The Author’s Observations and Reflections
By Richard C. Adams
The Views of Life Hereafter
The Indian’s faith hath taught him
That beyond this life on earth,
A paradise is waiting
For those who prove their worth;
There a happy hunting ground
Abounds with fish and game,
And only those can enter
That do his faith proclaim.
The Moslem has a Heaven
Where maidens wait with glee,
With flowers and caresses
to deck him eternally.
and in this blissful Haven
Are harems set apart
For each one of the faithful
With maidens true in heart.
The white man has a Heaven
For those who heed the laws,
And threatens with dire vengeance
All who deny his cause;
But to make Heav’n enticing,
His fellow men are told,
The very streets of Heaven
Are paved with bricks of gold.
So each and every nation,
From every clime and zone,
Does picture out their Heaven
With visions of their own;
But all expect those pleasures
Their hearts do most desire,
And the less they are deserving
Their rewards will be the higher.
But I myself feel doubtful
As to what there may be,
Where space is without limit
And time eternity;
Where spheres without number,
Driven by a force unknown,
Explored by immortal spirits
Who knows, perhaps, our own.
Are we, then, here receiving,
While in this mortal life,
A kindergarten lesson
To prepare us for the strife;
Where chances will be boundless,
And pleasures all depend,
Upon how much we profit
By the lessons at this end?
And when we cross the river
Where God’s judgment may decree,
That we shall fill such places
As our values there shall be?
And in the scale of justice
That is held by Him above,
Will there be virtue equal
to true brotherhood and love?
The Secret of the Eyes
Of all the secrets I would know,
There’s none I’d prize so high
As that which could be told to me
By friend’s or stranger’s eye;
But could they tell me, if they would,
The reason how and why,
There is an understanding shown
In glances of the eye?
Have we in other spheres or times
Lived, loved, and then grown cold,
And through the eyes do recognize
Acquaintance of the soul?
While though as strangers now we meet,
We knew each other well,
And recognize that instantly
But when we can not tell.
Some strangers whom I meet at times
Have eyes that seem to say,
“I’ve known you always, even though
We’ve only met today.”
While others whom I’ve always known,
And bound by friendship’s ties,
Do seem to ask me who I am,
When I look in their eyes.
And then we find some other eyes
Repulsive to our view,
While they are strangers to us, though,
We feel we know them, too;
And oft we hate them at first sight,
What can the reason be?
Have they wronged us in times gone by
And do this wrong we see?
And some we’ve known through all our lives,
Their eyes so questioning are.
Are they then seeking for a soul,
Now is some distant star?
And questioning all that come along,
That soul, where can it be?
Or waiting, sighing for the time
When it shall yet be free.
And when from bondage of this life,
At last it soars away,
Will this attraction draw it on
To where those spirits play,
That loved each other in this life
Or at some other time,
And will the meeting of them be
Their happiness sublime?
Can you tell me the reason why
Some eyes responsive are
To some, while others in them see
A blank and vacant stare?
Do our souls hold a secret, then,
They can not, will not, tell,
But can not hide from certain souls
That share it just as well?
(Indian name of Delaware Indians, meaning “Men of Men.”)
While the blood of proud ancestors
Still courses in the vein,
And our souls glow with ambition,
Our position to regain
That in wealth and honor equalled,
Once our people standing, when
All the tribes and nations knew them
By the title “Men of Men.”
Still we feel our nation’s weakness,
As we see the great array
Of the grasping, surging numbers
Stand defiant in our way,
With designs of every manner,
Some e’en posing as a friend.
Oh! my people, we must rally
For the title “Men of Men.”
It is said of our ancestors,
Who were warriors brave and true,
(As our record keepers tell it
I relate it now to you),
That in strife and battle always
Each would on himself depend,
While they always stood together—
Thus the title “Men of Men.”
And from youth they were in training
Eager, faithful each to learn,
All the arts of craft and warfare,
That a title each might earn.
So today in bloodless battle
The strife is raging fierce as then,
And each should train his mind and muscle,
To keep the title “Men of Men.”
You have often heard it spoken,
Fifty men with hearts all true
Can repel a host of foemen,
If they only dare to do.
So if now we stand together,
As our rights we do defend,
Then the world in speaking of us
Still will call us “Men of Men.”
I have traveled o’er the country that once was our domain,
Saw the rivers and the mountains, the broad and fertile plain,
Where the Indian chased the buffalo, the antelope, and deer,
When the smoke from Indian wigwams arose from far and near;
Saw the lovely Susquehanna, where our council fire would burn,
And all the tribes and warriors would gather there to learn
The wise teachings of our chieftains and their traditions old,
And to tell it to their children as to them it had been told.
Once, many thousand moons ago, to the dancing house there came
All the tribes and warriors from the forest, hill, and plain;
And while they were assembled there a young man rose to say,
The Manitou had shown him in a vision on that day
From afar a huge canoe, with pinions spreading wide,
Coming o’er the waters from across the sunrise side;
And in that huge canoe were people strange of dress,
All were armed as warriors, thought they peacefulness professed.
They told them of their God, “who came and died for men,”
And they were messengers from Him to save them from their sin.
But first, they said, they must have land, and thus a home prepare.
Then they would teach them truth, and Heaven with them share.
The young man to the warriors old his vision further told,
And prophesied that from that day these strangers would grow bold;
That each would have a different creed to teach a different tribe,
And when one told another each would think the other lied.
The young man for his people lamented loud and long;
He saw the friendship broken that always had been strong;
Dissension, war, and trouble, their happiness succeed,
Tribes rise against each other, their warriors die and bleed.
At last, their faith all shattered, home, game, and country gone,
Dejected, broken-hearted, he saw them westward roam.
The Manitou was sorrowful that they should faithless be,
And now where is the Heaven the stranger promised thee?”
The Course of Events
And some of the young warriors did live to see the day,
When across the sea from sunrise, with pinions flying gay,
Came great canoes with strangers who soon did boldly land,
And with a friendly gesture, extended the glad right hand.
Forgetful of the warning, they received them all as friends,
And made the sacred pledges to share with them their lands.
The Indians, true and faithful, their promise did fulfill,
And eager sought the teachings of the white man’s God and will.
The white man gave his promise, they would lead us on to light,
And “in Heaven we’ll be rewarded” they say, for doing right;
For there the Bible teaches “our treasures we should store;”
“If our rights are there established, we need for nothing more.
And Christians will gladly show us the path the pilgrims trod,
“That leads unto eternal joy in paradise with God.”
So we gave close attention to their actions, one by one,
And this, as we have found, is part that they have done.
The Indians’ Version
They took with pious gratitude the land that was our own,
They killed the buffalo and deer and drove us from our home!
Some of our people plead with them, our country to retain,
While others did contest our rights with arms, but all in vain.
with sorrow, grief, and suffering, we were forced at last to go
From the graves of our forefathers to a land we did not know.
But this was now guaranteed to us, “as long as water shall run,”
Yet on they pushed us, on and on toward the setting sun!
“And this will be the last move,” they tell us, if we go;
“You will hold the country this time as long as grass shall grow,
“For the good Great Father’s promise is a very sacred pledge,
“And to all his children does he give the greatest privilege;”
That is, to all children he adopts from every race of man,
Except the rightful owners of this broad and bounteous land!
They must in meek submission bow unto the hand of might,
To them the courts of law were barred, they can make no legal fight!
And when the Indian to the white man makes complaint about his land,
He is told with solemn gestures, “Seek the Government – not the man.
“He will be your good, great father and adopt you as his child,
“He knows better what you need, and will protect you all the while,”
But the father was forgetful of his foster children’s care,
So the Indian, thus discouraged, finds relief not anywhere.
Will a nation for its actions have to pass the judgment bar,
Or will God excuse the people, if the deeds the nation’s are?
If the Indian seeks the Government, there his grievance to relate,
He must first obtain permission from those who rule the State!
If his rights are there denied him and at attorney he would seek,
He is sternly then reminded that he has not right to speak!
“For under section so and so, which guides your legal move,
“You see no attorney can appear for you, except if we approve;
“And if, in our opinion, your claim does not adhere
“To the interests of the public, then your cause we can not hear.”
“This is a Christian nation,” they oft’ with pride maintain,
And even on their money their faith they do proclaim.
And none can hold an office here in this Christian land,
Unless he believes in Heaven and the future state of man.
In every town are churches, God’s word is everywhere,
E’en legislation, good or bad, begins each day with prayer.
“This is the home of freedom, where justice rules the land!
“And all (save Indian people) their rights may here demand!”
The foreigner from
Has the right to sit in Congress’
halls and legislation plan!
Turning the treaty records o’er, in the first that comes to view,
I see this gracious Government guaranteed these rights to you,
And why you’re treated as children, or ruled with an iron hand,
Nor allowed to be politically free, is more than I understand,
Unless it be “in Heaven you are to find your treasures dear,”
And your pious Christian teachings are to take “their treasures” here.
When on the day of judgment, their records there to see,
As God turns o’er the pages, who will the braver be?
For one is just a savage, his simple faith applies;
The other one, a white man, very highly civilized.
And should they be together long enough to treat,
Do you suppose the white man the Indian there would cheat?
Or if the chance is given when the judgment’s handed down,
Would the white man take his Heaven or the Indians’ Hunting Ground?
Why should we be a separate people, the target of every man?
We, who owned this country once, should be right in the van.
No one without objections raise, and sure Congress can
Declare all Indians vested with the rights of every man;
And grant us prompt permission to prove our every claim,
And pay us the obligations the Government has made in vain.
Then to our oppressors will we prove, who deny our right to live,
That Indians will make good citizens, if to them a chance you give.
Let the Indian have some duties, treat him as a worthy man;
Give him a voice in the elections, give him title to his land;
Give him place of trust and honor, let him feel this yet his home;
Let him use his mind and muscle, let his actions be his own;
Pay him what is justly due him, let your Government be his, too,
He will battle with each problem just as faithfully as you.
One who proves himself a warrior, and of danger knows no fear,
Surely can find ways to master each new problem that draws near.