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which I am incapable of portraying, they presented me with a bowl top-full of picked strawberries, which I rejected at first, being desirous of convincing then there were some, if not many, white men who felt kindly towards them. But their expression of entreaty was so vehement, their importunity so great, that I felt it necessary to their happiness to accept their present, for they had no other way of showing their gratitude. This humble offering furnished my supper, and sweet indeed would my meal have been, had not commiseration for the wrongs of these sorely abused, persecuted, forlorn, and abandoned people, mingled with my enjoyment. I am so fully impressed with their undeserved misery, and with the nobleness of their character, that I should esteem the devotion of my life in their cause the most honourable way in which it could be employed; but alas, years and circumstances prevent my doing more than making this feeble effort to rouse the energies of youthful talent in their behalf; and as 'benevolence pervades the youthful mind more powerfully than that of the aged, I am not without a hope that thousands will yet start up to advocate the cause of the Red Indians, and prosecute measures for the amelioration of their state.
The above instance of want of charity, nay, of common decency on the part of white people in their intercourse with the Indians, is not by any means of rare occurrence. My reader will already have seen the complaints and pathetic appeals to justice which the poor children of the wilderness are so frequently compelled, by the treachery of their civilized neighbours, to make; and I am sorry to add another specimen to the long list of these atrocious outrages, which, in large and petty aggressions, is daily swelling and becoming more and more enormous. In passing, on the very day I have just adverted to, through the thousand islands, one of the boatmen who were rowing me, hallooed to a canoe in which
some Indians were fishing, who immediately came towards us, and a barter commenced between them and the boatmen. The boatmen held up a piece of cold pork and a loaf, for which they were to receive fish. The poor young Indians, (for the eldest was not above fourteen, and there were two little girls younger) showed what fish they would give; yet warily kept at a distance, fearing what, in spite of their precaution, actually took place. The boatmen struck suddenly at the canoe with their oars, and in the confusion which this attack caused, grasped the fish; the bread and pork they at first offered were, I need hardly say, withheld. Having achieved this noble enterprise they shouted and assailed the upresisting and defenceless children (who paddled off evidently fearful of further outrage,) with taunts and mockery. These men were Canadians; there were four of them; and I had no other means of punishing them on this occasion than by withholding the usual pecuniary fee. I was in some measure at their mercy; but though compelled to be a calm spectator of so dastardly a theft, 1 confess I was still more incensed at seeing how heartily some inhabitants of Canada, who were my fellow-passengers, seemed to enjoy the joke. The fact is, the Indians are esteemed lawful prey. Such is the feeling of thousands of men called christians, who boast of civilization, but who derive their subsistence by intercourse with the Indians; and however just many in the United States are, and however careful the British government is to guard the rights of the red men, yet as this guardianship is chiefly committed to those who are partakers in the spoils of the Indians, the care, instead of being wise and benign, is ratlier to debauch their untutored minds by the introduction of spirits among ihem. Every cup to them is indeed “ unblessed, and the ingredient is a devil !” Gradually, therefore, are they diminishing, and receding from the haunts of what we term civilization! That this charge does not apply
to all, and rarely to the heads of these departments, I rejoice to admit; but still those heads of departments are responsible for all the acts of their subordinate agents, and should exercise a vigilant superintendence, impartially punishing any, the least, infringement of their regulations. No man should be connected with the Indian department who is directly or indirectly interested in trade with the Indians.
I will not declaim on this subject, but let the following facts, derived from Mr. Heckewelder's account, speak for themselves.
“ In the summer of the year 1763, some friendly Indians from a distant place, came to Bethlehem to dispose of their peltry for manufactured goods and necessary implements of husbaudry. Returning home well satisfied, they put up the first night at a tavern, eight miles distant.* The landlord not being at home, his wife took the liberty of encouraging the people who frequented her house for the sake of drinking, to abuse those Indians, adding, that she would freely give a gallon of rum to any one of them that should kill one of those black devils. Other wbite people from the neighbourhood came in during the night, who also drank freely, made a great deal of noise, and increased the fears of those poor Indians, who, for the greatest part, understanding English, could not but suspect that something bad was intended against their persons. They were not, however, otherwise disturbed; but in the morning, when, after a restless night they were preparing to set off, they found themselves robbed of some of the most valuable articles they had purchased, and on mentioning this to a man who appeared to be the bar-keeper, they were ordered to leave the house. Not being willing to lose so much property, they retired to some
* This relation is authentic; I have received it, says Mr. Heckewelder, from the mouth of the chief of the injured party, and his statement was confirmed by communications made at the time by two respectable magistrates of the county,
distance into the woods, where, some of them remaining with what was left them, the others returned to Bethlehem and lodged their complaint with a justice of the peace. The magistrate gave them a letter to the the landlord, pressing him without delay to restore to the Indians the goods that had been taken from them. But behold! when they delivered that letter to the people at the inn they were told in answer,
that if they set any value on their lives, they must make off with themselves immediately. They well understood that they had no other alternative, and prudently departed without having received back any of their goods. Arrived at Nescopeck on the Susquehannah, they fell in with some other Delawares, who' had been treated much in the same manner, one of them having had his rifle stolen froin him. Here the two parties agreed to take revenge in their own way, for those insults and robberies for which they could obtain no redress; and that they determined to do as soon as war should be again declared by their nation against the English.
" Scarcely had these Indians retired, when in another place, about fourteen miles distant from the former, one man, two women and a child, all quiet Indians, were murdered in a most wicked and barbarous manner, by drunken militia officers and their men, for the purpose of getting their horse and the goods they had just purchased.* One of the women, falling on her knees, begged in vain for the life of herself and her child, while the other woman seeing what was doing, made her escape to the barn, where she endeavoured to hide herself on the top of the grain. She however was discovered, and inhumanly thrown down on the thrashing floor with such force that her brains flew out.
“ Here, then, were insults, robberies and murders, all committed within the short space of three months,
* Justice Geiger's letter to Justice Horsefield proves this fact,
upatoned for and enrevenged. There was no prospect of obtaining redress; the survivors were therefore obliged to seek some otber means 10 obtain revenge. They did so; the Indians, already exasperated against the English in consequence of repeated outrages, and considering the nation as responsible for the injuries which it did neither prevedi or punish, and for which it did not even oier to make any kind of reparation, at last declared war, and tben ide injured parties were at liberty to redress ibemselves for the wrongs they had suiered. Tber immediately started against the objects of their hatred, and finding their way unseen and undiscovered, to the ion which had been the scene of the first outrage, tbey attacked it at day-break, fired into it on the people within who were lying on their beds. Strange 10 relate! the murderers of the man, two women, and child, were among them. They were mortal's wounded, and died of their wounds shortly afterwards. The Indians, after leaving this bouse, murdered by accident an innocent family, having mistaken tbe house that they meant to attack, after which they returned to their homes.
“Now a violent hue and cry was raised against the Indians—no language was too bad, no crimes too black to brand them with. No faith was to be placed in those savages; treaties with them were of po efsect; they ought to be cut off from the face of the earth! Such was the language at that time in every body's mouth; the newspapers were filled with accounts of the crueities of the Indians; a variety of false reports were circulated in order to rouse the people against them ; while they, the really injured party, having no printing presses among them, could not make known the story of their grietances.
6. No faith can be placed in what the Indians promise at treaties; for scarcely is a treaty concluded than they are again murdering us. Such is our complaint against these unfortunate people; but they