We have no disposition to exaggerate the character of those whom it is the fashion to term the American yeomen, though why such an appellation should be applied to any in a state of society to which legal distinctions are unknown, is what we could never understand. There are no more of esquires and yeomen in this country than there are of knights and nobles, though the quiet manner in which the transition from the old to the new state of things has been made, has not rendered the public mind very sensible to the changes. But, recurring to the class, which is a positive thing and consequently ought to have a name of some sort or other, we do not belong to those that can sound its praises without some large reservations on the score of both principles and manners. Least of all, are we disposed to set up these yeomen as a privileged class, like certain of the titular statesmen of the country, and fall down and worship a calf—not a golden one by the way—of our own setting up. We can see citizens in these yeomen, but not princes, who are to be especially favored by laws made to take from others to bestow on them. But making allowances for human infirmities, the American freeholder belongs to a class that may justly hold up its head among the tillers of the earth. He improves daily, under the influence of beneficent laws, and if he don’t get spoiled, of which there is some danger, in the eagerness of factions to secure his favor, and through that favor his Vote—if he escape this danger, he will ere long make a reasonably near approach to that being, which the tongue of the flatterer would long since have persuaded him he had already more than got to be.
To one accustomed to be treated kindly, as was the case with Margery, the Chippewa’s theory for the management of squaws contained much to excite her mirth, as well as her resentment, as she now made apparent by her remarks.
“You do not deserve to have a wife, Pigeonswing,” she cried, half-laughing, yet evidently alive to the feelings of her sex—“can have no gratitude for a wife’s tenderness and care. I wonder that a Chippewa girl can be found to have you?”