Page:Democracy in America (Reeve, v. 1).djvu/60

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yet he could tear in pieces with his hands the still quivering limbs of his prisoner. The famous republics of antiquity never gave examples of more unshaken courage, more haughty spirits, or more intractable love of independence, than were hidden in former times among the wild forests of the New World[1]. The Europeans produced no great impression when they landed upon the shores of North America: their presence engendered neither envy nor fear. What influence could they possess over such men as we have described? The Indian could live without wants, suffer without complaint, and pour out his death-song at the stake[2]. Like all the other members of the great human family, these savages believed in the existence of a better world, and adored, under different names, God, the creator of the universe. Their notions on the great intel-

  1. We learn from President Jefferson's ‘Notes upon Virginia,’ p. 148, that among the Iroquois, when attacked by a superior force, aged men refused to fly, or to survive the destruction of their country; and they braved death like the ancient Romans when their capital was sacked by the Gauls. Further on, p. 150, he tells us that there is no example of an Indian, who, having fallen into the hands of his enemies, begged for his life; on the contrary, the captive sought to obtain death at the hands of his conquerors by the use of insult and provocation.
  2. See ‘Histoire de la Louisiane’, by Lepage Dupratz; Charlevoix, ‘Histoire de la Nouvelle France;’ ‘Lettres du Rev. G. Hecwelder;’ ‘Transactions of the American Philosophical Society,’ v. 1.; Jefferson's ‘Notes on Virginia,’ p. 135-190. What is said by Jefferson is of especial weight, on account of the personal merit of the writer, of his peculiar position, and of the matter-of-fact age in which he lived.