Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

us and the white people is wearing out and wants brightening.

“I proceed now, however, to lay them before you by letter, that you may mention them to the governor, and solicit redress. He is appointed to do justice to all, and the Indians fully confide that he will not suffer them to be wrouged with impunity.

“ The first subject to which we would call the attention of the governor, is the depredations that are daily committed by the white people upon the most valuable timber on our reservations. This has been a subject of complaint with us for many years; but now, and particularly at this season of the year, it bas become an alarming evil, and calls for the immediate interposition of the governor in our behail.

“Our next subject of complaint is, the frequent thefts of our horses and cattle by the white people, and their habit of taking and using them wlienever they please, and without our leave. These are evils which seem to increase upon us with the increase of our white neighbours, and they call loudly for redress.

“ Another evil arising from the pressure of the whites upon us, and our unavoidable communication with them, is the frequency with which our chiefs, and warriors, and Indians, are thrown into jail, and that too for the most trifling causes.

This is very galling to our feelings, and ought not to be permitted to the extent to which, to gratify their bad passions, our white neighbours now carry this practice.

" In our hunting and fishing too, we are greatly interrupted by the whites. Our venison is stolen from the trees, where we have hung it to be reclaimed after the chase. Our hunting camps have been fired into, and we have been warned that we shall no longer be part ited to pursue the deer in those forests which went so lately all our own. The fish, which in the Buffalo and Tonnewanta Creeks, used to supply us with food, are now, by the dams

are

and other obstructions of the white people, prevented from multiplying, and we are almost entirely deprived of that accustomed sustenance.

“Our Great Father, the president, has recommended to our young men to be industrious, to plough and to sow. This we have done, and we are thankful for the advice, and for the means he has afforded us of carrying it into effect. We are happier in conseqnence of it; but another thing recommended to us, has created great confusion among us, and is making us a quarrelsome and divided people ; and that is, the introduction of preachers into our nation. These black-coats contrive to get the consent of some of the Indians to preach among us, and wherever this is the case, confusion and disorder sure to follow, and the encroachments of the whites upon our lands, are the invariable consequence. The governor must not think hard of me for speaking thus of the preachers; I have observed their progress, and when I look back to see what has taken place of old, I perceive that whenever they came among the Indians, they were the forerunners of their dispersion; that they always excited enmities and quarrels among them; that they introduced the white people on their lands, by whom they were robbed and plundered of their property; and that the Indians were sure to dwindle and decrease, and be driven back in proportion to the number of preachers that came among them.

" Each nation has its own customs and its own religion. The Indians have theirs given to them by the Great Spirit, under which they were happy. It was not intended that they should embrace the religion of the whites, and be destroyed by the attempt to make them think differently on that subject from their fathers.

“ It is true these preachers have got the consent of some of the chiefs to stay and preach among us, but I and my friends know this to be wrong, and that

they ought to be removed; besides we have been threatened by Mr. Hyde, who came among us as a school-master and a teacher of our children, but has now become a black-coat, and refused to teach them any more, that unless we listen to his preaching and become christians, we will be turned off our lands. We wish to know from the governor if this is to be so, and if he has no right to say so, we think he ought to be turned off our lands, and not allowed to plague us any more.

We shall never be at peace while he is among us.

“ We are afraid too that these preachers, by and by, will become poor, and force us to pay them for living among us, and disturbing us.

“ Some of our chiefs have got lazy, and instead of cultivating their lands themselves, employ white people to do so. There are now eleven white families living on our reservation at Buffalo; this is wrong and ought not to be permitted. The great source of all our grievances is that the white men are among us. Let them be removed, and we will be happy and contented among ourselves. We now cry to the governor for help, and hope that he will attend to our complaints, and speedily give us redress.

"RED JACKET."

This letter was dictated by Red Jacket, and interpreted by Henry Obeal, in the presence of the following Indians :

Red Jacket's son, Corn Planter,
John Cobb,
Peter, Young King's brother,
Tom the Infant,
Blue Sky,
John Sky,
Jemmy Johnson,
Marcus,
Big Fire,
Captain Jemmy.

The mistakes that have prevailed on the subject of civilization in general ought to have taught us to alter our plans. There is a cry in favour of education, which has produced, and continues to produce, lasting evils.

Education is now understood to consist in reading, writing, arithmetic, and knowledge of languages; and by the application of these, we are told that the miseries and crimes which pervade civilized Europe are to be removed ; the people to be made happy; society, in short, to be regenerated.

In this belief the mania for education has seized on all ranks; yet poverty, discontent, and crime seem to keep pace with all our endeavours. If the Indians are to be improved, or civilized, “ Why education, to be sure, will do it: that is all that is wanted. But the education must be commenced by a missionary, and this missionary must undergo a certain series of scholastic studies to be fitted for his duty." Now let us look a little at this, the usual mode of proceeding. To civilize the Heathen, thousands, with the purest zeal, contribute their schemes

; but the little success resulting from them all, has furnished the means of triumph to the infidel and deist, occasioned lukewarmness in many who at first were ardent in the cause, and led to a conclusion either that the subjects of such philanthropy are incapable of receiving its benefits; that the Almighty has decreed that the time is not yet come for their condition to be meliorated; or that such attempts are made merely for interested and similar ends. I appeal to all who have had an opportunity of knowing the general character of missionaries, whether the following brief view is not the mode by which five sixths of them have been selected. Sermons are preached; prayer meetings are held avowedly to promote the conversion of the Heathen; a cry is heard, “Who will devote himself to the service of God ? Hence many of acknowledged weakVOL. I.

9

ness of intellect, and some whose pecuniary embarrassments lead them to seek for support in this way, offer to undergo perils by land and by water in this, to their heated or interested imaginations, glorious work. These persons are accordingly sent to an academy to learn languages, the capacity for which constitutes a chief ingredient in their qualification. They are then sent forth, at a considerable expense, to evangelize the Heathen ; and their great aim is to preach what they call the Gospel to the old, and to civilize the young, by what I denominate, for sake of distinction, "book education."

That so much failure, nay, that almost uniform failure, has arisen from the employment of such instruments, should surely have been expected; for, while I freely admit that of all undertakings this is among the most praise-worthy, if followed with a single eye to the glory of God, and good of man, I feel convinced that none requires more profound knowledge of human nature, and intimate acquaintance, not only with the passions of others, but with

When I read the manner in which the Lord Jesus Christ taught his disciples, I find that the doctrines concerning himself and his kingdom were the last things he inculcated, and even then very sparingly. When questions, bearing on the subject, were excited by his conduct and actions, he answered them; but never made the doctrinal the prominent part of his mission. His first public act was in administering to the amusement and festivity qf the people by converting water into wine; the next was attention to their sick; on another occasion be provided them with food; and his whole divine life, was spent in going about promoting their bodily comforts, having in ultimate view the good of their souls; so that the great object was kept, as it were, in the back-ground. See how merciful he was to their offences : how he repressed all severity in judging or condenming; and evermore refused to

our own.

« AnteriorContinuar »