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tended victims rendered all idea of serious resistance impossible. * “While we lay in ambush the Indians performed the last ceremonies which were thought necessary. These chiefly consisted in painting their faces, some all black, some all red, and others with a mixture of the two: and to prevent their hair from blowing into their eyes, it was either tied before and behind, or on both sides, or else cut short all round. The next thing was to make themselves as light as possible for running, which they did by pulling off their stockings and either cutting off the sleeves of their jackets, or rolling them up close to their arm-pits; and though the muskitoes at that time were numerous, yet some of the Indians actually pulled off their jackets and entered the lists quite naked, except their breechcloths and shoes. By the time they had made themselves completely frightful it was near one in the morning; (in the summer solstice and within the arctic circle, therefore it was not dark;) when finding all the Eskimaux quiet in their tents, they rushed forth from their ambuscade and fell upon the poor unsuspecting creatures, unperceived till close at the very eaves of their tents; when they soon began the bloody massacre, while I stood neuter in the rear. The scene was shocking beyond description. The poor unhappy victims were surprised in the midst of their sleep, and had neither time nor power to make any resistance. Men, women, and children, in all upwards of twenty, ran out of the tents stark naked, and endeavoured to make their escape; but the Indians having possession of all the land side, to no place could they fly for shelter. One alternative only remained, that of jumping into the river; but as mone
attempted it, they all fell a sacrifice to Indian bar. barity. The shrieks and groans of the poor expiring wretches were truly dreadful: and my horror was much increased at seeing a young girl, seemingly about eighteen years of age, killed so near me, that when the first spear was stuck into her side she fell down at my feet and twisted round my legs, so that it was with difficulty I could disengage myself from her dying grasps. As two Indian men pursued this unfortunate victim, I solicited very hard for her life; but the murderers made no reply till they had stuck both their spears through her body and transfixed her to the ground. They then looked me sternly in the face, and began to ridicule me by asking if I wanted an Eskimaux wife, and paid not the smallest regard to the shrieks and agony of the poor wretch who was twining round their spears like an eel ! Indeed after receiving much abusive language from them on the occasion, I desired they would dispatch their victim out of her misery. On this request being made, one of the Indians hastily drew his spear from the place where it was first lodged, and pierced it through her breast near the heart. The love of life, however, even in this miserable state was so predominant, that, though this might most justly be called a merciful act to the poor creature, it seemed unwelcome; for though much exhausted by pain and loss of blood, she made several efforts to ward off the friendly blow. My situation, and the terror of my mind at beholding this butchery, cannot easily be conceived, much less described: even at this hour I cannot reflect on the transactions of that horrid day without shedding tears. The brutish manner in which these savages used the bodies they had thus bereaved of life, was so shocking that it would be indecent to describe it: ” &c. (P. 152, &c.) “Among the various superstitious customs of these people it is worth remarking, that after my companions had killed the Eskimaux at the Copper-mine River, they considered themselves in a state of uncleanness, which induced them to practise some very curious and unusual ceremonies. In the first place, all who were absolutely concerned in the murder were prohibited from cooking any kind of victuals, either for themselves or others. Two in the company who had not shed blood were employed as cooks till we joined the women. When the victuals were cooked, all the murderers took a kind of red earth or ochre, and painted all the space between the nose and the chin, and the greater part of the cheeks almost to the ears, before they would taste a bit; and would not drink out of any other dish, or smoke out of any other pipe but their own, and none of the others seemed willing to drink or smoke out of theirs.” (P. 205.) After this full survey of the savage state of society, I shall be satisfied with respect to the pastoral tribes with quoting a very few passages from Mr. Malthus's chapter “Of the Checks to Population among the modern Pastoral Nations.” “The Mahometan Tartars are said to live almost entirely by robbing and preying upon their neighbours as well in peace as in war.” “The Usbecks, who possess as masters the kingdom of Chowarasm, leave to their tributary subjects, the Sarts and Turkmans, the finest pastures of their country, because
their neighbours on that side are too poor or too vi
gilant to give them hopes of successful plunder. Rapine is their principal resource.” The Turkmans are always at war with the Curds and Arabs, who often come and break the horns of their herds, and carry away their wives and daughters.” “Neither the aptitude of the soil, nor the example which they (the Usbecks) have before them, can induce them to change their habits, and they would rather pillage, rob, and kill their neighbours, than apply themselves to improve the benefits which nature so liberally of. fers them.” “And though they are often very illtreated in these incursions, and the whole of their plunder is not equivalent to what they might obtain with very little labour from their lands; yet they choose rather to expose themselves to the thousand fatigues and dangers necessarily attendant on such a life, than apply themselves seriously to agriculture.” “The Mahometan Tartars in general hate trade, and make it their business to spoil all the merchants who fall into their hands. The only commerce that is countenanced is the commerce in slaves. These form a principal part of the booty which they carry off in their predatory incursions, and are considered as a chief source of their riches. Those which they have occasion for themselves, either for the attendance on their herds, or as wives and concubines, they keep, and the rest they sell.” “They justify it as lawful to have many wives, because they say they bring us many children, which we can sell for ready money, or exchange for necessary conveniences. Yet when they have not wherewithal to maintain them, they hold it a piece of charity to murder infants new-born, as also they do such as are sick and past recovery, because they say they free them from a great deal of misery.”—(Sir J. Chardin's Travels). “Under the feeble yet oppressive government of the Turks it is not uncommon for peasants to desert their villages and betake themselves to a pastoral state, in which they expect to be better able to escape from the plunder of their Turkish masters and Arab neighbours.” ".
Thus then we perceive that in the rich islands of the Pacific, in the fertile plains of America, and the productive valleys of Asia, a population probably rather diminishing than increasing in numbers presses against a scanty supply of food derived from a soil whose productive powers are capable, with a very slight exertion of industry, to maintain a rapidly increasing population in comfort and plenty. It is plain too that in many instances the population declines, not from any general deficiency in the actual supply of food, but from the vicious, the cruel, the degraded habits of the people, derived from other causes. And in every instance the absence of cultivation, and of its necessary consequence the increase of subsistence, is to be ascribed altogether to moral causes. The land waits to be solicited, and is prepared to yield abundant returns. Providence is continually accumulating the intimations of its will, by adding misery to misery as the condition of a perseverance in idleness and vice, and as a stimulus to the efforts requisite to escape from them. But man, the creature of habit, prone to evil, and to an increasing deterioration of mind the longer he continues plunged in vicious practices, pertinaciously resists the suggestions of Providence, and frequently perseveres in his resistance till he has almost incapacitated himself as a subject for future amelioration.