Page:The Indian Dispossessed.pdf/8

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PREFACE


IF the introductory chapter of this book be deemed to bear too heavily upon long-cherished American ideals, will the reader generously consider it as no more than a friendly challenge to discover, in the Indian tales which follow, that those ideals have borne, unsullied, the practical test?

Not once is there question of the high impulses or fair intent of the American people; but a good intention loses virtue with age, and sentiments which persist without developing into action can weigh little against the plain record of facts.

This is no attempt to maintain that "all men are created equal." In the light of all that is best in human history, that declaration attains to nothing more real than a praiseworthy sentiment mistaken for a fact. Whether the nation which gave it birth has developed it into a sentiment to be honored, or into a grotesque absurdity, during its long contact with a race created not the white man's equal, the reader is left to determine.

S. K. H.