NOT A TEACHER
(1) You have asked a very difficult and controversial question.
(2) First, kindly remember that Mr. Parkman lived from 1823 to 1893. His opinions
about Indians (or Native Americans) are not necessarily considered in 2011 to be
correct. That sentence you quoted would hurt the feelings of Native Americans
(3) Let's discuss the words:
(a) "cold temperament." My dictionary defines "cold" as unemotional. So we might be
able to say that a "cold temperament" means that you do not let emotions guide your
actions. You are "cold" or "hard."
(b) "effeminate vices" has many definitions, depending on the context (that is,
depending on what the article is discussing). In the case of Mr. Parkman's books on
Native Americans (none of which I have read), it is only my educated guess that he is
referring to what are often called "softer" human qualities, such as compassion and
generosity. As you know, the word "effeminate" refers to women. As you know,
"vices" refers to weaknesses. Thus, we might say that "effeminate vices" might
(depending on the context) refer to what some people think are the weaknesses of
women (compassion? generosity?). As you know, some people think that women
make better nurses than men; some people think there would be fewer wars if all the
leaders of the world were women. Of course, many people disagree with this idea!
(c) "milder races" might refer to races that are not so "cold" or "hard" as (he says)
Native Americans. As you know, "mild" means "warm."
Sources: Wikipedia article on Francis Parkman.
Sparks Notes article on the Web about The Prince by Machiavelli.
Student or Learner