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[38] upon the frontier fringe of our civilization. Novelists like Cooper, historians like Parkman, poets like Longfellow, have dealt with the rich material offered by the life of the aborigines, but the long series begins with the scribbled story of colonists. Here are comedy and tragedy, plain narratives of trading and travel, missionary zeal and triumphs; then the inevitable alienation of the two races and the doom of the native.

The “noble savage” note may be found in John Rolfe, the husband of Pocahontas, with whom, poor fellow, his “best thoughts are so intangled and enthralled.” Other Virginians, like Smith, Strachey, and Percy, show close naturalistic observation, touched with the abounding Elizabethan zest for novelties. To Alexander Whitaker, however, these “naked slaves of the devil” were “not so simple as some have supposed.” He yearned and labored over their souls, as did John Eliot and Roger Williams and Daniel Gookin of New England. In the Pequot War of 1637 the grim settlers resolved to be rid of that tribe once for all, and the narratives of Captain Edward Johnson and Captain John Mason, who led in the storming and slaughter at the Indians' Mystic Fort, are as piously relentless as anything in the Old Testament.

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