« AnkstesnisTęsti »
sia; and till this is done all attempts to improve the state of finances are abortive, as they always have been. When the Emperor is to receive a ruble, the magistrates have been so demoralized by their thraldom that they will try to steal it, before or after it comes into his hands, and will be cunning enough, at least, to get half of it, and beside that, by promoting smuggling, and other improper means, when it is possible, will get also another ruble for themselves. In this manner financial schemes continually fail of producing satisfactory results, but not the less do they oppress, obstruct, and demoralize the people, while the faithless officers, in their political expenditures, waste and embezzle the money got with such pains.
Throughout all the political administration of Russia, a certain boyishness is perceptible. This appears very obvious in the financial operations. Every thing undertaken bears the mark of remarkable imperfection, promises to last but little while, and commonly has a most injurious effect. So a boy robs a flower garden, and will soon lose half his plunder on his way to the brook, and will throw in the other half when he gets there. The garden is robbed and trampled down to no purpose; what was designed to bear fruit and furnish seed for other fields, is torn away from its native soil, and scattered in spots which will bear nothing. This financial system is a very natural result of the oriental character of this sensual and despotic government. The wild tree can produce only poor and coarse fruit, till mind approaches it; then it must be hewn down to give place to some nobler growth. The time when attempts at improvement could profitably be made, is passed by,the worm has already bored too deep into the bole. A part of it remains only to feed the fire, while loathsome filth has already collected in the hollow of the trunk a preparation for death and for another and a new life. In general the Emperor is extraordinarily inclined to favor what is gross, and especially in finance; commonly he adheres strongly to despotism, and will be an Autocrat. If he were not of a coarse nature he would abandon the political course which his cabinet has followed hitherto, and pursue a more spiritual direction. But in all probability he can only look at the material side of things, and the Slavic clinging to dead forms is entirely natural to him. He is incapable of any lofty spiritual aspiration, of any comprehension of ideas, and can appreciate none but mere materialists as ministers of finance.
The Massachusetts Indians.
ART. VII. Report of the Commissioners relating to the
WE talk much about the manner in which our Fathers treated the Aborigines of the country; the discussion will have one good effect if it awaken us to the more earnest consideration of our own duty toward the feeble and scattered remnant of those once powerful tribes. The whole number of Indians within the limits of the Commonwealth is eight hundred and forty-seven. Of these none are allowed the elective franchise, many are under guardianship, and many are not allowed any individual ownership in the lands of the tribe. They are practically children, with all the confirmed bad habits, in many cases, of mature age. We acknowledge the question of their treatment is a difficult one, chiefly, if not entirely, however, through our own mistakes and neglect. We talk long and loud about religious liberty, while the State, till very recently, doled out, after the most approved European modes, to the poor red skins, a state religion at their own expense; we declaim, most expensively, brave words, not to be sure "at the bridge," but on every 4th of July, about the great efficiency and indispensable necessity of jury boxes and ballot boxes to unfold the moral and intellectual nature of man, but we keep, meanwhile, these eight or nine hundred persons in a perpetual minority, and Nicholas himself could not be more careful lest they get into dangerous proximity to the panel or the ballot. We protest with a violence which is indignant, and would be contemptuous, if contempt were consistent with hearty hatred, against Socialism, but Fourier would smile approvingly could he see the sincere vigilance with which we guard our pupils from competitive selfishness and the risks of individual property.
It must, however, be acknowledged that Massachusetts has much improved upon the example of that "magnificent conspiracy against justice," which we call, by courtesy, the Government of the United States. Our Legislature does not spend all its time in gathering up the ribbons of a Presidential race, or scrambling after the spoils of a political triumph. It finds, or makes, some time to attend to the legitimate business of government. It plans for the better treatment of convicts, (we will not call them all criminals,) it protects the insane, it educates all, except Indians and the colored race in Boston.
The report of this Commission of last winter is another evidence of our interest in our duties. The labor of preparing it must have been arduous, and undertaken as it was with hearty good will, it has resulted in an appeal to the right feeling and good sense of the State, which we cannot think will be in vain. Every thing needed for the basis of legislation seems to be contained in it, harmoniously arranged, precisely stated, and bearing evidence of thorough and accurate investigation.
There are, it seems, eleven tribes within the Commonwealth, or rather remnants enough to perpetuate the names of eleven tribes. These are the Chappequiddic, Christiantown, Gay Head, Fall River or Troy, Marshpee, Herring Pond, Grafton or Hassanamisco, Dudley, Punkapog, Natick, and Yarmouth. "The whole number of Indians or people of color connected with them, not including the Natick tribe, is eight hundred and forty-seven. There are but six or eight Indians of pure blood in the State; all the rest are of mixed blood, mostly Indian and African."
The past policy of the State in regard to these tribes may be described in a few words. They have been held under guardianship; ministers provided for them, paid mainly from charitable funds left for such purposes; their lands declared inalienable, and managed by guardians who were invested, in some cases, with most ill-defined powers over the person and rights of their wards. The conduct of the community itself may be stated still more briefly. They have neglected and despised them according to the true American model of treating all races not blessed with a color like their own. The consequences are, feeble intellect, degraded habits, heedlessness, and total prostration of character.
The feeling of caste, that sentiment from which Coleridge. derives the word "unkindness," the fruitful parent of so many evils to the negro race in our land, lies at the root of all the mistakes and wrongs which afflict the Indian. In our community the two great elements of national progress and individual growth are education and the management of property. The child is furnished at our common schools with the tools of his own fortune, and in after life he finds motive to use them. From both these sources of strength the African and the Indian are and have been practically shut out. Of Indian schools, the commissioners well observe,
"The great difficulty with this school, and with all the Indian schools, is, they are isolated. They are not under the supervision
of the committee of any town, form no part of our common school system, and receive none of the impulses which example and emulation impart to other schools. Remove from the schools of any town in the Commonwealth, the influences which they receive as a part of the system, and how long would it be before they would be sunk to the level of these Indian schools?"
It is a mistake to suppose that the whole benefit of our common school system lies in good books, good teachers, and having nothing to pay. Boys teach each other. Imitation, companionship, the playground, the whisper behind the desk, emulation in sports, teach more and go further toward the moulding of character than class lessons or the ferule. Whether foreseen or not, one of the chief blessings of our common school system is, that all classes are educated together. By this means the poor man's child shares the sunshine of the wealthy home. He is seated at the same desk with one whose home is the best school; whose nursery was, unintentionally, a museum; who learns more from the talk of his grown up relatives and his father's guests than the best books can teach him. By the magnetism of a generous rivalry the wa ters of boyish curiosity, awakened faculties, and keen interest soon stand level in both hearts. Unconsciously he measures himself with his more fortunate neighbour, and reaps the best reward of the struggle-improvement, if not victory. Besides, by this arrangement, those in whose hands, from position and other causes, is the direction of public affairs, are deeply interested to provide the best methods and teachers, and the selfish affection of powerful wealth overflows to guard the best interests of the weaker class. Embarked in one bottom, all must sink or swim together. If this result of our school system was foreseen by those who founded it, it is another evidence of their far-sighted sagacity. If it be accidental, it is only another instance, beside those Jefferson has adduced, to show how often the best results of political contrivances are just those which no one ever dreamt of at the outset. From both these benefits the colored race in Boston, and the Indians every where, are excluded; and hence we say neither have ever enjoyed the aid of education in the broad New England sense of the term. They are called to compete with, and sink chilled by the shadow of, a race whose advantages they are not permitted to enjoy, and who, starting in life under far more favorable circumstances than their poor victims, use
the leisure their greater ability gives them in discussing why it is that all races are naturally inferior to the Anglo-Saxon.
With regard to the other element, property and its management, the evidence is clear that just so far as the Indian has been permitted to take charge of his own affairs, just so far he has shown himself competent to it. More than this, the selfrespect engendered by the consciousness of responsibility has re-created his intellectual and oral nature. Of the Chappequiddics the Commissioners tell us
"Under the judicious oversight and counsels of their guardian, Hon. Leavitt Thaxter, they are far in advance of any other tribe in the State, in improvements, in agriculture, and, indeed, in the arts and even elegancies of social and domestic life. Twenty years ago, they were preeminently a degraded people, unchaste, intemperate, and, by consequence, improvident; now they are chaste, not a case of illegitimacy, so far as we could learn, existing among them; temperate, comparing, in this respect, most favorably with the same population, in the same condition of life, in any part of the State, and comfortable, not inferior, in dress, manners, and intelligence, to their white neighbours. These favorable changes, they attribute partly to the division of their lands under the act of 1828, each occupant now holding his land in fee, and not liable to be dispossessed at the pleasure of the guardian, as under the old law, but mainly to the salutary influence exerted over them by their guardian. The result has been, new incentives to industry and economy, arising from an assurance of their rewards, and a love of approbation, and self-respect, which are at once the fruits and the guarantees of progress. Nearly all live in good framed houses, most of them comfortably furnished, and many of them with their "spare room" handsomely carpeted, and adorned with pictures and curiosities collected in the eastern and southern seas. Each family owns and improves from five to thirty or forty acres. Generally they are tolerably well supplied with agricultural implements, and nearly all who live by agriculture have one or more yoke of oxen. The stock of the tribe is as follows: 1 horse, 31 horned cattle, 39 swine, 161 fowls, and 12 sheep. The value of estates, at their own estimates, varies from two hundred to one thousand dollars." "The annual
public income is about eight dollars, arising from the rents of the common lands, and applied to the support of the poor. There are now two paupers, who receive aid from the state, amounting, for the present year, to one hundred and twenty-eight dollars. We have no means of ascertaining the whole amount appropriated by the state to this tribe, as the guardian's account embraces also the appropriations to the Christiantown tribe. Both amounts will be