Page:The Cambridge History of American Literature, v3.djvu/167

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
George Catlin

Eight Years Travel Among the Wildest Tribes of Indians in North America in 1832, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, and 39, with Four Hundred Illustrations Carefully Engraved from his Original Paintings was published first in London, at his own expense, in 1841. The same year it was brought out in New York. Another of his volumes was Catlin's Notes of Eight Years Travels and Residence in Europe with his North American Indian Collection, with Anecdotes and Adventures of Three Different Parties of American Indians whom he Introduced to the Courts of England, France and Belgium (1848). A book of his that raised strong doubts as to his veracity was Okeepa, A Religious Ceremony, and other Customs of the Mandans, which was published in Philadelphia in 1867, and gave one of the earliest accounts of the extraordinary Okeepa ceremonial: a self-sacrificial affair akin to the Sun Dance of the Dakotas. The book today is recognized as veracious and valuable. He wrote Life among the Indians (1861) for young folk, and in 1837 he brought out a Catalogue of Catlin's Indian Gallery of Portraits, Landscapes, Manners, Customs, and Costumes, etc. His well-known, and now rare, North American Indian Portfolio, Twenty-five large Tinted Drawings on Stone, some Coloured by Hand in Imitation of the Author's Sketches, appeared in London in 1844; his Steam Raft in 1850; Shut your Mouth in 1865; and Last Rambles amongst the Indians of the Rocky Mountains and the Andes in London in 1868.

His viewpoint was totally different from that of the trapper or pioneer, explorer or traveller. Catlin was interested in the Indian as a man. "The Indians have always loved me," he declares, and why should I not love the Indians? He wrote a "Creed," part of which was: "I love the people who have always made me welcome to the best they had. I love the people who have never raised a hand against me, or stolen my property, where there was no law to punish for either."

The Mormons soon adopted a conciliatory policy towards the Indians, feeling it was more profitable to deal justly with them, to pay them, than to fight them. It was obligatory to have a cool clear-headed man to carry out such a policy, and Brigham Young selected Jacob Hamblin for the service. No better choice could have been made. Slow of speech, quick of thought and action, this Leatherstocking of Utah was usually