Our relations with the aboriginal inhabitants of this continent form a distinct and very important, and interesting portion of the history of this Republic. It is unfortunately, for the most part, a history of bloody wars, in which the border settlers have suffered all the horrors of savage aggression, and, in which portions of our colonial settlements have sometimes been completely cut off and destroyed. Other portions of this thrilling history, evince the courage, daring, and patience of the settlers, in a very favorable point of view, and exhibit them as triumphing over every difficulty, and finally obtaining a firm foothold on the soil. In all its parts, this history will always possess numerous points of peculiar interest for the American reader.

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It has been my object, in the following pages, to bring the whole under one general view, in as small a compass as was consistent with clearness and fidelity in the narrative. The result of the whole story is, that the Indians, once the possessors of the whole country, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Artie circle, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific, are now driven into a comparatively small territory, lying between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains. Here they remain for the most part the same untutored and uncivilized men, that their ancestors were when Fernando de Soto first set foot on the sandy shore of Florida. What is to be their future destiny it is not easy to foresee. Unless they shall adopt the civilization of their white neighbors, and abandoning mutual wars and the chase, shall apply themselves to the industrious pursuits of agriculture, it can hardly be expected that they will survive many ages, as distinct nations and tribes. Gradually, but surely, their numbers are diminishing. Their wars among themselves, in which they will persist, thin their numbers from year to year, and their habits of life are by no means favorable to an increase of population, or even to the preservation of their race. Whole tribes have already disappeared from causes independent of the hostility of the white people; and similar causes, now in operation, threaten their total extermination, even if they should suffer no more from the fatal rifle, or the destroying influence of intoxicating liquors.

It is to be hoped that Christian benevolence may yet devise some means by which this interesting and brave people may be preserved and become instructed in the arts of civilized life.

History of the Indian Wars