Chapter 3: first Flights in authorship
It is interesting to know that twice, during his college days, Longfellow
had occasion to show his essentially American feeling; first, in his plea for the Indians on an Exhibition Day, and again, more fully and deliberately, in his Commencement Oration on ‘Our Native Writers.’
On Exhibition Day,—a sort of minor Commencement,—he represented, in debate, an American Indian, while his opponent, James W. Bradbury
, took the part of an English emigrant.
The conclusion of the exercise summed up the whole, being as follows:—
Is it thus you should spurn all our offers of kindness, and glut your appetite with the blood of our countrymen, with no excuse but the mere pretence of retaliation?
Shall the viper sting us and we not bruise his head?
Shall we not only let your robberies and murders pass unpunished, but give you the possession of our very fireside, while the only arguments you offer are insolence and slaughter?
Know ye, the land is ours until you will improve it. Go, tell your