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maize, salt, coffee, and sugar. With such a that if he were absent his influence was still supply, and a scanty one of the kind too, I present, and that if danger threatened, it they would go out into the prairie, armed could not and would not come before he with a rifle and pistols, and remain for ten were there to face it. or twelve days, depending for meat on the To the trade of the town this assistance deer they might kill. There was no bill on was of great value, as it enabled the MexiGovernment for their subsistence. Among cans to come from the Rio Grande and to other duties they undertook was that of carry on in security an extensive business. surveying, which in a new country is one of They paid in specie, and the profit derived much importance, but in an Indian country through them was very considerable. of danger. They were then paid by private The Mexican population of San Antonio parties. Now, imagine the excitement it had few occupations. They, as well as would cause in an English colony, that a others, could hardly venture out of town militia force should leave a town liable to unless they were armed. They were, howattack in order to engage in a survey. It ever, more particularly fearful of Indians, would spread consternation among all mili. and they never failed to express their tary authorities. The commander of the anxiety when fairly on the prairie. Their forces would rebuke the officer of militia, amusements were riding and cock-fighting, and report to the governor; the governor and in this last the parish priest always took would concur in the censure, and report to his share, not unfrequently having the church the Colonial-office; a clerk of the Colonial- bell rung on a Sunday afternoon to give office would turn up the corner of the dis- | notice of an assembly at the cockpit; and patch, and express his astonishment; the it would have been impossible to have perSecretary of State would concur with the suaded bim that any person could have felt clerk, and a dispatch would be written con- any sense of impropriety in the proceeding. taining the accumulated opinions of all these | The “Song of the Bell” has recited the functionaries, provincial and imperial. It several events with which its sound is would so violate all notions of military duty ordinarily connected; but cock-fighting is as to be authoritatively denounced. Suppose, not among them. It was sounded also when for instance, that that party of Canadian a tragic event happened, namely, an incurvolunteers which, after the rebellion of 1837, sion of Indians. When on one occasion an was for so many years employed on the alarm of this was given, the Indians came American frontier at the cost of this Govern- galloping like demons past some houses, ment, had rendered any service of this kind killed one man who came to the door of his towards the settlement of the country, how house ignorant of the cause of the clattering shocked the whole community in the colony of horse-hoofs, and then passed out of the and at home would have been! They might town. But at the same time the shrill have appeared at parade, have been confi- shriek of women was heard, and they were dently certain they had no military duty to to be seen dragging their children in haste perform for twelve months coming, have toward the church, and throwing themselves, been seen at regular bours at the bar of the with imploring cries, before the altar. The country gin-shop, their clothes duly inspected bell was rapidly tolled, and every man was at proper intervals, and all would have conscious of its meaning and came armed been reported right, and their intimate into the streets. knowledge of the frontier made an item of Wherever Americans settle, the first pathetic lamentation on their discharge. thing they favor is a school. Though there The greater knowledge they might have were no other than Mexican children to be acquired in aiding surveys or in doing some taught, they had encouraged the formation thing useful would have been represented of a school, which was well attended. The as an encroachment on military duties which Roman Catholic priest had no power to could not be tolerated. And what would interfere with it. The master, however, have been thought if they could have made was a Roman Catholic, who was familiarly no demand on the commissariat ?
known as “ Buffalo," and, as a single fiddler, Under the protection, however, of Colonel might be sometimes seen heading a religious Hayes every man felt secure. They knew procession. That those who speak the clear and copious language of Castile should be such quick and rapid succession as to fill the capable of being orators might be presumed; whole heaven with one continued and and low naturally eloquence would prevail mighty din. Sometimes, so soon as the among the Spanish race, if their institutions rain ceases, hail falls, of such force and size permitted freedom of opinion, received some that it is necessary to raise the blanket illustration from a boy in this school, who covering the head to ward off the sharpness was directed to rise and compliment the of the blow given by the icy pellets. When visitors, an act of civility which he executed the hailstorm passes all is quiet, the stars with much grace and self-possession, and appear, and, lying in a pond of water, you with an almost manly dignity of manner. will sleep soundly until the gray light of
There is no scenery about the town of morning comes. San Antonio to be spoken of, and yet it is. It is strange, but these aquatic beds, not among the few places where, on account of made for invalids, and not apparently saluthe climate, a residence is singularly agree- brious, do not cause rheumatic pains, disease, able. There are no flies, no mosquitoes, and, or physical debility. except when a “norther” blows during its Not far from the San Antonio springs the three days, it is always agreeable-suppo. timber-district ceases, and an irregular rollsing a few hot weeks in summer are not ing prairie, with misgrait trees here and regarded as any drawback. It is certainly | there, is seen ; and here is the home of the not to be compared to the town of Jalapa, Indian, where he wanders, hunts, and dwells on the road to Mexico from Vera Cruz, His hand is against every white man, and where the scenery is grand and magnificent, the white man watches for every sign that and the tropical vegetation of great beauty; | may denote his recent presence. It is a but next to it, as a place of residence, it terrible feud that prevails between them; may advance its claim. It is dry and for both are always prepared for mortal healthy, and there is a charm in the clear- war, and neither expect peace or mercy, ness and freshness of the atmosphere which Pass on a few miles beyond the edge of the it is impossible to describe.
prairie, and from those distant trees, no There are two periods of rain, one in the higher than hedge-rows as they appear on early part of the year, and the other early the rising-ground, the alarm of your presence in June ; that of June is a season of storms, is already spread. A puff of smoke rises and the ground is deluged with water. from them and ascends into the calm sky, These storms come on with great rapidity for some time hardly disturbed in form, but from the north. A long black line may be rising, and by slow degrees attenuating itself seen in the horizon, and after some hours the until it is lost. A second or a third, or wind begins to blow fresh; it is then time another will follow. The out-hunters are to prepare for wbat is coming. At no long warned, and the presence of the white man interval the clouds spread over the whole is told to all the country round. sky, and the storm breaks forth. At night This power of signalizing by smoke shows the sky is suddenly darkened, and every the usual calmness of the atmosphere; and thing becomes invisible ; presently the rain during those seasons when wandering tribes falls in a heavy mass, and lightning, followed of Indians are scouring the country for the by thunder, comes on. As the storm in- buffalo and collecting the winter supplies of creases, the lightning is so incessant as to food, there are few days when such signals keep the forest in a state of continued and may not be effectually given. If by some brilliant illumination ; it seems to be on all sudden accident more than warning is insides, striking among the trees in almost tended, and actual danger prevails, a pile of straight and also in zig-zag forms, so in dry wood, or grass, will be instantly collecttensely bright as to have a metallic lustre, ed and set on fire, and so spread as to throw and as though some palpable and molten up a large and continuous cloud of smoke substance was passing through the air. Nor So it was when a party of Indians, falling do the explosions following this atmospheric in with two white men, attacked and killed conflagration appear to come in distinct them. Shortly afterwards, discovering that order. The reverberation of the sound of some white men were on the trail behind one is confused with that of another, and in them, and others not far off on their right flank, they lighted up a fire and then suc- beyond them the world is hostile, and he is cessfully retreated. Those who alarmed subject to invasion and attack. So, also, on them did not know the Indians were so near, the slightest sense of injustice or of wrong, and it was not until the next day that the he is himself an invader, and carries desad discovery was made of the bodies of the struction against the friends of him who has murdered men.
wronged him. He has no idea of injury Yet notwithstanding the skill of Indians being done by one man and not applauded in making attacks, and in the mode of con- by his companions. If one of another tribe veying distant communications, the civilized injures him, he and his friends all revenge man is their superior in their own arts. themselves against the whole tribe of the Every sign wbich the one practises, the other wrong-doer. This principle of retribution is knows and practises with more than equal the source of his destruction when he comes skill. The fresh trail, almost indistinct, and into collision with the white man. If his to the unpractised eye quite so, will be fol- hunting-grounds are disturbed by some few lowed by the white man with confidence, white men, if one white man commits an and without fault or delay. He knows how | injury, a foray on the white settlements is old it is—whether made a few hours since, determined on, and the burning of houses, whether a day, or whether two days old. the destruction of crops, the slaughter of He knows when it gets fresher, and the unresisting men and helpless women and moment when more precaution is needed. children follows. An alarm is given to the From old camp-fires he will accurately nearest white settlements and every man estimate the numbers of those who made with a horse and rifle is instantly mounted them, and, from the form and arrangement and on the alert. The deepest and most of the encampment, the tribe that has pass- desperate revenge is the predominant desire, ed on. He will accurately infer if it were and the tribe is followed up with fierce and a hunting-party, or one engaged in maraud- vindictive hatred, and is frequently destroying, dignified by the name of a war-party.ed without mercy or compassion. In dangerous places he will ensconce his com- To what certain destruction are such wanpanions in the bushes, and, on an alarm of dering tribes doomed! From the Atlantic his own sentries, will infer from a strung or seaboard to the Mississippi the early tribes an unstrung bow of passing Indians, the have disappeared, and the few Indians that pirouetting of a horse, or from any move- remain in that space of country are only ment indicating care or the absence of similar to small gangs of gipsies. It was watchfulness, his own position, and his se- once thought merciful to remove tribe aster curity or insecurity from attack. On the tribe, the remnants of large bodies, across open prairie he will disturb the Indian the Mississippi ; and Arkansas is the home signs, and confound the march of hostile of many mixed bodies of such immigrants. savages. If he is sometimes surprised, he But the voluntary migration, before forced more frequently surprises. Would that it migration was part of a State policy, must could be added that he is more merciful ! bave been considerable. That remarkable But on this frontier, peace is a period of sus tribe known as the Flatheads was, in 1680, picion. There is no confidence ; and “friend on the banks of the Mississippi. They were ly" Indians may be spoken of, but there is for some time lost, and were rediscovered no friendship but that absence from violence on the coast of the Pacific and on the banks which the fear of superior prowess imposes. of the Columbia river. After the winter The civilized man estimates the effects of stores of the first-known tribes had been certain acts. In his own community he can destroyed there was no security but in a single out a wrong-doer, and the wrong-doer western migration. In the vast plains at is known to be such by all. But he who is the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains · educated in the wilderness has no policy ; | freedom from encroachment existed, and the his powers of communication are limited, buffalo, which is utterly extinguished on and he can only, when thoroughly subdued, this side of the Mississippi, continued in understand that he is not still among say. those distant regions to afford easy means of ages. His violence and brutal passions are, I subsistence. by babit, restrained among his own people, But in how short a time will even the west
ern prairies present no dissimlar aspect of civ- | this representation, though frequent inilized life to that on the east, not long since stances may be given to the contrary, upon covered with the forest! The settlements some western routes on the northern border of Americans were rapidly extending up of Mexico. Here is no truce. It is constant the Missouri when the discovery of Califor- and unvarying hostility on the part of the nia brought many thousands to open roads native tribes, and those signs of amity which in all directions to the Pacific. What had farther to the north are noticed and rebeen the extraordinary excursion of bodies spected are disregarded. Let a white man of few men for the sake of pleasure and watch as sentry, and in the broad daylight curiosity, became the undertaking of masses he may be attacked: indeed, night-attacks of human beings carrying their stock, their very rarely happen. The writer was preshouses, and their food, to establish them- ent when, in the middle of the day, an Inselves in places only a few years since dian approached an out-sentry, and before unknown even to the most daring adven- he was observed had speared him; but the turers. How, before this great inroad of a act was incomplete, for assistance was rennew race, can the hunting tribes exist? They dered and he was saved from being scalped. cannot conform to new customs, or suddenly | The Indian, however, retired in safety. become a fixed population seeking their At another time, three men went a short maintenance from the earth, and antici- distance to pick the fruit of the misgrait pating not merely their own wants but tree, a mimosa plant, similar to a stunted those of domesticated animals. No vio acacia; it bears a long podded fruit, the lence that they hereafter commit will go shell of which is sweet and edible. For unpunished, and sweeping and dreadful horses this fruit is nourishing, and supplies will be the punishment. On one side, their food sufficient to keep them in good condimeans of subsistence will visibly diminish; tion. Among Indians it is pounded up and on the other, they will meet a foe whose kept for their own sustenance. It was when encroachments they cannot check.
going out to gather it, and only a short disWe can draw no analogy from the cases tance from camp, that they were attacked. of islands where an aboriginal population One was instantly killed and scalped ; ancontinues to exist among whites. There the other speared, dying a few days afterwards ; elements of civilization may be taught, and and the third was slightly wounded. These Justice may establish her throne ; but how two last were not scalped, assistance being is law to assume its regular jurisdiction over instantly given them. illimitable districts where no tribunals can Other men were cut off in a similar manbe fixed, and where its ministers can them- ner, and equally suddenly, those by whom selves find neither home nor security ? the blow was struck instantly disappearing;
Those who have traversed these regions and their very presence was unknown exof wildness, placid and beautiful as Nature cept on such murderous events. has made them, so calm and magnificent in Most frequently such attacks are made all their forms, so vast and extensive as to after the night has been rainy. Then, the bow down the sense of human existence to next morning is one of watchfulness, when the very earth, cannot fail to have seen there is an expert commander. Yet the many examples of the painful relation in daring of the savage is remarkable. It had which the red and the white man occupy been a wet night, and the horses were towards each other. Sometimes necessity around the camp. A guard was placed on will make white men exclaim that “they a hill at a short distance overlooking the wished that Indians took prisoners." Hard- camp, with the opportunity of seeing up an ly, however, can a white man separate open valley for nearly the distance of a bimself from his companions without being mile. One horse alone had strayed to near almost certain of attack. Like a cat watch the visible extremity of the valley. It was ing at a hole, patient and enduring, every seen by the owner, and a Mexican in the movement will be observed, though nothing company went out to bring it in. As he is sought or expected but the life and the caught it the cry of Indians was raised. scalp of some man who may stray from his They came down, and, quick as lightning, party. Nor is there any exaggeration in slew and scalped the Mexican and led off the horse. In another instant, the cry of The more frequent occurrence of stam“Stampede !” was heard—a word corrupted, pedes is in the morning. The sun had just from the Spanish of estampédo, (making a risen when the one before alluded to was noise,) but now thoroughly an American raised. The horses were driven off, and the word; for “stampeding,” making “a stam- Indians, at full gallop, were seen shouting pede,” and “such a stampede," with various after them. Not a horse in camp was either qualifications of the expression, meaning saddled or in hand; and as the savages were “ frightening off," are terms in frequent use, mounted, they scoured past, keeping the though adopted only a few years since. loose horses together, and were soon out of Now a stampede, when in the midst of a sight. So soon as it was possible, they were wilderness, and men cannot rely on reach- followed up, but in vain; they had got to so ing any settlement or fort, is an alarming great a distance that, after the most strenand awful event; for the consequences are uous efforts, further pursuit became impracsure to include the death of many persons ticable. Seventy horses were taken; and in a future stage of the journey. These in the midst of a desert some three hundred stampedes occur in these ways: first, all the miles from human habitation, seventy men .animals at night, without any known cause, were reduced to walk, suffering at the time will take fright and gallop off in a herd, from weakness, starvation, and from that tearing up the stakes by which they are painful disease, the scurvy. fastened, if not very strongly fastened; or, This disease of scurvy is rare, but someeven if hobbled, going off in a gallop with times occurs in the prairie. It was occatheir hobbles on; and on such night-frights, sioned by depending for four months on ani. not merely do the horses start away, but mal food alone. The oxen that were driven even the cattle which during the previous had become lean ; all fat on them was gone; day had shown signs of fatigue and seemed and it is for those who have examined the incapable of moving will also gallop off. cause of diseases to explain more accurately These voluntary stampedes merely cause the effect of fat as part of human food than considerable trouble in a morning. There is has hitherto been done. It has been held no possibility of bringing any of the animals that fat and grease are required by the naback at night. Wherever they are disposed tives of northern and colder climes, in order to run, they are left to run. They are sure to supply sufficient carbon to sustain the loss to go very much together, and therefore in of heat from the body; and it has been a morning their trail will be easily traced ; | alledged that such supply in warm climates and when morning comes, though sometimes | is not needed. Now it will be admitted at a distance of a mile to two miles, every that, in the summer months at least, the horse will be found, and the cattle will be heat of the country bordering on the Rio seen nearer home. Nor is it at all unusual Grande, in the latitude of 29 deg., 30 min., to find the oxen, which, in order to check is excessive. The sun burns with scorching their going far, bave been left to graze heat, and parts of the human body exposed yoked in couples, stuck fast among the trees to it during the course of a morning's ride where each, in the struggle to pull off its become blistered, producing afterwards a companion, has firmly fixed itself.
sensation of painful rheumatism, until the The most serious occurrence of this kind cuticle or external skin becomes loosened, is when the Indians cause it, for then the land peels off. animals are irrecoverably lost. This they The face is differently affected; but a few do by noises, by shrill cries, or by a blazing hours' exposure produces this blistering on pitch stick. There is no power whatever to the legs, and more especially the neck, the check or to control horses, cattle, or mules. back of the neck, and the parts between the All are filled with a common panic. They shoulders. From this, therefore, the heat tear away from their fastenings, and the may be inferred. But what food, even at ground shakes with their tramp. The loss this season, is most desired ? It may excite which this causes is fatal to any expedition. I laughter, but the great object is to obtain On some routes it is most carefully guarded | an unbounded quantity of grease and fat. against ; on others, the negligence of it is However delicately a man may have been astonishing.
| brought up, the desire to obtain fat is irre