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In 1608, Quebec was founded by the intrepid explorer, Samuel Champlain, and whose name is perpetuated in that of Lake Champlain. From Quebec the French Jesuits penetrated and explored the vast solitudes of the Canadian wilderness to the Great Lakes of the West, then a terra incognita, to the civilized world. Following in their wake came the English in their representatives, known as the Pilgrims landing on the rock-bound coast of Massachusetts in 1620 where the foot of the white man had never trod, though the adventurous and indefatigable La Salle had explored the Ohio River as far down as the present city of Louisville, Ky., many years before, while other French adventurers and also Jesuit missionaries had penetrated the wild regions around the Great Lakes, thence southward along the various tributaries of the Mississippi which drained the vast and wild region between them and the Gulf of Mexico far to the south; there they planted the Cross in those seemingly illimitable forests, whose solitudes never be fore had been broken by the voice of anthems sang in praise to the one and only true God, and there left behind them many monuments scattered here and there, as memorials of their adventurous and perilous travels, which, in after years, would remind the passer-by of the names of La Salle, Allouez, Marquette, Joliet, Meynard, and other kindred spirits, whose energy and untiring efforts to convert to their religious creed the various tribes of the Native Americans, and to successfully and permanently secure all their territories for the French, has no parallel in the annals of the world s history. Quebec soon became the great and frequented mart of trade between the French and the Indians, to which the various tribes came from far and near in their canoes laden with the skins and furs of the various wild animals that roamed in countless numbers over the vast forests of those primitive days, to see the pale-face strangers, and to exchange their furs and skins for the new and strange articles that seemed so greatly to excel their own comforts of life, and especially the white mans wonderful gun, which they had quickly learned far surpassed their bows and Arrows in killing game and in destroying their enemies.
In 1679, James Marquette, a French Jesuit, and Louis Joliet, a French Canadian merchant, entered the Mississippi river by way of the Wisconsin in two birch-bark canoes; thence down the Mississippi to a point below the mouth of the Arkansas. In 1682, Robert de La Salle, a French Canadian officer, entered the Mississippi from the Illinois River, thence up to its source, thence down to its mouth, and gave the name Louisiana to that vast territory in honor of Louis XIV, king of France. In 1683, Kaskaskia, in the now state of Illinois, was founded by the French; in 1701, Detroit, in Michigan; in 1705, Vincennes, in Indiana. In 1699, the French, under the command of Lemoyne De Iberville, also a French Canadian, founded Biloxi, in Mississippi, which was named after a clan of the ancient Choctaws called Bulohchi (Hickory Bar), of whom I have already spoken. New Orleans was founded by the French under Bienville, in 1718. Fort Rosalie among the Natchez Indians, which was destroyed by them in 1729, who had become exasperated by the oppressions of the French, of whom I will again more particularly speak. In 1722, Bienville also founded Mobile, in Alabama. A chain of forts was then built by the French between Montreal and New Orleans; the most important of which were, the one at Detroit, erected in 1701; the one at Niagara, 1726; and one at Crown Point, in 1730. However, De Monts, a French Huguenot, established the first permanent French settlement upon the continent, at Port Royal (now Annapolis) in Nova Scotia, calling the territory Acadia.
February 10th, 1763, witnessed the total subversion of French power in North America by the English, at which time peace was made between the belligerents, England, France and Spain, by which the North American continent and its native inhabitants were handed over to England.
Reader contemplates the following, which is only one of thousands. In the “California Illustrated,” a book written in 1849, the Author, on page 111, says:
“In passing through a slight gorge, I came upon the bodies of three Indians who had been dead apparently about two days, each bearing the mark of the unerring rifle; two of them were shot through the head; the sight was a sad one, and gave rise to melancholy reflections, for here these poor beings are hunted and shot down like wild beasts, and they no doubt fell by the hand of the assassin, not for lucre but to satiate a feeling of hate.” “In an adjoining territory the Red Man had a quiet home; there he was always supplied with venison, their corn fields ripened in autumn, their rude trap furnished clothing for the winter, and in the spring they danced in praise of the Great Spirit for causing flowers to bloom upon the graves of their fathers, but the white stranger came and took possession of their hunting grounds and streams, and harvested their corn. They held a council and decided that the Great Spirit had sent the white stranger, and it would be wrong not to give him all he wished; they collected their traps, bows and arrows, and prepared to fall back in search of new streams and hunting grounds; they paid the last visit to the graves of their fathers. What were their feelings? The moon threw a pale, dim light through the foliage, the air breathed a mournful sigh as they reached the lonely mound; the stout hearted warrior drew his blanket to hide his tears as he bowed down to commune for the last time with the spirits that had so often blessed him in the chase; his heart was too full, and he fell upon his face and wept bitterly. But a last adieu; they rise, cross the arrows over the grave, walk mournfully away; the Great Spirit give them a new hunting ground, and the corn ripens on the plain, but soon the white stranger comes and tells them to fall back. They are at the base of the mountain; there are no hunting grounds beyond; they hold a council and decide to defend their homes against further encroachments of the white stranger. The white was strong and drove the Red Man into the mountains, and for the crime of having tried to de fend their homes and families, they are placed under a ban, and hunted down like beasts. No matter where they are found the crime of being a Red Man is a forfeiture, not only of all right to prosperity but to life itself.
“Will not some philanthropist rise above sectional prejudices and undertake the regeneration of this truly noble but downtrodden people? Had I the wealth of an Astor I would not wish a better or nobler field for immortality.” Will not the philanthropists of these United States “rise above sectional prejudices, and undertake the regeneration of these truly” infamous, God-forsaken, white scoundrels, that so curse our land? “I would not wish a better or nobler field for immortality.”
“The first man I met after my arrival in the interior was an Oregonian on horseback, armed with a revolving rifle in search of Indians. He had had a horse stolen, and presumed it was taken by an Indian; he swore he would shoot the first red skin he met; and I had no reason .to doubt his word; still the chances were ninety-nine out of a hundred, that the horse was stolen by a white man, and the charges of the white man upon the Indians are like Neros setting Rome on fire and charging it upon Christians. I have no doubt the three Indians above spoken of were wantonly shot while walking peacefully along their trail.” But alas! Who would undertake the task of regenerating the harpies that are, at the present day, pursuing the Indians, and howling at their heels?
Eugene V. Smalley, in his travels, says: “Near the town (Benton) we visited the camp of a dozen lodges of Piegan Indians, who had come to stay all winter for the sake of such subsistence as they could get from the garbage barrels of the citizens. A race of valorous hunters and warriors has fallen so low as to be forced to beg at back doors for kitchen refuse. In one of the tepees in the Piegan camp there was an affecting scene. A young squaw lay on a pile of robes and blankets, hopelessly ill and given up to die. In the lines of her face and the Expression of her great black eyes there were traces of beauty and refinement not often seen in Indian women. Crouched on the ground by her side sat her father, an old blind man with long white hair and a strong, firm face clouded with an expression of stolid grief. The Piegans and Blackfeet, who possess the great reservation north and east of Fort Benton, have suffered grievously for want of food, and hundreds have died from scrofula and other diseases induced by insufficient nourishment. In fact the government has kept them in a state of semi starvation. Father Palladini told me that the speeches of Indian chiefs at the council, where they told of their suffering of their tribes and bared their emaciated arms and breasts to show what a condition they had been brought by hunger, were thrilling bursts of Indian oratory, even affecting listeners who could not, as he did, understand the spoken words.” What a picture is here represented of our policy toward the Indians! What an illustration of the designs of that arch dissembler, the author of the “Severalty Bill,” whose venal soul plunders a helpless people of the homes and little all through willful misrepresentation and brazen-faced falsehood. What a true elucidation of the so-called “Indian Problem” which our congress has so long held up in imaginary suspension in mid air as a kind of Mohamet’s coffin!