Page:The Indian Dispossessed.pdf/13

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Musing, some twenty years ago, upon these prickly points in his country's history, a brilliantly satirical member of the United States Senate disguised the unpalatable truths in a pellet of humor, thus,—"When the pilgrim fathers landed upon the New England shore, they first fell upon their knees, and then upon the aborigines,"—and, forthwith, the American people assimilated an unwelcome historical mess without so much as making a wry face. Indeed, this witticism is now so respectably ancient that it is here repeated with much trepidation, and only because there are so few oases of humor in the grim desert of the Indian's story that the reader may do well to fortify himself here with a smile, against the heat of other emotions during his journey toward the end of the book.

With the coming of the troublous times that led to the Revolution the good fathers found themselves in the rôle of the oppressed,—and then, how changed their views of man's rights! The youthful nation announced to the world the discovery of these mighty Truths in human affairs,—"That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them being life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

In the calm light of this day it passes the understanding that a people burdened with the problem of two inferior races—one, slaves, and the other, not slaves only because they possessed not one attribute of