Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/317

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one more plausible and popular, because more suggestive, and having the merit of being sanctioned by time. "Is it possible," exclaims the old school debater, "that we have been for more than two centuries and a half fighting, treating, and dealing with our Indian tribes without acquiring a positive knoweldge of their character!" Such an exclamation certainly seems to be staggering. It appears to possess the vital force of reason and unanswerable argument; nevertheless, it is exactly true that, as a people, we know little or nothing about this very important matter. Unfortunately, those who have been the best able, from long and careful personal experience, to give the requisite information, have also been, for the most part, deficient in educational attainments and the capacity to impart their knowledge; while others have given no evidence of entertaining a just value of its public importance. Satisfied with their own acquirements, they have not sought to publish them for the benefit of others.

The white races of the American people boast European origin, mainly that of English lineage; but how much did the British really know of Americans, even at the period of our Revolution? Is not the history of that struggle indisputable evidence of the most lamentable and inexplicable ignorance on the part of the mother country? But, worse still; after the Revolution, after we had been in strict and closest commercial and political relations with Great Britain for over sixty years, after a second and sanguinary contest with that country, we have only to read the works of some of their travelers to arrive at the superficial and wonderfully erroneous idea of American character possessed by intelligent Britons.

When the two leading commercial nations of the