The Winning of the West, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 351 pages of information about The Winning of the West, Volume 1.

These foolish sentimentalists not only write foul slanders about their own countrymen, but are themselves the worst possible advisers on any point touching Indian management.  They would do well to heed General Sheridan’s bitter words, written when many Easterners were clamoring against the army authorities because they took partial vengeance for a series of brutal outrages:  “I do not know how far these humanitarians should be excused on account of their ignorance; but surely it is the only excuse that can give a shadow of justification for aiding and abetting such horrid crimes.”


In Mr. Shaler’s entertaining “History of Kentucky,” there is an account of the population of the western frontiers, and Kentucky, interesting because it illustrates some of the popular delusions on the subject.  He speaks (pp. 9, 11, 23) of Kentucky as containing “nearly pure English blood, mainly derived through the old Dominion, and altogether from districts that shared the Virginian conditions.”  As much of the blood was Pennsylvanian or North Carolinian, his last sentence means nothing, unless all the “districts” outside of New England are held to have shared the Virginian conditions.  Turning to Marshall (I., 441) we see that in 1780 about half the people were from Virginia, Pennsylvania furnishing the next greatest number; and of the Virginians most were from a population much more like that of Pennsylvania than like that of tide-water Virginia; as we learn from twenty sources, such as Waddell’s “Annals of Augusta County.”  Mr. Shaler speaks of the Huguenots and of the Scotch immigrants, who came over after 1745, but actually makes no mention of the Presbyterian Irish or Scotch Irish, much the most important element in all the west; in fact, on p. 10, he impliedly excludes any such immigration at all.  He greatly underestimates the German element, which was important in West Virginia.  He sums up by stating that the Kentuckians come from the “truly British people,” quite a different thing from his statement that they are “English.”

The “truly British people” consists of a conglomerate of as distinct races as exist anywhere in Aryan Europe.  The Erse, Welsh, and Gaelic immigrants to America are just as distinct from the English, just as “foreign” to them, as are the Scandinavians, Germans, Hollanders, and Huguenots—­often more so.  Such early families as the Welsh Shelbys, and Gaelic McAfees are no more English than are the Huguenot Seviers or the German Stoners.  Even including merely the immigrants from the British Isles, the very fact that the Welsh, Irish, and Scotch, in a few generations, fuse with the English instead of each element remaining separate, makes the American population widely different from that of Britain; exactly as a flask of water is different from two cans of hydrogen and oxygen gas.  Mr. Shaler also seems inclined to look down a little on the Tennesseeans,

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The Winning of the West, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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