The Expulsion of American Indians from Their Domains
This essay was written by L. J. Mayer, a 1858 graduate of Franklin and Marshall College who orginated from Orwingsburg, PA. The author attributes the demise of the Native Americans to the arrival of the English to the New World and expresses sorrow that colonists were so brutual in their treatment of the Native peoples and so ruthless in confiscating their land.
Melissa P. Hatten
The whites seek a place where there is that which constitutes to their existence. The Indians seek a place where there is that which constitutes to their existence; both having been sent into the world for some purpose, else they would not have been created. There is no doubt that the Indians have suffered gross injustice in earlier times and do still in some places. Shortly after the safe landing of Columbus a number of foreigners, professing to be religionists, who not being permitted to worship as they felt inclined, set-sail for Holland where they might carry on their worship according to the dictates of their own consciences. This was complied with, as the Hollanders were not party to any religious denomination. Many however were the disadvantages under which they were obliged to labor, they again returned to their native country, and shortly after their return, again dissatisfied, they once more attempted to seek a country better adapted to their religious worship, and where they had better hopes of prospering in future generations. Finally they unanimously agreed to set-sail for America. After having been tossed about on the raging waters for a short time they safely landed on the wave washed shores of our now beloved country America, near Cape Cod. Here they offered up a fervent prayer for their safe landing and then they proceeded to moor their barks in safe harbors. Here they were upon American soil and entertained no ideas of trouble and war. The issue however proved contrary to their hopes. They now divided their number, and one division was sent away to explore the country further on. They reconnoitered Cape Cod and after a short days journey, perceived a number of Indians cutting up a fish and preparing it for their supper. No sooner had they seen them, than they hastened to land; now the peaceful inhabitants beholding the so called Americans fled to the forest, for it was a strange sight to see, so unexpectedly a band of civilized men. They then took possession of their intended supper and feasted thereupon. This being passed over they attempted to place a tent there for their nightly quarters, but as they had applied themselves to the erection of a habitation, the received a tremendous shower of arrows from those whose peace was so unceremoniously molested. Revenge followed as a natural consequence. Many of the natives were cruelly put to death by the whites and besides robbed of their store of winter possessions. Those who were left of this party returned to their companions, and then with a greater band determined to return to where they had been and mercilessly destroy every one of them. A wise and at the same time Christian like conclusion. They however went on, engaged in a severe battle, and but few were left to mourn over the remains of their brethren. Thus they continued and from 1620 they were constantly engaged in bloodshed and murder until the year 1814. The number of foreigners rapidly multiplied and were soon able to muster a considerable army. They at length came in contact with the Pequots a savage tribe "who breathed nothing but war and revenge" for those who had so barbarously deprived their companions of their ancient rights and possessions. Consequently they exerted themselves to their utmost to prevent them from becoming the "lords of the continent." A bloody battle ensued, the poor Indians were captured, along with every thing that they had so economically gathered, their wigwams were burned and nothing was left for the remaining to shelter them from the cold blasts of the approaching winter. This did not come in contact with the private feelings of the whites, but blood thirsty as it appeared they continued their work of destruction, until it became so dangerous, that they could not hunt, fish, cultivate their fields or travel abroad but at the peril of their lives. Barbarously they went on, determined to have all the property or none. This led to wars, many hundreds were slain, whose names were left unknown and unsung. The whites before the extinction of the Pequots, boldly demanded that they should relinquish to them all their rights and title to the land lying within the colony, if they felt disposed to trade with them, and should be treated as friends. This proposal was difficult, of course could not be acceded to, and they did all they were able to maintain their rights. Every American would do the same, were such proposals made. They next came in contact with King Philip, with whom they found no peace, as he was a faithful leader of his tribe. However his tribe was lightly armed, he was overcome. Asking for peace where there was no peace. Many were destroyed, and the surrounding woods resounded with the dying groans of the wounded. Nothing but scenes of horror were to be seen, and relentlessly all were butchered. Thus the harmless natives were no longer left in tribes, but were roaming about in small parties, lonely and forsaken, having no place to rest their wearied limbs in perfect safety. Tyranically [sic] were they expelled from the lands which they had occupied, perhaps for centuries, and have no now where they can plant their corn and smoke their pipes in peace. We have also proof of their being friendly and sociable if treated with humanity. Major Carver having remained in a camp one night upon leaving was accompanied by one who lamented his departure, wishes him well, saying, "That the great spirit would favor him with a prosperous journey; that he would give him an unclouded sky and smooth waters by day and that he might lie down by night on a beaver blanket, enjoying uninterrupted sleep and pleasant dreams, and that he might continual security under the great pipe of peace." There was evidence of friendship, forgetful of many sufferings. They are now expelled from their possessions and the white man boldly spread his sheap [sic] skin over the whole and saying " it is mine." Well could the Tocumsuc [?] chief ask, "Whither shall I fly, shall I go to the south and dwell among the graves of the Pequots?" Thus they are consoled perhaps finding no other spot where to settle, but among the graves of some whose blood was shed by the hands of the whites. (Composed by L. J. Mayer) (Revised by M. M. Davies)