Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/69

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LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

bound to protect. We took them from you and sent them to Gen. Garcia Conde, who will set them at liberty in their own country. We mean to show you that we cannot lie. We promised protection to the Mexicans, and we gave it to them. We promise friendship and protection to you, and we will give them to you. If we had not done so to Mexico, you would not believe us with regard to yourselves. We cannot lie."

During the above conversation, which was carried on in a slow and dignified manner, Ponce was becoming very much excited, altogether too much so for an Indian, and being unable to restrain himself any longer, he arose, and, with many gesticulations, said:

Ponce.—"Yes, but you took our captives without beforehand cautioning us. We were ignorant of this promise to restore captives. They were made prisoners in lawful warfare. They belong to us. They are our property. Our people have also been made captives by Mexicans. If we had known of this thing, we would not have come here. We would not have placed that confidence in you."

Reply.—"Our brother speaks in anger, and without reflection. Boys and women lose their temper, but men reflect and argue; and he who has reason and justice on his side, wins. No doubt, you have suffered much by the Mexicans. This is a question in which it is impossible for us to tell who is wrong, or who is right. You and the Mexicans accuse each other of being the aggressors. Our duty is to fulfill our promise to both. This opportunity enables us to show to Mexico that we mean what we say, and when the time comes, we will be ready and prompt to prove the good faith of our promises to you."

Ponce.—"I am neither a boy nor a squaw. I am a