The American woodmen ... discussed the whole question with great clearness. Their opinion generally was that our occupation was justifiable, and could not be sternly disputed even by the most scrupulous moralist. They considered that any right in the soil which these natives had as occupiers was partial and imperfect, as, with the exception of hunting animals in the forests, plucking wild fruits, and cutting a few trees to make canoes and houses, the native did not, in any civilized sense, occupy the land. It would be unreasonable to suppose, the Americans said, that a body of civilized men, under the sanction of their Government, could not rightfully settle in a country needing their labours, and peopled only by a fringe of savages on the coast. Unless such a right were presumed to exist, there would be little progress in the world by means of colonization, - that wonderful agent, which, directed by laws of its own, has changed and is changing the whole surface of the earth.... (7-8)

Scenes and Studies of Savage Life (1868)
Gilbert Malcolm Sproat