Posted by Gayle on August 18, 1998 at 11:52:39:
In Reply to: Robert Rogers posted by Marcia on August 18, 1998 at 11:29:24:
: In watching this interesting show on Rogers and his Rangers, one of the narrator's sentences struck me rather forcibly, and I've been waiting to see if anyone else mentioned it in the Legends of the Northwest thread. Since no one has, I'm throwing it out here for consideration. The statement was made that one of Rogers' most earnest goals as a young lad was to have killed an Indian (any Indian, apparently) before he was 14. I know this has to be taken in the context of the thinking of the era & the way Rogers was raised, but it still strikes me as a very sad indictment of the times. It made me think of the line from the Ballad of Davy Crockett..."kilt him a b'ar when he was only three." As though killing an Indian were a rite of passage for men of the times, and of no more consequence than shooting an animal.
: Of course, I understand that this is an easy issue to take a stand against, coming from the safe perspective of this point in history, and I'm not saying that Rogers wasn't a brave or interesting figure who did some remarkable things. But it still sounded sad to me. Am I way off-base, here?
At the beginning of "The Deerslayer", Natty has gained a wide reputation with his rifle, but has never yet been called on to raise a rifle in anger against his own kind. He knows that with the situation of hostile Indians and frontier warfare, sooner or later he will be put in the position of making that decision, and he devotes a fair amount of time to trying to sort out in his mind how he will deal with it. Harry March, a rough and ready frontier type with a pretty crude outlook on everything, tells Natty that he will not long remain his friend if he can't prove his skill on something more dangerous than a four-footed creature. Sad it is, but apparently the measure of a man in those days.
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