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The heads of these "wampum" strings had another use: they served for money, and a certain number of them would buy a bushel of corn. But the Indian rarely needed these beads for this purpose. The forest supplied him and his family with food, clothes, and medicine. Under such circumstances a pocket full of money would have been as useless to him as to a bear.
36. Social Condition of the Indians; "Totems." The Indian had less liberty than the white man. He was bound by customs handed down from his forefathers; he could not marry as he pleased; he could not sit in whatever seat he chose at a council; he could not even paint his face any color he fancied, for a young man who had won no honors in battle would no more have dared to decorate himself like a veteran warrior than a private soldier in the United States army would venture to appear at parade in the uniform of a major general.
Each clan had a "totem" or badge, to designate it. The "totem" was usually the picture of a squirrel, crow, or some other wild creature. Among the Iroquois the figures of the Bear, Turtle, and Wolf were the coats-of-arms of the "first families" of the Indian aristocracy. The "totem" was also used as a mark on gravestones and as a seal. When the United States sells a piece of land to a western farmer, it stamps the deed with the government seal, so when an Indian sold a tract of land to a white man, he marked the deed with a rude representation of the "totem" or great seal of his tribe.
37. Indian Religion; Indian Character. The Indian usually believed in a "Great Spirit" -- all-powerful, wise, and good; but he also believed in many inferior spirits, some good and some evil.
Often he worshiped the evil spirits most. He said: The Great Spirit will not hurt me, even if I do not pray to him, for he is good; but if I don't pray to the evil spirits, they may get mad and do me mischief.
Beyond this life the Indian looked for another. There the brave warrior who had taken many scalps would enter the happy hunting grounds; there demons would flog the coward to never-ending tasks.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
It has sometimes been said that "the only good Indian is a dead Indian"; but judged by his own standard of right and wrong, the red man was conscientious. He would not steal from his own tribe; he would not lie to his friends; he never became a drunkard till the white man taught him.
38. The Indian's Self-Control; Torturing Captives; Respect for Courage. The Indian rarely expressed his feelings in words, but he frequently painted them on his face in red, black, or yellow paint. You could tell by his color whether he meant peace or war, whether he had heard good news or bad. He sometimes laughed and shouted; he seldom, if ever, wept. From childhood he was
STARK RUNNING THE GANTLET
taught to despise pain. A row of little Indian boys would sometimes put live coals under their naked arms and then press them close to their bodies. The game was to see which one would first raise his arms and drop the coal. The one that held out longest became the leader. If an Indian boy met with an accident, and was mortally wounded, he scorned to complain; he sang his "death song" and died like a veteran warrior.
The Indians either adopted their captives or tortured them. They liked to see how much agony a captive could bear without crying out. The surest way for a prisoner to save his life was to show that he was not afraid to lose it. The red man never failed to respect courage.
When General Stark of New Hampshire was taken prisoner by the Indians (1752), he was condemned to run the gantlet.
THE INDIAN AND THE WHITE MAN
Two long rows of stalwart young warriors were formed. Each man had a club or stick to strike Stark as he passed. But Stark was a match for his tormentors. just as he started on the terrible race for life he snatched a club out of the hands of the nearest Indian, and knocking down the astonished savages right and left, he escaped almost unhurt. The old men of the tribe, who stood near, roared with laughter to see the spruce young warriors sprawling in the dust. Instead of torturing Stark, they treated him as a hero.
39. The Indian and the White Man; what the White Man learned from him. The Indian was a treacherous and cruel enemy, but a steadfast friend.
He would return good for good, but he knew nothing about returning good for evil; on the contrary, he always paid bad treatment by bad treatment and never forgot to add some interest. If he made a treaty he kept it sacredly; it is said that in no instance can it be proved that he was first to break such an agreement. Those of the early white settlers who made friends with the red man had no cause to regret it.
The Indian's school was the woods. Whatever the woods can teach that is useful, -- and they can teach much, -- that he learned. He knew the properties of every plant, and the habits of every animal. The natives taught the white man many of these things and helped him to get fish and furs; but the most useful thing they taught the European settlers was how to raise corn in the forest without first cutting down the trees.
They showed them how to kill the trees by burning or girdling them. Then, when the leaves no longer grew, the sun would shine on the soil and ripen the corn. There were times in the history of the early settlements of white men when that knowledge saved them from starvation, for often they had neither time nor strength to clear the soil for planting.
40. Influence of the Indians on the Early History of the Country. But we shall see that the contact between the red men and the white men had influences in other ways. Sometimes the red men and the white settlers made covenants of friendship and
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
agreed to help each other fight; for instance, the Iroquois Indians in New York state agreed to help the English fight the Canadian French. By doing so, they enabled the English to keep possession of the Hudson River. If the Canadian French could have got that river, they might have separated the English colonists in New England from those in Pennsylvania and Virginia and so have got the control of a large part of the Atlantic coast.
Finally, the Indian wars prevented the English from scattering over the country. These contests forced the white men to stand by each other, and thus trained them for union and for independence.
41. Effects of the Discovery of America on Europe. What, now, were the effects of the discovery of the New World on Europe? They may be summed up as follows:
1. There was a sudden and immense increase of geographical knowledge. That made it necessary to construct an entirely new map of the globe. That map showed what no other ever had -- the continents of North and South America and the Pacific Ocean.
2. The New World invited new enterprise: it offered vast regions to be explored and conquered. Spain, Portugal, France, and England began to plan western empires beyond the Atlantic. These plans gave rise to a struggle for the mastery, and to important and decisive wars, especially between England and France. Men of every rank turned their attention to America, -- some sought wealth, others political power, others a refuge from religious or political oppression. Here was room and opportunity for all.
3. The discovery of the precious metals in Mexico and South America had far-reaching effects. Before those mines were found there had often been great scarcity of gold and silver in Europe. But the treasure Spain obtained from America enabled her monarchs to equip armies, build palaces, and make public improvements of all kinds. Thus the riches which poured in from the New World gave a great impulse to the life of the Old World.
WHAT AMERICA DID FOR EUROPE
4. Intercourse with America had an immense influence on trade and navigation. Before Columbus sailed, the commerce of Europe was confined chiefly to the Mediterranean. Then little vessels crept cautiously along the shore, peddling out their petty cargoes from port to port. But now men began to build large and strong ships, fit to battle with Atlantic storms, and ocean commerce commenced. Trade took its first great step toward encircling the globe.
5. New products were obtained from America. We gave Europe Indian corn,1 the tomato, the turkey, and the potato, for which tens of thousands of half-fed European laborers were grateful.
We also gave the people of Europe such luxuries as cocoa and tobacco, and such drugs, dyestuffs, and valuable woods and gums as Peruvian bark, cochineal, logwood, mahogany, and india rubber.
6. Before the discovery of America sugar, cotton, rice, and coffee, when used at all, were imported by Europe from the Indies.
But these things were then so costly that only the rich could afford to use them. Now they were either rediscovered in America, or transplanted here. In time they became cheap and plentiful, so that even the poor of the Old World came to regard them as necessaries of life.
7. But the discovery of America had still greater results, for it made men's minds grow larger because it compelled them to think of a much larger world than they had ever thought of in the past. The voyage to America was like a journey to another planet. it made the people of Europe acquainted with a new race -- the Indians -- and with new animals, new plants, new features of nature, new fields of enterprise. Everybody felt that America meant opportunity. That was a wonderful thought. It filled the minds and hearts of men with new hope, with new courage, and it stimulated them to undertake what they would not have dared to do before.
1 Maise, or Indian corn, if not first introduced to Europe front America, was first practically introduced from here; so, too, was india rubber.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
42. Summary. The period embraced in this section covers the greater part of a century. In it we have three classes of discoveries and explorations:
1. Those of the Spaniards; these were confined to the south. They comprised Florida, the Pacific, the Mississippi River, Mexico, and part of the country north and east of it.
2. Those of the French; these related to the river St. Lawrence and to expeditions to the eastern coast of Florida and vicinity.
3. Those of the English; these included explorations in the north, those of Drake on the Pacific, but, more important than all, those sent out by Raleigh to Virginia.
We have followed the Spanish expeditions of Ponce de Leon, Balboa, Cortez, De Soto, and Coronado. We have witnessed the struggle between the French and the Spaniards for the possession of Florida, and have seen it end with the triumph of the Spaniards and the founding of St. Augustine (1565), the oldest town in the United States.
On the other hand, we have seen that the English expeditions of Frobisher, Davis, and Gilbert, with Raleigh's attempts to establish a colony in Virginia, all failed, and that the country was left in 1600 with no white occupants but the Spaniards, who seemed destined to keep all of America to themselves.
Finally, we have compared the physical geography of America with that of Europe, considered the effects of the contact of the white men and the Indians, and have set forth the important results of the discovery of America on Europe.