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A Hero and Some Other Folks by William A. Quayle

Parkman shows that the Indian was


Thus

far, those authors have been named who have chronicled the discovery of America, the conquering of the Southern Hemisphere or the Eastern territory of that era known as the United States. This was done to keep a natural movement and logical progress. At this point, however, must be mentioned those voluminous histories of the States and Territories of the Pacific Coast, written by H. H. Bancroft. They are treasure-houses of material for the future historian. Hubert Bancroft has become the historian of the Spanish dominion in the United States, and deserves favorable thought for his wealth of research into archives which might have been lost, or at least less ample with the advance of time. Topography, geography, archaeology. State papers,--all have contributed their quota to him, and he has, after the generous manner of the scholar, contributed to us.

Francis Parkman is a distinguished master in the art of history. His theme is the "American Indian" and the "French Occupancy of America," and he has told a thrilling story. He knows the Indian as no one of our historians has known him, and has told of his noble traits, and his ruthless forays, and his sanguine cruelty. His utter lack of thrift; his feast-and-famine life; his stealth, stolidity, duplicity, and ferocity,--all are rehearsed. To read his record of the Indian is to have much of the glamour thrown around him by James Fenimore Cooper stripped from him incontinently and forever.

The Indian was self-exterminative. He was the assassin of his race, and civilization was impossible so long as the American Indian was dominant; so that those who shed tears over the white man's conquest of the Indian may not well have weighed their cause. The Indian was not the quiet, inoffensive innocent presented in Cuba at its discovery. There were Indians and Indians. Some of them were friendly, peaceful, and kindly; but that this was the character of the American Indian as a whole is totally incorrect. Parkman shows that the Indian was, throughout North America, in his native strength furious in his ferocity, relentless as death, cruel beyond imagination, and occupied a territory he neither cultivated nor attempted to. The Indians were military vagabonds, whose continued control had left America an unpeopled wilderness to this day. Huntsmen and warriors they were; citizens and cultivators and civilizers they were not, and never would have been. Parkman tells the truth as history found them, and those truths are well worth our reading, because in their perusal we pass from sentimentality to reason, and see how this America of our day, rich, cultivated, civilized, and possessed of the largest amount of personal liberty ever vouchsafed to a citizen, is a noble exchange for the thoughtlessness, improvidence, and barbarity which were original holders of this realm. Speaking for myself, no author ever helped me to knowledge of the character of the aborigines of North America as Francis Parkman has done. I see that wild past, and feel it. And he has written the thrilling story of the French attempt to build an empire; and the


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