The Indian Massacres in Minnesota.
There is manifestly a strong disposition in the East to underestimate the horrible results of the late India massacres in Minnesota, and to influence the Government to exercise lenity in the punishment of the savage perpetrators of those outrages. There can be no objection to the appeal for lenity when it is based on just grounds, but when it is accompanied by innuendoes, aimed at the unfortunate sufferers of savage truculense and cruelty, it does gross injustice to the people of Minnesota, and is calculated to excite a bitterness and rancor of feeling which would be most unfortunate. Of this class are the following paragraphs from the Boston Daily Evening Traveler:
The number of white persons killed by the Indians in Minnesota and Dacotah is put at one thousand, probably an exageration, and meant to be used in justification of a massacre of the aborigines.
In Minnesota they call loudly for the destruction of the Indians, but Government will not listen to the bloody demand. Only the chiefs of the three hundred Indians condemned to death, are to be executed. These three hundred, after all, have done no more, though not doing it so well than was done by the three hundred persons who lost their lives and won immortality at Thermopyke.
What estimate the editor of the Traveler may have of the provocation these Indians have received which induces him to compare them with Leonidas and his Land of Spartans, at Thermopyke, bravely sacrificing their lives in the attempt to protect their country from the invasion of a foreign foe, he does not explain more clearly. There is a degree of cold-blooded inhumanity in the conduct of one who sits in security at a distance form the scene of these savage barbarities, and sneers at the defenseless women and children who were the victims that is anything but pleasant to contemplate. We cannot but believe that the apparently heartless comments of the Traveler were made without due consideration, or are based on a totally unjust conception of the subject.
From all we have been able to learn, we are forced to the belief that the recent Indian outrages in Minnesota have been without any just provocation, and have probably been fomented by evil and designing men, operating upon the credulity of the Indians themselves. The citizens who have been sufferers from these outrages, in the losses of their families and friends, feel that this last outbreak may be directly traced to the Spirit Lake massacre, in Northwestern Iowa, some six weeks ago. That was permitted to go unpunished, and they argue that, if the more recent outbreak is permitted to go unpunished also, scarcely any restraint upon the murderous proclivities of the Indians of the Northwest will remain. They feel the utmost solicitude on account of the future safety of themselves and families. In the spirit of revenge, rather than justice, they may demand a punishment that is too sweeping. But there is reason to believe that wholesale pardon would be as much of a mistake as wholesale and indiscriminate punishment.
The following special dispatch, from Washington, to the Missouri Democrat, has reference to this subject:
Senator Wilkinson, of Minnesota, arrived here to-day, and had an interview with the President and Commissioner Dole with regard to the punishment of the Indians concerned in the recent massacres, and condemned to death by military authorities. He is understood to protest a rongly against the efforts being made, by Quakers and others, to have the Indians pardoned, and to insist that nothing but hanging the ring leaders will give any security for the good conduct of the Indians in future. It is suggested that the President is likely to adopt a middle course of executing sentence on a dozen or so of the worst cases, and pardoning the remainder.