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savages, inflamed by the loss of their friends, can no longer be restrained. They abandon their distant war, and rush upou one another with clubs and hatchets in their hands, magnifying their own courage, and insulting their enemies with the bitterest reproaches. A cruel combat ensues, death appears in a thousand hideous forms, which would congeal the blood of civilized nations to behold; but which rouses the fury of savages. They trample, they insult over the dead bodies, and tear the scalp from the head. The flame continues to rage till resistance ceases; then they secure the prisoners, whose fate, if men, are a thousand times more unhappy than those who died in the field. The conquerors set up a hide ous yell to lament the friends they have lost.
They approach in a melancholy severe gloom, to their own vil. lage; a messenger is sent to announce their arrival, and the women with frightful shrieks, come out to mourn their dead brothers, or their husbands. When they are arrived, the chief relates in a low voice, to the elders, a circumstantial account of every particular of the expedition. The orator then proclaims this account aloud to the people, and as he mentions the names of those who have fallen, the shrieks of the women are redoubled.
The men too join in these cries, according as each is most connected with the deceased, by blood or friendship. The last ceremony is the proclamation of victory: each individual then forgets his private misfortunes, and joins in the triumph of his nation; all tears are wiped from their eyes, and by an unaccountable transition, they pass in a moment from the bitterness of sorrow to an extravagance of joy.
But the manner in which they treat their prisoners, is the chief characteristic of the savages. The friendly affections which glow with an intense warmth within the bounds of their own vil. lages, seldom extend beyond them. They feel nothing for the enemies of their nation but an implacable resentment. The prisoners who have themselves the same feelings, know the inten. tions of their conquerors, and are prepared for them. The person who has taken the captive, attends him to the cottage, where, according to the distribution made by the elders, he is to be deliver ed to supply the loss of a relative. If those who receive him haye their family weakened by war or other accidents, they adopt the captive into the family. But if they have no occasion for him, or their resentment for the loss of their friends be too high to endure the sight of any connected with those who were concerned in it, they sentence him to death. All those who have met with the same severe sentence being collected, the whole pation is assembled at the execution as for some great solemnity. A scaffold is erected and the prisoners are tied to a stake, where they begin their death song, and prepare for the ensuing scene of cruelty,
with the most undaunted courage. Their enemies on the other side, are determined to put it to the proof, by the most cruel and exquisite tortures.
They begin at the extremity of his body, and gradually approach the more vital parts ; one plucks out his dails by the roots, one by one; and another takes a finger into his mouth and tears off the flesh with his teeth; a third thrusts the mangled finger into the bowl of a pipe made red hot, which he smokes like tobacco; then they pound his toes and fingers to pieces between two stones; they cut circles about his joints, and gashes in the fleshy parts of bis limbs which they seår immediately with red hot irons, cutting, burning, and pinching them alternately; they pull off his flesh thus mangled and rorsted, bit by bit, devouring it with greediness, and smear. ing their faces with the blood; their passions encreasing in horror and fury, they proceed to twist the bare nerves and tendons about an iron, tearing and snapping them, while others are employed in pulling and extending the limbs in every direction so as to ioerease the torment. This continues often five or six hours, and sometimes (such is the constitutional strength of the savages), for days together. Then they frequently unbind him, to give a breath. ing to their fury, to think what new tortures they shall inflict, and to refresh the strength of the sufferer, who, wearied out with such a variety of unheard of torments, often falls into so profound a sleep, that they apply the fire to awake him, and renew his sufferings. He is again fastened to a stake, and again they renew their cruelty; they stick him all over with natches of a wood that easily takes fire, and burns but slowly, they run sharp reeds into every part of his body, they drag out his teeth with pincers, and thrust out his eyes; and lastly, baving furoed his flesh from his bones with slow fires, after having vangled his body in the most shocking manner, and so mutilated his face that vothing human appears in it, after having peeled the skin from the head, and poured a heap of red hot coals or boiling water on the naked scull, they once more unbind the miserable victim; who blind and staggering with pain and weakness. is assaulted on every side with clubs and stones, and falling into their fires at every step, until one of the chiefs, out of con passion or weary of cruelty, puts an end to his life by a club or dagger. The body is then put into a kettle, and this inhuman and horrid employment is succeeded by a feast as barbarous.
The women, forgetting the human as well as the female nature, surpass the men in cruelty, and act like furies while this scene of horror is going on: the principal persons of the nation sit around the stake looking on, and smoking their pipes without the least emotion. But what is most extraordinary, the sufferer himself, ia little intervals of his torments, smokes, appears unconcerned, and converses with his tormentors about indifferent matters. Die
ring the whole time of his execution, there seems a contest which shall succeed; they, hy inflicting the most horrid pains, or he, by enduring them with a firmness and constancy almost above buinan; not a sigh, not a groan, not a distortion of countenance, escapes hin: he possesses his mind entirely in the midst of his torments: he recounts his own exploits : he informs them of the cruelties he has committed upon their countrymen, and threatens them with revenge that will attend his death; that they were old women who knew not how to put a warrior to death; and though his reproaches exasperate them to madness, he continues to insult them with their ignorance in the art of tormenting; pointing out himself more exquisite methods, and more sensible parts of the body to be afflicted. The women have this part of courage as well as the men, and it is as rare for an Indian to behave other wise, as it would be for an European to suffer as au Indian.
Such is the wonderful power of an early intuition, and a ferocious thirst of glory. “ I ain brave and intrepid,” says
savage in the face of his tormentors, “ I neither fear death nor torments; os those who fear them are cowards; they are less than women; 6 life is nothing to those who have courage! may my enemies be “ confounded with despair and rage: oh! that I could devour then and drink their blood to the last drop.” But neither the intre pidity on one side, nor the inflexibility on the other, are matter of astonishment; for vengeance and fortitude, in the midst of torments, are duties considered with them as sacred; they are the effects of their earliest education, and depend upon principles instilled into them from their infancy.
On all other occasions they are humane and compassionate. Nothing can exceed the warmth of their affection towards their friends, who consist of all those who live in the same village, or are in alliance with them; among these all things are common; their houses, their provisions and their most valuable articles are not withheld from a friend; has any one of these had ill success in hunting, bis harvest failed, or his house burned, he feels no other effect of his misfortune, than it gives him an opportunity to experience the benevolence and regard of his associates. On the other hand the Indian, to the enemy of his country or his tribe, or to those who have privately offended him, is implacable. He conceals his sentiments; he appears reconciled, until, by some treachery or surprise, he has an opportunity of executing a horrible revenge. No length of tiine is sufficient to allay his resentment; no distance of place great enough to protect the object; he crosses the steepest mountains, he pierces the most impenetrable forests, and traverses the most disinal swamps and deserts, for several hundreds of miles, bearing the inclemency of the season, the fatigue of the expedition, the extremes of hunger and thirst, with
patience and cheerfulness, in hopes of surprising his enemy, on whom he exercises the most shocking barbarities, even to the eating of his flesh. To such extremes do the Indians extend their friendship and their enmity; and such indeed is the character of all strong uncultivated minds.
The treatment of their dead shews, in glowing colours, the strength of their friendship, and warm attachment, to their departed friends. When any one of the society is cut off, he is lamented by the whole; on this occasion a variety of ceremonies are performed. The body is washed, anointed and painted. Then the women lameut the loss with hideous howlings, intermixed with songs, which celebrate the great actions of the deceased and his ancestors. The men mourn also, though in a less extravagant manner. The whole village is present at the interment, and the corpse is habited in their most sumptuous orbainents. Close to the body of the deceased are placed his bow and arrows, and other weapons of war, with whatever he valued most in his lifetime, and a quantity of provisions for his subsistence on the journey which he is supposed to take. The solemnity, like every other, is attended with feasting. The funeral being ended, the relations of the deceased confine themselves to their huts, for a considerable time, to indulge their grief. After an interval of some weeks, they visit the grave and repeat their sorrow, new clothe the remains of the body, and act over again all the solemnities of the funeral.
The most remarkable funeral ceremony is what they call the feast of the dead, or the fe:ast of souls. The day for this ceremony is appointed in the assembly of their chiefs, who give the ne. cessary orders for every thing that may conduce to the pomp and magnificence of its celebration; and the neighbouring nations are invited to partake of the entertainment. At this time, all who have died since the preceding feast of the kind, are taken out of their graves: even those who have been intered at the greatest distance from the villages, are diligently looked for, and conducted to this general rendezvous of the dead, which exhibits a scene of horror beyond the power of description. When the feast is concluded, the bodies are drest in the finest skins which can be procured, and after being exposed for some time in this pomp, are again committed to the earth, with great solennity, which is succeeded by funeral-games.
Their taste for war, the most striking characteristic of an Indian, gives a strong bias to their religion. The god of war, whom they call Areskoui, is revered as the great god of their people. Him they invoke before they go into the field. Some nations wor. ship the sun and moon, as symbols of the power of the great spirit. There are among them traditions of the creation of the world, of Noah's flood, &c. Like all rude nations they are strong
ly addicted to superstition. They believe in the existence of a number of good and bad genii, or spirits, who interfere in the af. fairs of mortals, and produce all our happiness or misery: It is from the evil genii, in particular, they imagine all our diseases proceed: and it is to the good genii to whom we are indebted for a cure. Their priests or jugglers are supposed to be inspired by the good genii in their dreams, with the knowledge of future events; they are called in to the assistance of the sick, and are supposed to know the event, and in what way they must be treated. But these spirits appear to be extremely simple in their system of physic; in almost every disease they prescribe the same remedy: The patient is inclosed in a narrow cabin, in the midst of which a large stone is made red hot; on this they throw wáter, the steani produces a profuse sweat, they then hurry him from this hot bath, and plunge him instantly into the adjacent creek or river. This method, although it costs many their lives, often performs many remarkable cures.
They are known, however, to have considerable knowledge in the vegetable kingdoin, and the white inhabitants are indebted to them for the knowledge of many powerful plants as restoratives, and antidotes to the poison of reptiles, with which the woods in many parts of Anerica abound.
Although the Indian women generally bear the laborious pårt of domestie economy, their condition, at least among the tribes of North America, is far from being so wretched, so slavish and depressed, as has been represented by Dr. Robertson and other writers." Their employment, (says Dr. Barton,) is chiefly in their houses, except when they are raising their crops of maizo, or Indian corn, at which times they generally turn out to assist their husbands and parents, but they are not compelled to do this.” 6 You may depend on any assertion (says the same gentleman, who had ample opportunities of being informed of the customs and manners of the Indians) that there are no people any where who love their women more than these people do, or men of better understanding, in distinguishing the merits of the opposite sex, or men more faithful in rendering suitable coinpensation.
They are courteous and polite to their women, tender, gentle, and fond even to an appearance of effeminacy. An Indian man seldom attempts to use a woman of any description with indelicacy, either of action or language.”. I wish we could with propriety adopt the same language, when speaking of the young men of the present age, who think it a disparagement to be compared with the untutored savage of the wilderness.
In the hunting seasons, that is, in autumn and winter, when the men are out in the forest, the whole care of the house or famiI y rests upon the women: at these times they undergo much care and fatigue, such as cutting wood, &c. but this labour is in part re