(From "On the Border with Crook" by Captain John G. Bourke, U. S. A. Courtesy of Messrs Charles Scrib-ner's Sons).
For years I have collected the data and have contemplated the project of writing the history of this people, based not only upon the accounts transmitted to us from the Spaniards and their descendants, the Mexicans, but upon the Apache's own story, as conserved in his myths, and traditions; but I have lacked both the leisure and the inclination, to put the project into execution. It would require a man with the even-handed sense of justice possessed by a Guizot, and the keen, critical, analytical powers of a Gibbon, to deal fairly with a question in which the ferocity of the savage Redman has been more than equaled by the ferocity of the Christian Caucasian; in which the occasional treachery of the aborigines has found its best excuse in the unvarying Punic faith of the Caucasian invader; in which promises on each side have been made, only to deceive and to be broken; in which the red hand of war has rested most heavily upon shrieking mother and wailing babe.
If from this history, the Caucasian can extract any cause of self-laudation I am glad of it: speaking as a censor who has read the evidence with as much impartiality as could be expected from one who started in with the sincere conviction that the only good Indian was a dead Indian, and that the only use to make of him was that of a fertilizer; and who, from studying the documents in the case, and listening little by little to the savage's own story, has arrived at the conclusion that perhaps Pope Paul III was right when he solemnly declared that the natives of the New World had souls and must be treated as human beings, and admitted to the sacraments when found ready to receive them. I feel it to be my duty to say that the Apache has found himself in the very best of company when he committed any atrocity, it matters not how vile, and that his complete history, if it could be written by himself, would not be any special cause of self-complacency to such white men as believe in a just God, who will visit the sins of parents upon their children, even to the third and fourth generation.
We have become so thoroughly Pecksniffian in our self-laudation, in our exaltation of our own virtues, that we have become grounded in the error of imagining that the American savage is more cruel in his war customs than other nations of the earth have been; this I have already intimated, in a misconception, and statistics, for such as care to dig them out, will prove that I am right. The Assyrians cut their conquered foes limb from limb; the Israelites spared neither parent nor child; the Romans crucified head downward the gladiators who revolted under Spartacus; even in the civilized England of the past century, the wretch convicted of treason was executed under circumstances of cruelty which would have been too much for the nerves of the fiercest of the Apaches or Sioux. Instances in support of what I here assert crop up all over the pages of history; the trouble is, not to discover them, but to keep them from blinding the memory to matters more pleasant to remember. Certainly, the American aborigine is not indebted to his pale-faced brother, no matter of what nation or race he may be, for lessons in tenderness and humanity.
After reviewing the methods by which the gentle, friendly natives were turned into tigers, Bourke gives this final example:
"And then there have been 'Pinole Treaties,' in which the Apaches have been invited to sit down and eat repasts seasoned with the exhilarating strychnine. So that, take it for all in all, the honors have been easy so far as treachery, brutality, cruelty and lust have been concerned. The one great difference has been that the Apache could not read or write and hand down to posterity the story of his wrongs, as he, and he alone, knew them."-("On the Border with Crook," John G. Bourke, pp. 114-15-16-17-18).