Having been a three years' resident in the vicinity of that class of our fellow-men, hundreds of thousands of whom are under the control of our Government, and yet have no voice in its administrations, and but little hold on the sympathy of our people, I would offer a few thoughts upon a subject which, as I conceive, has not heretofore received that just and impartial consideration which its importance demands.

In the Report, just published, of the Secretary of the Interior, it is declared that the object of the Government throughout has been "to do ample justice to the Indians, and to leave no room for complaint that they have been overreached by the White Man." The simple announcement of this object commends itself to every reflecting and benevolent mind; and yet it is to be lamented that many of our people, instead of realizing its justice, do so much to thwart its purpose.

With a view of awakening a truer appreciation of the Indians' rights, and a more thorough co-operation in the views of the Government for securing them, I would now lay before my fellow-citizens such facts as have come before me, which, with their results, have an important bearing, on these great questions. And I engage in this work the more earnestly, for the reason, that, while every other class of suffering humanity has its specific organizations for relief, we hear of nothing adequate to the necessities [end page 9]

Beeson, John. A Plea for the Indians; with Facts and Features of the Late War in Oregon. New York, 1857. pp 9-26.

[Beeson's work is in a long tradition of books defending the rights of native American peoples. The seminal work is Las Casas's In Defense of the Indians written circa 1550, just 58 years after Columbus's discovery of America. For an introduction, see: The Legacy of Bartolomé de Las Casas by Benjamin Keen.]

[Letters written by John Beeson in support of the Indians are available at the Native American Documents Project.]

[Letter to President Lincoln, 1862.]

of that Race, which, from the very moment the White Man set his foot upon our shores, has been constantly the subject of monopoly and wrong in every shape which the overbearing, and all-engrossing spirit of our people could suggest or impose.

In the Report already alluded to, as well as in the excellent one of the Indian Department, the grievous injustice and abuse to which the tribes are subject, are spoken of in strong and truthful language. And yet, it must be observed, that no general statement, however correct or impressive it may be, can present so graphic a picture of the reality as a detail of facts. I propose, therefore, to corroborate the statements in the above-mentioned Reports, by presenting to the public, so far as memory serves, a personal narrative of what I saw, and heard, and thought, in reference to this matter, during my sojourn in Oregon Territory.

I left Illinois in March, 1853, en route, across the plains, for Oregon; and, like many others, anticipated the pleasure of seeing Humanity in its, various phases of savage, barbaric, and semi-civilized life.

We encamped at Havensville, on the Missouri, and waited several days, in order that the grass might afford sufficient feed before we ventured beyond the possibility of purchase. It was here that we had our first sight of the Indians; and truly our hearts sickened at the view. There were men and women, with naturally fine forms, and minds capable of development, yet evidently besotted, and sunk below their original barbarism. Tobacco and whisky,and the accumulation of civilized vices, had done their work. Some of them were begging for bread, apparently in great destitution; and surely it would be but a poor return for the lands of which we have deprived them, to devise, and put in operation, some means by which these poor outcasts may be saved from beggary and utter starvation.

At Fort Laramy, and for some miles around, we saw several hundreds of the Sioux tribe. They appeared to be a fine people; they were clad in dressed skins, profusely decorated with feathers, beads, and paint and most of [end page 10] them mounted on fair and well-fed ponies. They also appeared clean in their persons and dress; and the principal article they begged of the emigrants was soap. here it may be suggested, that an article so conducive to cleanliness and self-respect, should be liberally supplied as part of their annuity. From many things that I saw of them, I could not resist the impression that a people so highly endowed with sublimity and ideality--a sense of the grand and beautiful--were naturally aspirants for refinement and the arts. If a portion of the money now spent in building forts, and supporting men and munitions of war, could be laid out in the means of civilization, we should soon need no warlike defenses to protect ourselves against them. Let them have proper articles of clothing, dress-makers and tailors, artistic musicians and painters, horticulturists and farmers--in short, every thing of the useful and agreeable, which they are now prepared to accept from civilized life; and they would, by the upward tendency of human nature itself, inevitably be attracted to higher and truer conditions. In order to preserve and maintain these, they would soon have local homes, into which would ultimately flow all the varied currents of refinement and civilization. These means would be more economical to Government, and vastly more persuasive arguments in favor of Christianity and good citizenship, than ever yet spoke to them either from bowie-knife, rifle, or patent revolver. They should, in fact, be protected from the worse than savage borderers, who practice the arts of civilization only to exhibit and extend its vices, its monopoly, and its crimes.

A day's journey from Fort Laramie we met a band of Indians, apparently of another tribe, not as good-looking as the last, but, nevertheless, quite passable in their appearance. Their pack-horses were led by women, and were attached to a kind of sled, of very simple structure, but admirably adapted to a rough country, where there are no roads. It was formed of two poles of eighteen or, perhaps, twenty fee long, with a cross-piece so arranged as to resemble the letter A. The horse is attached inside the narrow end, with a breast-strap and back-band. The children, and the principal part of the load, are fastened [end page 11] to the cross-piece, two or three feet back of the horse. The poles, which are composed of light, tough, and springy materials, being very long and wide, opening gradually from the pointed fore end, to a wide angle in the rear, slide over the chapparel* and hillocks, over holes and down steep precipices, without inconvenience to the rider or the load.

Soon after, we passed a large encampment of the same tribe, where a number of dogs, with poles proportioned to the size of the animal, were employed in hauling water from a distant spring. These Indians made no offer either to trade or beg, and seemed hardly to notice our numerous train of wagons and stock, although we passed close by their camp.

A disastrous occurrence took place soon after we passed by this spot. It has already been brought before the pubic; but as it illustrates how difficulties generally occur between the races, and, at the same time, how easily they might be avoided, if our people, especially Government Agents, were more fully imbued with the spirit of justice and magnanimity, I will, in this connection, repeat the account.

A company of emigrants having a sick cow, which was unable to travel further, abandoned the poor animal, and left her by the wayside. The Indians, seeing she was given up, killed her for their own use. The emigrants, hearing of this, reported at Fort Laramie that the Indians had stolen and killed some of their cattle, upon which, an officer, with a detachment of thirty men, was sent to demand the thief. The Indians--knowing the certainty and severity of impending punishment, for there was the hide, and even the beef, in visible possession--refused, or hesitated to give up any of their number as the criminal; for they well knew that nothing which they could plead would have the least weight with their accusers.

The military order was peremptorily insisted on; and to enforce obedience, a volley was fired over their camp; and, either by design or accident, the chief fell dead in their midst. Nothing was more natural than that the Indians

* Chapparel is the common term for brush or shrubbery. [end page 12]

should, in their turn, attack the assailants. Every principle of right or honor recognized among them demanded this; and twenty-eight of the white men fell dead beneath the force of their justly-excited resentment.

In consequence of this the Indians were charged with massacre, as well as robbery. War was declared, or supposed to exist; and the following year hundreds of thousands were expended in a campaign against them, although they had, in the interim, done all they could to express their desire for peace and friendship. General Harney, with a glittering array of armed men, both horse and foot, marched on to the Plains, and was met by the Chief, who nobly came forward in advance, and plead with the officer for peace and justice, in behalf of his people.

The General held him in parley, while, in accordance with a preconcerted arrangement, the Dragoons, by a circuitous route, got in the rear of the Indians, and, at the word of command, opened a promiscuous slaughter of these comparatively defenseless people. Is not such a procedure as this an outrage against every principle of humanity and justice? Is there any thing, in all the usages and laws of war, recognized among civilized Nations, that could save that officer, and all who willingly assisted in the work from the charge, and from the guilt, of wholesale murder? And yet, acts like this, involving a greater or less amount of wrong, are of almost daily occurrence, as I shall attempt to show. And yet, how easily all this horrible waste of life and treasure might have been avoided, if the representatives of our People and Government had pursued a different course. If the Emigrants had considered the destruction which is continually being made of the Buffalo and other game, and the scarcity and often suffering to which the Indians are often subject for want of food, they would have felt no reason for complaint, which came with a very ill grace under the circumstances. The cow was made capital only when it was to be turned against the outlawed Race, which we are steadily seeking to supplant and destroy. Or if the officer, instead of demanding an unconditional surrender, had gone, in the spirt of kindness, [end page 13] to invite an impartial investigation, there would have been no injustice and no bloodshed.

Can we, who claim the rights of Habeas Corpus and trial by our peers, set aside with impunity, observances which are sacred among the rudest tribes, and with the false plea of martial justice, which we have no right to assume, actually commit nameless atrocities, in direct violation of a flag of truce, or of an accepted parley? Shall we ever be able to lead our Neighbors out of their barbaric conditions by sinking ourselves below the pale of ordinary savageism? No; we can never extend civilization but by making it attractive, and worthy of acceptance. We must exhibit a character worthy of respect, before we can so far gain the confidence of the Red Man, as to be able to do him good. We must draw him outward; we must attract him upward; And must give him something better than his own barbarism, or we can never bring him into higher conditions.

Our military can never win honorable laurels in any contest with the Indians; for the world regards such warfare as they would a deadly strife between a giant and a dwarf The strength is all on one side. But in the case mentioned, our action could not be justified by even the pretense of war. It was a deliberate massacre of supplicating, dependants--murder in its most revolting and aggravated form. [end page 14]



Among the thousands who cross the Plains, there are many who have never been refined by either mental or moral culture. The sum total of their religious and political faith consists in Squatter Sovereignty--the right to do as they choose, regardless of all but selfish interests. When such as these get beyond the range of Law and Civilization, a slight cause often makes them reckless and abusive; and many are the cases of violence and murder, of which the world never hears; and as the Authorities at the Forts exercise neither civil nor military jurisdiction over the Emigrants, any outrage may be committed with comparative impunity.

But is is the Indians who are generally their most numerous victims. At first they find more excitement in shooting bears and buffaloes, than they did in the States in killing rabbits and deer. They grow ambitious, and begin to think it would be a great achievement to kill and Indian; and, as most of them are armed with rifles and revolvers, the desire becomes strong to slay one of those whom their own savageness has converted into an enemy. This desire is not only felt; but as the travelers proceed further and further into the interior, it finds open and frequent expression; and men are heard to declare their determination to shoot the first Indian they see. Almost daily, from leaving Fort Laramie, to arrival in Oregon, did I have occasion to remonstrate with some who entertain these unworthy views. So many Indians had been thus destroyed by previous emigration, that we saw very few on the route; those who did visit us were very shy, and fearful of approach. I could not regard them as enemies, and often, with pleasure, [end page 15] I watched them as they passed from tent to tent, and saw the grateful emotions play over their countenance, as one or another of the Emigrants would offer a few crackers, a piece of bread, or even a friendly smile. The promptness with which they reciprocated every overture of kindness, made an indelible impression on my mind, that they richly deserve the sympathy and protection of our People and Government. I felt assured that if some efficient means were adopted, to restrain the evil-disposed among us, it would be quite easy, and of vast advantage, to establish terms of peaceful intercourse with all the tribes along the whole route to the Pacific. A small annuity to the different tribes, of clothing and implements adapted to their circumstances, would be but a fair acknowledgment for passing through their lands, and the use of their game, which we could well afford, and ought, in all honesty, to proffer them. And these pacific measures would also be the truest economy. By a mutual good understanding Ave could dispense with the fatigue of constant watching, while at the same time, we should be secured from the losses so often incurred, by the Emigrants, and from those cruel retaliations, which now so frequently are permitted to fall on the innocent. It would also be an initiatory step toward the civilization of all the Indians in our wide domain. Thus we, as a Nation, have the strongest possible motives, both of honor and interest, not only to love mercy, but to do justice by this long-abused people.

We took the route for Rogue River Valley, Southern Oregon, leaving the Humboldt eighty miles above the sink. After crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains, we passed by a lake of considerable size, and pitched our tents upon its eastern shore. Some of the company discovered among the rushes near the margin, an Indian camp, containing long spears, headed with bone, and several other primitive implements for catching fish, with quite a pile of the game itself, freshly caught. The poor fishermen, alarmed at our approach, had concealed themselves. The persons who made the discovery, took all the fish; and so far from leaving an equivalent, they were only, by considerable remonstrance, hindered from destroying the boat and implements, [end page 16] which would have been an incalculable loss to the tribe, as, with their rude instruments, it must have been an immense labor to make them; and want and starvation might have ensued, before they could have been supplied with others.

Happy should I be, if the memory of these scenes, and of that journey, did not remind me of so many circumstances which I would rather forget than repeat. But since whatever is done by the Indians, though in self-defense, is published all over the land, as savage barbarity, for which nothing short of extermination is recommended and sought, it is but common justice to state a few things which have been done against them by those who claim to be so much their superiors.

The majority of the first Emigrations to Oregon were from Missouri, and among them it was customary to speak of the Indian man as a Buck; of the woman as a Squaw; until at length, in the general acceptance of these terms, they ceased to recognize the rights of Humanity in those to whom they were applied. By a very natural and easy transition, from being spoken of as brutes, they came to be thought of as game to be shot, or as vermin to be destroyed. This shows the force of association, and the wrong of speaking in derogatory terms of those we regard as our inferiors. The same principle, in another direction, is illustrated by the liberality with which we bestow titles of office and dignity--even upon those to whom they do not belong. Who of us has not addressed his friend as Squire, or Captain, or Colonel, simply because we would impress upon others a feeling of respect for the person--showing that, though not filling the office, he is considered worthy of the honor; and thus men rise in public esteem. But, on the other hand, let a man be denounced by the popular voice as a thief, and he will be regarded as such whether he is or not. Thus the poor Indian, by being spoken of as a brute, is cast beyond the pale of a common humanity--where the killing of him ceases to be murder, and no atrocity is considered cruel or unjust.

A band of Emigrants, who went over the same route five or six weeks after us, were attended by a company of [end page 17] Volunteers, sent by public expense from Oregon to aid and protect them on the way out. Of course these men must show their valor. On coming to the Lakes, an Indian man, with two women, was discovered catching fish; and forthwith preparation was made for an attack. Rifles were leveled; but the. Indian, with only a bow and arrow, nobly stood his ground until he fell, riddled through and through by the bullets, of his assailants. The terrified females were caught, and made to witness the cutting and slashing of the gory body of their murdered husband, father, son, or brother, by those who thus added brutal insult to their previous crime.

The above account was received from several different persons, in the same company; and they also informed me that a number of Traders from California, who had located themselves during the summer on the Humboldt, for the purpose of buying lame cattle and trading with the Emigrants, when they were ready to return, deliberately killed several Indians, and took possession of their horses. On a Sabbath day, during which the travelers camped near this trading-post, they heard the firing of guns, and learned that a company of seven Indians were shot by the Traders, as they were riding past, and the horses of the murdered men added to their own stock.

I would here suggest that it is the Indians whom our Government should be most solicitous to protect, not merely from a principle, of magnanimity and justice toward them as the suffering and weaker Race, but also as a matter of self-interest and self-protection. So long as the Red man lives, every murdered Indian will be avenged; or, by all the power that is in him, he will ever seek to do this. It is not only a conventional obligation, but a part of his religion. Every succeeding Emigrant train will be watched with more than Argus eyes; and unsuspecting and often innocent victims, will perish to pay the penalty. The public mind has long labored under a great mistake in supposing that the Indian is actuated chiefly by animal instinct, or that he does not possess, in a high degree those faculties from which arise emotions of gratitude, a sense of right, and a love of justice. Nothing is more contemptible in [end page 18] the mind of an Indian than cowardly meanness, either toward an Enemy or Friend. Hence their revenge is a matter of conscience. They believe, as Moses taught, "Life for life;" "Blood for blood;" and in the way of this, peril is no hinderance, and death has no terror. We talk of Martyr courage, and Christian triumphs; but if the heroic sacrifices and noble deeds performed by Indians in defense of principle, were duly understood and chronicled, we should have a large addition to the calendar of Saints and faithful men, who have been an honor to the species. I do not make this assertion solely on the strength of my own observation, but it is confirmed by Traders and gentlemen intimately acquainted with Indian character.

In conversation with Dr. McLaughlin, who was for more than half a century an Indian Trader, and for twenty-two years Superintendent of the Hudson Bay Fur Company, he assured me that the Indians have a high sense of justice. They never allow, among themselves, advantage to be taken of the weaker party. Though jealous of their rights, they will never infringe on treaty stipulations, if constructed on principle of equity, and honorably observed by others. He further declared that, during all the long time he had been connected with them, although he, and those under him, had traded to the amount of many millions, dealing with all the tribes, from the head waters of the Columbia and its tributaries, to the Pacific, and the intermediate country to the head of the Sacramento River, they had no wars, no even any serious difficulty, and consequently no occasion for a standing army.

The testimony of Captain Smith, of Fort Lane, who was surrounded by Indians, and intimately acquainted with the origin and progress of the late Oregon war, is equally strong. In an interview with him, in company with Dr. Ambrose, during the early part of the difficulties, they united in the remark, that if there were any Christians in the Rogue Valley, they were to be found among the Indians.

The impolicy of protecting one Race and punishing the other, is to be seen in the experience of nearly every [end page 19] campaign that is set on foot against the Indians. The substance of the following I have gathered from the late papers; and as it is a specimen of the generality of Indian wars, I will again call it up to view. The Mail Carrier from Fort Laramie was shot, as was supposed by an Indian. No sooner had the news reached the Fort, than the soldiers were on their horses, and in hot pursuit. They overtook a party of Indians, killed eleven, captured twenty of their horses, burned their camp, and then returned to the Fort. The same night, the Indians who had escaped, surprised a company of travelers, killed the men, took a white woman prisoner, and captured a number of animals, with considerable property. Now who does not see that it is time to put a stop to these suicidal proceedings; for so long as the Indians are exposed to such injustice, these, and similar inflictions, will inevitably visit our people. Investigation and justice would have insured protection to the poor travelers; and until we extend to the Indians the common rights of humanity, we have no reason to expect them for ourselves. [end page 20]



I will now proceed with the narrative of events, as they fell under my own observation, or came to my knowledge through the testimony of others. Our Train arrived in Rogue River Valley, 28th of September, 1853, having been something more than size months on our journey. Only the upper, or southern part of this valley was occupied by a very sparse settlement of Whites, the Indians having collected on the lower but richer part. It is the main thoroughfare between the Willamette and Sacramento Valleys, about two hundred miles from each, and eighty miles from Crescent City, on the coast, to which it is accessible only by pack mules. Some of the gulshes* that open into it, are rich in gold. It has numerous mountain streams, and a considerable proportion of fertile land. Its mountains are lofty; and some of them are capped with snow most of the year. There is plenty of timber and water-power, with a boundless range of pasturage for sheep and cattle. The scenery is varied and beautiful beyond description. The climate of this region is probably the most pure and bracing that can be found in any part of the Pacific, being considerably elevated above the ocean, and far removed from the inundated lands of the Columbia and Sacramento and their tributary streams. All these make it a desirable location for settlement.

When first visited, in 1849 and 1850, it was found occupied by numerous small bands of Indians, united under one general Confederacy. These tribes were said to possess intellect and physical strngth equal, if not superior, to

* A ravine, or mountain gap, is called a Gulsh. [end page 21]

any on the continent. They had abundance of food, in a great variety of berries and nutritious roots, which are found indigenous, on all the bottom lands, and are propagated without culture; and to these were added the swarms of mountain trout and salmon which, in some seasons, abound in almost every creek.

It is impossible to describe the joyful sensations of our company, on entering this valley. We had been traveling months over mountain and desert. Our eyes had become strained upon objects varied by the novel, the grand, and sometimes by the most wild and awful aspects that nature could present; when suddenly, we beheld an inclosed field, with shocks of grain, a house surrounded by gardens, people, and appurtenances of civilization. Then it was that the long-absented thoughts of home and rest, rushed over us; and as we looked on this lovely valley, we hoped for an end to the toils and perils of our long and wearisome journey. It was a picture varied with shadow and sunshine, lofty mountains and little hills, meadows, groves, and silvery streams, altogether more beautiful than a painter could portray, or even imagine.

But we were soon apprised of the existence of war with the Indians, and the death of several men, who had arrived in the Valley about two weeks previous. The Settlers were all crowded in three or four Forts, hastily put up for protection.. They had captured a number of women and children; and, aided by the first arrived Emigrants, were guarding them in a Fort, at the upper end of the Valley. They had kept them about ten days, when the husbands and fathers took the following plan to accomplish the desired liberation of their wives and children. Twenty-five or thirty active Indians traveled thirty or forty miles from below, keeping, themselves out of sight of the Settlers. One morning, just at daybreak, when the men in the upper Fort had no thought of Indians being near they were aroused by the blazing of stacks; and before they had time to rally to the rescue, the guardsmen were killed, and all the Indians, including their prisoners, were gone. To add to their chagrin, pursuit was impossible, for the Enemy had carried off all their animals. [end page 22]

A few days after our arrival, the Settlers, finding the war to be a losing business, made a treaty of peace, agreeing that there should be a reserve of land, within which the Indians should not be molested, and that all private grievances should be settle equally by the Authorities, and not by private revenge. The Settlers, as well as the new Emigrants, then went to work in good earnest. Farms were laid out, houses and mills raised, and fresh mines discovered. All might have been prosperous and happy; but, unfortunately, a great part of the population consisted of men from Missouri, and other parts where the great truths which our Fathers established, as the basis of Government, are not recognized. They claimed rights for themselves which they refused to others; for they denied to the poor Indian the common prerogative, peaceful enjoyment of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Hence treaties were disregarded; and peace became utterly impossible, as it always is, and must be, whenever the strong man removes the landmark of his weaker neighbor, and monopolizes according to his own pleasure. This fundamental principle being cast aside, there was no longer any restraining power; and supreme selfishness became the rule, and a worse than naked brute force the accepted and only law of the land.

There were scores of men, assuming the prerogatives of sovereigns, who could not read, and yet made and executed law, and whose only idea of the Constitution of the country is, that is was made to keep down the "Niggers." Of course they understood it to have the same bearing upon Indians, and all others except "white male American citizens."

This cruel and fatal error was strengthened, rather than corrected, by the aspirants for office; and especially was this the case with the candidate for Representative at Washington. Indians were mentioned frequently in their speeches, but always in such a manner as to convey the impression that it was meritorious to destroy them; and one of the Candidates based his claims to the public suffrage on his superior tact or facility for securing the public funds as indemnity for Indian wars. [end page 23]

I have heard several of these public addresses; but in none of them was there one word calculated to awaken feelings of compassion, or a sense of humanity and justice toward that unfortunate Race, whose homes had been usurped, or the necessity of honor and truth in the observance of treaties. The great theme of Dollars---Dollars--Dollars! and the facility with which they should be handed over to meet the claims of the war, was the absorbing topic.

It is well known that the prospect of great gain had attracted the people to those parts; and as Indian wars promised a ready way to obtain it, we may easily see how, in this case, the love of money became the root of all evil, and how little effort there would be to avoid that which those high in position seemed to sanction. The peculiar nature of the climate, and the employment of the mining companies had also considerable influence in bringing about hostilities. Owing to a scarcity of water during several months of the year, the Miners have no work. Their food, meanwhile, consists, principally of fine bread and beef; and they generally use abundance of tobacco and whisky. Thus, the quality of the food, and the poisons, in connection with a stimulating atmosphere, excite their baser passions; and, in the absence of moral restraint and civil law, they seek indulgence by outrages on the persons of defenseless Indians. I forbear the recital of horrors. Any American father or mother can easily imagine what would be the fate of their daughters if unprotected and isolated, in valleys and ravines, surrounded by hosts of men of the class and under the circumstances above described. It is no palliation to say, that the females are willing victims; for it is notorious that their fathers and brothers are often shot in order to gain forcible possession. We should realize the magnitude of this wrong, if we consider what execration and punishment we inflict upon another Race for such violations of our own.

There were also men vile enough to take advantage of the necessities of the Indians, and tempt them to trade off their daughters for revolvers, rifles, and ammunition. And this shameful traffic was carried to such an extent, that [end page 24] when open war commenced, the common lament was everywhere heard, that there were scarcely any arms in the Valley, for the Indians had them all. Jacksonville was left nearly unprotected.

The consequence of this amalgamation of drunkenness, filth, and vice, became manifest in disease, disgust, and mutual hate. During the years of 1855-6, as many as twenty murders were committed by the Indians; and several of them were prosecuted and hung according to law. But no account was kept of murdered Indians; and yet it was a matter of common talk, that they were shot whenever it could be done with safety to the shooter.

In the summer of 1855, great numbers of men went from Northern California and Southern* Oregon to the newly-discovered Mines, north of the Dalls, in the Indian country; and as I had frequent opportunities of conversation with them, I learned that it was the settled intention of most of them to make war in that section. Some of them told me that they should not be satisfied until every Indian was destroyed from the Coast to the Rocky Mountains; and I heard on company of men declare that they had adopted as a maxim, that if they saw a Buck (Indian) and a deer at the same time, they should shoot the Buck, and leave the deer to run. Nothing here needs to be said of the boasted Democracy under which we live; but should any civilized people sanction or overlook sentiments or actions like these? That they are exhibited with an impunity that continually gathers boldness, shows the existence of something among us worse than barbarism--worse even than utter savageism; for it perverts its prerogative of a fiercer, and more relentless, cruel, and destructive despotism than could be concocted without those strong elements of license, miscalled freedom, which, in the presence of a weaker party, and the absence of all essential restraint, rouse the latent poison, and stimulate all the baser passions in the hearts of bad men. A great tyrant can not be formed in the shadow of a Despotism, because there must be an ideal, and an atmosphere of freedom,

* Upper Falls of the Columbia River. [end page 25]

which he can assume, and absorb, and concentrate in the Supreme Self until it become the means and the material of inhuman wrongs, and the grand signet of unwarrantable power. To prove this, we need go no further than to the Yankee Slave-Driver of our Southern Plantations, whose cruelty is in exact proportion to the strength of the forces that developed him. Great principles are always liable to abuse; and their capability of evil is in the precise measure of their power, as we daily see in Religion, and all other excitements that move and monopolize the heart of Mankind. Hence the peculiar dangers of Republican Institutions; for the more highly energized Selfishness, which they evolve and nourish, ever seeks to destroy and interrupt the great interests and aims of all true Government, by thrusting in at random its own petty, but tenacious and persistent evils; and thus the permanent and the universal may be, for a time, actually supplanted by the transient and the partial. [end page 26]