; but instead they stood separately, though too weak to maintain their dignity by force, and in many cases entered upon a devastating warfare with one another, using the new and more deadly weapons, thus destroying one another. Since there was no central government, but a series of loose confederations of linguistic or allied groups, each of which had its titular head, able to make treaties or to declare war, these bands were met and subdued one at a time.
The original North American knew no fermented or spirituous drink. To be sure, he used a mild narcotic--tobacco mixed with aromatic leaves or bark, and smoked in strict moderation, generally as a semi-religious ceremony. Though wild grapes were found here in abundance, none had ever made wine from them. The introduction of liquor completed the ruin of our race.
During a long period the fur trade was an important factor in the world's commerce, and accordingly the friendship and favor of the natives were eagerly sought by the leading nations of