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[438] was no judge or jury to try him, while the Indian must be shot by the soldiers, without trial, for trying to protect himself from murder. If the innocent could be separated from the guilty, ‘plague, pestilence, and famine’ would not be an unjust punishment for the crimes committed in this country against the original occupants of the soil. And it should be remembered that when retribution comes, though we may not understand why, the innocent often share the fate of the guilty. The law under which nations suffer for their crimes does not seem to differ much from the law of retribution which governs the savage Indian.

No possible plea of the demands of civilization, or of the interests of a superior race, can be held to justify such a policy as that long pursued by the people of this country. The natural law of the ‘survival of the fittest’ may doubtless be pleaded in explanation of all that has happened; but that is not a law of Christianity, nor of civilization, nor of wisdom. It is the law of greed and cruelty, which generally works in the end the destruction of its devotees. In their greedy and blind pursuit of their own prey, they lose sight of the shark that is waiting to devour them. It is still the ‘fittest’ that survives. It were wiser to remember that the shark is always well armed, and if you would survive him you must be fitter than he. If the benign law of civilization could be relied upon always to govern, then all would be well. But so long as the sharks still live, the cruel law of nature cannot be ignored. The highest principles and the highest wisdom, combined, would seem to suggest the higher law as the rule of action toward the weaker, and the natural law as the rule for defense against the stronger. This country has, happily, already made some progress in both directions. If that is continued a few more years, then all, strong as well as weak, will be glad to ‘arbitrate’ if we ask them to.

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