginal Tribes, 1837. Ball’s edit. p. 115.

[80] Mr. Bannister.

[81] Despatch to Sir James Stirling, 23d July, 1835.

[82] Despatch to Lord Goderich, 6th April, 1833.

[83] Parl. Papers, 1835. No. 585. p. 7.

[84] Captain Johnson’s report to the Governor of New South Wales. Parl.
Papers, 1835. No. 583, p. 10.

[85] Everything connected with this trade is astonishing. Queen
Elizabeth eagerly embarked in it in 1563, and sent the notorious John
Hawkins, knighted by her for this and similar deeds, out to Sierra
Leone for a human cargo, with four vessels, three of which, as if it
were the most pious of expeditions, bore the names of Jesus! Solomon!
and John the Baptist!—See _Hakluyt’s Voyages_.

[86] This excellent man was a martyr to his advocacy of the claims of
the Caffres. Powerful appeals on behalf of his widow, left in painful
circumstances, have been made by Mr. Leitch Ritchie, in his “Life of
Pringle,” and by Mr. Bannister, in his “Colonization and the Coloured
Tribes,” which, if they are not effective, will reflect but little
credit upon the government, or the philanthropic public.

[87] See a Lecture on this settlement, with letters from the settlers,
by Henry Watson, of Chichester.





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