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for himself. Their weddings are without ceremony, the match being made by money, which being agreed on, makes a consummation of the marriage; upon the least dislike he turns her away and takes another. It is no offence for their married women to lie with another man, provided she acquaint her husband or some near relation therewith, but if not, it is some. times punishable with death.

They are extremely charitable one to another, they share one with another, commonly leaving the least parts to themselves.


Before they make war they first consult with their priests and conjurors, no people being so' barbarous almost but they have their gods, priests and religion; they adore such things as they think may unavoidably hurt them, as fire, 'water, lightning, thunder, our great guns, muskets and horses; the chief god they worship is the devil, which they call Okee. They paint themselves and their children, and he is most gallant who is most deformed. They are exact archers, and with their arrows will kill birds flying ; their bows are of tough hazel ; their strings of leather; their arrows of cane or hazel, headed with stones or horn, and feathered. They soon grow heartless, if they find their arrows do no execution.


« The Five Nations* are a poorand generally called barbarous people, bred under the darkest ignorance; and yet a bright and noble genius shines through these black clouds. None of the greatest Roman heroes have discovered a greater love of country or contempt of death, than these people called barbarians have done, when liberty came in competition. Indeed I think our Indians have out-done the Romans in this particular. Some of the greatest of those Roman Heroes have murdered themselves to avoid shame or torments; but our Indians have refused to die meanly or with but little pain when they thought their country's honour would be at stake by it; but have given their bodies willingly to the most cruel torments of their enemies, to shew, as they said, that the five nations consisted of men whose courage and resolution could not be shaken. But what, alas ! have we christians done to make them better? We have indeed reason to be ashamed that these Infidels, by our conversation and neighbourhood, are become worse than they were before they knew us. Instead of virtue we have only taught them vice, that they were entirely free from before that time. The narrow vices of private interest, have occasioned this and will occasion greater, even public mischief, if the governors of the people do not put a stop to

* The History of the Five Indian Nations of Canada, which are de. pendant on the Province of New York, and are the barrier between the English and French. * By the Hon. Lord Cadwallader Colden, one of His Majesty's Consuls, and Surveyor. General of New York. 34. Ed. printed in London by Lockyer Davis, 1755.

these growing evils. If these practices be winked at, instead of faithful friends that have manfully fought our battles for us, the five nations will become faithless thieves and robbers, and join with every enemy that can give hope of plunder.

“ If care were taken to plant and cultivate in them that general benevolence to mankind, which is the true first principle of virtue, it would effectually eradicate those horrid vices occasioned by their unbounded revenge; and then they no longer would deserve the name of barbarians, but would become a people whose friendship might add honour to the British nation.

« The Greeks and Romans were once as much barbarians as our Indians now are; deified the heroes that first taught them those virtues, from whence the grandeur of those renowned nations wholly proceeded. A good man, however, will feel more real satisfaction and pleasure from the sense of having in any way forwarded the civilizing of a barbarous nation, or of having inultiplied, the number of good men, than from the fondest hopes of such extravagant honours.”

In his preface (p. 10.) Mr. Colden observes, very justly, that two things in his performance would be found fault with, namely, filling up a great part of the work with the adventures of small parties, (of Indians) and sometimes of those of a single man; and inserting speeches at full length. As to the first, he observes, that the history of the Indians would be very lame without an account of their private adventures; for their warlike expeditions are almost always carried on by surprising each other; the whole art of war consisting in managing small parties; and with regard to their speeches, he thinks it highly interesting, to know the manners and custorns of the Indians, in their public treaties especially. We are fond of searching into remote antiquity to know the manners of our earliest progenitors, of whom it may be safely averred, the Indians are living images.

" The Five Nations consist of so many tribes or nations joined together, without any superiority of the one over the other. The union has continued so long, that nothing is known by the Europeans of the origin of it. They are known by the names of Mohawks, Oneydoes, Onondagas, Cayugas and Sennekas. Each of these nations is again divided into three tribes or families, who distinguish themselves by three different arms or ensigns; the Tortoise, the Bear, and the Wolf; and the Sachems, or old men of these families


their ensign or marks of their family to every public paper, when they sign it.

“ Each of these nations is an absolute Republic by itself, and is governed in all public affairs by its own Sachems. The authority of these rulers is gained by and consists wholly in the opinion the rest of the nation have of their wisdom and integrity. They never execute their resolutions by force upon any of their people. Honour and esteem are their principal rewards; as shame and being despised their punishment.These leaders and captains in like manner obtain their authority by the general opinion of their courage and conduct; and lose it by a failure in those virtues. These great men, both sachems and captains, are generally poorer than the common people for they uniforınly give away and distribule all the presents or plunder they get in their treaties or in war, so as to leave nothing to themselves.

“ There is not a man in the ministry of the Five Nations, who has gained his office otherwise than by merit; there is not the least salary or any sort of profit annexed to any office to tempt the covetous or sordid; but on the contrary, every unworthy action is unavoidably attended with the forfeiture of their commission, for the authority is only the esteem of the people, and ceases the moment that esteem is lost.

“ The Five Nations think themselves superior to the rest of mankind, and call themselves Ongue-honwe; that is, men

surpassing all others. All the nations round them have for many years entirely submitted to them, and pay a yearly tribute to them of Wampum*.

They dare neither make war or peace without the consent of the Mohawks. Two old men of this tribe commonly go about every year or two to receive this tribute; and I have often had opportunity to observe what anxiety the poor Indians were under while these two old men remained in that part of the country where I was. An old Mohawk Sachem in a poor blanket and dirty shirt may be seen issuing his orders with as arbitrary authority as a Roman Dictator. It is not however for the sake of tribute they make war, but from notions of glory, which they have ever most strongly imprinted on their minds; and the farther they go to seek an enemy, the greater glory is gained. The Five Nations, in their love of liberty and of their country, in their bravery in battle, and their constancy in enduring torments, equal the fortitude of the most renowned Romans. I shall finish their character by what their enemy, Monsieur De La Potherie in his History of North America says of them: “When we speak in France of the Five Nations they are thought, by a common mistake, to be mere barbarians always thirsting after human blood; but their true character is very different. They are indeed the fiercest and most formidable people in North America, and at the same time are 'as politic and judicious as can well be

* Wampum is the current money among the Indians: it is of two sorts, white and purple: the white is worked out of the insides of the great Congues into the form of a bead, and perforated so as to be strung on leather, the purple is worked out of the inside of the Muscle Shell: they are wove as broad as one's hand, and about two feet long: these they call Belts, and give and receive them at their treaties, as the seals of friendship. For lesser motives a single string is given; every bead is of a known value; and a belt of a less number is made to equal one of a greater, by so many as is wanted being fastened to the belt by a string

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