This may seem to-day a bitter partisan accusation, but it must be the calm verdict of history when this comes to be written by impartial pens.
Under the pretense that America belonged, in fee simple, and by special divine right, to that particular hoard of savages, who, by killing off some other hoard of savages, were in possession when Columbus first saw the Great West, the Eastern States, which had already secured their land by conquest, have become more implacable foes to civilization than the savages themselves.
The Quaker would form no alliance with Southern slave-holders. He recoiled from the sale of women and children in South Carolina, but covered with his gray mantle of charity the slave trade in Minnesota. When a settler refused to exchange his wife or daughter with an Indian for a pony, and that Indian massacred the whole family to repair his wrongs, his Quaker lawyer justified the act on the score of extreme provocation, and won triumphal acquittal from the jury of the world.
When the Sioux, after the Bull Run disaster, arose as the allies of the South, and butchered one thousand men, women and children in Minnesota, the Quakers and other good people flew to arms in their defense, and carried public sentiment in their favor. The agents of the Eastern people had delayed the payment of annuity three weeks, and then insulted Mr. Lo by tendering him one-half his money in government bonds, and for this great wrong the peaceable Quaker, the humanitarian Unitarian, the orthodox Congregationalist and Presbyterian, the enthusiastic Methodist and staid Baptist, felt it but right Mr. Lo should have his revenge.
Most Eastern Christians are opposed to polygamy in Utah, and Fourierism in France, but in Minnesota among Indians these institutions are sacred. They demanded that England should by law prohibit widow-burning and other heathen customs in India, but nothing so rude as statutes must interfere with the royal privileges of these Western landlords. If by gentle means Mr. Lo can be persuaded to stop taking all the wives he can get, extorting their labor by the cudgel, and selling them and their children at will, all well and good! Millions are expended on the persuading business, and prayer poured out like the rains in Noah’s flood, without any perceptible effect; but still they keep on paying and praying, and carefully abstain from all means at all likely to accomplish the desired result. All the property of every tribe must be held in common, so that there can possibly be no incentive to industry and economy; but if the Indian refuse to be civilized on that plan, he must go on taking scalps and being excused, until extermination solve the problem.