Civilizing the Savage

From The Order of Her Noodly Appendage
Jump to: navigation, search

In 1609, when the same Captain Smith, dissatisfied with trade negotiations resorted to bluster and threats, Powhatan made the following reply. "I an now old, and must soon die; and the succession must descend, in order, to my brothers, Opitchapan, Opekankamough, and Catataugh, and then to my two sisters, and their two daughters. I wish their experience was equal to mine; and that your love to us might not be less than ours to you. Why should you take by force that from us which you can have by love? Why should you destroy us, who have provided you with food? What can you get by war? We can hide our provisions, and fly into the woods; and then you must consequently famish by wronging your friends. What is the cause of your jealousy? You see us unarmed, and willing to supply your wants, if you will come in a friendly manner, and not with swords and guns, as to invade an enemy. I am not so simple, as not to know it is better to eat good meat, lie well, and sleep quietly with my women and children; to laugh and be merry with the English; and, being their friend, to have copper, hatchets, and whatever else I want, than to fly from all, to lie cold in the woods, feed upon acorns, roots, and such trash, and to be so hunted, that I cannot rest, eat, or sleep. In such circumstances, my men must watch, and if a twig should but break, all would cru out, 'Here comes Captain Smith'; and so, in this miserable manner, to end my miserable life; and, Captain Smith, this might be soon your fate too, through your rashness and unadvisedness. I insist that the gun and swords, the cause of all our jealousy and uneasiness, be removed and sent away."

What does the White man want with war that they can't get with love? The White man doesn't want to be better than they were, they wish to be better than everyone else. They would rather eat acorns when they could have good meat as long as others are starving.

In Tahiti a Missionary Society was about this time set on foot by King Pomare, who at the first meeting of its members reminded the assembled natives how large a portion of their time had hitherto been spent in worshipping idols — how large a part of their property had been consecrated to their false gods — and how many lives had been sacrificed to their honour; and all this, said he, was done for what was no God, being generally nothing more than a piece of wood or a cocoa-nut-husk ! He contrasted how little they were now called upon to give in the service of the true God, with what they used to spend in the service of idolatry, and said, though they had no money, yet they might give pigs, arrow- root, cocoa-nut-oil. and cotton, "to buy money." He insisted, however, that there should be no compulsion — that what was given should be given voluntarily, and that those who did not contribute, should not be evil spoken of on that account.

They say, "The mildness of the climate and the great spontaneous productiveness of the earth, rendered the children of Tahiti and the surrounding islands very independent of their parents, and gave them very roving habits, and in consequence they were under no subjection, and could not be easily collected together for instruction. The same causes produced idleness and indolence among the people generally; for men would not readily work for that of which they felt no need. To create, therefore, among them artificial wants, was found the only means of forming in them habits of industry; and for this purpose the missionaries taught them to make clothes, and hats, and bonnets for themselves, and endeavoured to introduce the cultivation and manufacture of sugar on the islands, as well as of coffee and cotton. These failed at first, from ill-designing Europeans telling the natives that should the sugar-works succeed, people would come from beyond sea, and seize their lands, and make slaves of the natives. Notwithstanding, in the island of Raiatea a spirit of improvement was kindled, and the natives learnt to build themselves neat substantial houses, and numerous articles of furniture; and also built, with the assistance of the missionaries, two bridges of considerable extent, besides making roads, and well-constructed boats in the European fashion. " "idleness and indolence" and yet a large portion of their time had been spent in worshipping idols. Where they doing nothing or were they doing their best to improve their situation? They are pleased that the natives build up the infrastructure not because the native were more capable or happier, but because the natives lost their roving habit and became more dependent; because the natives had more things to loose and more things for the White man to take.