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pass off as proofs of higher talent than they really indicate; but they are qualities that are very necessary to produce the effect which this performance generally does; that is, to keep up the reader's attention. Some persons have given it higher praise, and have pronounced it to be very able, satisfactory, and even elegant. This is nothing more than we ought to expect : for, when an author even of common talents, and ordinary skill in writing, undertakes to discuss a subject, with which not one in a thousand of his readers has the slightest acquaintance, and therefore dares not question his statements of facts, or deny his inferences, it is natural that great deference should be paid to him. In regard to the merit of the article as a piece of composition, I cheerfully admit that it has a sprinkling of literature; but nothing more of it than is displayed by many an essayist and authorling in our newspapers, and which may be gathered without any other labour than a lounging perusal of the reviews and other journals of the day. I am aware, however, that an article of a periodical work is presumed to be written on the spur of the occasion, and without opportunity for polishing its and therefore, is not to be tried in ordinary cases by those severe rules of taste which are to be applied to more studied performances. Nor should I have made a single remark upon this point in the present instance, but for the praise which some have bestowed upon this review, without a just discrimination of its real merits.
There is a current rumour that the article was written by a gentleman high in office in the western country, who has been conversant with the Indian tribes in that quarter. But there are some circumstances which cast a shade of doubt
the truth of that rumour; for the gentleman alluded to has been supposed to possess a more extensive acquaintance with general literature, as well as the Indian languages, than this writer will be found to have. One thing, however, is clear, that it must have been written by a person who has been somewhat secluded from literary society; for the author appears to have a very limited knowledge of the modern languages, and to have quite indistinct conceptions in respect to some of the questions which are under discussion, among the philologists of the present day. The former of these deficiencies has led him to be perpetually carping at Mr. Heckewelder, for saying, under a German orthography, precisely the same things of the Indian languages, which he himself does under his more clumsy and variable English one; while his want of exact information on the other points has been the means of his falling into mistakes, which will ma
terially impair the value of his performance, in the eyes of scholars, both at home and abroad.
The whole tone of this laboured article indicates its origin to have been on our Indian frontier, where daily intercourse with depraved remnants of the “red men," and the no less depraved clans of whites, inevitably hardens the natural sensibility of the most generous mind, and begets an indifference to the rights of the one people, and the wrongs of the other; while the very position of the white man, who is thus circumstanced, as naturally leads him to take part with those of his own colour, as that of the Indian leads him to espouse the cause of his own red brethren.
That the author of the review partakes of this common infirmity of our nature, is evident from the whole tenor of his remarks. It is true, that he apparently endeavours, at times, to keep his feelings in check; but they will occasionally burst out. As, for instance, at p. 94, where the following language escapes him Hunter elevates the Indian character far above its true standard, and he depresses that of the frontier settlers as far below it. He whines about the purchase of land, and the introduction of whiskey, as though these were not among the least of the evils to which the calamities of the Indians are attributable!” So powerfully, indeed, do these frontier feelings operate upon the temper of the author, that he transfers his dislike of the Indian race to the very languages which their beneficent Creator has given them; as, at p. 77, where, after decrying the structure and poverty of the Indian dialects, he gives some examples of long compounded words from Mr. Heckewelder, and then adds, in a smart, but soinewhat spiteful manner-"Pronounce these who can. We eschew the task,” &c. Like the London Cockney, who, with self-complacency, sneers at "Mounseer Parley Voo," and thanks God that he does not jabber your French gibberish, not he.
Such feelings may become the ignorant and narrow-minded cockney, or the uninformed and prejudiced frontier-man; and they may be admissible into the mess-room, after dinner, to embellish a story, and put a brother soldier into good humour over a glass of pricked
camp claret; but beyond this they will hardly be received in the present state of society.
But, says our reviewer, Hunter “whines" about the purchase of Indian lands by the white people. And what honest man does not, who knows the abominable frauds, the murders, and other nameless atrocities, which have been so often connected with those purchases ? Far be it from me to insinuate,
that this writer himself has any improper motives, much less that he has any interested views in relation to Indian lands. Without having any personal knowledge of him, I am bound to make every presumption in his favour, which the nature of the case will permit. But if he lives near our Indian frontier, he breathes the atmosphere of a certain description of men, who have their gloating eyes as steadily fixed upon Indian lands as the vulture's upon his prey; he must, too, have friends and acquaintance, whose perverted sentiments and importunate cupidity, will drive him into opinions which his own unbiassed judgment might revolt at; he must be surrounded by men who hate every thing that is Indian, and unless he is something more than human, he must hate with them.
Shall I be told, that this is mere imagination? I ask, then, how is it that the different states of the union, from the first settlement of the colonies, have been continually making severe laws against trading with the Indians, and against supplying them with spirituous liquors? How happens it, that more than a century ago, our oldest colony, Virginia, declared by law, that all bargains and sales that should be made with them “should be void," and " that if any presume to purchase or obtain any deed, lease, &c. and shall occupy and tend any of the said lands, (other than their own nation or posterity,) shall forfeit and pay ten shillings, current money, for every acre so purchased, leased, or occupied,” &c.? How is it, again, that this same colony also declared by law, that “no person shall sell, or offer to sale, any rum or brandy to any Indian, upon forfeit of ten shillings, current money, for every quart of rum or brandy sold," &c. ?* But, to pass over the colonial legislation, which is of the same tenor from Georgia to Maine, how has it happened, I ask, that the general government, from the time of President Washington to the present day, has likewise found it necessary to legislate upon this subject? Why did congress impose a fine of a thousand dollars, and imprisonment not exceeding twelve months, for making settlements on Indian lands, or surveying or designating boundaries ? and why was authority given to the president to employ the military force to expel such offenders? Why do the laws of the union say, that no person shall be allowed to reside at Indian towns, or hunting camps, as a trader, without license; and that such persons shall give heavy bonds to observe the regulations of trade established by the government? Why do the same laws enact, that no purchase or grant of lands from the Indians shall
* See Virginia Laws.
be valid, unless made by treaty, and impose heavy fines for their violation? Why, again, did congress find it necessary to give express authority to the president to restrain or prevent the vending or distributing of spirituous liquors among the Indians? Are these rigorous laws made for mere imaginary cases? We commonly find, on the contrary, that laws are first suggested by the existence of the crime or offence.
offence. Is this 6 whining about the purchases of Indian lands, and the introduction of ardent spirits among the unfortunate possessors of them? No; it is the paternal and just, though I fear ineffectual, care of a common government, to protect the helpless race of aboriginals against the frauds and superior cunning of a description of white men, who have the audacity, in the midst of a Christian community, to assert “ that an Indian has no more soul than a buffalo," and that “to kill either is the same thing; men, who prophesy that the Indians never can be civilized or christianized, and in order to make their own prophecies true, prevent every benevolent attempt to enlighten them; men, who flinch at no stratagem or fraud that will rid them of the Christian teachers sent among the natives; and who, in some instances, have offered liquor to any Indian that would kill them; men, who have themselves caused most of our difficulties with the Indians, by bribing the interpreters, as the Indians allege, especially when purchases of land were about being made from them, and by every other artifice which the craft and cupidity of the unprincipled always know how to
But I forbear any further reflections upon this portion of the reviewer's observations.
The narrative of Hunter, who thus - whines" about Indian lands, gives occasion to our author to vent his indignation upon the English Quarlerly Reviewers, for giving any credit to that work, and he goes on in a tone which would have lost nothing of its force by being a little more dignified, to account for the conduct of those reviewers in speaking so favourably as they did of that publication. I trust. I am as sensible as any American ought to be, to the unjustifiable remarks made upon my country by certain writers in that journal. But I would do justice to our enemies, I was about to say, under the influence of this author's animating appeal to my American feelings--no, I rejoice, as a friend of humanity, as a lover of my own country, that we cannot any longer call Englishmen our enemies, but that they are, as our Declaration of Independence commands us to call them, “in peace, friends." "I would,
* Heckewelder's Narrative, p. X. 23, 96, &c.
then, I say, do justice to our English friends, even if they have not always done justice to us.
Now it happens to be the fact, that Hunter's book was genenerally received, even in our own country, as an authentic work. The North American Review itself, so late as October, 1824, did not venture to pronounce it to be a fabrication, but spoke of it in the following safe and cautious terms; that it was referred to by Mr. Buchanan, in his Sketches, “ with more respect, we imagine, than it deserves as a well authenticated performance.” Yes, if it had not been for the decided opinion of our learned and distinguished fellow-citizen, Mr. Du Ponceau, to the contrary, (which has been lately published at Washington, by Mr. Sampson, but was not very generally known before,) I have no doubt that Hunter's book would have been considered as in the main authentic till this time, by every body who should not bave happened to meet with the present review.
Besides, I“ happen to know,” if I may use an expression of the Quarterly Reviewers, (upon which this critic has rung the changes often enough to glut the rabid appetite of an Indian for revenge,-) I say, I happen to know, from the best sources, that this same John Dunn Hunter carried out to England letters of recommendation of the highest authority, from the United States, to Mr. Rush, our ambassador in that country, and by this means was introduced to people of distinction there. Now, when I “ happen to know such things as these, it does not at all excite any surprise, much less my gall, that the Quarterly Reviewers should have given credence to this man. On the contrary, it would have astonished every body, if Hunter and his work had not been favourably received in England. Suppose, for one moment, that the Quarterly Reviewers, instead of commending his book, had attacked it with their powerful weapons, and had pronounced it to be a fabrication, while Hunter was travelling in England with his American letters of recommendation in his pocket. How would he at once have confounded his critics, and blasted the reputation of their journal, by the simple production of his American credentials.
Let us imagine, that some George Psalmanazar of the present day, had arrived in this country from England, with the fictitious history of his island of Formosa, and its fabricated dialect; that he had brought with him recommendations from Englishmen of distinction, to the British ambassador in the United States; that he had thus been introduced into the first circles of our society; and then his ork should have fallen under the notice of our North American Review. Would it have been thought at all extraordinary, if under such circumstances that journal had