A Christian people who have for two hundred years kept a race in bondage, deprived of the advantages of civilization and religion, owe them a debt of gratitude which it would seem ungenerous to withhold.
Looking at the purpose of our government toward the Indians, we find that after subjugating them it has been our policy to collect the different tribes on reservations and support them at the expense of our people.
No administration could stop the tidal wave of immigration that swept over the land; no political party could restrain or control the enterprise of our people, and no reasonable man could desire to check the march of civilization.
The Indians, however, could not migrate from one part of the United States to another; neither could they obtain employment as readily as white people, either upon or beyond the Indian reservations.
Our relations with the Indians have been governed chiefly by treaties and trade, or war and subjugation.
If the graves of the thousands of victims who have fallen in the terrible wars of the two races had been placed in line the philanthropist might travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Lakes to the Gulf, and be constantly in sight of green mounds.
One hundred years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, the Spanish government issued a decree authorizing the enslavement of the American Indian as in accord with the law of God and man.
For a time during the early settlement of this country peace and goodwill prevailed, only to be followed later by violent and relentless warfare.
The more we study the Indian's character the more we appreciate the marked distinction between the civilized being and the real savage.
Whether or not our system of Indian management has been a success during the past ten, fifty, or hundred years is almost answered in the asking.
These are hallowed moments, when every American has reason to express his gratitude to Almighty God that it has been our good fortune to witness the light of this auspicious morn.
On the contrary, if they are treated with justice and humanity, proper example and the advantages of education given them, the coming years will be as bright and prosperous to the unfortunate race as the past has been dark and painful.
If we dismiss from our minds the prejudice we may have against the Indians we shall be able to more clearly understand the impulses that govern both races.
The tide of immigration in Canada has not been as great as along our frontier. They have been able to allow the Indians to live as Indians, which we have not, and do not attempt to force upon them the customs which are distasteful to them.
Step by step a powerful and enterprising race has driven them back from the Atlantic to the West until at last there is scarcely a spot of ground upon which the Indians have any certainty of maintaining a permanent abode.