The Removal of the Cherokee Nation: Manifest Destiny or National Dishonor?

By Louis Filler; Allen Guttmann | Go to book overview

Frances Trollope:


THE TYRANNICAL ARM OF BRUTAL POWER

Frances Trollope, the mother of novelist Anthony Trollopeand herself the author of some fifty novels, is best known today as the author of a caustic and widely read book entitled The Domestic Manners of the Americans ( 1832). Coming to Americafrom England, Mrs. Trollopefailed in business (a shop in Cincinnati) but succeeded in travel. She saw a great deal of America and liked very little of what she saw.

WE were at Washington at the time that the measure for chasing the last of several tribes of Indians from their forest homes, was canvassed in Congress, and finally decided upon by the fiat of the president. If the American character may be judged by their conduct in this matter, they are most lamentably deficient in every feeling of honour and integrity. It is among themselves, and from themselves, that I have heard the statements which represent them as treacherous and false almost beyond belief, in their intercourse with the unhappy Indians. Had 1, during my residence in the United States, observed any single feature in their national character that could justify their eternal boast of liberality and the love of freedom, I might have respected them, however much my taste might have been offended by what was peculiar in their manners and customs. But it is impossible for any mind of common honesty not to be revolted by the contradictions in their principles and practice. They inveigh against the governments of Europe, because, as they say, they favour the powerful and oppress the weak. You may hear this declaimed upon in Congress, roared out in taverns, discussed in every drawing-room, satirized upon the stage, nay, even anathematized from the pulpit: listen to it, and then look at them at home; you will see them with one hand hoisting the cap of liberty, and with the other flogging their slaves. You will see them one hour lecturing their mob on the indefeasible rights of man, and the next driving from their homes the children of the soil, whom they have bound themselves to protect by the most solemn treaties.

In justice to those who approve not this treacherous policy, I will quote a paragraph from a New-York paper, which shows that there are some among them who look with detestation on the

____________________
Mrs. Frances Trollope, "The Tyrannical Arm of Brutal Power," from Domestic Manners of the Americans ( London: Whittacker, Treacher & Co., 1832), pp. 180-181.

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