Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/316

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CHAPTER XXVII.


Ignorance of Indian Character Discussed.—Political Indian Agencies.—How the Indian Affairs Should be Managed.—Necessity of Force.—Absurd System in Vogue.—Crushing Out Advised.—How the Apaches Should be Fought.—Proper Method of Campaigning.—Suggestions.—Culpable Neglect of Congress.—General Deductions.—Californian Troops.—Conclusion.


The romantic wanderings of Catlin, Schoolcraft and some others among the Indian tribes of North America; the delightful tales of Cooper, as developed in his "Trapper," "Last of the Mohicans," etc.; the stirring adventures of Captain John Smith, Daniel Boone, Chamberlin, Carson, Hays and a host of noted pioneers, have invested our Indian races with rare and absorbing interest. But they have also tended to convey false and erroneous impressions of Indian character, and have contributed to misguide our legislation on this subject to such an extent as to become a most serious public burden.

Since the foundation of our Government, Indian wars have cost the American people nearly four hundred millions of dollars, and the stream of expenditure continues with unabated volume. When the whites were few and the savages many, the cost of keeping them in subjection was measurably less than it has been since the reversal of our respective numerical conditions. Whence arises this anomaly? Simply because of our strange ignorance of Indian character as it really exists, and not as we have been taught to understand it by writers of attractive fiction, or the chroniclers of heroic deeds and romantic adventures. This sweeping assertion may be met with