Narratives of Exploration and Adventure

By John Charles Frémont; Allan Nevins | Go to book overview
and comprehend the results of the differing influences brought to bear upon them. Here in the Cherokee country, as in different regions afterward, I saw how their differing conditions depended upon their surroundings. In the Great Basin I saw them in the lowest stage of human existence where it was in its simplest elements, differing from that of wild animals only in the greater intelligence of the Indians. Sage bush sheltered them; seeds, bush squirrels and hares, grasshoppers, worms, anything that had life made their food.Going upward, I saw them on the great prairie plains in the higher stages to which the surrounding facilities for a more comfortable and easier life had raised them. Nomadic, following the game and the seasons but living in villages, buffalo and large game gave them good food and clothing, and made for them dry warm lodges. And afterward in the nearer approach to the civilized life to which the intermittent efforts of the Government at agencies and reservations, and the labor of the Protestant and Catholic churches, had brought them.
FOOTNOTES
1. 1. The date of Frémont's expulsion was February 5, 1831, when he was within three months of graduation. The faculty journal gives the grounds as "habitual irregularity and incorrigible negligence." Charleston College had strict rules, which required students to be on the premises seven hours daily. Its new president, Dr. Jasper Adams, had declared he would make the place "a fountain of intelligence and virtue."
2. Frémont's father had been a refugee from the Santo Domingo uprising.
3. For a time Frémont taught in John A. Wooten's private school in Charleston; for a time also he worked in the Apprentices' Library, which combined classes with a collection of books. While teaching, he read widely.
4. Joel R. Poinsett returned to Charleston from his ministerial service in Mexico in the summer of 1830. He liked to help young men of promise, and as a member of St. Philip's Church and a friend of Charleston College, he naturally took an interest in Frémont. Poinsett's strong attachment to the Union -- he supported Jackson in the Nullification controversy -- probably had its effect on Frémont's views. The sloop Natchez sailed on its South American voyage in May, 1833. Frémont was employed as teacher of mathematics; as yet no naval academy existed, and the midshipmen who were assigned to cruising ships required such instructors.
5. By the Act of March 3, 1835, Congress authorized several such professorships. It is evident that Frémont was proficient in mathematics.
6. Once more Poinsett befriended Frémont; he was leader of a committee to promote the projected Louisville, Cincinnati & Charleston Railroad.
7. This expulsion of the Cherokees at the instance of Southwestern interests

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