CELT document E840001-003

Indians in Dublin

George Catlin

Indians in Dublin



Arrival in Dublin — Decline of the Roman Nose — Exhibition in the Rotunda — Feast of ducks — First drive — Phoenix Park — Stags — Indians' ideas of game-laws and taxes — Annual expenses of British government — National debt — Daniel enters these in Jim"s book — Indians called "Irishmen" — Author's reply — Speech of the War-chief — Jim's rapid civilization — New estimates for his book — Daniel reads of "Murders, &c.," in Times newspaper — Jim subscribes for the Times — Petition of 100,000 women — Society of Friends meet the Indians in the Rotunda — Their advice, and present to the chiefs 40l. — Indians invited to Zoological Gardens — Presented with 36l. — Indians invited to Trinity College — Conversation with the Rev. Master on religion — Liberal presents — They visit the Archbishop of Dublin — Presents — All breakfast with Mr. Joseph Bewly, a Friend — Kind treatment — Christian advice — Sickness of Roman Nose — Various entertainments by the Friends — A curious beggar — Indians' liberality to the poor — Arrival at Liverpool — Rejoicing and feast — Council — Roman Nose placed in an hospital — Arrival in Manchester — Exhibition in Free Trade Hall — Immense platform — Three wigwams — Archery — Ball-play, &c. — Great crowds — Bohasheela arrives — Death of the Roman Nose — Forms of burial, &c.

In Dublin, where we arrived on the 4th of March, after an easy voyage, comfortable quarters were in readiness for the party, and their breakfast soon upon the table. The Indians, having heard that there were many of "the good people" (the Friends) in Dublin, and having brought letters of introduction to some of them, had been impatient to reach that city; and their wish being successfully and easily accomplished, they now felt quite elated and happy, with apparently but one thing to depress their spirits, which was the continued and increasing illness of the Roman Nose. He was gradually losing flesh and strength, and getting now a continual fever, which showed the imminent danger of his condition. He had the ablest medical advice that the city could afford, and we still had  p.179 some hopes of his recovery. Rooms had been prepared for the exhibitions of the Indians in the Rotunda, and, on the second night after their arrival, they commenced with a respectable audience, and all seemed delighted and surprised with their picturesque effect.

There was much applause from the audience, but no speeches from the Indians, owing to their fatigue, or to the fact that they had not yet rode about the city to see anything to speak about. They returned from their exhibition to their apartments, and after their supper they were happy to find that their beef-steaks were good, and that they had found again the London chickabobboo.

A very amusing scene occurred during the exhibition, which had greatly excited the Indians, though they had but partially understood it, and now called upon me to explain it to them. While speaking of the modes of life of the Ioway Indians, and describing their way of catching the wild horses on the prairies, a dry and quizzical-looking sort of man rose, and, apparently half drunk, excited the hisses of the audience whilst he was holding on to the end of a seat to steady him. It was difficult to get him down, and I desired the audience to listen to what he had to say. "Ee — you'l escuse me, sir, to e — yax e — yif you are ye man woo was lecturing e — year some time see—ynce, e — on ther Yindians and the —r wild e — yorses? — e — (hic) — e — and the —r breathin, he — (hic) — e — in thee — ir noses?" The excessive singularity of this fellow set the whole house in a roar of laughter, and all felt disposed to hear him go on. "Yes," I replied, "I am the same man." "Ee — e — r wal, sir, e — yerts all — (hic), e — yits all gammon, sir, e — yer, y — ers, (hic) yers tried it on two fillies, sir, e — yand — (hic) yand it didn't se — seed, sir." The poor fellow, observing the great amusement of the ladies as he looked around the room was at once disposed to be a little witty, and proceeded — ''Ee — (hic) — ye — yer tried it e — yon s-e — rl young ladies, c — yand (hic) se — seded yerry well!" The poor fellow seemed contented with his wit thus far rather than try to proceed  p.180 further; and he sat down amidst the greatest possible amusement of the audience, many of whom, notwithstanding, did not seem to understand his meaning, when I deemed it necessary to explain that he referred to my account of Indians breaking wild horses by breathing in their noses, which it would seem he had tried in vain, but by experimenting on young ladies he had met with great success.

The Indians had become very much attached to Daniel, who had been so long a companion and fellow-traveller with them, and felt pleasure with him that he was again upon his native soil. He had described to them that they were now in a different country again, and they resolved to have their necessary feast of ducks the next morning for breakfast, so as not to interfere with their drive, in which they were to open their eyes to the beauties of Dublin, when Daniel was to accompany them, and explain all that they saw. They invited him to the feast, and thought it as well to call upon him now as at a future time for the bottle or two of the Queens chickabobboo (champagne) which he had agreed to produce when he got on to his native shore again.

Nothing more of course could be seen until their feast was over, and they were all in their buss as usual, with four horses, which was ready and started off with them at ten o'clock the next morning. The Doctor, in his familiar way, was alongside of the driver, with his buffalo horns and eagle crest, and his shining lance, with his faithful companion Jim by his side, and they caused a prodigious sensation as they were whirled along through the principal streets of Dublin. One may think at first glance that he can appreciate all the excitement and pleasure which the Doctor took in those drives, taking his first survey of the shops and all the curious places he was peeping into as he rode along; but on a little deliberation they will easily see that his enjoyment might have been much greater  p.181 than the world supposed who were gazing at him, without thinking how much there was under his eye that was novel and exciting to a savage from the wilderness.

After passing through several of the principal streets they were driven to the Phoenix Park, where they left their carriage, and, taking a run for a mile or two, felt much relieved and delighted with the exercise. The noble stags that started up and were bounding away before them excited them very much, and they were wishing for their weapons which they had left behind. However, they had very deliberately and innocently agreed to take a regular hunt there in a few days, and have a saddle or two of venison, but wiser Daniel reminding them of the game-laws of this country, of which they had before heard no account, knocked all their sporting plans on the head.

Nothing perhaps astonished them since they came into the country more than the idea that a man is liable to severe punishment by the laws, for shooting a deer, a rabbit, or a partridge, or for catching a fish out of a lake or a river, without a licence, for which he must pay a tax to the government, and that then they can only shoot upon certain grounds. The poor fellows at first treated the thing as ridiculous and fabulous; but on being assured that such was the fact, they were overwhelmed with astonishment. "What!'' asked one of them, "if a poor man is hungry and sees a fine fish in the water, is he not allowed to spear it out and eat it?" "No," said Daniel, "if he does, he must go to jail, and pay a heavy fine besides. A man is not allowed to keep a gun in his house without paying a tax to the government for it, and if he carries a weapon in his pocket he is liable to a fine." "Why is that?" "Because they are afraid he will kill somebody with it." "What do you call a tax?" said Jim. "Let that alone," said Daniel, "until we get home, and then I will tell you all about it." Here was a new field opening to their simple minds for contemplation upon the beautiful mysteries and glories of civilization, in which a few hours of Daniel's lectures would be  p.182 sure to enlighten them. They dropped the subject here however, and took their carriage again for the city and their lodgings, laughing excessively as they were returning, and long after they got back, at cabs they were constantly passing, which they insisted on it had got turned around, and were going sideways. When they had returned and finished their first remarks about the curious things they had seen, Daniel began to give them some first ideas about taxes and fines which they had inquired about, and which they did not as yet know the meaning of. He explained also the game-laws, and showed them that in such a country as England, if the government did not protect the game and the fish in such a manner, there would soon be none left, and, as it was preserved in such a way, the government made those who wished to hunt or to fish, pay a sum of money to help meet the expenses of the government, and he explained the many ways in which people pay taxes. "All of this," said he, "goes to pay the expenses of the government, and to support the Queen and royal family." He read to them from a newspaper that the actual cost of supporting the royal family and attendants was 891,000 l. sterling (4,455,000 dollars) per annum; that the Queen's pin-money (privy purse) is 60,000 l. (300,000 dollars); the Queen's coachmen, postilions, and footmen 12,550 l. (62,750 dollars).

He read from the same paper also that the expenses of the navy were 5,854,851 l. (being about 29,274,255 dollars) per annum, and that the expenses of the army were still much greater, and that these all together form but a part of the enormous expenses of the government, which must all be raised by taxes in different ways, and that the people must pay all these expenses at last, in paying for what they eat and drink and wear, so much more than the articles are worth, that a little from all may go to the government to pay the government's debts. He also stated that, notwithstanding so much went to the government, the nation  p.183 was in debt at this time to the amount of 764, 000,000 l. (3,820,000,000 dollars). This was beyond all their ideas of computation, and, as it could not be possibly appreciated by them, Daniel and they had to drop it, as most people do (and as the country probably will before it is paid), as a mystery too large for just comprehension.

Jim wanted these estimates down in his book however, thinking perhaps that he might some time be wise enough to comprehend them or find some one that could do it. And when Daniel had put them down, he also made another memorandum underneath them to this effect, and which astonished the Indians very much — "The plate that ornamented the sideboard at the banquet at the Queen's nuptials was estimated at 500,000 l. (2,500,000 dollars)."

By the time their statistics had progressed thus far their dinner was ready, which was a thing much more simple to comprehend, and consequently more pleasing to them; so their note-book was shut, and taxes and game-laws and national debt gave way to roast-beef and chickabobboo.

Their drive through the city had tended to increase the curiosity to see them, and their exhibition-room on the second night was crowded to excess. This was sure to put the Indians into the best of humour; and seeing in different parts of the room quite a number of Friends, gave them additional satisfaction.

In a new country again, and before so full and fashionable an audience, I took unusual pains to explain the objects for which these people had come to this country, their personal appearance, and the modes they were to illustrate. When I had got through, and the Indians were sitting on the platform and smoking their pipe, a man rose in the crowd and said, "That's all gammon, sir!— these people are not Indians. I have seen many Indians, sir, and you can't hoax me!" Here the audience hissed, and raised the cry of "Put him out! — shame!" &c. I stepped forward, and with some difficulty got them silent, and begged they would let the gentleman finish his remarks,  p.184 because, if they were fairly heard and understood, they might probably add much to the amusements of the evening. So he proceeded: "I know this to be a very great imposition, and I think it is a pity if it is allowed to go on. I have seen too many Indians to be deceived about them. I was at Bombay six years, and after that at Calcutta long enough to know what an Indian is. I know that their hair is always long and black, and not red: I know that these men are Irishmen, and painted up in this manner to gull the public. There 's one of those fellows I know very well — I have seen him these three years at work in M' Gill's carpenter's shop, and saw him there but a few days ago; so I pronounce them but a raw set, as well as impostors!''

When he sat down I prevented the audience from making any further noise than merely laughing, which was excessive all over the room. I said that "to contradict this gentleman would only be to repeat what I had said, and I hoped at least he would remain in the room a few minutes until they would execute one of their dances, that he might give his opinion as to my skill in teaching 'raw recruits' as he called them." The Indians, who had been smoking their pipes all this time without knowing what the delay had been about, now sprang upon their feet and commenced the war-dance; all further thoughts of "imposition" and "raw recruits" were lost sight of here and for the rest of the evening. When their dance was done they received a tremendous roar of applause, and after resting a few minutes the Doctor was on his feet, and evidently trying very hard in a speech to make a sensation (as he had made on the first night in London) among the ladies. Jeffrey interpreted his speech; and although it made much amusement, and was applauded, still it fell very far short of what his eloquence and his quizzical smiles and wit had done on the former occasion. Being apprehensive also of Jim's cruel sarcasms when he, should stop, and apparently in hopes, too, of still saying something more witty, he, unfortunately for its whole effect, continued to speak a little too long after he had  p.185 said his best things; so he sat down (though in applause) rather dissatisfied with himself, and seemed for some time in a sort of study, as if he was trying to recollect what he had said, a peculiarity possibly belonging to Indian orators.

When the Doctor had finished, all arose at the sound of the war-whoop given by the War-chief, and they gave with unusual spirit the discovery dance, and after that their favourite, the eagle dance. The finish of this exciting dance brought rounds of deafening applause and "bravo!" in the midst of which the War-chief arose, and, throwing his buffalo robe around him, said, —

"My friends — We see that we are in a new city, a strange place to us, but that we are not amongst enemies, and this gives us great pleasure. ('How, how, how!' and 'Hear, hear.')

"My friends — It gives me pleasure to see so many smiling faces about us, for we know that when you smile you are not angry; we think you are amused with our dancing. It is the custom in our country always to thank the Great Spirit first. He has been kind to us, and our hearts are thankful that he has allowed us to reach your beautiful city, and to be with you to-night. ('How, how, how!')

"My friends — Our modes of dancing are different from yours, and you see we don't come to teach you to dance, but merely to show you how the poor Indians dance. We are told that you have your dancing-masters; but the Great Spirit taught us, and we think we should not change our mode. ('How, how, how!')

"My friends — The interpreter has told us that some one in the room has said we were not Indians — that we were Irishmen! Now we are not in any way angry with this man; if we were Irishmen, we might be perhaps. ('Hear, hear.' 'Bravo!')

"My friends — We are rather sorry for the man than angry; it is his ignorance, and that is perhaps because he is too far off: let him come nearer to us and examine our skins, our ears, and our noses, full of holes and trinkets — Irishmen don't bore their noses. (Great laughter, and 'Bravo!') "My friends — Tell that man we will be glad to see him and shake hands with him, and he will then be our friend at once." ("Bravo!" and cries of "Go, go!" from every part of the room: "You must go!")

The gentleman left his seat upon this in a very embarrassed condition, and, advancing to the platform, shook the War-chief and each one of the party by the hand, and took a seat near to them for the rest of the evening, evidently  p.186 well pleased with their performances, and well convinced that they were not Irishmen.

After this the Indians proceeded by giving several other dances, songs, &c.; and when it was announced that their amusements for the evening were finished, they seated themselves on the edge of the platform to meet those who desired to give them their hands. Half an hour or so was spent in this ceremony, during which time they received many presents, and, what to them was more gratifying, they felt the affectionate hands of a number of the "good people" they were so anxious to meet, and who they saw were taking a deep interest in their behalf already. They returned to their apartments unusually delighted with their reception, and, after their supper and chickabobboo, Jim had some dry jokes for the Doctor about his speech; assuring him that he never would "go down" with the Irish ladies — that his speech had been a decided failure — and that he had better hereafter keep his mouth entirely shut. They had much merriment also about the "mistake the poor man had made in calling them Irishmen," and all applauded the War- chief for the manner in which he had answered him in his speech.

The Indians in their drive during the morning had observed an unusual number of soldiers in various parts of the city, and, on inquiring of Daniel why there were so many when there was no war and no danger, they learned to their great surprise that this country, like the one they had just left, had been subjugated by England, and that a large military force was necessary to be kept in all the towns to keep the people quiet, and to compel them to pay their taxes to the government. They thought the police were more frequent here also than they had seen them in London, and laughed very much at their carrying clubs to knock men down with. They began to think that the Irish must be very bad people to want so many to watch them with guns and clubs, and laughed at Daniel about the wickedness of his countrymen. He endeavoured to explain to them, however,  p.187 that, if they had to work as hard as the Irishmen did, and then had their hard earnings mostly all taken away from them, they would require as strong a military force to take care of them as the Irish did. His argument completely brought them over, and they professed perfectly to understand the case; and all said they could see why so many soldiers were necessary. The police, he said, were kept in all the towns, night and day, to prevent people from stealing, from breaking; into each other's houses, from fighting, and from knocking each other down and taking away their property. The insatiate Jim then conceived the idea of getting into his book the whole number of soldiers that were required in England, Scotland, and Ireland to keep the people at work in the factories, and to make them pay their taxes; and also the number of police that were necessary in the different cities and towns to keep people all peaceable, and quiet, and honest. Daniel had read to them only a day or two before an article in the Times newspaper, setting forth all these estimates, and, being just the thing he wanted, copied them into his book.

The reader sees by this time that, although Jim's looks were against him, as an orator or lecturer, when he should get back to his own country — and also that though his imagination could not take its wings until he was flat upon his back — still that he was, by dint of industry and constant effort, preparing himself with a magazine of facts which were calculated to impress upon the simple minds of the people in his country the strongest proofs of the virtue and superior blessings of civilization.

These people had discernment enough to see that such an enormous amount of soldiers and police as their list presented them would not be kept in pay if they were not necessary. And they naturally put the question at once — "What state would the country be in if the military and police were all taken away?" They had been brought to the zenith of civilization that they might see and admire it in its best form; but the world who read will see with me  p.188 that they were close critics, and agree with me. I think, that it is almost a pity they should be the teachers of such statistics as they are to teach to thousands yet to be taught in the wilderness. As I have shown in a former part of this work, I have long since been opposed to parties of Indians being brought to this country, believing that civilization should be a gradual thing, rather than open the eyes of these ignorant people to all its mysteries at a glance, when the mass of its poverty and vices alarms them, and its luxuries and virtues are at a discouraging distance — beyond the reach of their attainment.

Daniel was at this time cutting a slip from the Times, which he read to Jim; and it was decided at once to be an admissible and highly interesting entry to make, and to go by the side of his former estimates of the manufacture and consumption of chickabobboo. The article ran thus: — "The consumption of ardent spirits in Great Britain and Ireland in the last year was 29,200,000 gallons, and the Poor Law Commissioners estimate the money annually spent in ardent spirits at 24,000,000 l. (120,000,000 dollars); and it is calculated that 50,000 drunkards die yearly in England and Ireland, and that one-half of the insanity, two-thirds of the pauperism, and three-fourths of the crimes of the land are the consequences of drunkenness."

This, Jim said, was one of the best things he had got down in his book, because he said that the black-coats were always talking so much about the Indians getting drunk, that it would be a good thing for him to have to show; and he said he thought he should be able, when they were about to go home, to get Chippehola (the Author) to write by the side of it that fourteen Ioways were one year in England and never drank any of this fire-water, and were never drunk in that time.

Daniel and Jeffrey continued to read (or rather Daniel to read, and Jeffrey to intcr})ret) the news and events in  p.189 the Times, to which the Indians were all listening with attention. He read several amusing things, and then of a "Horrid murder!" a man had murdered his wife and two little children. He read the account; and next — "Brutal Assault on a Female!'' — "A Father killed by his own Son!" — "Murder of an Infant and Suicide of the Mother!" — "Death from Starvation!" — "Execution of Sarah Loundes for poisoning her Husband!" — ''Robbery of 150 l. Bank of England Notes!" &c. &c.

They had read so many exciting things in one paper, and were but half through the list, when Jim, who had rolled over on his back and drawn up his knees, as if he was going to say something, asked how much was the price of that newspaper; to which Daniel replied that there was one printed each day like that, and the price fivepence each. "Well," said Jim, "I believe everything is in that paper, and I will give you the money to get it for me every day. Go to the man and tell him I want one of every kind he has: I will take them all home with me, and I will some time learn to read them all."

A clever idea entered (or originated in) the heavy brain of Jim at this moment. He went to a box in the corner of the room, from which he took out, and arranged on the floor, about twenty handsomely-bound Bibles, when he made this memorable and commercial-like vociferation, in tolerably plain English: "I guess em swap!" He had been much amused with several numbers of Punch, which he had long pored over and packed away for amusement on the prairies; and believing that his plan for "swapping" would enable him to venture boldly, he authorized Daniel to subscribe for Punch also, provided Punch would take Bibles for pay. Daniel assured him that that would be "no go," as he thought Punch would not care about Bibles; but told him that he would at all events have the Times for him every morning, as he wished, and was now going to read to them a very curious thing that he had got his thumb upon, and commenced to read: —  p.190 "Lord R. Grosvenor and Mr. Spooner attended yesterday at the Home- office with Sir George Grey to present a memorial to the Queen from the women of England, signed by 100,000, praying that the bill for preventing trading in seduction may pass into a law. The following is a copy of the petition: —


"We, the undersigned women of Great Britain and Ireland, placed by Divine Providence under the sway of the British Sceptre, which God has committed to your Majesty's hands, most humbly beg leave to make known to our beloved Sovereign the heavy and cruel grievance that oppresses a large portion of the female population of the realm. A system exists, by which not only are undue facilities and temptations held out to the immoral, the giddy, and the poor, to enter upon a life of infamy, degradation, and ruin, but unwary young females and mere children are frequently entrapped, and sold into the hands of profligate libertines. Agents are sent into the towns and villages of the United Kingdom, whose ostensible object is to engage young girls for domestic service, or other female employments, but whose real design is to degrade and ruin them. Female agents are also employed in London and many of our large towns to watch the public conveyances, and decoy the simple and inexperienced into houses of moral pollution and crime, by offers of advice or temporary protection. By such and other means the entrapping of innocent young women is reduced to a regular trade, the existence of which is, in the highest degree, discreditable to the nation. Despite the efforts of right-minded men and of benevolent institutions to suppress, by means of the existing laws, this vile trade in female innocence, thousands of the most helpless of your Majesty's subjects are annually destroyed, both in body and soul. We therefore appeal to your Majesty, beseeching you to extend your Royal protection around the daughters of the poor, by promoting such vigorous laws as the wisdom of your Majesty's counsellors may see good to devise, and thereby deliver your Majesty's fair realm from a system of profligacy so offensive to Almighty God, and so fatal to the personal, social, temporal, and spiritual well-being of the women of England."

"Fish! fish!" exclaimed Jim, as Daniel finished reading. Some laughed excessively, and the poor Indian women groaned; but Jim, lying still on his back, and of course his ideas circulating freely, roared out again "Fish! Fish! chickabobboo! money! money! — put that all in my book." Daniel said, "There is no need of that, for it is in your paper, which is all the same, and I will mark a black line around it." "Then be careful not to lose the paper," said Jim, "for I like that very much: I'll show that to the black- coats when I get home."


Thus the talk of that night had run to a late hour, and I took leave.

The next morning I received two invitations for the Indians, both of which were calculated to give them great pleasure: the one was an invitation to visit the Zoological Gardens, then in their infant but very flourishing state, when the directors very kindly proposed to admit the public by shilling tickets, and to give the receipts to the Indians. This, therefore, was very exciting to their ambition; and the other invitation was equally or more so, as it was from several gentlemen of the Society of Friends, who proposed that, as there were a great many of that society in Dublin, and who all felt a deep interest in the welfare of the Indians, but who had, many of them, a decided objection to attend their war-dances, &c., they should feel glad to meet them at some hour that might be appointed, in their exhibition room, for the purpose of forming an acquaintance with them, and of having some conversation with them on the subject of education, agriculture, &c., with a view to ascertain in what way they could best render them some essential service. This invitation was embraced by the Indians with great pleasure, and at the time appointed they met about one hundred ladies and gentlemen, all of that society, to whom I introduced them by briefly explaining their objects in visiting this country, their modes of life, their costumes, &c. After that, several ladies, as well as gentlemen, asked them questions relative to their religious belief and modes of worship; to all of which the War-chief answered in the most cheerful manner; and, as he constantly replied with appeals to the Great Spirit, who, he said, directed all their hearts, they all saw in him a feeling of reverence for the Great Spirit, which satisfied all that they were endowed with high sentiments of religion and devotion.

Mr. Melody here stated that he had just received very interesting and satisfactory letters from the reverend gentlemen conducting a missionary school, which was prospering,  p.192 in their tribe, parts of which letters he read, and also presented a small book already printed in the Ioway language by a printing-press belonging to the Missionary Society, and now at work at their mission. This gave great satisfaction to the visitors, who saw that these people had friends at home who were doing what they could to enlighten their minds.

The friendly feelings of all present were then conveyed to them by several who addressed them in turn, expressing their deep anxiety for their worldly welfare and their spiritual good, and in the kindest and most impressive language exhorted them to temperance, to a knowledge of our Saviour, and to the blessings of education, which lead to it. They impressed upon their minds also the benefits that would flow from the abandonment of their hunters' life and warfare, and the adoption of agricultural pursuits. It was then stated that it was the object of the meeting to make them a present of something more than mere professions of friendship, and desired of me to ascertain what would be most useful and acceptable to them. The question being put to them, the White Cloud replied that "anything they felt disposed to give they would accept with thankfulness, but, as the question had been asked, he should say that money would be preferable to anything else, for it was more easily carried, and when in America, and near their own country, they could buy with it what their wives and little children should most need." It was then proposed that a hat should be passed around, for the purpose, by which the sum of 40 l. was received, and handed to the chief, to divide between them. Besides this very liberal donation, a number of beautifully-bound Bibles were presented to them, and several very kind and lovely ladies went to the shops, and returned with beautiful shawls and other useful presents for the women and children; and one benevolent gentleman, who had been of the meeting, and whose name I regret that I have forgotten, brought in with his own hands, a large trunk filled with pretty and useful things, which he took pleasure in dividing  p.193 amongst them, and in presenting the trunk to the wife of the chief.

Thus ended this very kind and interesting meeting, which the Indians will never forget, and which went far to strengthen their former belief that the "good people," as they called them, would be everywhere found to be their genuine friends.

Their invitation to the Zoological Gardens was for the day following, and they were there highly entertained by the young men who were the founders of that institution. They met in those peculiarly beautiful grounds a great number of the fashionable ladies and gentlemen of Dublin; and, after an hour or two delightfully spent amongst them, received from the treasurer of the institution the sum of 36 l., that had been taken at the entrance. Nothing could have been more gratefully received than were these two kind presents; nor could anything have afforded them more convincing proofs of the hospitality and kindness of the people they were amongst.

The exhibitions at the Rotunda were continued on every evening, and the Indians took their daily ride at ten o'clock in the morning, seeing all that was to be seen in the streets and the suburbs of Dublin, and after their suppers and their chickabobboo enjoyed their jokes and their pipe, whilst they were making their remarks upon the occurrences of the day, and listening to Daniel's readings of the Times newspaper, to which the Chemokemon [White man] (as they now called him), Jim, had become a subscriber. This boundless source of information and amusement, just now opened to their minds, was engrossing much of their time: and Daniel and Jeffrey were called upon regularly every night, after their suppers, to tell them all that was new and curious in the paper of the day; and Jim desired a daily entry in his book of the number of murders and robberies that appeared in it. All this Daniel, in his kindness, did for him, after reading the  p.194 description of them; and in this way the ingenious Jim considered he had all things now in good train to enable him to enlighten the Indian races when he should get back to the prairies of his own country.

Poor Jim, whose avarice began to dawn with his first steps towards civilization, and who, having his wife with him to add her share of presents to his, and was now getting such an accumulation of Bibles that they were becoming a serious item of luggage, related here a curious anecdote that occurred while he was in the Zoological Gardens: —
The Bibles they had received, and were daily receiving, as "the most valuable presents that could be made them," he had supposed must of course have some considerable intrinsic value; and he felt disposed, as he was now increasing his expenses, by taking the Times newspaper and in other ways, to try the experiment of occasionally selling one of his bibles to increase his funds, and, on starting to go to the gardens, had put one in his pouch to offer to people he should meet in the crowd; and it seems he offered it in many cases, but nobody would buy, but one had been given to him by a lady; so he came home with one more than he took; and he said to us, "I guess em no good — I no sell em, but I get em a heap."

A very friendly invitation was received about this time from the President of Trinity College for the party to visit that noble institution, and Mr. Melody and myself took great pleasure in accompanying them there. They were treated there with the greatest possible kindness; and, after being shown through all its parts — its library, museum, &c. — a liberal collection was made for them amongst the reverend gentlemen and their families, and presented to them a few days afterwards.

I took the War-chief and several of the party to visit the Archbishop of Dublin and his family, who treated them with much kindness, and presented to each a sovereign, as an evidence of the attachment they felt for them. This unexpected kindness called upon them for some expression  p.195 of thanks in return; and the War-chief, after offering his hand to the Archbishop, said to him: —
"My friend, as the Great Spirit has moved your heart to be kind to us, I rise up to thank Him first, and then to tell you how thankful we feel to you for what your hand has given us. We are poor, and do not deserve this; but we will keep it, and it will buy food and clothing for our little children.

"My friend, we are soon going from here, and we live a great way. We shall never see your face again in this world, but we shall hope that the Great Spirit will allow us to meet in the world that is before us, and where you and I must soon go."

The Archbishop seemed much struck with his remarks; and, taking him again by the hand, said to him that he believed they would meet again in the world to come, and, commending them to the care of the Great Spirit, bade them an affectionate farewell.

An invitation was awaiting them at this time, also, to breakfast the next morning with Mr. Joseph Bewley, a Friend, and who lived a few miles out of the city. His carriages arrived for them at the hour, and the whole party visited him and his kind family and took their breakfast with them. After the breakfast was over, the chief thanked this kind gentleman for his hospitality and the presents very liberally bestowed; and the party all listened with great attention to the Christian advice which he gave them, recommending to them also to lay down all their weapons of war, and to study the arts of peace. These remarks seemed to have made a deep impression on their minds, for they were daily talking of this kind man and the advice and information he gave them.

Having finished our exhibitions by advertisement, but being detained a few days longer in Dublin than we expected by the illness of the Roman Nose, an opportunity was afforded the Indians to attend a number of evening parties, to which they were invited by families of the Society of Friends, and treated with the greatest kindness and attention.

The Indians had thus formed their notions of the beautiful  p.196 city of Dublin by riding through it repeatedly in all its parts — by viewing, outside and in, its churches, its colleges, its gardens, and other places of amusement; and of its inhabitants, by meeting them in the exhibition rooms, and in their own houses, at their hospitable boards. They decided that Edinburgh was rather the most beautiful city; that in Glasgow they saw the most ragged and poor; and that in Dublin they met the warmest-hearted and most kind people of any they had seen in the kingdom. In Dublin, as in Glasgow, they had been in the habit of throwing handfuls of pence to the poor; and at length had got them baited, so that gangs of hungry, ragged creatures were daily following their carriage home to their door, and there waiting under their windows for the pence that were often showered down upon their heads.

Out of the thousands of beggars that I met while there (and many of whom extracted money from my pocket by their wit or drollery when I was not disposed to give it), there was but one of whom I shall make mention in this place. In my daily walk from my hotel to the Rotunda, there was an old, hardy-looking veteran, who used often to meet me and solicit with great importunity, as I had encouraged him by giving to him once or twice when I first met him. I was walking on that pavement one day with an American friend whom I had met, and, observing this old man coming at some distance ahead of us on the same pavement, I said to my friend, "Now watch the motions of that old fellow as he comes up to beg — look at the expression of his face." When we had got within a few rods of him the old man threw his stomach in, and one knee in an instant seemed out of joint, and his face! oh, most pitiable to look upon. We approached him arm-in-arm, and while coming towards him I put my hand in my pocket as if I was getting out some money, which brought this extraordinary expression from him: "My kind sir, may the gates of Heaven open to receive you!" — (by this time we had got by him, and, seeing that my hand remained stationary in  p.197 my pocket, as he had turned round and was scowling daggers at me) — "and may you be kicked out the moment you get there!"

There is an inveteracy in the Irish begging and wit that shows it to be native and not borrowed; it is therefore more irresistible and more successful than in any other country perhaps in the world. I speak this, however, merely as an opinion of my own, formed on the many instances where the very reasons I assigned for not giving were so ingeniously and suddenly turned into irresistible arguments for giving, that my hand was in my pocket before I was aware of it.

The Indians however gave from other motives; not able to appreciate their wit, they had discernment enough to see the wretchedness that existed among the poor people in the lanes and outskirts of the city, and too much pity in their hearts not to try with their money to relieve them; and in that way I fully believe that they gave a very considerable proportion of the money they had received since they entered the city.

The symptoms of the poor Roman Nose, whose case was now decided to be almost hopeless, were a little more favourable, and it was agreed, with his united wish, that we should start for Liverpool by steamer; and on the morning when we went on board, the Indians were more strongly than ever confirmed in their belief that the Friends were the people who had taken the deepest interest in their welfare, by meeting nearly all they had seen in heir numerous visits, down at the wharf, to shake hands with them, and wish them an everlasting farewell! Such proof as this, which brought even tears in their eyes, will be the last to be forgotten by them or by me, and should be the last to be overlooked in the public acknowledgment I am now making.

Our voyage across the Channel was easy and pleasant; and amongst the numerous and fashionable people on board, poor Jim had the mortification of trying to test the intrinsic value of his numerous stock of Bibles by occasionally offering one that he carried in his pouch. "I no sell 'em — they no  p.198 like 'em," was his reply again; and he began to doubt the value of them, which he was greatly disappointed to find they had fixed much above their market-price.

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Title (uniform): Indians in Dublin

Author: George Catlin

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Electronic edition compiled and proof corrections by: Beatrix Färber

Funded by: School of History, UCC

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1. First draft.

Extent: 8410 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland —http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2015

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E840001-003

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Notes statement

George Catlin (1796–1872) was an US-American writer, painter and engraver from Pennsylvania. He concentrated on paintings of Indians and travelled through the American continent, later publishing books relating his travels. The present text describes how he travelled to Ireland (Dublin) with a group of Iowa Indians, and how they were received.

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Works by George Catlin

  1. George Catlin, Letters and notes on the manners, customs, and condition of the North American Indians, two volumes (London 1841).
  2. George Catlin, Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio: Hunting Scenes and amusements of the Rocky mountains and prairies of America (London 1844, reprinted Ann Arbor 1977).
  3. Catalogue raisonné de la Galerie Indienne de Mr. Catlin: renfermant des portraits des paysages, des costumes ... des Indiens de l'Ameérique du Nord; collection entièrement faite et peinte par Mr. Catlin (Paris 1845).
  4. George Catlin, Catlin's Notes of eight Years' Travels and Residence in Europe, with the North American Indian collection: with anecdotes and incidents of the travels and adventures of three different parties of American Indians whom he introduced to the courts of England, France, and Belgium. Two vols. (London 1848).
  5. George Catlin, Catlin's Notes for the emigrant to America (London 1848).
  6. George Catlin, Illustrations of the manners, customs, and condition of the North American Indians. Two vols. (1857).
  7. George Catlin, Last Rambles amongst the Indians of the Rocky Mountains and the Andes (1868).
  8. George Catlin, The boy's Catlin: My Life among the Indians, edited, with biographical sketch, by Mary Gay Humphreys, with sixteen illustrations from the author's original drawings (New York 1909).
  9. George Catlin, O-kee-pa: a religious ceremony and other customs of the Mandans (New Haven, Conn. 1967).
  10. For online information on George Catlin and his paintings, see http://www.georgecatlin.org/.

The edition used in the digital edition

Catlin, George (1848). Catlin’s notes of eight years’ travels and residence in Europe with his North American Indian collection (vol. II)‍. 1st ed. 336 pages. New York: Burgess, Stringer & Co.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  title 	 = {Catlin's notes of eight years' travels and residence in Europe with his North American Indian collection  (vol. II)},
  author 	 = {George Catlin},
  edition 	 = {1},
  note 	 = {336 pages},
  publisher 	 = {Burgess, Stringer \& Co.},
  address 	 = {New York},
  date 	 = {1848}


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The present text covers pages 178–198. The complete pdf file of the printed text is available at www.archive.org.

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Creation: By George Catlin

Date: 1848

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  • The text is in English. (en)
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Keywords: travel; description; prose; 19c; Indians; Iowa; Dublin

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  1. 2015-12-07: File parsed; more content markup applied; bibliography finished; SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2015-12-03: File captured and proofed(1, 2). Structural and content markup applied. (ed. Beatrix Färber)

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