From the New York American
Indians of South America.- C. Cushing, Esq. in his interesting Reminiscences of Spain makes these remarks:
The destiny of the Indian races in Spanish America has been widely and remarkably different from what is in the United States. Here the aboriginal nations have little or no physical weight in the progress of events, and are scattered, in weak tribes over the face of the land, withering and dwindling before the overpowering beams of civilization. There, they constitute a large and important element in the population, aggregated into powerful masses, capable by themselves alone of exerting a decided influence upon affairs, whether as independent communities, or as the subjects of the Spanish Americans, a rank in the scale of public estimation from which no conceivable change of dynasty or governments can cast them down, and possessing importance which the late revolution has powerfully contributed to strengthen and perpetuate.
Of the independent nations, like the Araucos, and Abiponians, and the various other tribes in the vast interior regions of the continent, who have never bowed the neck under the Spanish yoke, the spirit, vigor and numbers are well known to be far from contemptible. The possession of that noble animal, the horse, especially by bestowing pastoral habits on the wanderers of the immense savannahs of the South has communicated an energy and a power of forcible and rapid impressions to the movements of the Indians, through the means of which, should they ever become concentrated by any common point of union, they would infinitely surpass, in barbaric splendor, the achievements of the ancient Peruvians and Mexicans. With these Arabs of the West, compare the Creeks, Cherokees, and other tribes in the United States, who, hemmed in by our fixed population, have no resource but either to adopt the manners of civilized neighbors, to be gradually extinguished, or to fly with the feeble remnants of their might beyond the Mississippi and how striking is the relative consequence of South Americans! These nomadic nations, therefore who sweep the verdant plains of the South, on steeds tameless and swift as the winds, uniting the errant propensities of the Indian hunter and the Tartar horsemen, are peculiar objects of interest to the philosophic observer of events intrinsic to America.
But other portions of the Indian population are fast attracting importance from quite different causes. Among these are the Peruvians, and the observation may serve as an apology for now rescuing from unmerited oblivion some of the obscurer incidents of their political history. They have been a despised and an oppressed race. The hand of power has fallen heavily upon them in every age, from the days of the conquest, when the lawless bands of Pizarro trampled on the nation, down through the tyranny of many provincial autocrat, to the time when Tupa Catari shook the walls of La Paz with the cry of liberty or death, and the limbs of Tupac Amaru were torn asunder by four wild horses, but a ray of hope smiles upon their future prospect.- The revolution has raised them in common with the other degraded castes, from the dust where they had been grovelling for centuries. In this democracy, rank must follow the lead of talent and in South America, men of Indian descent particularly those of mixed blood, begin to learn their consequence from the fortune of war.- Mulattoes and mestizos are amongst the best and bravest soldiers of the revolution; and some of them have arisen up on its stormy waters to that distinction which in times of civil commotion, it is impossible to withhold from superior qualities. It may be long ere the multifarious and many colored classes which compose the population of the revolutionized countries, regular and systematic movement of our own more fortunate land. But whether in peace or in war, in times of discord or of tranquility, a race of men, which rises to two-thirds of the whole population, which furnishes the laborers and mans the fleets and armies of a republican country, cannot easily relapse into insignificance, or into the state of abject servitude. And a permanent melioration of condition is therefore the necessary consequence of the actual position of the Peruvians.