The Project Gutenberg eBook, Wigwam and War-path; Or the Royal Chief in Chains, by A. B. (Alfred Benjamin) Meacham
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Title: Wigwam and War-path; Or the Royal Chief in Chains
Second and Revised Edition
Author: A. B. (Alfred Benjamin) Meacham
Release Date: October 5, 2012 [eBook #40938]
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WIGWAM AND WAR-PATH;
ROYAL CHIEF IN CHAINS.
HON. A. B. MEACHAM,
EX-SUPERINTENDENT OF INDIAN AFFAIRS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE LATE MODOC
Illustrated by Portraits of
THE AUTHOR, GEN. CANBY, DR. THOMAS, CAPT. JACK, SCHONCHIN,
SCAR-FACED CHARLEY, BLACK JIM, BOSTON CHARLEY,
TOBEY AND RIDDLE, AND ELEVEN OTHER
SPIRITED AND LIFE-LIKE ENGRAVINGS,
OF ACTUAL SCENES FROM MODOC INDIAN LIFE, AS
WITNESSED BY THE AUTHOR.
SECOND AND REVISED EDITION.
JOHN P. DALE AND COMPANY,
27 Boylston Street.
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1875, by
A. B. MEACHAM,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.
ROCKWELL AND CHURCHILL,
33 Arch Street, Boston.
The Hon. A. B. Meacham has committed to me the difficult and delicate, yet delightful task of revising the manuscript and arranging the table of contents of the present work.
I have endeavored to review every page as an impartial critic, and have, as far as possible, retained, in all its simplicity and beauty, the singularly eloquent and fascinating style of the gifted author. The changes which I have made have been, for the most part, quite immaterial—no more nor greater than would be required in the manuscript of writers commonly called “learned.” In no case have I attempted (for the attempt would have been vain) to give shape and tone to the writer’s thoughts. His mind was so full, both of the comedy and the tragedy of his thrilling narrative, that it has flowed on like a mighty torrent, bidding defiance to any attempt either to direct or control.
None, it seems to me, can peruse the work without being charmed with the love of justice and the fidelity to truth which pervade its every page, as well as the manly courage with which the writer arraigns Power for the crime of crushing Weakness—holding our Government to an awful accountability for the delays, the ignorance, the fickleness and treachery of its subordinates in dealing with a people whose very religion prompts them to wreak vengeance for wrongs done them, even on the innocent.
For the lover of romance and of thrilling adventure, the work possesses a charm scarcely equalled by the enchanting pages of a Fennimore Cooper; and, to the reader who appreciates truth, justice, and humanity, and delights to trace the outlines of such a career as Providence seems to have marked out for the author, as well as for the unfortunate tribes whose history he has given us, it will be a reliable, entertaining, and instructive companion.
Mr. Meacham’s thirty years’ experience among the Indian tribes of the North-west, and his official career as Superintendent of Indian affairs in Oregon, together with his participation in the tragic events of the Lava Bed, invest his words with an authority which must outweigh that of every flippant politician in the land, who, to secure the huzzas of the mob, will applaud the oppressor and the tyrant one day, and the very next day clamor mercilessly for their blood.
D. L. EMERSON.
Boston, Oct. 1, 1874.
The chapter in our National history which tells our dealings with the Indian tribes, from Plymouth to San Francisco, will be one of the darkest and most disgraceful in our annals. Fraud and oppression, hypocrisy and violence, open, high-handed robbery and sly cheating, the swindling agent and the brutal soldier turned into a brigand, buying promotion by pandering to the hate and fears of the settlers, avarice and indifference to human life, and lust for territory, all play their parts in the drama. Except the negro, no race will lift up, at the judgment-seat, such accusing hands against this nation as the Indian. We have put him in charge of agents who have systematically cheated him. We have made causeless war on him merely as a pretext to steal his lands. Trampling under foot the rules of modern warfare, we have made war on his women and children. We have cheated him out of one hunting-ground by compelling him to accept another, and have robbed him of the last by driving him to frenzy, and then punishing resistance with confiscation. Meanwhile, neither pulpit nor press, nor political party, would listen to his complaints. Congress has handed him over, gagged and helpless, to the bands of ignorant, drunken and brutal soldiers. Neither on its floor, nor in any city of the Union, could his advocate obtain a hearing. Money has been poured out like water to feed and educate the Indian, of which one dollar in ten may have found its way to supply his needs, or pay the debts we owed him.
To show the folly of our method, examine the south side of the great lakes, and you will find in every thirty miles between Plymouth and Omaha the scene of an Indian massacre. And since 1789 we have spent about one thousand million of dollars in dealing with the Indians. Meanwhile, under British rule, on the north of those same lakes, there has been no Indian outbreak, worth naming, for a hundred years, and hardly one hundred thousand dollars have been spent directly on the Indians of Canada. What is the solution