The Cherokees and Choctaws were as really Indians, thirty years ago, as any on our borders. They were of the same materials with other Indians, had the same dispositions -- the same habits -- the same superstitution; -- were exposed to the same corrupting influences, frauds and impositions from the whites. A mighty change has been effected among them by some means. They now present the grand spectacle of a people rising up from ruin and intellectual degradation, throwing aside the rude manners and the distinctive traits of their original character, and embracing those of enlightened and Christian society. There has never been a time since the first effort were made for introducing civilization among the Aborigines, when complete success was thus hopeful.
We rejoice at what is doing. Intelligence of success at the stations among the Indians, will be hailed by all christians with peculiar joy. It is believed that they have been sadly overlooked and that they never have conceived that share in the distribution of missionary labor which ought to have been bestowed on them. If to any nation the American Christian or the American churches owe a debt of gratitude, and are under peculiar obligations, it is to the dying remnant of our Indian tribes. To almost every one, there is a deep, perhaps it may be a romantic interest attaching to them. A century hence, much more than now, it is believed they will be regarded as a deeply ignored and a deeply interesting people.
Most countries of the Eastern world abound with many relics of antiquity -- with many visible things commemorative of human thought and human action. With us the case is different. We have among us one and but one moment of antiquity; and this is emphatically a living ruin. The few remains of the Indian tribes are to this country, what the broken column and the falling cloisters are to Europe: and the hand of time has not been more destructive to these remains of human art, than have been the relentless cruelty and avarice of the United States to these simple children of nature. They have been driven back from the home of their fathers, and repeatedly forced from all that was dear to them in life; they are now scattered upon the borders of our continent like the splinters of a wreck upon the billowy ocean.