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Constitution of the Indian Mind

American History, Volume I: Aboriginal America (New York: Sheldon, 1860)


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258 CONSTITUTION AND CHARACTER

dwelt on the Atlantic coast at the time, of the first settlement of the country, represents them as exceedingly grave and stolid in all their deportment, and possessing very little sensibility of any kind. Their power to endure hunger, cold, and fatigue was surprising. This power was doubtless, in a great degree, acquired by habit, and much of their apparent insensibility was due to a feeling prevalent among them that it was weak and un- manly to complain. Still there seemed to be something in their physical constitution which gave them a greater power of endurance than belongs to the Caucasian race. They felt cold and hunger, and the pain of wounds, much less, and could consequently endure much more, with the same exercise of fortitude, than other men.

Indeed, we might have been almost certain tha this would be so. The same kind and watchful Providence which gives the eagle his astonishing extent of vision, in order that he may have power to survey the vast field over which he is to seek his food, and enables the polar bear to sleep in comfort on a floor of ice where mercury would freeze, would surely not impart a delicate sensibility to the organization of a man who was to live by seeking his food in the winter in a howling forest, with a certainty of often passing days with-



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