Kennebec Reporter August 20, 1876 The Head of an Indian Sent to the Secretary of the Interior


The head of an Indian sent to the United States Secretary of the Interior.


…We do not suppose that Mr. David Campbell hurt Grey Eagle very much when he scalped him. Neither is bottling of a dead Indian’s head in alcohol , and sending it to the Secretary of the Interior by Adams Express, quite so distasteful as the practice which prevailed in England within the memory of our great grandfathers , of exposing public places the heads of great criminals who had suffered the last penalty of the law. Nor do we forget that the very disagreeable usage of hanging in chains was not abolished in England till 1834. But we of the United States have made a superior pretensions to all the rest of the world about the amelioration of barbarism , of war , and of criminal law. Our State constitutions prohibit the infliction of cruel punishments.

Our diplomatic history shows that we have advocated almost every limitation of the liberty of belligerents which has been adopted with a century into the international code. … We submit that it is not becoming for a nation which makes these pretensions to tolerate the taking of scalps or the bottling of Indian’s heads by men in its employment – as a matter of taste , in respect to which a violation of the proprieties is likely to encourage the offender to deeds of substantial cruelty.

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