Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 3.djvu/17

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1805.
5
INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT.

doctrines, some testimony against them; but not to commit myself in direct warfare on them, I have thought it best to say what is directly applied to the Indians only, but admits by inference a more general extension."

In truth, under the lead of Napoleon and Pitt, Europe seemed bent on turning back the march of time and renewing the bigotry and despotism of the Middle Ages; but this occasion hardly dignified Jefferson's method of bearing testimony against the danger, by not committing himself to direct warfare upon it, but by applying to Indians the homily which by inference included the churches of New England.

"The aboriginal inhabitants of these countries," said the President to his great audience," I have regarded with the commiseration their history inspires. Endowed with the faculties and the rights of men, breathing an ardent love of liberty and independence, and occupying a country which left them no desire but to be undisturbed, the stream of overflowing population from other regions directed itself on these shores."

If the Boston newspapers were not weary of ridiculing Jefferson's rhetoric, this sentence was fitted to rouse their jaded amusement; but in a few moments they had reason to feel other emotions. He said that he had done what humanity required, and had tried to teach the Indians agriculture and other industries in order to prepare them for new conditions of life,— a claim not only true, but also honorable to him. Unfortunately these attempts met with obstacles from the Indians themselves:—