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This miserable policy and practice of the Company for domestic life of course had their influence within the territory of the United States on the wild border, and facts in this line, therefore, must not surprise us. In 1842 a band of one hundred and thirtyseven persons from the States passed this same Fort Hall for Oregon. There were in it men, women, and children, adventurers and missionaries, both Protestant and Catholic. Of this company twenty-five of the men had native wives.
Long before this, such a social condition had become the common order on the Illinois. “The early French on the Illinois were remarkable for their talent of ingratiating themselves with the warlike tribes around them, and for their easy amalgamation in manners and customs and blood.”2
When in Wyoming in 1885, one town of sixty families was pointed out to me in which one fourth of the families were of mixed blood.
In July, 1701, Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, under the order of Louis XIV., founded Detroit. To secure population he encouraged his soldiers to marry the Indian girls. He had prepared for this by settling the Miamis, Pottawatomies, Hurons, and Ottawas in the close vicinity of Port Detroit. He made an eminent success of his plan. In 1837 Judge John W. Edmonds, appointed by President Jackson to pay off the Pottawatomies for their lands, found that fully one half of them bore French names, or were classed distinctively as half-breeds. Many of the Detroit half-breeds rose in civilization, and to high social and civil positions, and founded some of the most influential families in Michigan in the second and third generations.3
“The Fond du Lac tribe consists of forty-five men, sixty women, and two hundred and forty children. There are about thirty of the half-breed, and three freemen, who have families. They are Canadians married to Indian women, living entirely with the Indians, and are not engaged to the Company, by whom, as well as by the Indians, they are considered a great nuisance, being forever exciting broils and disturbances.” 4
"In this place [Fort Brown), on both sides of the mouth of Fox River, are about eighty families, some say less, principally French, — all the married men but one connected with Indian
1 Barrows' Oregon, p. 149.
cess Pocahontas. And it comes into the romance of history that Theodoric Bland, great-grandson of Pocahontas, poet, scholar, and patriot, was one of the committee of five, on the part of the House, to receive Washington on the New Jersey shore as he journeyed from Mount Vernon to New York to take his inauguration oath and first place in our long line of Presidents. Bancroft has well said of the marriage of Rolfe and Pocahontas that “ she stammered before the altar her marriage vows, according to the rites of the English service,” and that “ distinguished men trace from it their descent." She was admired in England, and made a social ornament at court when Lady Delaware presented her. A similar treatment of other American princesses of the forest would have left a nobler, record for our Christian States, and for our civilization which historians will discount at no flattering per cent. “Many a descendant of Pocahontas has been prouder of his lineage than the nobly born in other lands; and hereafter, no doubt, men of the Southwest will love to reckon among their ancestry some godly and large-hearted Indian.”i And this despite the low white ancestry that usually introduces the first generation of half-breeds.
“When the tide of emigration sets strong towards the wilderness occupied by the native tribes, a large proportion of the most lawless and worthless part of the population is carried in advance of the older settlements, like driftwood upon a swollen river. Hence it is almost impossible for the civil authorities to restrain acts of lawless violence in such persons on the extreme confines of civilization.”2
In speaking of the remnants of Indians in Massachusetts in 1820, Dr. Morse says: “The number of pure-blooded Indians is extremely small, say fifty or sixty, and is rapidly decreasing. The mixture of blood arises far more frequently from connection with negroes than with whites.” 3
In connection with these remarks on Indians in Massachusetts, Dr. Morse speaks of those in Rhode Island, and gives their number as four hundred and twenty-nine, “ nearly all, if not every individual, of mixed blood and color in various degrees and shades.” And this is the last of the Narragansetts, the tribe which was such a terror to the colonists and to the surrounding Indian tribes. Dr. Bacon, in his “Genesis,” page 357, gives the estimate of their number in 1622 at 30,000.
1 American Board Report, 1853, p. 22.