Harper's Weekly Editorials on Carl Schurz/A Significant Meeting
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A Significant Meeting
|Mr. Schurz's Speech→|
|From Harper's Weekly, April 2, 1881, p. 211. See also A Plea for the Indians for The New York Times report on this meeting.|
It was pleasant to see Mr. Schurz and General Miles upon the same platform at Association Hall, and agreeing in the policy that should be pursued by this country toward the Indians. Those who agree that the traditional treatment of the Indians by the government has been inhuman and unjustifiable, and who propose wise and practicable measures hereafter, are really friends and allies. Ex-Secretary Schurz represents an administration whose Indian record, including the appointment of General Miles's commission, is the best in our history, and General Miles is identified with the commission whose brave and humane report is worthy of American gentlemen and statesmen.
In the existing situation in this country Mr. Schurz justly holds that the alternative for the Indian is extermination or civilization. It is impossible to allot hundreds of thousands of square miles for his hunting grounds, and if it were attempted it would lead to endless wars. The Indians must be civilized, and gradually absorbed in the body of the people, and finally they must become citizens. In the mean while they must be taught to work, to hold lands in severalty and not as tribes, and the youth must be educated. And they are rapidly becoming ready for this course.
Mr. Schurz spoke very warmly of the Hampton and Carlisle schools, and said that instead of two schools, there should be fifteen in the older States. At present a building for girls was greatly needed at Hampton. General Miles followed Mr. Schurz, highly commending the Hampton school, and the famous Indian fighter declared that the Indians must be civilized, and that education is the only way to civilize them. He agreed that they are now ready, and that this is the solution of the Indian problem. Captain Pratt, of the Carlisle school, spoke in a very lively vein of the readiness and capacity of the Indian for civilization. There are 50,000 Indian children in the country, and there ought to be a hundred schools to influence them. General Armstrong, Bishop Hare, and Dr. Potter also spoke. A liberal subscription was made for the girls' hall at Hampton. But the significance of the meeting was as a sign of the awakening of the people to the resolution that the Indians shall hereafter be treated by the government as human beings, and not as vermin.
|This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).|