"As evidence of . . . their honesty and honor, there will be found recorded many striking instances in the following pages.
"I have roamed about, from time to time, during seven or eight years, visiting and associating with some three or four hundred thousands of these people, under an almost infinite variety of circumstances;
******* ana under all these circumstances of exposure, no Indian ever betrayed me, struck me a blow, or stole from me a shilling's worth of my property, that I am aware of." (Vol. I., p. 9-10).
"Never steal, except it be from an enemy, whom it is just that we should injure in every possible way." ("Teachings of Tshut-che-nau, Chief of Kansas," Hunter; p. 21).
"Among [between] the individuals of some tribes or nations, theft is a crime scarcely known." (Hunter's "Captivity Among American Indians," 1798-1816; p. 300).
"Theft was unknown in an Indian camp." (G. B. Grinnell; "Indians of To-day," p. 8).
Every traveler among the highly developed tribes of the Plains Indians tells a similar story, though, of course, when at war, it was another matter.
Even that rollicking old cut-throat, Alexander Henry II, says after fifteen years among the Wild Indians: "I have been frequently fired at by them and have had several narrow escapes for my life. But I am happy to say they never pillaged me to the value of a needle." ("Journal" 1799-1814, p. 452).
In my own travels in the Far North, 1907, I found the Indians tainted with many white vices, and in many respects degenerated, but I also found them absolutely honest, and I left valuable property hung in trees for months, without fear, knowing that no wild Indian would touch it.
There is a story told of Bishop Whipple:
He was leaving his cabin, with its valuable contents, to be gone some months, and sought some way of rendering all robber-proof. His Indian guide then said: "Why, Brother, leave it open. Have no fear. There is not a white man within a hundred miles!"
On the road to a certain large Indian Ojibway village in 1904 I lost a considerable roll of bills. My friend, the white man in charge, said: "If an Indian finds it, you will have it again within an hour; if a white man finds it, you will never see it again, for our people are very weak, when it comes to property matters".
Finally, to cover the far Southwest, I found that the experience of most travelers agrees with the following:
"I lived among the Wild Indians for eight years (1872-1880); I know the Apaches, the Navajos, the Utes, and the Pueblos, and I never knew a dishonest Indian." (Robert A. Widenmann, West Haverstraw, N. Y).