Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/734

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714
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
"In February, 1812, the people of Winnebah (Gold Coast) seized their commandant, Mr. Meredith," and so maltreated him that he died. The town and fort were destroyed by the English. "For many years afterward, English vessels passing Winnebah were in the habit of pouring a broadside into the town, to inspire the natives with an idea of the severe vengeance which would be exacted for the spilling of European blood."[1]

Or, instead of these separate testimonies, take the opinion of one who collected many testimonies. Referring to the kind treatment experienced by Encisco from the natives of Cartagena (on the coast of New Granada), who a few years before had been cruelly treated by the Spaniards, Washington Irving says:

"When we recall the bloody and indiscriminate vengeance wreaked upon this people by Ojida and his followers for their justifiable resistance of invasion, and compare it with their placable and considerate spirit when an opportunity for revenge presented itself, we confess we feel a momentary doubt whether the arbitrary appellation of savage is always applied to the right party."[2]

The reasonableness of this doubt will scarcely be questioned, after reading of the diabolical cruelties committed by the invading Europeans in America; as, for instance, in St. Domingo, where the French made the natives kneel in rows along the edge of a deep trench and shot them batch after batch, until the trench was full, or, as an easier method, tied numbers of them together, took them out to sea, and tumbled them overboard; and where the Spaniards treated so horribly the enslaved natives, that these killed themselves wholesale: the various modes of suicide being shown in Spanish drawings.

Does the Englishman say that these, and hosts of like demoniacal misdeeds, are the misdeeds of other civilized races in other times; and that they are attributable to that corrupted religion which he repudiates? If so, he may be reminded that sundry of the above facts are facts against ourselves. He may be reminded, too, that the purer religion he professes has not prevented a kindred treatment of the North American Indians by our own race. And he may be put to the blush by accounts of barbarities going on in our own colonies at the present time. Without detailing these, however, it will suffice to recall the most recent notorious case—that of the kidnappings and murders in the South Seas. Here we find repeated the typical relations; betrayals of many natives and merciless sacrifices of their lives; eventual retaliation by the natives to a small extent; a consequent charge against the natives of atrocious murder; and then a wholesale massacre of them, innocent and guilty together.

See, then, how the bias of patriotism indirectly produces erroneous views of the effects of an institution. Blinded by national self-love to the badness of our conduct toward inferior races, while remem-

  1. Cruickshank, "Eighteen Years on the Gold Coast of Africa," vol. i., p. 100.
  2. "Companions of Columbus," p. 115.