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Page:Sketch of Connecticut, Forty Years Since.djvu/44

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SKETCH OF CONNECTICUT,

ures beneath a ripening sun; but such was their native improvidence, that the possessor, ere the return of another Autumn, would be as destitute of food, as he who had "neither earing nor harvest." The productions of a little spot of earth, near the door of many of them, denominated a garden, supplied them during the gentler seasons, with the more common vegetables; yet so reckless were they of futurity, that cold winter s want was unthought of, as long as it was unfelt, and the needs of to-morrow never disturbed the revel of to-day. In their simple estimation, he was a man of wealth, whose dominion extended over a cow; yet it was wealth rather to be wondered at, than envied. To roam freely over the forests, and drink the pure breath of the mountains; to earn with their arrow s point, the food of the passing day, and wrap themselves in a blanket from the chill of midnight, seemed all the riches they coveted—all the happiness they desired.

These were, however, more properly, the lineaments of their character, in its native nobleness. Civilization had excluded them from the forests, their original empire, and awakened new wants which they were inadequate to supply. It had familiarized them to the sight of the white man s comforts, without teaching them the industry by which they are purchased. It had introduced them to vices which destroyed their original strength, like the syren pointing in derision to the humbled Sampson, whose locks her own hand had shorn. Thus they sacrificed the virtues of their savage state, and fell short of the ad-