From Cofachiqui, the Indian Princess and Powhatan, down to and including Chief Joseph and Geronimo.
We do not propose to apologize for writing this book, for the reasons that those who approve would not consider it necessary and those who oppose would not accept the apology. Therefore, we can only offer the same explanation as that made twenty-four centuries ago by the "Father of History" when he said: "To rescue from oblivion the noble deeds of those who have gone before, I, Herodotus of Halicarnassus, write this chronicle."
We deem it well, however, to mention a few of the many reasons which impelled us to attempt the somewhat laborious but congenial task of preparing this work.
First of all, we were gratified and inspired by the kind reception accorded our first literary venture, "The White Side of a Black Subject," which is now out of print after reaching twelve editions. Added to this was the still more generous treatment of our second production, "A New Negro for a New Century." Nearly a hundred thousand copies of this book have been sold up to date, and the demand is still increasing.
Having done what we could to vindicate the Afro-American, we next began to consider the First American, when by chance a copy of Thatcher's "Indian Biography" fell into our hands. We read this book with much interest, and were impressed with two facts. First of all, we noticed that while the author gave the lives of a few chiefs well known to this generation, he filled the book up with village or sub chiefs, of whom even historians of this age never heard. Then, too, the book in question was seventy-four years old.
Thatcher's biography tended to create an appetite for that kind of literature, and we inquired for other lives of noted Indians, but, strange to say, could only hear of one other book devoted to that subject. This was a small volume written by S. G. Goodrich, sixty-two years ago, and he gave only short sketches of perhaps half a dozen Indians of the United States, but the greater portion of the contents was devoted to the Indians of Peru and Mexico.
We now concluded that if there were only two books giving the lives of famous Indians, and both of these published so many years ago, there was certainly room for another book on the subject, which should be confined to the Indian tribes of the United States and cover their entire history from Powhatan to the present time.