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bors and myself that I can, and do as little harm as I can help, and trust on God's mercy for the rest.” The old pioneer always kept the respect of red men and white, of friend and foe, for he acted according to his belief. Yet there was one evil to which he was no more sensitive than the other men of his time.
Among his accounts there is an entry recording his purchase, for another man, of a negro woman for the sum of ninety pounds.31 There was already a strong feeling in the Western settlements against negro slavery,32 because of its moral evil, and of its inconsistency with all true standards of humanity and Christianity, a feeling which continued to exist and which later led to resolute efforts to forbid or abolish slave-holding. But the consciences of the majority were too dull, and, from the standpoint of the white race, they were too shortsighted to take action in the right direction. The selfishness and mental obliquity which imperil the future of a race for the sake of the lazy pleasure of two or three generations prevailed; and in consequence the white people of the middle West, and therefore eventually of the Southwest, clutched the one burden under which they ever staggered, the one evil which has ever warped their development, the one danger which has ever seriously threatened their very existence. Slavery must of necessity exercise the most baleful influence upon any slave-holding people, and
31 Do., March 7, 1786.
especially upon those members of the dominant caste who do not themselves own slaves. Moreover, the negro, unlike so many of the inferior races, does not dwindle away in the presence of the white man. He holds his own; indeed, under the conditions of American slavery he increased faster than the white, threatening to supplant him. He actually has supplanted him in certain of the West Indian Islands, where the sin of the white in enslaving the black has been visited upon the head of the wrongdoer by his victim with a dramatically terrible completeness of revenge.
What has occurred in Hayti is what would eventually have occurred in our own semi-tropical States if the slave-trade and slavery had continued to flourish as their short-sighted advocates wished. Slavery is ethically abhorrent to all right-minded men; and it is to be condemned without stint on this ground alone. From the standpoint of the master caste it is to be condemned even more strongly because it invariably in the end threatens the very existence of that master caste. From this point of view the presence of the negro is the real problem; slavery is merely the worst possible method of solving the problem. In their earlier stages the problem and its solution, in America, were one. There may be differences of opinion as to how to solve the problem; but there can be none whatever as to the evil wrought by those who brought about that problem; and it was only the slave-holders and the slavetraders who were guilty on this last count. The
worst foes, not only of humanity and civilization, but especially of the white race in America, were those white men who brought slaves from Africa, and who fostered the spread of slavery in the States and territories of the American Republic.
THE INDIAN WARS, 1784-1787
FTER the close of the Revolution there was
a short, uneasy lull in the eternal border warfare between the white men and the red. The Indians were for the moment daunted by a peace which left them without allies; and the feeble Federal Government attempted for the first time to aid and control the West by making treaties with the most powerful frontier tribes. Congress raised a tiny regular army, and several companies were sent to the upper Ohio to garrison two or three small forts which were built upon its banks. Commissioners (one of whom was Clark himself) were appointed to treat with both the Northern and Southern Indians. Councils were held in various places. In 1785 and early in 1786 utterly fruitless treaties were concluded with Shawnees, Wyandots, and Delawares at one or other of the little forts.1
About the same time, in the late fall of 1785, another treaty somewhat more noteworthy, but equally fruitless, was concluded with the Cherokees at Hopewell, on Keowee, in South Carolina. In
State Department MSS., No. 56, p. 333, Letter of G. Clark, Nov. 10, 1785; p. 337, Letter of G. Clark to R. Butler,
No. 16, p. 293; No. 32, p. 39.
this treaty the Commissioners promised altogether too much. They paid little heed to the rights and needs of the settlers. Neither did they keep in mind the powerlessness of the Federal Government to enforce against these settlers what their treaty promised the Indians. The pioneers along the upper Tennessee and the Cumberland had made various arrangements with bands of the Cherokees, sometimes acting on their own initiative and sometimes on behalf of the State of North Carolina. Many of these different agreements were entered into by the whites with honesty and good faith, but were violated at will by the Indians. Others were violated by the whites, or were repudiated by the Indians as well, because of some real or fancied unfairness in the making. Under them large quantities of land had been sold or allotted, and hundreds of homes had been built on the lands thus won by the whites or ceded by the Indians. As with all Indian treaties, it was next to impossible to say exactly how far these agreements were binding, because no persons, not even the Indians themselves, could tell exactly who had authority to represent the tribes.2 The Commissioners paid little heed to these treaties, and drew the boundary so that quantities of land which had been entered under regular grants, and were covered by the homesteads of the frontiersmen, were declared to fall within the Cherokee line. Moreover, they even undertook to drive all settlers off these lands.
? American State Papers, Public Lands, I, p. 40, vi.