natural relation of the aborigines of America
before whom they have fled.
‘We are men,’ said the Illinois
After illustrating the weaknesses of the Wyandots, Brebeuf
adds, ‘They are men.’
The natives of America
were men and women of like endowments with their more cultivated conquerors; they have the same affections, and the same powers; are chilled with an ague, and burn with a fever.
We may call them savage, just as we call fruits wild; natural right governs them.
They revere unseen powers; they respect the nuptial ties; they are careful of their dead: their religion, their marriages, and their burials, show them possessed of the habits of humanity, and bound by a federative compact to the race.
They had the moral faculty which can recognize the distinction between right and wrong; nor did their judgments of relations bend to their habits and passions more decidedly than those of the nations whose laws justified, whose statesmen applauded, whose sovereigns personally shared, the invasion of a continent to steal its sons.
If they readily yielded to the impetuosity of selfishness, they never made their own personality the centre of the universe.
They were faithless treaty-breakers; but, at least, they did not exalt falsehood into the dignity of a political science, or scoff at the supremacy of justice as the delusive hope of fools; and, if they made every thing yield to self-preservation, they never avowed their interest to be the first law of international policy.
They had never risen to the conceptions of a spiritual religion, out as between the French
and the natives, the latter —such is the assertion of St. Mary of the Incarnation— had even a greater tendency to devotion.
Under the instructions of the Jesuits, they learned to swing censers,