Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/183

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LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

last to speak, in action he was the last to come on the field, and the first to leave if defeated; yet he had the reputation among all his people of being the wisest and bravest. That he was the wisest has never been denied; that he was the bravest has never been proved. But, take him for all in all, he exercised an influence never equaled by any savage of our time, when we take into consideration the fact that the Apaches acknowledge no chiefs, and obey no orders from any source. They constitute a pure democracy, in which every man is the equal of every other. Each is sovereign in his own right as a warrior, and disclaims all allegiance. But this subject will be treated at length in another portion of this work.

The life of Mangas Colorado, if it could be ascertained, would be a tissue of the most extensive and afflicting revelations, the most atrocious cruelties, the most vindictive revenges, and widespread injuries ever perpetrated by an American Indian. We read with sensations of horror the dreadful massacre at Schenectady, the bloody deeds at Wyoming, the cruelties of Proctor's savage allies, and others of like character; but they sink into absolute insignificance beside the acts of Mangas Colorado, running through a series of fifty years, for Mangas was fully seventy when sent to his last account. The northern portions of Chihuahua and Sonora, large tracts of Durango, the whole of Arizona, and a very considerable part of New Mexico, were laid waste, ravished, destroyed by this man and his followers. A strip of country twice as large as all California was rendered almost houseless, unproductive, uninhabitable by his active and uncompromising hostility. Large and flourishing towns were depopulated and ruined. Vast ranches, such as that of Barbacomori and San Bernardino, once teem-