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of human nature, one could wish it to be. No species of vileness can be more injurious, or more opposed to the example of Christ and his Apostles.
I have been lead to recommend music, as I found that of the articles sent here by the British Government, a large quantity of jews' harps, (the parent of all instruments,) were selected by the Indians in preference to knives, and other valuable articles. Is there any sentence more common than the following words of the poet ?
Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast,
Yet when and where has it been tried as an auxiliary in the work of civilization ?
REMONSTRANCES OF THE INDIANS TO THE GOVERN
MENT OF THE UNITED STATES IN 1790.
It is no less curious than lamentable to observe the uniform and withering persecution which the Indians have laboured under from their earliest acquaintance with white men to the present day. Whatever dissimilarity may have existed in the characteristics, political and moral, of the various nations of Europe, they seem to have resembled each other in this one thing, namely, inextinguishable, unsparing oppression of the North American Indians. Dutch, French, English, and even those who, in one sense, may be termed their own countrymen, the citizens of the United States, have all agreed in keeping no faith with the original inhabitants of this vast continent. No: their dominions were too fertile in sources of wealth, for them to expect any thing like fair-dealing from their refined invaders, who first flattered and cajoled them, and then rewarded their hospitality with the sword and the cannon. The United States, especially about the time of their struggle with the mother-country for their own independence, it might be thought would have had so lively a sense of the value and blessing of liberty, as not to attempt any undue control or tyranny over their red brethren; but alas, like other nations, their worship of freedom was not as it existed in the abstract, but only as it affected their own happiness.
This will be illustrated in the following interesting correspondence between the Senecas and General Washington, in 1790,
To the Great Council of the Thirteen Fires. * The
Speech of Corn Plant, Half Town, and Big Tree,
Father,—The voice of the Seneca Nations speaks to you, the great counsellor, in whose heart the wise men of all the Thirteen Fires have placed their wisdom; it may be very small in your ears, and we therefore entreat you to hearken with attention, for we are about to speak of things which are to us very great.
When your army entered the country of the Six Nations, we called you the town-destroyer; and to this day, when your name is heard, our women look behind them and turn pale, and our children cling close to the necks of their mothers. Our counsellors and warriors are men, and cannot be afraid ; but their hearts are grieved with the fears of our women and children, and desire that it may be buried so deep as to be heard no more.
When you gave us peace we called you father, because you promised to secure us in the possession of our lands. Do this, and so long as the land shall remain, that beloved name shall be in the heart of every Seneca.
Father,We mean to open our hearts before you, and we earnestly desire that you will let us clearly understand what you resolve to do.
When our chiefs returned from the ireaty at Fort Stanwix, and laid before our council what had been done there, our nation was surprised to hear how great a country you had compelled them to give up to you, without your paying to us any thing for it. Every one said, that your hearts were yet swelled with resentment against us for what had happened during the war, but that one day you would consider
* Thirteen States.
it with more kindness. We asked each other, what have we done to deserve such severe chastisement ?
Father,—When you kindled your Thirteen Fires separately,* the wise men assembled at them told us, that you were all brothers; the children of one great father, who regarded the red people as his children. They called us brothers, and invited us to his protection. They told us that he resided beyond the great water where the sun first rises; that he was a king whose power no people could resist, and that his goodness was as bright as the sun : what they said went to our hearts. We accepted the invitation, and promised to obey him. What the Seneca Nation promises they faithfully perform; and when you refused obedience to that king, he commanded us to assist his beloved men in making you sober. In obeying him, we did no more than yourselves had led us to promise. The men who claimed this promise told us, that you were children and had no guns; that when they had shaken you, you would submit. We hearkened unto them, and were deceived until your army approached our towns. We were deceived, but your people teaching us to confide in that king, had helped to deceive us, and we now appeal to your heart, is all the blame ours?
Father, When we saw that we had been deceived, and heard the invitation which you gave us to draw near to the fire you had kindled and talk with you concerning peace, we made haste toward it. You then told us you could crush us to nothing, and you demanded from us a great country, as the price of that peace which you had offered to us; as if our want of strength bad destroyed our rights. Our chiefs had felt your power and were unable to contend against you, and they therefore gave up that country. What they agreed to has bound our nation ; but your anger against us must by this time
* Before the union of the States,
be cooled, and although our strength is not increased, nor your power become less, we ask you to consider calmly : Were the terms dictated to us by your commissioners reasonable and just?
Father,-Your commissioners, when they drew the line which separated the land then given up to you, from that which you agreed should remain to be ours, did most solemnly promise, that we should be secured in the peaceable possession of the land which we inhabited, east and north of that line.Does this promise bind you ?
Hear now, we entreat you, what has since happened concerning that land. On the day we finished the treaty at Fort Stanwix, commissioners from Pennsylvania told our chiefs, that they had come there to purchase from lines of their state ; and they told us that all the lands belonging to us within the line, would strike the river Susquehanna below Tioga branch, They then left us to consider of the bargain until next day. The next day we let them know, that we were unwilling to sell all the land within their state, and proposed to let them have a part of it, which we pointed out to them in their map. They told us that they must have the whole, that it was already ceded to them by the great king, at the time of making peace with you, and was then their own; but they said that they would not take advantage of that, and were willing to pay us for it, after the manner of their ancestors. Our chiefs were unable to contend at that time, and therefore they sold the lands up to the line, which was then shown them as the line of that state. What the commissioners had said about the land having been ceded to them at the peace, they considered as intended only to lesşen the price, and they passed it by with very little notice; but since that time we have heard so much from others about the right to our lands which the king gave when you made peace with him, that it is our
earnest desire that you will tell us what it means,