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We do not design, by the publication of a compendium of the Events in Indian History, to claim any particular advantage over other books of a similar character that have already been issued. There are, notwithstanding, a number of advantages connected with the present compilation. A volume of the most important Events in Indian History, judiciously arranged in order as they occurred, has been the aim of our labors; in connection with this we had an eye in selecting from those works which are the most accurate in their descriptions, and in all cases cut off what we did not think essentially answering the purpose to complete our object. The Biographical department contains the incidents of those tribes which are the most celebrated in the Indian annals; some, indeed, are as complete and comprehensive as can any where else be found;—of this the reader will be better enabled to judge when examining it.
A History of the indigenes of any country has for itself many claims, which attract the notice of the learned, and the lovers of literature, but especially can our own claim attention; so varied, great and
romantic are the events which followed their discovery, that no one i can turn from the page of their history without being wiser and better
satisfied with the change which the God of Heaven and earth has mysteriously wrought among this people. The numerous tribes that were in existence when the first navigators arrived upon the soil of this continent, receiving the adventurers of an unknown land in the North and South, with demonstrations of joy and welcome, which could scarcely have been expected by the voyagers themselves from an uncivilised race; a race of men who never before looked in the face of a white man-who never before beheld the white sails of a vessel speeding through the waters of their own wide and romantic rivers,--these have passed away with the tide of civilisation, which has run its course in the same space of time westward of the Atlantic Ocean.
Numerous as they were, it appears that but one century had passed after the Europeans took possession of the soil, when their most extensive leagues were severed and their governments relinquished, as though civilisation was a very antipode to their prosperity as a nation and a people. They have passed away with the years which have made the same clime, in power and prosperity, one of the mightiest upon the globe. The mountains and umbrageous forests, dressed in all the primitive grandeur of Nature, where they pursued the chase and walked in majestic pride as the lords of the soil, now to a great extent are made to give echo to the enterprise and industry of the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons. The many thousands who now inherit the cities, the towns and villages, where once stood the rude wigwams and huts of the Indians, send up the daily sounds of rejoicing and gladness; the chase and the war-dance, and the rude. sports of the wild children of nature, are hushed in the plains where we now behold the labor of the husbandman; the margins of the noble rivers connecting the Atlantic are in many places the harbors of busy marts, and instead of the lone canoe with her daring masters moving upon the waters, vessels of ponderous shape and dimensions, guided by the science and skill of the sturdy mariner, are found in every navigable river; a population equal to all the tribes now in existence in the United States have their homes upon the deep. Ilow dreadful were the events of the times which brought about the changes we have alluded to; history but saintly tells the treasure and sufferings
The Biographical department of our volume we have taken especial pains with; the Northern and Southern, and the Six Nations of Indians are embraced in it. Since printing the history of Miantonomo, chief of the Narragansetts, we learn from a late publication that the citizens of Norwich, Connecticut, devoted the fifth of July to a noble purpose, and we honor them for it--that of erecting a monument to the memory of Miantonomo, the gallant Indian warrior and chieftain who fell and was buried on the spot called, from the circumstance, - Sachem's Plain," near the manufacturing village of Greenville, on the Shetucket. The burial spot of the warrior had been conspicuous until within a few years past, by a Cairn formed by loose stones deposited upon it by the aboriginal pilgrims to his grave; but lately, the proprietor of the land had permitted them to be carted off to underpin a house. The monument is a single block of granite, bearing this simple inscription : "Miantonomo, 1643."
A review of the Indians of the middle States are also given, and in this we have extracted from Heckewelder and Proud, especially that part which refers to Pennsylvania. Some of the earliest treaties with the Indians, by Governor Keith, are given for their novelty; they are the transactions which took place between the Conestoga Indians, a tribe of the Six Nations, and the Provincial Council, which have but lately appeared in the records printed by the State. The Conestoga massacre we have strived to place in such a form as to free it from all censure; it heretofore has been found fault with for reflecting upon a respectable portion of the citizens of the city and county of Lancaster, as having been engaged in the horrible butchery, or conniving at it; this we think was an error in several authors, and it has lately
been ascertained who the real actors in this inhuman destruction of life were, and we have thrown the blame in that way.
The frontispiece of this book is the rescue of Captain John Smith, by Pocahontas, the “Saviour of Virginia,” after he was condemned to death by her father, Powhatan. The engravings are placed in their regular order through the work, so that the reader will be enabled the more readily to understand their illustrations. No pains have been spared to give a correct delineation of those parts of the Events which we thought deserved a plate..
The Narratives and Captivities also occupy a considerable portion of the volume, and are made up of the most important adventures and captivities that have taken place within the last two centuries. It will be seen that some of them have been condensed for the purpose of observing a uniform description in the book. Nothing however has been omitted, which materially affects either the sense or correctness of the original.
The miscellaneous scraps we have given at the conclusion of the book we came in possession of while the printing of the work was going on, and we present them as well worthy of note by the reader.
On a close examination it will be found that the many subjects which are embraced in the volume have been collected at the cost of considerable labor, and it is the sincere desire of the publishers that it will receive that reward which it merits. Should it answer the means for which it is designed, of carrying to the door of every man a correct compilation of the most important Events in Indian History, then will we rest satisfied, whether our undertaking is rewarded or not. But before any pass judgment upon it, we would ask them to examine it.
Lancaster, August 21, 1841.
ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS,
O could their ancient Incas rise again,
How would they take up Israel's taunting strain!
(The following extracts are taken from Drake's History of the North American Hodjans !
AXCIENT AUTHORS SUPPOSED TO HAVE REFERRED TO AMERICA IN TIILIR
WRITINGS. The name Indian was erroneously applied to the original man of America by its first discoverers. The attempt to arrive at the East Indies by sailing west, caused the discovery of the islands and continent of America. When they were at first discovered, Columbus, and many after him, supposed they had arrived at the eastern shore of the continent of India, and hence the people they found there were called Indians. The error was not discovered until the name had so obtained, that it could not well be changed. It is true, that it matters but little to us by what name the indigines of a country are known, and especially those of America, in as far as the name is seldom used
among us but in application to the aboriginal Americans. But with the people of Europe it was not so unimportant. Situated between the two countries, India and America, the same name for the inha. bitants of both must, at first, have produced considerable inconvenience, if not confusion; because, in speaking of an Indian, no one would know whether an American or a Zealander was meant, unless by the context of the discourse. Therefore, in a historical point of view, the error is, at least, as much to be deplored as that the name of the continent itself should have been derived from Americus instead of Columbus.
It has been the practice of almost every writer, who has written about the primitive inhabitants of a country, to give some wild theories of others, concerning their origin, and to close the account with his own; which generally has been more visionary, if possible, than those of his predecessors. Long, laborious, and, we may add, useless, disquisitions have been daily laid before the world, from the discovery of America by Columbus to the present time, to endeavor to explain by what means the inhabitants got from the old to the new world. To act, therefore, in unison with many of our predecessors, we will be. gin as far back as they have done, and so shall commence with Theopompus and others, from intimations in whose writings it is alleged the ancients had knowledge of America, and therefore peopled it.
Theopompus, a learned historian and orator, who flourished in the time of Alexander the Great, in a book entitled Thaumasia, gives a sort of dialogue between Midas the Phrygian and Silenus. The book itself is lost, but Strabo refers to it, and Ælianus has given us the substance of the dialogue that follows. After much conversation, Silenus said to Midas, that Europe, Asia and Africa were but islands surrounded on all sides by the sea; but that there was a continent situated beyond these, which was of immense dimensions, even with. out limits; and that it was so luxuriant, as to produce animals of prodigious magnitude, and men grew to double the height of themselves, and that they lived to a far greater age; that they had many great cities, and their usages and laws were different from ours; that in one city there were more than a million of inhabitants; that gold and silver were there in vast quantities. This is but an abstract from Ælianus's extract, but contains all of it that can be said to refer to a country west of Europe and Africa. Elian or Ælianus lived about A. D. 200.
Hanno flourished when the Carthagenians were in their greatest prog. perity, but the exact time is unknown. Some place his time 40, and others 140, years before the founding of Rome, which would be about 800 years before our era. He was an officer of great enterprise, having sailed around and explored the coast of Africa, set out from the Pillars of Hercules, now called the Straits of Gibraltar, and sailed westward 30 days. Hence it is inferred by many, that he must have visited America, or some of its islands. He wrote a book, which he entitled Periplus, giving an account of his voyages, which was translated and published about 1533, in Greek.