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and as we have it set forth in the Scriptures, does not countenance a lust after secular honours or dominion, but expressly forbids it to his followers; merely requiring of them that they should yield honour where honour is due, and that their lives should be meek, holy, harmless, and undefiled; not returning evil for evil, but good for evil.
The earnestness with which these observations were attended to by the young Indian, greatly interested me; and how should I rejoice that Christianity should be exhibited to these simple people, by acts of benevolence, charity, and mercy, leaving the speculations and systems to the learned and refined. The Moravian misssonaries set a laudable example in this respect, and the consequences have been that their labours have proved more successful than those of all other sects' whatever. Preparation is necessary previous to the reception of any principles; and in this way God was graciously pleased to act. The Jewish dispensatiou was the forerunner of the Gospel; the Prophets, (and the last and greatest of them, John the Baptist,) were all sent to prepare the way for the appearance of the Saviour of men; and when the Lord of life and glory came, he gradually initiated the minds of men to receive the full display of his mercy and his divine character. But now, forsooth, those who assume the name of Missionaries, or, in another word, that of Apostles, despise this mode, and at once open upon the poor mind of the heathen, the whole artillery of their college stores of doctrine and wisdom, forgetting that bodily wants and comforts must be established, before the mind can be fitted to receive instruction. The glad tidings of salvation to poor singers can be taught without books: it was so propagated at first : it is a plain statement of facts, easy to be recollected. We lave several accounts of the manner of the original publication of the Gospel; especially in the 2d, 10th, and 13th of " Acts." The things therein stated were
what the early Christians believed; and in the mere belief of which they found joy and salvation; and such things the Indians are fully capable of bearing in their minds. Until we return to the simple teaching of the primitive apostles, and abandon our school-wisdom, success with the Indians cannot, I feel fully persuaded, be looked for with confidence.
That our endeavours hitherto, have indeed been worse than ineffectual, the following most important letter from an Indian chief to the governor of one of the United States, (New York) will abundantly show.
LETTER FROM RED JACKET.
Canandaigua, 18th Jan. 1821. "BROTHER PARRISH,
“I address myself to you, and through you to the governor.
“The chiefs of Onondaga have accompanied you to Albany, to do business with the governor ; I also was to have been with you, but I am sorry to say that bad health has put it out of my power.
For this you must not think hard of me. I am not to blame for it. It is the will of the Great Spirit that it should be so.
“ The object of the Onondagas is to purchase our lands at Tonnewanta. This, and all other business that they may have to do at Albany, must be transacted in the presence of the governor. He will see that the bargain is fairly made, so that all parties may have reason to be satisfied with what shall be done ; and when our sanction shall be wanted to the transaction it will be freely given.
“I much regret that at this time the state of my health should have prevented me from accompanying you to Albany, as it was the wish of the nation that I should state to the governor some circumstances, which show that the chain of friendship between
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 wronged 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 has become an alarming evil, and calls for the immediate interposition of the governor in our behalf.
“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 whenever 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. 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 permitted to pursue the deer in those forests which were 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
This is very
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, bas 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 consequence 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 are sure to follow, and the encroachments of the wbites 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, 1 perceive that whenever they came among the Indians, they were the forerunners of their dispersion; that they always excited ennities 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 lydians 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.
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,