The death of Sitting Bull removes one of the obstacles to civilization. He was a greasy savage, who rarely bathed and was liable at any time to become infected with vermin. During the whole of his life he entertained the remarkable delusion that he was a free-born American with some rights in the country of his ancestors. Under this delusion, when civilized immigrants pushed over the Black Hills country in search of gold he considered them trespassers on the lands of his people and tried to keep them out. He was engaged in this absurd and wicked attempt when General Custer surprised his camp in the interests of civilization. Unfortunately for civilization General Custer was mistaken in the number of the savages who had assembled to fight for the land, which they foolishly believed was their birthright, and "a massacre" ensued. That is, it was one of those rare occasions when savagery for the moment had the best of it in a pitched battle with civilization. It was, of course, only for the moment, and Sitting Bull and his followers, who might have been easily and legally hanged as murderers, were granted a temporary respite.
This graciousness of the Great Father they have constantly abused by obstructing civilization in every possible way, especially in the worst way possible by trying to keep their land in a state of barbarism, and by insisting on their own understanding of treaties, regardless of necessary changes in translation into a highly civilized language, and of necessary amendments made in Congress. They have gone on holding ghost dances, complaining about the rations issued to them under treaties, objecting to the way their money was handled by the government, and it is charged on excellent civilized authority, actually stealing from civilized people who have settled on their lands.
Under such circumstances there could have been only one ending for Sitting Bull, and now that it has come he has no complaint to make. There is every reason to believe, therefore, that it was perfectly satisfactory to him. He himself had recognized it as inevitable and had fully made up his mind to it, preferring it to death in what in his barbaric way he called the "stone houses of the Great Father," meaning thereby the penitentiaries in which the Great Father, with the aid of Hon. Powell Clayton, Hon. Poker J. McClure and others of his Sanhedrin, attempts on occasion to incarcerate those who disagree with him in such a way as to inconvenience him.
So when Sitting Bull was surprised and overpowered by the agents of the Great Father, he set his greasy, stolid face into the expression it always took when he was most overcome by the delusion that he was born a native American from native American ancestry. Disarmed and defenceless he sat in the saddle in which he had been put as a preliminary to taking him to prison, and without a change of countenance urged his handful of greasy followers to die free. This idiotic proceeding he kept up until he was shot out of the saddle.
So died Sitting Bull. So was removed one of the last obstacles in the path of progress. He will now make excellent manure for the crops, which will grow over him when his reservation is civilized.
The work of redeeming these excellent lands from barbarism has now reached a point where it can be at once carried to completion. The filth and vermin-infested Sioux and other savages who have pretended a desire to live even under starvation rations and broken treaties will be persuaded by Sitting Bull's example, and a little skillful management of the same kind which converted him from a brutal savage into a good Indian, to stand up where they can be shot out of the way of advancing progress.
Mr. Harrison should continue to act with the same promptness and firmness he has shown in Sitting Bull's case. While one of these barbarians lives to claim an acre of unentered land in the United States he will remain as an obstacle to progress. A firm persistence by the President in the admirably progressive policy he has illustrated in Sitting Bulls case will make good Indians of all the rest of them, bucks, squaws and pappooses. And the future historian will say of them, no doubt, that they died justly, because they owned lands and would not use fine-toothed combs."
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