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Title: Civilization of the Indian Natives

Author: Halliday Jackson

Release date: July 7, 2017 [eBook #55063]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Larry B. Harrison, Wayne Hammond and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)


Transcriber’s Note:

The corrections in the errata on page 120 have been incorporated into the original.


A Brief View
The subsequent care of the Society of Friends in endeavouring to promote
peace and friendship with them by pacific measures

A concise narrative of the proceedings of the Yearly Meeting of Friends, of
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and parts adjacent, since the year
1795, in promoting their improvement

“And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.”—Isaiah lxi. 4.




Our readers have, no doubt, perused with satisfaction the numbers which have appeared from time to time in this periodical, respecting the Seneca Indians—their habits, superstitions, &c. The facts which these articles embraced, were rendered the more interesting, by the late difficulties which had been manifested between the United States, and several southern and western tribes, upon the subject of their lands, and the right by which they held them in possession.

Since the conclusion of these interesting numbers, we have been favoured by the writer with a more enlarged and particular narration, respecting the situation of the Indians, in the early settlement of this country—in which a concise view is presented of the proceedings of William Penn, in relation to them at the period of the first settlement of Pennsylvania. A very particular description is also given of the proceedings of the Yearly Meeting of Friends of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, &c. touching the means adopted to increase their happiness, and improve their moral and physical condition. Many speeches, highly characteristic and beautiful, delivered by distinguished chiefs, in council, will be found interspersed through the narrative.

Having concluded, in our last number, the works of William Shewen, we think we cannot better occupy, for a few weeks, the pages heretofore devoted to that work, than by appropriating them to the interesting subject, of which the above is an outline, and which the writer has kindly given us permission to publish. It may then be preserved in the same manner as the works just completed, and will form a small but valuable book for all classes. 3


Believing that some account of the measures pursued by the Society of Friends, towards the Indian natives, may prove an auxiliary in the cause of humanity, and probably interest the serious and benevolent mind in behalf of the aborigines of our country, whom we consider as children of one universal parent, who is no respecter of persons, but regards with equal care all nations, whether of a fair complexion or a tawny skin; I am, therefore, induced to believe that every thing relating to their history may prove interesting to posterity, when they shall be told that such a race of men, who may then have passed away, once inhabited this populous country. And having acquired considerable knowledge of some of the Indian tribes, and of the progress some of them have made in the arts of civilized life, I am induced to offer a concise view of the friendly intercourse that has subsisted between the society of Friends and the aborigines of our country, from the time the illustrious William Penn, and some of his cotemporaries first landed on the American shores, and exhibited to the world, the singular spectacle of establishing a new model of government, amidst a mixture of persons of different nations, and different civil and religious opinions, surrounded by savage tribes of Indians, without recourse to any coercive measures—which has since been the wonder and admiration of mankind.

His great treaty, too, with the Indians, was also made without the solemnity of an oath, and has been immortalized as the only treaty, so made, that has never been broken.

In most of the histories, in which we can trace the character of the Indian nations, we find them to abound either with romantic tales, or scenes of cruelty and barbarity, calculated to excite prejudice in the mind of the reader; but in this will be found the conciliating language of peace and mutual friendship, and a disposition on the part of the Indians, to exchange the tomahawk and scalping knife, for the plough and the hoe, and peacefully betake themselves to the innocent employments of the pastoral and agricultural life.

Although the author has spent but a small portion of time in a personal residence among this people, in comparison with many others, yet he can acknowledge, that the short time devoted to that service embraced some of the happiest moments of his early life. For, although deprived of the social comforts of society, and far removed from all the near and tender connexions of his youthful days, yet from a full conviction 4 of the rectitude of the work, and the incalculable good, under the divine blessing, that might finally result to that people, the wilderness was often made as it were an Eden, and the desert as the garden of the Lord. “Joy and gladness was found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.”

During the author’s residence among the natives, as well as on several visits since that period, he had a fair opportunity of noticing the gradual improvement of the Indians, in some of the arts of civilized life, by which he is enabled to furnish, he trusts, well authenticated accounts of the benefits which have resulted to that people from the benevolent exertions of the society of Friends. And, although these exertions may appear to be limited in their operation towards a reform, yet when we take into view the numerous tribes of Indians within and circumjacent to the United States, there is reason to hope, that the instruction already afforded to several tribes, and the advancement they have made in some of the most useful arts of civilized life, will have a stimulating influence on their more distant brethren. 5


The benign spirit of the gospel, operating upon the benevolent mind of that eminently distinguished character William Penn, induced him, at the very commencement of the settlement of Pennsylvania, to cultivate, by the exercise of gentleness, kindness, and the love of peace, a good understanding with the natives; and in all his transactions with them, by scrupulously adhering to the law of universal righteousness, which dispenses justice to all, and infringes on the natural rights of none, he pursued the best means of establishing harmony between them and the new settlers, and thereby ensured their confidence and friendship.

In a letter which he sent them by his deputy, previous to his arrival in America, dated Eighth month, 1681, he called their attention to the existence of a supremely good, all-wise Being, and to his law written in the heart, by which men are taught to love, help, and do good, one to another; and briefly informed them respecting his grant from the king, and assured them that he desired to enjoy it with their love and consent, that they might always live together as neighbours and friends. Then, in allusion to some of the other settlements on this continent, which in too many instances having been marked with injustice and oppression, were followed by melancholy and distressing circumstances, he proceeded more at length to unfold to the natives the motives and principles, by which he was actuated towards them, adding: “The people I send are of the same mind, and if in any thing any shall offend you, or your people, you shall have a full and speedy satisfaction for the same, by an equal number of just men on both sides, that by no means you may have just occasion of being offended against them.”

In the year 1682, William Penn first arrived in this country, and began to purchase land of the Indians, exemplifying the sincerity of his previous declarations, by giving them full satisfaction for every grant, accompanied with the best advice for promoting their comfort and happiness.

Thus began that firm and lasting friendship with the natives, which continued during the life of William Penn, and with the religious society of which he was a member, for the space of seventy years; that is, as long as the society retained sufficient influence, effectually to interpose between the natives and the other inhabitants, so as to prevent misunderstandings, or to redress such grievances as occurred. A friendship which to this day remains unobliterated between the society of Friends and the Indians who have knowledge of them, and is a standing proof 6 that the gentle and upright conduct inculcated by the gospel, as exemplified in the practice of William Penn, is a far more effectual means of preserving treaties inviolate, and insuring the permanent enjoyment of reciprocal benefits, than the system of violence, fraud, and oppression too frequently resorted to, on such occasions.

By this memorable treaty between William Penn and the natives, the parties mutually engaged to live together in peace and concord, as brethren of the same universal parent; and according to Indian customs, ratified the same by the usual token of a chain of friendship, which was not to be broken, so long as the sun and moon endure.

William Penn had also many other conferences with the Indians, during his residence in the country, some of which were of a religious nature; and his conduct towards them was in general so engaging, the advice he gave them so evidently for their advantage, and his regard to justice so conspicuous, that he became greatly endeared to them: hence, the name of Onas, by which they distinguished him, (and still do the society of Friends,) has been transmitted from father to son, with much veneration and esteem. That such was the fact, much might be advanced as proof, which, with other circumstances in the subsequent behaviour of this people, demonstrate not only their sense of gratitude, but the extensive influence which justice, tempered by love, may have on the untutored mind. It may, however, be proper to state, that in the early settlement of Pennsylvania, when the country was almost an entire wilderness, and producing little for human sustenance but a scanty supply of natural fruits, and the wild animals of the forest, the new settlers were exposed to much hardship and difficulty in obtaining food—but their sufferings and difficulties in these respects, were much alleviated by the attention and kindness of the natives, in supplying their necessities; not only extending their beneficence to those of the society of Friends, but generally to such as were under the patronage of William Penn—thereby evincing towards them the genuine spirit of hospitality—frequently visiting them in their houses.

In the course of events, the society of Friends becoming mostly excluded from the proprietory agency to which the management of Indian affairs had been chiefly committed, the trade with the Indians became corrupted, and they were frequently imposed on in the sale of their lands. Hence arose jealousies and a spirit of resentment in some of the tribes, situated north-westward of the settled parts of Pennsylvania. Hostilities ensued, and many of the inhabitants suffered, in consequence of a war which continued for several years. But notwithstanding the diminished influence which the society of Friends now possessed in public transactions, and the negotiations of treaties with the Indians, they did not relax their endeavours to improve every opportunity of 7 cultivating a friendly intercourse with them, and promoting a peaceable disposition; for which purpose they formed an association among themselves, denominated the “friendly association for gaining and preserving peace with the Indians by pacific measures.”

To carry these benevolent views into operation, contributions to the amount of several thousand pounds were raised, which (with the governor’s permission) they applied in presents, and otherwise, in such a discreet and well timed manner, as, together with their conciliating demeanour and candour, which the Indians had often experienced, to have a happy effect in disposing them to hearken to terms of peace; which desirable event took place in 1775.

About the year 1791, at which time a contest subsisted between the United States and several of the Indian tribes, a committee of the Yearly Meeting of Friends, held in Philadelphia, appointed for the purpose of representing the society during the recess of the Yearly Meeting, believed it right to address congress on the occasion, thereby showing the expediency of pursuing pacific measures, which had heretofore been found salutary and effectual, in securing peace and friendship with the original owners of the soil for the settlement of existing differences: at the same time, suggesting that if their religious instruction and civilization were rightly promoted, it might essentially contribute to conciliate the minds of the Indians, and restore harmony between the contending parties. Although the representation was well received, the measures recommended were not then adopted, and the calamities of war still continuing to prevail on the western frontiers of the states, the Yearly Meeting held in 1792, appointed a large committee to unite with the former, (commonly called the meeting for Sufferings,) to deliberate on the momentous subject, and, if practicable, to recommend such measures as would be most likely to promote peace and friendship with the Indian tribes, and thereby prevent the further effusion of human blood.

In the spring of 1793, deputies from several Indian nations visited Philadelphia, with a view of forwarding an accommodation with the United States, and government having agreed that a treaty should be held in the Indian country near Detroit, the summer following, these Indian deputies repeatedly urged, in several conferences, that some Friends should attend the negotiations, stating, “that the nations they represented had a special confidence in them as a people, who, from their first settlement in America, had manifested a steady adherence to the maintenance of peace and friendship with the natives.” In accordance with the desire the society had long felt to promote peace, the proposition was acceeded to, and six Friends were deputed to accompany the commissioners appointed by government on this occasion, after having obtained the president’s approbation. 8

These Friends were present at several interviews with the commissioners, and about thirty Indian chiefs deputed from a grand council composed of a numerous body of Indians, made up of many different nations. They used what endeavours they could to prepare the minds of the Indians for a calm and deliberate consideration of the several subjects in controversy. But the Indians not being satisfied with the conditions held out by the commissioners as the terms of peace, the treaty proved abortive, and Friends were disappointed in having an interview with the Indians in general council. They had, however, reason to believe the Indians were generally made acquainted with their friendly motives and sentiments, and that their ancient attachment to the society was measurably renewed.

Again, in the summer of 1794, Friends were invited by the representatives of the Six Nations to attend a treaty to be held at Canandaigua, in the state of New York, and government approving the same, four Friends were deputed for that service, by whom a suitable address was sent, accompanied by some presents, as “a token (in the language of the address,) for you the descendants of the first inhabitants of this land of America, whom our forefathers found here after they had crossed the great waters.”

About sixteen hundred Indians were assembled on this occasion, and these Friends had an opportunity in their public councils, of endeavouring to impress their minds with a sense of the advantages to be derived from living in peace with one another, and with all men, and with the expediency of living a more sober and quiet life, that they might draw down the divine blessing upon them. These Indians still retained a lively remembrance of the just and friendly treatment their forefathers met with from the first founder of Pennsylvania, continued to distinguish him by the name of Onas, and considered Friends as his descendants, expressing that if we deceived them they should no more place confidence in mankind.

The disputed matters were now brought into a train of amicable adjustment, and a firm peace (it was hoped) was about to be established between these nations and the United States.

During this visit, many of the difficulties and sufferings to which the Indians were subjected, were brought into view, and their situation appeared loudly to claim the sympathy of those who had grown opulent on the former inheritance of these poor declining people. Hence these Friends suggested the propriety of the society of Friends, pursuing some plan of rendering them more essential service than had hitherto been rendered.

Again in 1795, a treaty was held with some of the western tribes of Indians, and, although Friends did not send a deputation to attend it, 9 they nevertheless, forwarded a suitable address, calculated to evince their love of peace, and ardent desire for the restoration of harmony between the Indians and the government of the United States. This letter was accompanied by suitable presents, directed to the care of General Anthony Wayne, who informed Friends that they were gratefully received by the Indians, and also, that there now was the fairest prospect of a lasting peace and friendly intercourse between the citizens of the United States, and the aborigines of America.

Peace accordingly once more took place between the United States and the Indians, after many years of war and devastation; but this cessation of hostilities was purchased, on behalf of the Indians, by the relinquishment of a large tract of their country north-west of the river Ohio, and they were also otherwise left in a poor and destitute situation.

Previous to this period, several of the Indians’ chiefs had, in a pathetic manner, applied to the society of Friends to remember them in their distressed situation, and also to instruct them in the modes of civilized life.

The following speech, from Gay-us-hu-ta, an ancient chief of the Seneca nation, on the borders of Pennsylvania, is worthy of preserving on record:

“Brothers, the sons of my beloved brother Onas—When I was young and strong, our country was full of game, which the great spirit sent for us to live upon. The lands which belonged to us, were extended far beyond where we hunted. I, and the people of my nation, always had plenty to eat, and always something to give to our friends when they entered our cabins, and we rejoiced when they received it from us. Hunting was then not tiresome. It was diversion—it was a pleasure.

“Brothers, when your fathers asked land of my nation, we gave it to them—Gay-us-hu-ta was always among the first to say, “Give land to our brother Onas, for he wants it—and he has always been a friend to Onas and his children.”

“Brothers, your fathers saw Gay-us-hu-ta when he was young, when he had not even thought of old age or of weakness—but you are too far off to see him now—he is grown old, he is very old and feeble, and he wonders at his own shadow, it has become so little. He has no children to take care of him, and the game is driven away by the white people, so that the young men must hunt all day to get game for themselves to eat—they have nothing left for Gay-us-hu-ta. And it is not Gay-us-hu-ta only that is become old and feeble; there yet remains about thirty men of your old friends, who, unable to provide for themselves, or to help one another, are become poor, and are hungry and naked.

“Brothers, Gay-us-hu-ta sends you a belt, which he received long ago from your fathers, and a writing which he received but as yesterday 10 from one of you; by these you will remember him and the old friends of your father’s in this nation. Look on this belt and this writing, and if you remember the old friends of your fathers, consider their former friendship and their present distress, and if the good spirit shall put it into your hearts to comfort them in their old age, do not disregard his counsel. We are men, and therefore need only tell you, that we are old and feeble, and hungry, and naked, and that we have no other friends but you, the children of our beloved brother Onas.”

The following is an extract from a letter addressed by Cornplanter, a chief of the same nation, to Friends in the year 1791.

“Brothers, the Seneca nation see that the great spirit intends they should not continue to live by hunting, and they look round on every side and inquire, who it is that shall teach them what is best for them to do. Your fathers dealt honestly with our fathers, and they have engaged us to remember it: we wish our children to be taught the same principles by which your fathers were guided.

“Brothers, we have too little wisdom among us, and we cannot teach our children what we perceive their situation requires them to know. We wish them to be taught to read and write, and such other things as you teach your children, especially the love of peace.”

Two Friends visited some of the Indians of the Delaware nation near Muskinghum, in the year 1793. The following is a speech of one of their chiefs named Neet-wot-willimon, on the occasion.

“Brothers, we are glad, and rejoice in our hearts to see our brothers, the Quakers, speaking before us—we feel the grace that is in your hearts conveyed to us, and we wish to be of the same religion, but we are poor, and weak, and not capable of judging for ourselves—we hope you will have pity upon us, and instruct us how to gain a more comfortable living—and, also, how we may come to obtain everlasting happiness: when we think of our poor children, our hearts are affected with sorrow—we hope you will send us teachers.”

These circumstances, together with the remembrance of the kindness of the natives to the early settlers in this country, continued to interest the feelings of the society of Friends in their behalf, and from motives of religious obligation, the Yearly Meeting, held in Philadelphia in the Ninth month, 1795, appointed a large committee for the special purpose of promoting the improvement and gradual civilization of the Indian natives, in such a way and manner, as would best tend to meliorate their condition; and to render an account annually to the Yearly Meeting of their progress therein. This committee promoted liberal subscriptions through the society—appointed a clerk and treasurer, and held stated 11 meetings to deliberate on such measures, as, under the divine blessing, might best promote the real welfare of these inhabitants of the wilderness.

In order more fully to learn the disposition of the several tribes of Indians bordering on the state of Pennsylvania, it was an early object with the committee, to address to them a circular letter, informing them of the objects the society had in view for their benefit—and also therein communicating much salutary advice and counsel; which letter was also accompanied by one from Timothy Pickering, then secretary of state, in which he expresses a hearty co-operation with the views and plans of the committee, and the necessity of the Indians’ gradually declining their former modes of procuring sustenance, and betaking themselves to the cultivation of the soil, and raising domestic animals.

In his letter he says—

“Now, Brothers, I have the great pleasure to inform you, that your good friends, the Quakers, have formed a wise plan to show your young men and boys the most useful practices of the white people. They will choose some prudent, good men to instruct them. These good men will do this, only from the love they bear to you, their fellow men, and children of the Great Spirit whom they desire to please, and who will be pleased with the good they do to you.

“The Quakers, and the good men they employ, will ask nothing from you, neither land, nor money, nor skins, nor furs, for all the good they will render to you. They will request only your consent, and the attention of the young men and boys to learn what will be so useful.

“Brothers, if this first attempt succeed, the way will be open in which your young people may learn other useful practices of the white people, so as to enable them to supply all their own wants; and such as choose it, may learn to read and write.

“Having thus explained to you the plan of your friends the Quakers, I conclude, with heartily recommending it to your adoption, as better calculated to procure lasting and essential benefits to your nation, than any plan ever before attempted.

“Wishing it great success, I remain your friend and brother,

Timothy Pickering.

Philadelphia, February 15, 1796.

Timothy Pickering also wrote to the superintendent of the six nations, and to the interpreter for the United States, requesting them to prepare the minds of the Indians for the intended plan formed by the society of Friends, to introduce among them some of the necessary arts of civil life. Those letters were explained to various tribes of Indians, who generally expressed their approbation of the measures proposed. 12

The Oneidas, however, and those Indians settled on the Oneida reservation, comprehending the Stockbridges—and a part of the Tuscaroras, near the sources of the Mohawk river, in the state of New York, were most solicitous to co-operate with Friends in the intended experiment for a reform in the Indian mode of life.

In the spring of the year 1796, three young men, who offered their services to spend some time in the instruction of the natives, were accompanied by four of the committee into the Oneida country, and provided with implements of husbandry, carpenters’ and smiths’ tools, and other necessary accommodations. The Indians received them with joyful countenances, and gave them a hearty welcome to their villages. Their first council was held with the Stockbridges. These Indians are not of the six nations. They were said to consist of about sixty families, and three hundred individuals; and possessed upwards of twenty-three thousand acres of land, which had been given to them by the Oneida nation. They had a saw-mill, three carts, three pair of good working oxen, and some other things, which they enjoyed in common; but, in general, possessed their improvements and other fruits of their industry as private property; and little appeared to be wanting, but a spirit of industry, frugality, and sobriety, to make their situation comfortable. After giving them such advice as their situation required, Friends held a general council with the Oneidas, about four miles distant from the Stockbridge settlement. Here they fully explained the nature of their embassy, and endeavoured to impress the Indians with the necessity of a change in their manner of life, and the means whereby it might be accomplished, if they became industrious, cultivated their land, and raised cattle, sheep, and other domestic animals—also, that their women should learn to spin, knit, and manufacture their clothing.

The Indians appeared well satisfied with the offer that had been made them, and the prospect of the young men staying among them to assist them. The women, especially, who had great reason to coincide with the views of Friends in this business, appeared to be well satisfied; for in proportion to the rude and uncultivated state of these people, are the hardships of their women increased; they having most of the drudgery to perform; such as hoeing corn, chopping wood, carrying burthens, &c. while their men are sporting with their bows and arrows, and other similar diversions.

It was supposed the Oneidas at this time possessed about two hundred and forty square miles of land. They were, in number, about six hundred and twenty. They had a saw-mill, built by government, and a considerable number of cattle, horses, and some working oxen. With these, and their annuities from the government, they might, with a proper application on their part, have become good livers, abounding 13 in the necessary comforts of life. But such were their excessive indolence, want of economy, and love of strong drink, that instead of improving the means in their power to make themselves comfortable, they were poor and wretched; and many of them, a great part of the year, almost reduced to a state of starvation. The little corn and other produce the women raised with their hoes, were frequently bartered for strong drink. The evil effects of this practice, Friends were particularly concerned to remark, in their councils; and some exertions were said to have been used by their chiefs, to prevent strong liquor from being sold in their villages.

Friends also had a council with the Brotherton Indians, about nine miles from the Stockbridges, composed of fifty-six families, and possessed of about nine thousand nine hundred acres of land. They also had a saw-mill, and a considerable number of cattle and other animals. They also had an interview with a smaller tribe of the Tuscaroras, who lived on the Oneida’s land, and furnished them with some goods, and implements of husbandry, encouraging them to industry, and sober habits, whereby they might partake plentifully of the blessings of the Great Spirit. They had further satisfactory interviews with the Stockbridge Indians, and in addition to the implements of husbandry they had given them, presented them with a set of smiths’ tools. At the close of their communications, an old chief replied to them as follows:—

“Brothers, I am glad to see you, in my heart, and to hear your good words—you use us just like a father—I am old—have lost all my family—and cannot live many days—but all this spring, I think the Great Spirit will send me some comfort in my trouble—but nobody say any thing to me, till now, you are come,—I wish I was young, then I would do what you say—I will go and see your young men at Oneida, every two or three days, and tell our young men how you do.”

The principal chief of the nation, on behalf of the rest, expressed much satisfaction for the kind offers Friends had made them, especially for the smiths’ tools; stating that they had suffered much for the want of them, having had to go many miles, and sometimes lose many days, to get one link of a chain mended.

The committee who accompanied the young men, now having spent near a month in the Indian country, and having obtained a house to accommodate them, and got satisfactory arrangements made between them and the Indians, set out homewards. On their way, about thirty miles westward of Oneida, they called to see a small tribe of the Onondaga Indians. They were about one hundred and thirty-five in number, and possessed about twelve thousand eight hundred acres of good land, but were in a poor and miserable condition, spending their time in idleness, and much given to intemperance; even pawning the blankets 14 they received from government, for liquor, before they got them home. Friends had an interview with them, and endeavoured to impress them with the necessity of a change in their manner of life, and the advantage that would arise from habits of industry and sobriety; letting them know that they were willing to help them a little, but that their main object was to get them to help themselves.

They also visited a small tribe of the Cayuga Indians, about seventy miles westward from Oneida, said to be about sixty in number, in a similar situation to the Onondagas. To these the committee promised to send some implements of husbandry, which were afterwards furnished them.

The three young men now stationed at Oneida, began to set before the natives an example of industry, and to use endeavours to promote in them a like disposition; but they, being unaccustomed to labour, and naturally averse to habits of industry, continued in their former pursuits. Friends then improved a piece of land, without assistance from the natives, hoping some of them would be induced to follow their example. They also repaired and worked a saw-mill, belonging to the Oneidas, and instructed several of the Indians in the knowledge of sawing.

In the fall of this year, one of the young men returned home, and another who offered his services, went forward to that station.

The ensuing winter, Friends opened a school for the instruction of the children, and an Indian, qualified by an education in New England, taught the Stockbridge children, and was allowed a salary by Friends for several years.

In the year 1797, but little improvement was made by the Oneida Indians. Sickness prevailed among them, which Friends did not wholly escape. One of the young men went to distribute some implements of husbandry, &c. among the Onondaga, and Cayuga Indians, and to encourage them to apply themselves to the use of them, earnestly recommending them to sobriety and industry, as the only means of promoting their happiness. For while they remained in habits of idleness and drunkenness, they would be poor and miserable. They were grateful for the presents received, and promised to apply themselves to the use of them; but said, that “drinking rum, and getting drunk they were not able to keep from, because it was running all round them; that they lived on an island, and the white people gave them drams, and then they craved more, so that they thought it was impossible to leave it off, they had been so long accustomed to it; but they were in hopes the young people would learn better.”

In the fore part of this summer, the Oneida Indians, as was their usual custom, (to supply themselves with food, being urged thereto by necessity,) went on an expedition, about twenty miles, to the other side 15 of the Oneida lake, after young pigeons. These they caught in great abundance, and after salting them in bark troughs, brought them home to their villages.

In the Ninth month, this year, another of the young men returned from the Oneida settlement, by whom the principal chiefs of that nation addressed a letter to the committee, expressive of their gratitude for the favours received, and their satisfaction with the conduct of the young man who had resided among them.

The Sachems of the Stockbridge nation also sent a letter, from which the following is extracted:

“Brothers and friends, attend. We the Sachems and counsellors of the Mohikonick or Stockbridge nation, send our voice to you. We feel rejoiced that the great, good Spirit, has put such light and love in your hearts, and influenced your minds to such a degree, as to have compassionate feelings towards us, the natives of this island. We ever have felt the gladness on our hearts, to find and see with our own eyes, that you have not only spoke good words from your lips, but have been doers of the good work—you have extended your charity towards us in this wilderness. You have taken the pains to come up, year ago last summer—you have sat with us in council, you have given us many good councils—you have raised our heads which were hung down—you have directed our eyes to see the good path of life—you have put tools on our hands—you have hung a good kettle by the side of our fire-place, whereby our food may be cooked without any trouble—you have even put a good staff into the hands of our children—that they may be enabled to learn the path that leads to good life, and indeed you have done much good for us. By these means we have been enabled to avoid many difficulties—our young men are greatly encouraged, and our old men comforted.

“Brothers, we hope that in a future day, you will rejoice, that what you have done for us was not in vain. The kindness which you have done to us is by this time sounded in the ears of our allies, the different nations towards the setting sun; for it was the custom of our forefathers, when any thing was done for them by the white people—all their friends and allies must know of it.”

Signed by six Chiefs.

Dated New Stockbridge, 9th mo. 1797.

A desire was expressed by the Indians, that some of their daughters might be brought into the neighbourhood of Philadelphia to receive instruction. Accordingly six girls, aged from nine to eighteen years were received, and placed in the families of Friends in Chester county, to be 16 instructed in school-learning, and the usual branches of housewifery and domestic economy, where some of them remained several years.

In the spring of the year 1798, (in order to induce the Indians to labour,) a proposition was made to hire some of them to assist in improving the land allotted for a farm; but they were so irregular in working, that the plan was abandoned. Some days nearly thirty would come to work, and on other days, scarcely one was to be had. They therefore engaged a number of lads and young men whom they boarded, and allowed a reasonable compensation for their services.

At this time some improvement had taken place. Many of the Indian men would assist their wives in working their little lots of land; but they experienced some difficulty from the want of a blacksmith, to make and repair their tools. A Friend, however, well qualified to instruct them in this business, offered his services, who, with his wife, and another female, desirous of spending some time in the instruction of the Indian women, proceeded to that settlement, and were usefully engaged in the benevolent object of improving the condition of the natives.

In the Seventh month, this year, this settlement was visited by two of the committee, who assisted the Friends there, in making some arrangements with the Indians relative to the smith’s business, and otherwise imparting suitable encouragement to them in regard to the cultivation of their land.

About this time, and for some time previous, (probably instigated by the evil insinuations of some designing white men,) some of the Indians had manifested suspicions of the sincerity of Friends’ views. They knew that the improvement made on their land, and the various tools and implements of husbandry furnished them by Friends, must have cost a great deal of money, and they had not been witnesses of any instance, where white people had come forward in such a manner to assist Indians, but, sooner or later an interested motive discovered itself—therefore, some had fear that it was intended to make a permanent establishment, and lay claim to a part of their land. And indeed when we advert to the many impositions practised upon this much injured people, by those who have gone among them, under the character of missionaries, and religious instructors, we cannot much marvel that this should be the case.

Friends, however, expostulated with them on various subjects, relative to their improvement, and reminded them of their ungrateful surmises and whisperings in this respect—and told them, that they had never asked any of their land—they never should—nor would they take it, if offered to them—and that they had no other inducement for staying among them, spending their time and their money, but their own good. 17

In their reply to Friends, the Indians, by way of apology, mention—“There are some had people, who have spoke against you, that you had a design to take away our land; and sometimes when our minds were not right, we believed such talk—and this made us feel very ugly—but now we are convinced, and sorry we believed such things. We are satisfied that you are a true people, and we will continue to be of that mind.”

This visit seemed (to use the Indian term,) to brighten the chain of friendship; and the prospect of improvement assumed a more encouraging appearance. A comfortable dwelling house and barn were built this year, and the Indian lads and young men were usefully employed in cultivating the farm. A large quantity of grain, hay, and vegetables were raised—affording ample proof to the natives, of the beneficial effects of cultivating the soil.

Several of them, also, acquired considerable knowledge of the blacksmith’s business, and many of their young women and girls received instruction in spinning, knitting, sewing, and other domestic affairs, and some progress was made in their school learning.

In the spring of 1799, a more encouraging prospect of success, in improving the condition of the Indians, was apparent. Several of the Indian men improved lots of land for their own benefit, which they sowed with wheat, and other grain. The smith’s business continued to be attended to by them, and Friends, with the aid of the Indians, continued to work their farms; nor were their exertions, either this or any former year, confined to their immediate residence; but as opportunities for usefulness presented, they extended their labours to the various parts of the Indian settlements, and afforded assistance in as many ways, as the necessities of the natives required.

As the Indians at this place had now obtained sufficient instruction to enable them, by proper application, to procure a comfortable living, it was concluded by Friends, that the time was drawing near, when it might be right to withdraw from them, and to convince the Indians of their disinterested motives, by leaving all their improvements, tools, and implements of husbandry for their own use and benefit; and with a view of making this arrangement, four of the committee visited the settlement in the Ninth month this year. After viewing the progress made by the Indians in the agricultural art, and also finding that two of them had acquired the knowledge of the blacksmith’s business, so fully as to be likely to answer all the work the natives might stand in need of, and others having applied themselves to the use of carpenter’s tools, so as to be capable of building good houses, barns, and making ploughs, harrows, and many other implements of husbandry, it appeared that very little was wanting but application on their part, to put themselves in a 18 way of living comfortably, and of procuring or raising in a plentiful degree, most of the necessaries of life.

Friends now had a free and open conference with the Indians, on the subject of relinquishing that settlement, and told them, as they had at the first, that they came not among them to make them presents that would soon slide away, but to teach them some of the useful practices of the white people; that they had now set before them a clear example, and showed them what a great deal of produce for the support of life, might be raised from a small piece of land; and expressed a hope they would take their advice, and follow the example they had set before them, informing them that there were a great many more of their Indian brethren that stood in need of assistance and instruction—and hoped they would be satisfied with what was already done for them.

To the communications of Friends on this occasion, an ancient chief, Skenandoah, made the following reply, on behalf of the nation:—

“Brother Onas attend. We know you told us you came not amongst us to make us presents that would soon wear away, but to stay some time—to instruct us how to gain a comfortable living, by tilling the ground, as the white people do. Now you have staid the time you proposed, and have fulfilled all your engagements to our nation, and we shall follow the good example you have set before us, which we know would be of lasting benefit to us; and we thankfully acknowledge your kindness, having never heard of any people who have done so much for Indians, without any view of advantage to themselves—which is a convincing proof to us that you are our real friends. And we are glad the good spirit has put it into your minds to assist others of our Indian brethren, in learning the same good way of living, for which we also thank you, as well as for the good advice you gave us about strong drink; and we will try all we can to persuade our young men to do better.

“And now Brothers, if we have done any thing that displeases you, we wish you would tell us, that our friendship may remain bright; for now we know you are a true people, and we will keep this writing and tell our young men and children every year, that they may always remember your friendship.”

Near the close of the year, the Friends at Oneida having made the necessary arrangements about the distribution of the property, which consisted of between two and three hundred bushels of grain, a quantity of hay, a cow, a number of hogs, a cart, ploughs, harrows, carpenter’s and smith’s tools, household and kitchen furniture, all for the benefit of the Indians, they had a parting conference with them, when they presented them with the following address in writing.

“Brothers of the Oneida nation. We are now about to leave you, 19 and return to our respective homes. We desire to speak to you in a few words. You know it is more than three years since your friends, the people called Quakers, have been endeavouring to assist and instruct you how to gain a comfortable living, by cultivating your land, and some of us who are here, have left our near connexions and friends in order to be useful to your nation.

“Now, Brothers, we have set before you a clear example, how to till your land, so as to raise plenty of wheat, and other good things for your support. We wish you, therefore, to improve the opportunity, by which means you may come to live happy and plentifully by the fruits of your own industry and care. We have often told you that we want nothing from you for all our trouble and expense, but the improvement of your nation.

“Brothers, you have now the advantage of having most of your smith work done by your own people, which is not the case with any of your brethren to the westward. If you do not improve the advantages you have, you must blame yourselves for your poverty and distress. We entreat you, therefore, to be wise for your own interest, and leave off the practice of drinking strong drink, (for you know it has been the cause of most of your difficulties,) and try to pursue a sober, industrious course of life. Then we believe the good spirit will bless you with lasting benefits; and as we have endeavoured to live in peace among you, we wish you to live in peace one with another, that your good example may be a blessing to your children—always remembering, that your welfare and happiness as well as the improvement of your children will depend much on your sobriety and industry.

“Brothers, we now leave you, hoping your good understanding will incline you to pursue the way we have endeavoured to point out to you. We now bid you farewell.”

The Indians, both of the Oneida and Stockbridge tribes, made replies of considerable length to our friends on this parting opportunity, in which they expressed their sense of gratitude for the many services Friends had rendered them; and, among other things, stated, that “they would endeavour to pursue the path Friends had pointed out to them,” and further added:—

“Brothers, it is now a long time since the white people have lived on this island. They have frequently told us they loved us—but none of them have ever tried to instruct us in cultivating our land before. We now see, brothers, that your society has manifested more regard for the welfare of the Indians, than any other people, for which we thank you. We also thank the Great Spirit that he has put it into your hearts to love and regard Indians.”

These Friends arrived in Philadelphia in the First month, 1801.—It 20 was hoped that the labour bestowed upon those Indians would eventually prove a blessing to them, and that the spirit of industry that had been discovered in individuals, would gradually progress from family to family, and have a powerful and beneficial influence on many of the adjacent tribes-and, in time, also, on those more remote.

In the autumn of this year, the Stockbridge girls, who had been placed among Friends in the fall of 1797, were returned to their parents. They had acquired a considerable knowledge of school learning, and of spinning, knitting, sewing, and the different branches of housewifery.

To show a specimen of their improvement in school learning, I will here give a copy of a letter written by one of them, the following spring after their arrival among Friends, in which time she had acquired so much of the English language, as to enable her to convey her ideas by writing:

New Garden, Third mo. 10th, 1798.

“My dear mother: I will try to let thee know how I do so far from thee—I have been well ever since I left thee. I would be glad to see thee mother—I want to see thee, and brothers and sisters, and all Stockbridge friends—I want to see father—I like to live in this country pretty well—and dear friends clever—me live in clever house, very good man, make clocks—make porringers and spoons—me like to see him—I can knit stockings and spin—I have made sampler—I know how to mark my clothes, then I know my own—three girls make bonnets and do all work—I work a little, play a little—go to meeting a little—sometimes walk—sometimes ride on horseback, when roads are muddy—the girls’ mother very good old woman—I love her—she learns me to work.

Mary Peters.

My dear Brother—Me live well at very good house. I love thee, and sisters, and mother—I want see you all—Friends say, may be we all go back to Stockbridge before next winter—I think I have told thee all I can now, so bid thee farewell.

Mary Peters.

N. B. This letter my own hand writing, so you may see I learn write.”

The following is an extract of a letter written by one of the Indian girls after her return home, dated the Ninth month, 1803, to one of the women Friends who had engaged in the instruction of the natives at Oneida.

“I have spun some flax and wool since I come home, and made some cheese to show our Indians how to make cheese—they be very much 21 pleased to know how to make cheese—some said they never thought Indians could make cheese so well. They began to try to keep cows ever since to make cheese and butter. Some of them began to sow some flax, and good many of our Indians got sheep—meat good to eat, and wool good for cloth. I hope we will do better every year. Good many have left off drinking, and some of them drink very hard yet. I have been to see Oneidas not long ago—they improve very much since thee come away—good many have new frame houses and frame barns—they improve very much ever since they left off drinking. I believe three hundred of men and women left off drinking this sometime past—I hope they will keep their words good.”

By some information received afterwards, it appears some of these young women married soon after their return and settled themselves to industry, lived well, and some Friends calling to see them, were kindly received and hospitably entertained by them.

After the committee of the Yearly Meeting of Pennsylvania withdrew their attention from the Oneidas, and those Indians in the vicinity, they came more particularly under the notice of Friends of the Yearly Meeting of New York, who had formed similar plans for the improvement and civilization of the Indian natives.

Friendly intercourse between the Society of Friends, and various nations of Indians.

It seems necessary, in this place, to go back a little in the order of time, and give some account of the interviews with the chiefs and others, of various nations of Indians, who at different times visited Philadelphia.

As the minds of Friends were attentively opened to the great object of the concern, in promoting the well-being and gradual improvement of the Indian natives, every opportunity was embraced of cultivating a friendly intercourse with them, and of giving such counsel and encouragement as seemed to be adapted to their situation, accompanied with some such aid in implements of husbandry and other things, as their necessities demanded.

In the Ninth month, 1796, Benjamin Hawkins superintendent of the Creek nation, settled in the interior of Georgia, was introduced to the committee on Indian affairs. He brought with him four lads of that nation to be educated; two of whom were placed with Friends, where they remained several years, and were instructed in school learning. He also suggested the propriety of furnishing those Indians with some 22 mechanical tools, which were procured and forwarded to them, accompanied by a suitable address, from which the following is extracted:

“Brothers, we feel it in our hearts to tell you that the great and good spirit, made all people with a design that they should live in peace and good will, and that it is for this end he hath placed his law in the hearts of all men, which, if carefully attended to, would keep them in love and friendship—and teach them to avoid every thing that would lead them to hurt and destroy one another.

“Brothers, are you not sensible that when you are quarrelsome, or have done any bad action, that you are made sorrowful and uneasy, and that on the contrary when you are serious, and do good actions, your minds feel easy, pleasant, and comfortable? This is from the good spirit, who is all love, and who hath placed his law in our hearts, to give us peace and comfort when we do well, and make us sad and uneasy when we do evil.

“Brothers, we are glad in believing that the good spirit has influenced the hearts of our great men to do the Indians good; and we earnestly desire, that you may be so wise as to follow their good advice in trying to improve your fertile land by farming, and raising cattle, sheep, and hogs; so that you may have food and clothing for yourselves, your wives, and your children.”

About the beginning of the year 1797, Friends had satisfactory interviews with deputies from various nations, among whom were some of the Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw Indians, inhabiting the northern and western parts of Georgia; and the Shawanees, Chippewas, and Pottawattamies, living on the waters of the Wabash river, and bordering on lakes Michigan and Superior.

To these Indians suitable presents were made to a considerable amount. In divers conferences had with them, Friends informed them of the nature and effect of their peaceable principles, and testimony against wars and fightings—their care of the society in first settling Pennsylvania, under the patronage of William Penn, whom the Indians called brother Onas, not to settle on lands that were not fairly purchased and paid for to the satisfaction of the natives, with whom friendship, harmony, and mutual kind offices long subsisted. They also informed them of their continued desire to maintain this amity, by exerting their best endeavours and influence for the healing of differences between white people and Indians. They endeavoured to explain to their understandings how much the attainment of this happy end depends upon cherishing, in ourselves, the benevolent disposition inseparable from the true spirit and practice of real Christianity. They also recommended them to instruct their youth in modes of living more conformable thereto, 23 than had heretofore been customary with them, and especially warned them against the pernicious effects of using spirituous liquors.

A number of the chiefs expressed great satisfaction with these interviews. Some of them said they remembered to have heard of such a people as the Quakers; but the account remained with them an uncertainty, until now they had witnessed its reality; that the sentiments and advice communicated, was such as they had never heard before; that it had sunk deep into their hearts, and that they wished it conveyed to their people more extensively by personal visits from some of the Quakers. One of them remarked particularly on the counsel imparted not to revenge injuries, and gave repeated assurances, “that although he had heard of two of his people being killed, he was determined not to retaliate, but to adhere to peace.”

An ancient chief of the Creek nation, among many other things said, “Brothers, I am an old man, yet I have travelled much this year to promote peace. I went many hundred miles to the treaty on the frontiers of Georgia, held by the commissioners of the United States, and of the State of Georgia, with my nation, where several matters were adjusted to my satisfaction. I then returned home, but in a short time, came by invitation to this city, to make the chain of friendship still brighter. On my way, and since coming here, I have met with nothing unpleasant; nor do I regret all the toil and fatigue of a long journey to establish a firm peace. I believe the Great Spirit above made both white and red men; but I suppose it is because we are red men, that the white men impose upon us, and try to get our land, which we do not want to part with.

“Brothers, I am glad to find there are a people who love peace, and give such good advice to red men. I was a stranger to you, till since my coming here. You kindly took notice of me. A few days ago one of your women delivered a talk which I have hid deep in my heart. I never heard such an one before. I want to tell it to my nation, after I get home—and for fear I should forget some of it, I should like to have it in print that it might be fully explained to them.”

In the First month, 1798, the Little Turtle, a chief of the Miami nation, and some other western Indians, were introduced to the committee by a letter from General James Wilkinson, then commander-in-chief of the army of the United States, to his brother-in-law, Owen Biddle, of Philadelphia. In this letter, he wrote as follows, “When we contemplate the fortunes of the aborigines of our country, the bosom of philanthropy must heave with sorrow. What would not that man, or that community merit, who reclaims the untutored Indian—opens his mind to sources of happiness unknown, and makes him useful to society—since it would be in effect to save a whole race from extinction? For, 24 surely, if these people are not brought to depend for sustenance on their fields instead of their forests, it will be found impossible to reclaim their present habits; and the seeds of their extinction already sown, must be matured.

“The bearer of this letter, the Little Turtle, is forcibly impressed with these truths, and is anxious to co-operate in a fair experiment on his tribe. It is with this view that I introduce him particularly to you, in hopes you may think proper to recommend him to the patronage of the benevolent society of which you are a member.”

Friends had satisfactory interviews with these Indians, and suitable presents were given to them. The Little Turtle expressed a strong desire for the improvement of his people, and hoped Friends would use their endeavours to promote the work of civilization among them.

The committee embraced this opportunity of addressing a general letter to the Miami Indians, and other nations united with them, in which they reminded them of the ancient friendship that subsisted between their forefathers and Friends, in the early settlement of this country—that the chain of friendship had been kept bright for more than one hundred years, by mutual acts of kindness to each other, and that while Friends had the chief direction of public affairs in Pennsylvania, there was no war between the white people and Indians in that state: but since those times of brotherly kindness, some men had given way to the power of the bad spirit in their hearts, so as to become desperately wicked, coveting their neighbours’ goods, and even thirsting for blood. This had caused wars and fightings, and produced much misery in the world—and that the society of Friends were concerned to persuade their rulers to do justly, and maintain peace with the Indians, and with all men—and were also very desirous that the Great overruling Spirit of love, might so influence and direct the councils of the Indian nations, and so dispose their hearts to peace, that the sound of war might no more be heard in their land.

They were, also, in this address, especially warned against the pernicious effects of spirituous liquors, which concern may be understood to have been particularly attended to in most of their communications to the Indians.

In the summer of this year, Friends received a letter from the Little Turtle, giving them an account of the safe arrival of the articles sent to his nation. They also received one from the Creek nation, giving an account of the reception of the implements of husbandry forwarded to them, for which they expressed a sense of gratitude for the great benefit to that nation.

In the Twelfth month, this year, Friends had a satisfactory interview in Philadelphia, with two chiefs of the Ottawa nation, two chiefs of the 25 Pottawattamies, and the principal chief of the Chippewa nation, who were accompanied by Jonathan Sheffelin, agent and Indian interpreter, being then on an embassy to the president of the United States.

At the conclusion of a speech made by Kekis, (the Sun) the principal chief of the Pottawattamies, on behalf of the three nations, he presented six strings of white wampum as a token of brotherly regard for the society of Friends.

Among other things, in his speech, he says—

“Brothers, we are an ignorant people, and don’t know what is right as well as you do. We have often been persuaded by the white people to join in their wars against one another. A great while ago, the French set us against the English. They should have taught us better things. I hope, however, our hearts will become as white as the wampum in my hand. The Great Spirit above has made us, as well as you; though we are not of one colour. He has put it into our hearts to live in peace with the white people. I believe it is his will that we should meet together in the centre of this great island. I am sensible your hearts are good towards your brothers the red people.

“Brothers, when you came to see us at Detroit,1 we wanted to see you; but other people would not suffer us to take you by the hand. If they had been of our minds, you would have had us round you then, as you are now round us. Colonel M’K.2 prevented us. We return you thanks for the good you came for. Our wives and children shed tears because they could not come to you. When they said we will go, he said, you will be disappointed, they will not give you so much as a needle full of thread. We believed it—our dependence was on them.

“Brothers, we hope you will continue your friendship to us, and help us to keep our lands. I speak from my heart. We know you are not capable of giving bad advice. The Great Spirit hears what we say, and it will be known among our people, so long as red men shall remain upon this island.

“Brothers, these six strings of wampum, in the sight of the Great Spirit, are to sweep all the bad things away from between us.

“If the white people should want to spill our blood again, we hope you will use your endeavours to preserve peace.”

These Indians also presented a large belt of ten strings of white wampum from the Delaware nation, with a speech of considerable length in writing, from which we extract the following.

After acknowledging the kindness of Friends, and the good advice 26 communicated in the speech which they had received by the hands of the Miami chief, the Little Turtle, they say—

“Brothers, you strongly recommend peace—we are much inclined to peace. The war axe is long since buried deep in the bottom of the great lake—so very deep, that we hope the evil Spirit will never be able to take it up again. There we hope it will ever remain, and never be thought of by any of us. We hope that the master of life, who disposes of all things according to his will and pleasure, may also so dispose the hearts and minds of his white brethren, as they used to be at that time when our forefathers first met on this great island, and smoked the pipe of peace with your grandfather Onas, (Penn) on the very same spot where your great village (Philadelphia) now stands.

“Brothers, at that time the hearts and minds of men were white and good. The evil spirit who works in the inside of the bodies of men, had then no power over them. Our villages were peaceful, and our paths, at that time, were covered with flowers, and we knew nothing of war. But soon after, the bad spirit fixed himself deep in the hearts and minds of our white brethren. They made war against each other, and soon taught us to be as wicked as themselves, and, like themselves, cruel and unjust. It was them who took the pipe of peace out of our hands, and it was them who put the destructive war axe into our hands, to strike against their white brethren and their helpless women and children. They only are the cause of all our misfortunes—the destruction of our villages, the death of our young warriors and helpless women and children—the loss of our lands and our happiness.

“Brothers, we are told by you, in your speech to us, that you wish to know our situation, and in what manner you could be of service to us—we are poor and pitiful indeed—destructive war has caused many of our families to be scattered abroad in the wilderness, insomuch, that we can scarcely find their places of residence. Our once peaceful villages exist no more. Our paths, which once were covered with flowers, are now full of thorns, and stained with the blood of our young warriors and our helpless women and children. We have almost considered ourselves as last men, and thrown our bodies away, but by the advice of our brother, Jonathan Shefflin, and the assistance of the Great Spirit, we will now assemble ourselves together, and form an extensive village on the plains of the White river. Speeches are this day sent to our brethren for that purpose, and we hope that by the next summer, we shall all be assembled at that place, when we will point out the means of your assisting us.

“Brothers, may the great regulator of all things, he who knows the hearts and minds of all men, so dispose the hearts and minds of our Quaker brethren, that they may never be induced to withdraw their 27 friendship and counsel from men who by their ignorance, are easily led astray by the songs of the bad birds—men who are real objects of pity, and who require the protection of their white brethren more at this time than ever.”

Signed by Buckingeheles, and six other Chiefs of the Delaware nation.

These Indian chiefs, before alluded to, were presented with suitable presents previous to their leaving Philadelphia, as a token of brotherly regard entertained for the natives of the land,—and some time after the committee wrote to the Delaware nation, strongly recommending them to betake themselves to the cultivation of the earth to procure sustenance, and in allusion to the time of their first intercourse with Friends in the early settlement of the country, they say:

“Brothers, at that time the white inhabitants were few and inclined to peace; since then, they have increased to a great number, amongst whom we and our brethren are but as a handful. Yet the good Spirit who taught our forefathers to cultivate peace with the Indians and all men, still teaches us the same; therefore, we can take no part in the war with any people, and our influence in the great councils of our nation is very small—but we use our endeavours to persuade men to live in peace, and have brotherly love towards each other.”

In the First month, 1802, the Little Turtle and several other chiefs of the Miami and Pottawattamie nations, again visited Philadelphia, when Friends had satisfactory conferences with them, in which the Little Turtle renewed in a pathetic manner his request for some assistance to be given his nation, to accelerate their improvement in civilization. Suitable advice was given them on this subject, accompanied with some presents: but these nations lived more within the vicinity of Friends of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, who had formed similar plans to improve the condition of the Indian natives; it was therefore concluded by their committee, to extend aid to some of the nations north-west of the river Ohio—of which some account may be given hereafter.

Early in the spring of 1802, a number of the Indians of the Delaware and Shawaneese nations came to Philadelphia, and in their conferences with Friends, renewed their requests for assistance in procuring some necessary articles, and particularly that they might be furnished with a schoolmaster in their towns to instruct their children.

These people, being the immediate descendants from those tribes who were very friendly and kind to our ancestors in the early settlement of Pennsylvania, seemed to have a special claim upon Friends. Accordingly, they were furnished with a considerable amount in money, and goods adapted to their wants. Suitable advice was given them, encouraging 28 them to cultivate their land, and raise cattle, hogs, and other useful animals. They lived at so remote a distance, that Friends had no expectation of any one of their people going among them in the capacity of schoolmaster.

In the conclusion of their reply to Friends, they say:

“May the great good Spirit above protect you for the favours you have shown us. The present you have made us will put us in grateful remembrance of you for ever.”

Thus we see, in this short account of the correspondence with the Indians, of various and distant nations to the westward, (of which much more might have been said,) not only their strong attachment to the society of Friends, but their determination to live in peace with the people of the United States. We also may discover their destitute and miserable situation, in consequence of the ravages of war, and the wide field of labour that opens for the benevolent and philanthropic mind to extend the empire of civilization and knowledge, to these untutored sons of the forest. It was a pleasing reflection, at that time, that the benign influence of the prince of peace had so softened the hearts of men, that measures were contemplated by the rulers of our land to extend the blessings of civilization to these aborigines of our country; to reclaim them from their savage habits and induce them to adopt the innocent employments of the pastoral and agricultural life. But alas! the subsequent policy of the general government, combined with the interested motives of individual states, too sorrowfully demonstrate that their fate is inevitably fixed—the decree has gone forth—they must recede before the giant march of white population; and however strong their attachment to their native soil, and reluctant to abandon the homes of their fathers, be compelled to retreat further and further into the dreary abodes of an unknown wilderness, and to seek an asylum among more savage and barbarous tribes, towards the setting sun.

We cannot but express an ardent desire, that the great controller of human affairs may yet so dispose the hearts of the rulers of our country to feelings of humanity, towards the miserable remnants of the Indian tribes, yet within the state governments—that they may preserve inviolate the faith of the United States, solemnly pledged at the formation of the federal constitution, to protect them in their unalienable rights and privileges, as the aboriginal owners of the soil; for it is an incontrovertible truth, “that national evils will produce national calamities.”

I shall now resume the narrative of the proceedings of Friends in improving the condition of the Indians which has been progressing under the direction of the committee of the Yearly Meeting, for more than thirty years, among the Seneca nation. 29

First settlement of Friends among the Seneca nation of Indians.

The noted chief Cornplanter, having, as we have already stated, opened the way for the introduction of the agricultural arts among his tribe, in the spring of the year 1798, three young men, who offered themselves to go and instruct them, accompanied by two of the committee, proceeded to his settlement. After a long journey, and much of the way through (then) a wilderness country, they arrived at Cornplanter’s village, on the Alleghany river, the seventeenth of the Fifth month. The chief having previous knowledge of their coming, expressed his thankfulness to the Great Spirit for their preservation on the way and safe arrival among them. They were kindly invited into his house, and inquired of whether they could eat Indian’s provisions, and being answered in the affirmative, they were hospitably entertained with the best he could offer them; but made a very temperate meal.

This village, (which was called in their language) Jenuchshadago, (which means burnt house,) stood on the bank of the Alleghany river, about four miles south of the northern boundary of Pennsylvania. The land had a rich bottom, and appeared favourable for cultivation. The village contained about thirty or forty houses and bark cabins, scattered along the margin of the river, without any regard to a regular arrangement. The venerable chief appeared to live in patriarchal style; his house was not distinguished from any of the rest by any tokens of magnificence, except by being somewhat larger—near it stood a wooden image of a man, round which at stated times they performed their religious ceremonies and sacrifices.

The image was about seven feet in height, elevated on a pedestal, of the same block, and being painted a variety of colours, it altogether exhibited a wild appearance.

The Indians had, perhaps, from two to three hundred acres of land, inclosed with a sort of fence round the town, in which inclosure many of their women were industriously engaged in clearing off the rubbish and planting small patches of corn and beans, while the men were standing in companies sporting themselves with their bows and arrows and other trifling amusements, but none of them were seen assisting their women in the labours of the field.

The Indians appeared to live poor and dirty, and it was said to be a time of scarcity among them, and the greater part of them under Cornplanter’s superintendence, estimated at about four hundred, had deserted their old settlements up the river, and come to live with their chief in this place.

As it was necessary for Friends to have a general council with the 30 Indians, in order to explain their views and the object of their coming among them, the day after their arrival, they assembled in council at the chief’s house, about forty of their principal men, with many others. Cornplanter opened the council by a short speech, expressing his thankfulness for the safe arrival of Friends, and the joy he felt when he saw them come out of the bushes the day before, to see their Indian brothers, who were poor and living in bad houses, covered with bark; and they were not able to build them better.

Friends now made them fully acquainted with the nature of their mission, that it was in order to improve the condition of the Indian natives, and to teach them the ways of good and honest white people, that they, with their wives and children, might be enabled to live more comfortably, and be relieved from the distresses and difficulties to which they had been subjected by their old habits and modes of living—that these young men had concluded to leave their friends and comfortable dwellings, and remain for a time in the Indian country, in order to instruct them in the cultivation of their land, in the raising and managing of cattle, and also to example them in a life of sobriety and industry. They were also informed, that Friends had a variety of farming utensils, carpenters’ tools, &c. coming up the river, in a boat, which were intended for their benefit, in a hope, that the Indians, with Friends’ instruction, would diligently apply themselves to the use of them, that by so doing they might come to reap the plentiful fruits of industry; and that this was the sole object Friends had in view, having no desire for their lands, their skins, their furs, or any other part of their substance.

To these propositions the Indians seemed to express a general assent; but took the subjects under serious consideration, until next day, when near evening they admitted Friends again to the council house, when Cornplanter on behalf of the natives made a reply, from which we extract the following.

“Brothers, the Quakers, listen now to what I am going to say to you. You know, brothers, the red people are poor; they are not like the white people. The Great Spirit has made them of another language, so that it is very hard for us to understand one another plainly, as we have no good interpreter.

“Brothers, we suppose the reason you came here was to help the poor Indians in some way or other, and you wish the chiefs to tell their warriors not to go on so bad as they have done heretofore, and you also wish us to take up work like the white people, and cultivate our land. Now brothers, some of our sober men will take up work and do as you say, and if they do well, then will your young men stay longer amongst us, but some others will not mind what you say. 31

“Brothers, we cannot say a word against you. It is the best way to call Quakers brothers. You never wished our lands, therefore we are determined to learn your ways, and these young men may stay here two years, and then if they like it and we like it, your young men may stay longer.”

In reply they were informed, that the young men would want some house to live in, and a piece of land to work, in order to set the Indians an example and raise something for themselves to live upon; but that the land should still be the Indians’, and all the improvements they put upon it should be theirs, when Friends left it. They were also informed that the tools and implements of husbandry which were intended for their use, would be under the care of the young men, to lend to such Indians as wanted to use them, rather than to distribute them among them as presents; offering this reason, “that if they were given to them some of them might barter them away for whiskey,” as divers instances of intoxication had been noticed among them.

On the twenty-first of the Fifth month, Friends, with Cornplanter in company, and several other Indians, passed up the river about nine miles in canoes, in order to look out for a settlement. They came to an ancient village called Genesinguhta, which was nearly deserted by the Indians—only three or four families remaining. The bottoms along the river side appeared fertile, though much grown over with bushes, and covered with abundance of fallen timber. Yet it was considered the most eligible place for Friends to settle, in order to be of benefit to the Indians, as it was on the land belonging to the nation, and where they intended to have a reservation located of forty-two square miles.

This conclusion being proposed to Cornplanter, and he queried with, “whether he was willing Friends should start their fence at the river side,” and enclose a piece of land they pointed out to him—to which he replied, “I told you, brothers, the land was all before you, to choose where you please; but he thought that was the best place for Friends to settle, and this man, said he, (in whose house they then were) is very glad you are going to settle so near him—he is very sober man, he is like you, he drinks no whiskey.” He was then inquired of whether Friends might have liberty to cut timber in the woods for the use of the farm, to which he replied, “I wish you would cut all the trees down, and I will give you another liberty, if you see a deer you may shoot him, and you may catch fish in the river.”

The place being finally agreed upon, several old Indian cabins were included in it, and one occupied by a family, which was well situated to accommodate Friends; the owners of it were amply compensated. The family immediately moved out their goods and chattels, which (though apparently some of their best livers,) consisted chiefly in homony 32 blocks and pounders, a brass, kettle or two, some wooden bowls, and ladles, a leathern sack of bear’s oil, a basket of corn, some blankets, and a few deer skins.

On the twenty-third of the month, Friends settled in their new habitation and made some preparations for a garden. The women of Cornplanter’s village, to show their hearty and good will in the undertaking, had previously made a collection of some seed—corn, potatoes, beans, squashes, and a variety of other garden seeds which they presented as a present to Friends, observing “that it was very hard to come so far and have nothing to begin with.”

Previous to the two Friends of the committee leaving this station, another council was had with the Indians, in which they were strongly recommended to industry, and reminded of the unreasonableness of their present practice of letting their women work all day in the fields and woods, either in cultivating with the hoe, all that was raised for their sustenance, or in cutting firewood and bringing it home on their backs from a considerable distance, while they themselves were spending their time in idleness, amusing themselves with their bows and arrows, and other useless practices. They were also particularly expostulated with on various subjects relative to their civil and moral conduct, and especially in regard to their excessive use of strong drink, to which Friends in many instances had been eye witnesses. Cornplanter again replied to the communications of Friends, and at a subsequent parting opportunity, told the two Friends of the committee, that “They might make their minds perfectly easy about their young men, for although he could not answer for sickness or death, he should look upon it his duty to be their friend, and that they might depend upon him as such, and no harm should happen to them from any of his people.”

On the thirty-first of the month, the boat arrived from Pittsburgh with the goods and implements of husbandry; and notwithstanding the late season for planting, and the ground being to clear of abundance of old logs and rubbish, Friends were enabled to get a small patch of corn and potatoes planted, and a variety of garden vegetables. The land being fertile, they soon had a pleasing prospect of the fruits of their labour, as well as of showing the natives the beneficial effects of their mode of cultivation.

The Indians were much pleased to see the ground so much easier prepared for seed by the plough, than in their usual way of hoeing. Great numbers of them came flocking about Friends, especially the women, who appeared kind and respectful, frequently supplying them with venison, fish, strawberries, and such other delicacies, as their country afforded—and Friends distributed among them a variety of useful articles, such as needles, thread, scissors, combs, spectacles, &c. which 33 were sent for that purpose, and were received by the natives with lively marks of gratitude. These presents had a powerful effect in gaining their confidence, and keeping up a friendly intercourse, which frequently afforded suitable opportunities of giving them instruction.

A number of the Indians also borrowed carpenters’ tools, to enable them to build better houses, and also some farming utensils, with a view of using them.

From the little experience Friends already had, it was evident the ruinous effects of spirituous liquors among the Senecas, together with the natural propensity of the men to an indolent and improvident life, would operate as a serious discouragement in the view of Friends, towards ameliorating their condition. Therefore every suitable opportunity was embraced to impress upon the minds of their chiefs the necessity of prohibiting altogether, the introduction of spirituous liquors into their villages, as the first effectual step towards their improvement in the domestic arts. This counsel was in a good degree carried into effect; and by the exertions of their chiefs in a little time, such prohibition took place as evidently tended to their advantage, and the great encouragement of Friends in their arduous undertaking. A hope was entertained that, although their improvement, at first was small, yet as they come to taste the sweets of industry, and enjoy the benefit of their labours, they would gradually relinquish their former pursuits, and follow the example Friends were setting before them.

Divers of the Indians early manifested a disposition to have better houses to live in; and being furnished with the necessary tools, they were also afforded the requisite assistance and instruction. Several of them constructed in the course of this summer, much better houses than they had been accustomed to, and manifested a considerable share of ingenuity in the use of the carpenter’s tools. And while Friends were employed on their farm, the Indians would frequently come about them, and sometimes take hold of their tools and work a little—some of the lads were pleased with driving the horses, and every opportunity was embraced to prevail on them to love labour; but their natural proneness to idleness and trifling diversions soon evinced, that patience and perseverance on the part of Friends, were essentially necessary to inculcate in the minds of the natives, just ideas of civilized life, the great stimulus thereto being yet wanting, as they had not sufficiently acquired ideas of distinct propriety, nor tasted the sweets resulting therefrom.

In the course of this summer, divers reports were propagated among the Indians that Friends had a selfish motive, and in the end meant to defraud them of their land. This to a people who had long been subjected to suffering by the intrigue of designing men, could not fail of making impressions on the minds of some who were rather unfriendly 34 to civilization, and to induce them to scrutinize very narrowly the conduct of Friends towards them. These groundless reports, however, were contradicted, and Friends were enabled to satisfy the Indians generally, that no such design was contemplated; and it rather had the effect to increase their confidence in us.

Besides attending to the business of the farm, and the various and frequent calls of the Indians, the young men were enabled to build for themselves a comfortable house, two stories high, with a cellar under it. Being the first of the kind, perhaps some of the natives had ever seen, it excited great admiration among them.

The Indian women had raised, in their usual way, a considerable quantity of corn this summer, in small patches, interspersed among the bushes, wherever they found the most favourable spot to cultivate. In the fall, they were busily employed in collecting it with their other produce of vegetables, and carrying it home to their dwellings, where it was carefully laid by for use.

One of the Friends opened a school at Cornplanter’s village, and remained there through the winter. At times, nearly twenty children attended, and made some progress in learning to spell and read; but as their parents had but little control over them, they were very irregular in their attendance, and no great progress in learning was made. The Friend was at times otherwise usefully engaged in aiding and assisting the Indians of that village.

In the Twelfth month, after a considerable snow had fallen, most of the Indians retired to the woods to their hunting grounds, many of them taking their families with them. Game was now plentiful. Some of their best hunters killed near one hundred deer, and some even more than that number; taking off the skins and leaving much of the meat scattered about in the woods. What was collected to their camps, was through much hardship and fatigue to their poor women, whose task it was to carry it on their backs through deep snows, and often over hills and mountains.

About the middle of the First month, they generally came home to their villages from their hunting excursions, when they made a feast, and performed their religious ceremonies and sacrifices.

In the course of this winter, a chief of the Cattaraugus village, another branch of the Seneca nation about forty-five miles distant, called on Friends at Alleghany. They had a favourable opportunity of impressing his mind with the advantages that would result to his people by cultivating their land, as they possessed a country so favourable for agriculture, and raising cattle and other useful animals. He informed Friends, they were very anxious to have a saw-mill built on their land, and wished to have somebody to instruct them how to go on with their 35 business; that when they saw and heard what improvements were making at Alleghany, it made them anxious to go to work.

Soon after his return home, Friends received a written speech from the council at Cattaraugus, signed by six chiefs, in which they strongly solicited instructors to be sent among them, and also that they might be furnished with a set of saw-mill irons. This address being forwarded to the committee at Philadelphia, together with an account of their situation, it was concluded to furnish them with a set of saw-mill irons, whenever they should be ready to make use of them.

Early in the spring of 1799, more of a spirit of industry seemed to exhibit itself among some of the Indians, and several who were settled near Friends began to work at splitting rails, and fencing in lots of land, as they saw Friends fence in theirs. Some who inclined to work, that had no families, were employed at the business of the farm, and seemed capable of doing as much in a day as the generality of white people.

The use of whiskey and other strong drink had considerably decreased among the Indians, in the course of the last year, and many of their chiefs seemed desirous of preventing its introduction into their village. Notwithstanding which, as many of them went down the river in the spring to Pittsburgh and other places, to dispose of their skins, furs, &c. which they had taken during the late winter, they brought in return for their peltry, kegs full of this destructive article—although Friends had cautioned them against it, previous to their going away—with this many of them were for a considerable time intoxicated, so that little could be done in promoting their improvement while the liquor lasted.

It was believed expedient, from this affecting circumstance, to have their chiefs and principal men collected in council, and to remonstrate against such conduct as well as to encourage them to avail themselves of the present opportunity of gaining instruction in the cultivation of their land.

At this interview, Friends seriously expostulated with them on various subjects relative to their moral conduct, and endeavours were used seriously to impress on their minds the evil consequences of introducing so much strong liquor into their villages, and that it greatly obstructed their improvement in agriculture, because for it they bartered away their money and other articles with which they ought to purchase horses, and cattle, and implements of husbandry, to enable them to till their land; and that this operated as a serious discouragement to Friends in their arduous undertaking to instruct them.

The Indians appeared seriously attentive in this council, being convicted in their minds of the truth of what had been declared to them, and in a few days after, they met in council again, and informed Friends 36 that they had seriously considered the subjects proposed to them, and that their chiefs had come to a resolution not to permit, for the future, any of their people to bring liquor into their villages to sell to one another; that they had appointed two young chiefs to watch over the rest, and to endeavour to promote good order among them—and they desired Friends to be easy in their minds respecting them, for they were determined to take their advice and try to do better; that they had made inquiry among themselves, and could find no fault in Friends, or discover any fraud in any of their actions, but on the contrary, that the fault and bad conduct had all been on their own side, but now they were determined to quit those bad practices, and to assist their women in the labours of the field.

A set of smith’s tools was procured, and a smith shop erected at Friends’ settlement this season, which was found useful in repairing the Indians’ tools. In the course of this summer, divers of the men assisted their women in the labours of the field. Their crops of corn were larger than they had been before; but as yet, none of them had attempted to use the plough for themselves, though Friends had ploughed some small lots for them with which they were much pleased, and a hope was entertained that the next year some of them would take hold of the plough and commence farming. A school house was built at Cornplanter’s village, and the Friend stationed there, continued through the summer, instructing the children, and otherwise affording aid and counsel to the Indians—and two Friends at Genesinguhta, besides setting the Indians a proper example in the improvement of their own farm, afforded them assistance and instruction in many ways, as convenient opportunities presented, and many of the Indians by this time had built good log houses, and generally covered them with shingles. Cornplanter had a saw-mill of his own, worked on the shares by a white man; this afforded the Indians an opportunity of procuring boards to complete their houses.

In the Ninth month this year, the settlement was visited by four of the committee, one of whom had been there when the settlement was first formed, and was the better qualified to judge of the improvement made by the Indians.

They had a council with the Indians, and encouraged them to persevere in the attempt they had already made to become farmers; and expressed the satisfaction it afforded them, to see the improvement they had made, and that their stock of cattle was increased, and especially, with the wise resolution they had formed, to prevent strong drink from being brought into their villages. The Indians were also informed, that the young man who resided at Cornplanter’s village, was desirous of 37 leaving them and returning home to his friends before winter—and it was hoped another would come forward and supply his place.

Cornplanter, on behalf of the Indians replied, in substance, that when Friends first settled among them, some of his chiefs were averse to it; but they had had this summer several councils among themselves, respecting the young men, and all the chiefs seeing their good conduct, and readiness to assist Indians, were now well satisfied. He hoped that several of his young men would do more at farming than heretofore, and that Friends would not get discouraged, because so little was done; but exercise patience towards them, as it was hard for them to make much change from their ancient customs. He regretted the loss of the Friend who was about to leave them, and said he had been useful to him in keeping whiskey and other strong liquor out of their town; that they now drank much less than formerly, but he feared when the Friend went away, he should not be able to prevent its use so well as he had lately done.

The deputation from the committee went from this place to Cattaraugus, the residence of those Indians who had requested a set of saw-mill irons, and other aid; but the chiefs being generally from home, they were addressed by a letter, giving them suitable advice on various subjects, relative to their improvement.

In the latter end of the Tenth month, Cornplanter accompanied the Friend who had lived at his village, on his way as far as Canandaigua, where the superintendent of Indian affairs resided. At this place, he dictated a letter to one of the committee; the superintendent wrote it, and Cornplanter signed it with his mark. The following is extracted from it.

“I thank the Great Spirit for his protection in preserving me and my friend whom I have accompanied to this place. I hope the Great Spirit will still preserve my friend on his journey to Philadelphia, and every evening when night shall overtake him, that the Great Spirit will spread over him the curtain of safety,—that he may again meet the society that sent him among us, for the purpose of teaching us the useful arts of the white people; and that he may return to them my kind thanks, for the kind offices which they are disposed to bestow on us. I cannot omit this favourable opportunity to inform Friends that I believe the young men placed at the Alleghany, have discharged the trust committed to them, in endeavouring to do the best they could for our advantage.

“Dear friends, when I first heard your voice, and learned your kind offers to us, I was pleased; as I thought we were apt to transgress the good rules of the Great Spirit, and by the aid and advice of your people, the Great Spirit would lend us his aid, by which we might become a better 38 people. I hope you will not be discouraged, in still aiding us, although we make slow progress in the arts of the white people.”

The two Friends at Alleghany were enabled this fall, for the first time, to sow several acres of wheat and rye, and several of the Indians manifested a disposition to labour, by aiding them in gathering in their summer crops.

Near the close of this year, the two Friends residing among the Indians received a letter from the chiefs at Cattaraugus, expressive of their great satisfaction, for the advice contained in the letter which had been left for them last fall, and the great joy that they felt at the prospect of receiving instruction and assistance from the Quakers.

These Indians were much addicted to intemperance, and although much more favourably situated than the Alleghany Indians, to make progress in the agricultural arts, yet they were in a poor and destitute situation, and did not appear to make use of the advantages within their power, to assist themselves. It was, therefore, believed right, in reply to their letter, to urge the necessity of their abstaining from intemperate practices, and of making use of the means in their power to better their condition.

Therefore the two Friends wrote to them nearly as follows:

“Brothers, we are glad to hear that you have come to a resolution to lay up so much of your money, to buy cattle and other useful articles, and that you seem determined to quit drinking whiskey, and not to allow traders to sell it on your ground. Now brothers, this is a very wise resolution, and we hope you will be sincere and keep to it. We hope that some of you have got your eyes open, to see that whiskey and other strong drink have been the cause of much evil and wickedness among you, and that these pernicious things have taken much of your money, your skins, and your furs, which the Great Spirit has favoured you with, and with which you might buy clothing, and oxen, and axes, hoes, and other useful articles to assist you in tilling the field, and we fear, in time past, it has taken some of the corn your poor women have worked hard at raising, with their hoes.

“Brothers, you know there are many white people who love money, and they know that you love whiskey, and this is the way they take to get your money and property from you. But if you keep to your resolution not to drink it, then there will be no danger. You may then have oxen and ploughs, with which you may plough your ground and raise a great deal of corn, and you may also buy axes and hoes, and other useful implements of husbandry to farm with. And then when your friends the Quakers see that you are trying to help yourselves, 39 and that you make good use of your money, it will encourage them to help you more.

“Brothers, we desire you often to think upon the Great Spirit, and pray to him in your hearts, and then he will show you what is good and what is evil. And we want you to take up work like the white people, for your land is very good, and would produce a great deal of grain if properly managed—and if you get plenty of cattle and sheep, and swine, they will afford you plenty of meat, and be much more certain than the elk, the deer, and the bear. Then will your old men, your wives and your children be happy, and enjoy the comforts of life, and you can look on your flocks and your fields with contentment and pleasure.”

These Indians, in addition to the set of saw-mill irons before promised, were furnished with some axes, hoes, and a set of plough irons, to encourage them in farming.

A school was kept at Genesinguhta, this winter, by one of the Friends, where a number of children attended, and made some progress in learning—also a grown person who was debilitated in body, resided with Friends throughout the winter, and being able to converse a little in the English language, acquired so much learning as to enable him to read and write, and afterwards to procure a living, by trading among the Indians.

In the spring of 1800, the Indians appeared somewhat animated, and more of them made preparation for farming, by scattering more from their villages, fencing in lots and clearing land; but not yet having working animals to plough their ground, Friends ploughed some small lots for them, which operated as a stimulus to them; and one Indian took hold of the plough, and began to manage it himself, which was viewed as a matter of some surprise, and excited great curiosity in the beholders.

In the Fifth month, this spring, two of the Friends who had left the Oneida settlement the preceding winter, as before stated, being willing to spend some more time among the Indians, proceeded to Alleghany, to unite with Friends there in promoting the welfare of the natives.

Soon after their arrival, the Indians at Cattaraugus requested Friends at Alleghany to give them some advice and assistance, about planning a saw-mill. Accordingly two Friends proceeded to that settlement, and gave such advice on the occasion as seemed to be requisite; the millwrights having already arrived, and commenced the building of a saw-mill.

As these Indians will in the sequel constitute an interesting part of the narrative of this concern, it seems proper in this place to give a more particular account of their situation. The Senecas here possess a reservation of forty-two square miles, part of it bounded by lake Erie. It 40 is generally composed of land of a superior quality. The bottoms along the Cattaraugus river produce black and white walnut and sugar maple of a superior size. The higher land, abounds with white oak, white pine, bass, poplar, hickory, and other timber. There are, also, exclusive of the Indians’ corn fields, large openings like natural meadows, containing many hundred acres of excellent land, covered with abundance of grass and herbage, affording abundance of food for cattle. The Senecas at this place were said to be about one hundred and sixty in number. Their houses were made in the usual Indian style, and covered with bark, and their situation, in general, as to habits and living, much similar to those at Alleghany, when Friends first settled among them. About a mile from the Seneca village was a town of the Delawares, (more frequently called Munsies) about one hundred and sixty in number, who lived on sufferance on the Seneca Indians’ land.

These Indians, as well as the Senecas, had a considerable number of cattle, some horses, and abundance of poultry and swine. They had small enclosures round their villages, in which they kept their stock during the corn season, and sometimes the poor animals had but a scanty supply of fodder, notwithstanding the abundance of grass on their lands, from which, for want of a little labour to fence off their corn lots, they had little or no benefit during the summer.

Previous to leaving them, the two Friends had an interview with a number of their chiefs, and principal men and women, in which they were encouraged to industry, and to put in practice their good resolutions. Being informed by one of the Friends present, that he was shortly going to leave their country and return to his friends, one of the chiefs replied, “You may tell your old friends, the Quakers at Philadelphia, when you go home, that we are exceedingly thankful for the kindness you have shown us, and the assistance you have already given us. We are now determined to follow your advice as far as we are able, and to spill all the whiskey traders bring among us for sale. You must not think we are offended at you for trying to make us sensible of our weaknesses; for even our young men and young women rejoice to hear it, and are in hopes their hands will grow stronger, that they may be able to overcome their weaknesses. We are determined to try to help ourselves, and to lay up money to purchase useful articles to go to farming with. We pity our poor women, and see it is too hard for them to work in the hot sun, and do all the labours of the field. And although we cannot ask any more favours of you, yet one thing in particular we desire you to remember; that is, that we are a poor, ignorant people, and for want of learning, in the course of our dealings with the white people, we have been greatly wronged, and lost much of our 41 property—we want some of our children instructed, that they may be able to do the business of our nation.”

On the fourteenth of the Sixth month, Friends had a council with the Indians at Alleghany, in which the two Friends lately came into their country, were introduced to them, and also informed that one of the Friends who had now been more than two years among them, was about to return home to his friends. Several matters were opened to encourage them to persevere in habits of industry, and to be strong in their resolutions against the use of spirituous liquors, over which they had, by this time, gained a great conquest.

A few days after this, Cornplanter and several other chiefs, called to see the Friend who was leaving them set out on his journey, and sent three of their people to accompany him on his way through the wilderness.

In their parting conference, Cornplanter expressed many thanks for the Friend’s services among them, and desired the Great Spirit might conduct him safely home to his relations, and that on his arrival he might inform his old friends, the Quakers in Philadelphia, that he was very thankful for their kind endeavours to instruct his people in a life of civilization, and he believed the Great Spirit above was pleased with it.

During the summer of 1800, the Indians made some further improvements, and seemed more disposed to relinquish their old habits. A yoke of oxen, which they purchased, were found very useful in drawing their firewood, and thereby relieving some of their women from heavy burthens; several of them procured cows. By this time many of the Indians had built themselves more comfortable houses, and began to assist their women in their agricultural labours, so that a gradual improvement was evident among them in the habits of civilized life.

In the following winter, Red Jacket, a Seneca chief, residing at Buffalo creek, with several other chiefs of the Seneca nation, visited Philadelphia, with whom Friends had a satisfactory interview. Suitable presents were given them, among which, was a set of saw-mill irons, which were particularly requested by Red Jacket.

In the spring of 1801, a greater spirit of industry seemed to manifest itself among the Indians. Divers more of them fenced in lots, and procured moreover, some working animals; their increasing attention to raising cattle and hogs, afforded a pleasing prospect; and was a strung inducement for them to scatter more from their villages, and realize the advantages of settling on separate tracts of land.

Circumstances, however, occurred among the Indians, which claimed the particular attention of the committee, and three Friends were deputed to visit the settlement. They proceeded there in the Ninth 42 month, accompanied by a young Friend, a blacksmith, who offered his services to instruct some of the Indians in his useful occupation.

Previous to giving a detail of this interview, it seems necessary to observe, that some extraordinary ideas respecting witchcraft had prevailed among the natives for sometime, which were principally insinuated among them by an infirm old man named Connediu, a half brother to Cornplanter, who had the appearance of a simple man, and had been from his youth very intemperate. He had no influence in the nation till about three years before, when, after a long time of sickness, he was supposed by the Indians to be several times in a trance. After he had recovered therefrom, he asserted that he had seen angels, who communicated to him such things as the Great Spirit designed should be imparted to the Indians—that they must all quit drinking whiskey and other strong liquors—that they must revive the custom of their forefathers in eating dog’s flesh, and have frequent dances—performing their religious ceremonies, &c. This to a people naturally prone to superstition, was like oracles delivered from the Great Spirit, and to use their own language, “was the manner in which He was revealing his mind and will to the Indians.” Connediu had actually some of his imaginary interviews with the inhabitants of the spiritual world committed to writing, that they might keep it in remembrance, as the will of the Great Spirit concerning them.

Connediu frequently asserted that these heavenly messengers continued to favour him with frequent interviews, and he succeeded in propagating a belief among the natives, that most of their bodily afflictions and disorders arose from witchcraft, and undertook to point out the individuals who had the power of inflicting these evils. He was said to have wholly declined the practice of drinking to excess, and by an artful exercise of his pretended knowledge, he acquired considerable influence in the nation, so as to be appointed high priest and chief Sachem in things civil and religious.

Some of Cornplanter’s family being in a declining state of health, Connediu, (whom they now esteemed a great doctor, as well as a prophet,) was applied to for counsel. In his wild reveries he alleged that some of the Delaware Indians who lived at Cattaraugus possessed the power of witchcraft, and were the cause of their illness.

This brought on a quarrel between the two tribes, and some of the Delawares were taken prisoners, and threatened with death if they did not remove the disorder.

During the contention, Cornplanter wrote to the governor of Pennsylvania on the occasion, and the committee on Indian affairs being made acquainted with the circumstances, letters both from the committee and government were addressed to both tribes of Indians on the 43 subject. A council was called between the contending parties, and Friends, with some other well disposed people on the frontier settlements, used their influence to have an amicable adjustment, and endeavoured to obliterate from the Indians’ minds, those superstitious ideas of witchcraft which appeared to have been the ground of their uneasiness. The result was, that the Delawares were acquitted, and all disputes buried between them and the Senecas. Cornplanter told them “that he had swept their beds clean, that they might lie down in peace—that he had swept their houses clean, that they might live comfortably in them—that he had swept clean before their doors, that they might go out and in, without molestation.”

About the time that Friends of the committee arrived at Genesinghuta, the Indians generally were met in council, about these matters; and although Connediu had advised them to quit drinking whiskey, he was otherwise endeavouring to propagate notions very inimical to the concern in which Friends were engaged, by recommending them to follow their old customs, and not allow their children to learn to read and write; that they might farm a little, and build houses, but must not sell any thing which they raised on their land, but give it away to one another, and especially to their old people; and, in short, enjoy all things in common.

With this doctrine several of the young chiefs and others were not satisfied; and one of them judiciously observed, “they had better hold councils about fencing in fields, and clearing land, than about witchcraft, and other strange notions of Connediu.”

The committee, who now visited the settlement, were pleased, on passing down the river, with the view of fences, where not long before there were none to be seen; and instead of the bark cabins, that formerly stood in clusters along its banks, there were now good houses, with shingled roofs; and the tinkling of cow bells, which they heard in various directions, denoted an increase of cattle, and had a cheering effect on their minds. It was in the spring of 1801, that the Indians first began to use the plough for themselves. They took a very cautious method of determining whether it was likely to be an advantageous change to them or not. Several parts of a large field were ploughed, and the intermediate spaces prepared by their women with the hoe, according to former custom. It was all planted with corn; and the parts ploughed, (besides the great saving of labour,) produced much the heaviest crop; the stalks being more than a foot higher, and proportionably stouter than those on the hoed ground. The corn was now gathered in, and as their stock of cattle had much increased, instead of leaving their corn fodder to perish, as formerly, they preserved it for their cattle in winter—and several had mown grass, and made 44 small stacks of hay. They had made a fence, about two miles long, which enclosed the lower town, and a large body of adjacent land fronting on the river, and several other fences were made within it, to separate the corn from the pasture ground.

With the exception of houses and fences, the improvements at the lower town, (Jenuchshadaga) did not bear a comparison with the upper settlement, where the Indians lived more detached from each other. Their thus separating, was evidently more to their advantage, than crowding together in villages. A chief, who was not ashamed to be seen at work by the women of his own family, would probably have been much mortified when discovered by a number of other females, who on such occasions do not always refrain from ridicule. Yet this false shame on the part of the men, and ridicule of the women, gradually wore away as they became familiarized to each others’ assistance, in their little agricultural labours.

The Indians now became very sober, generally refraining from the use of strong liquor, both at home and when abroad among the white people. One of them observed to Friends, “no more bark cabins, but good houses—no more get drunk here, now, this two year.”

The blacksmith was introduced to the Indians with a request that two of their young men would learn his business, so as to be qualified to do their own work; as it was not very likely he should stay long. But before they would agree to this proposition, they queried with Friends, “whether they would at any future time want land or money for the services which they had done, and were doing for them? They wished to know very clearly in writing about it. Also, whether they would leave the tools for the young men, who might learn the blacksmiths’ trade, when the smith left them, or whether they would take them away?” To which the following answer was given in writing:—

“Brothers, we tell you now, plainly, as we told you before, that your brothers, the Quakers, do not want any of your land, or any of your money, or any of your skins, for any thing they have done for you; and they never will bring a charge against you, for any of these things. And we give you this writing, to keep forever, to make your minds perfectly easy on this account. About the smiths’ tools we cannot say much; but think we shall leave them with you, if some of your young men will learn the trade.”

At a subsequent interview, Cornplanter made a reply to Friends, in which he stated, “We understand the writing which you gave us very well, and our minds are now quite easy. Two of our young men will learn the smiths’ trade; one from the lower town, and one from the upper.” 45

Friends again opened the business respecting the schooling of their children, which had for sometime past been impeded by the system of Connediu. The chiefs were particularly desired to take this subject under consideration, and let Friends know when they were ready.

It was supposed that the quantity of corn raised this year by the natives, was nearly tenfold what it was when the settlement was first formed, and a few of the Indians made the first attempts to raise wheat; but those who did something at farming, occasionally went out a hunting; and many of the men still adhered to their ancient customs, and left the women of their families to cultivate with the hoe, what corn and vegetables were necessary for their sustenance.

As one of the young men, who had been there from the time of first opening the settlement, was about to return home with the committee, Cornplanter expressed the great regard he had for him; saying, “that, although he had been so long amongst them, not one of them was able to say a word against him, ever since he had been there—that his words and his conduct had been altogether good, and agreeable to them; and he hoped the Good Spirit would preserve him on his way home to his friends.”

The committee, also, on this visit, had an interview with the Indians of Cattaraugus. They arrived at a time when the Indians were performing their religious ceremonies—concerning which, the chief warrior, Waun-dun-guh-ta, made the following remark to Friends.

“Brothers, you have come at a time which has by us been set apart for performing worship to the Good Spirit, after our ancient customs. It is our way of worship, and, to us, solemn and serious, and not to be made light of, however different it may be from your mode. It is the manner our forefathers have taught us. We hope you will excuse us for not being so attentive to you as we should, had we not been thus engaged.”

They had now their saw-mill completed, and one of the Friends from Alleghany remained sometime with them, instructing some of the Indians in the sawing business.

The spring of 1802, furnished greater marks of improvement, than had heretofore been discovered among the natives. Eighteen or twenty thousand rails were split, and put up into fences by the Indians, and thirteen or fourteen new lots enclosed, most of which were cleared this spring. Several families who had not any when this settlement was first formed, had got six or seven head of cattle, and other useful animals. Whiskey was not knowingly suffered to be brought into the settlement; and if any were found out to have been intoxicated, when they were out in the white settlements, they were sharply reproved by the 46 chiefs on their return, which had nearly the same effect among Indians, as committing a man to the workhouse among white people. The Indians opened a good road for about five miles up the river from Friends’ settlement, where before it was very difficult to travel, even on horseback. Several of them sowed spring wheat—and a gradual improvement was apparent during this season.

The benefits derived by the Senecas at Alleghany, from their attention to agriculture, encouraged other branches of the nation to apply for assistance. The chief of the Tonewanta village, about one hundred miles distant from Friends’ settlement at the Alleghany, in a pathetic speech, applied to Friends to assist them with saw-mill irons, farming utensils, &c. which request was granted, with the addition of a yoke of oxen, and chains.

The young man who went out as a blacksmith, returned home this fall; two of the Indians having acquired such knowledge of his business as to answer their necessities.

Although the improvements at this place were gradually progressing, obstructive causes at times occurred, difficult to combat. This induced Friends, among them, to believe that a change made in their situation, so as to render them more independent of the natives, might subject them to less difficulty in the further prosecution of the concern. The improvement heretofore made on their own land, for a time, had a good effect; but their ideas were weak, and for want of more sensibility in some of the intentions of Friends towards them, it had led to a dependence, which evidently impeded their progress in civilization. This dependence seemed to increase, as they saw the increase of produce from the land that Friends cultivated. Some of the Indians had increased their stock of cattle faster than the means of supporting them through a long and rigorous winter. When their hay and other fodder become reduced, they applied to Friends to give them some. These requests could not be complied with, to an extent proportioned to their necessity, without reducing Friends to alike state of want; and fearing, least in future winters, a renewal of similar requests, without the means of supplying them, might disturb that harmony which had hitherto subsisted between Friends and the Indians, it was thought adviseable by the committee to embrace an opportunity which now presented, of purchasing from a company of white people, an adjoining tract of land, in order to make such improvements thereon, as might accommodate a family or more, of such, who from time to time, might feel desirous to assist in the instruction of the Indians, and thus by making it a more permanent establishment, entirely independent of the natives, be enabled to extend more efficient aid to other branches of the Seneca nation. 47

In the spring of 1803, this proposal of a removal of Friends’ settlement was communicated to the Indians, and they generally coincided with it, provided the move should not be far up the river. They had several councils on the occasion, and communicated to Friends their views; and although their prophet, Connediu, had, in time back, been somewhat opposed to the views of Friends in changing the customs of the Indians, he was now entirely friendly, and strongly recommended industry and perseverance in the plans which Friends had recommended to them. The following paragraphs from one of his speeches on this occasion, may be worthy of notice.

“My friends, Quakers, attend.—It is now a long time since you first came amongst us. It has even exceeded the time that was first proposed. I now speak the united voice of our chiefs and warriors to you, of our women also, and of all our people. Attend, therefore, to what I say. We wish you to make your minds perfectly easy—we are all pleased with your living amongst us, and not one of us wants you to leave our country. We find no fault with you in any respect, since you come amongst us; neither have we any thing to charge you with. You have lived peaceably and honestly with us, and have been preserved in health, and nothing has befallen you. This we think is proof, also, that the Great Spirit is pleased with you living here, and with what you have done for us.”

“Friends, Quakers—we now all agree to leave you at full liberty, either to remain where you now are, on our land, or to remove up the river and settle on land of your own, only that you settle near us, that you may extend further assistance and instruction. For although we have received much benefit from you, and some of our people have made considerable advancement in useful labour, yet we remain very deficient in many things, and numbers of us are yet poor.”

As the important change proposed to be made in conducting the affairs at Alleghany, required serious consideration, four of the committee proceeded to that settlement, and on conferring with Friends there, were satisfied of the propriety of a removal from their present station, to one more independent of the Indians, and less subject to their control.

A tract of land adjoining the Indians’ reservation on Tunesassa creek, which empties into the river on the east side, about two miles above Genesinghuta, was agreed upon, and afterwards purchased, as the most eligible place for a settlement; inasmuch as it furnished an ample situation for water works, and much of the tract was covered with excellent pine timber. The tract included about seven hundred acres.

Friends had free and open conferences with the Indians on the subject 48 of their removal, and various other matters; and satisfactory arrangements were made respecting the old settlement, the Indians insisting on Friends’ occupying the farm until they got suitable accommodations, and provender for their stock, at their new settlement.

In one of their conferences, Cornplanter observed:

“Brothers, when your friends first came amongst us, and for a long time after, the white people told us, ‘keep a good watch on those Quakers—they are a cunning, designing people; and under pretence of doing something for you, want to get hold upon you, to make an advantage of you some way or other;’ but of late, finding that all was straight, and no advantage was attempted to be taken, they have left off talking about it.

“Brothers, your young men do not talk much to us, but when they do they speak what is good, and have been very helpful in keeping us from using spirituous liquors.”

Here it may be proper to remark, that in the spring of 1798, an Indian lad of the Tuscarora nation, from near the falls of Niagara, had been taken to Philadelphia, and placed with a Friend in Chester county, to learn the blacksmiths’ business, where he continued till the last spring;—and having acquired a competent knowledge of his trade, and made considerable proficiency in school learning, the Friend with whom he had been instructed, felt such an interest in his welfare, that he accompanied him home to his Indian friends, staid several weeks with him, to see him set up in his business, and assisted him therein.

This Friend, on his return, had now been several weeks at Alleghany, affording the two Indian blacksmiths there, some further instruction in that art. They were very desirous he should tarry longer with them; and an old chief observed, “Friends had now sent on a blacksmith, the best they had ever seen—he knows how to make all things we want.”

Considerable improvement among the Indians at this time was observable, more particularly up the river. Several families had settled about two miles higher up, than where they formerly resided, and had cleared and fenced in about sixty acres of land. Seventeen new houses with shingled roofs, were observed neatly built, with square logs, most of them two stories high, with stone chimneys and glass windows. They had about one hundred head of cattle, thirty horses, and several hundred hogs. And the Indians had opened a road, about twenty miles along the river, and much of it through heavy timber; which was a great work for them.

The committee proceeded from thence to Cattaraugus, and noticed considerable improvement in that settlement. Several of them were building good houses. Their crops of corn were good, and their stock of cattle increased; and, generally speaking, they had declined the use of 49 strong drink. They had divers requests to make to Friends, some of which were granted; especially one, for a set of smith tools and plough irons. While Friends were sitting with the chief warrior, he seemed in a pensive mood, and said he wished to ask them a question, but hesitated. They desired him to say on—It was, “Do the Quakers keep any slaves?”—He was answered in the negative. He said he was very glad to hear it; for if they did, he could not think so well of them as he now did—that he had been at the city of Washington last winter, on business of the nation, and found that many white people kept blacks in slavery, and used them no better than horses.

The committee on their way home had interviews with the Buffalo and Tonewanta Indians, and gave them such advice and encouragement as their situation required. It was satisfactory to observe, from the account of Red Jacket and others of their chiefs, that some improvement was taking place among those Indians.

Our friends at Alleghany built a temporary house at their new settlement this fall, to which they removed, which we shall hereafter call Tunesassa. The land being heavily timbered, much exertion and labour were necessary, to make their situation tolerably comfortable during the first winter.

In the spring of 1804, the Indians generally removed from the lower town, and settled higher up the river; several of them not far from Tunesassa. This removal subjected them to some inconveniences, the first year, but eventually proved much to their advantage; especially to those who were detached from their little towns.

As it was believed much benefit would result to the Indians from the erection of a grist mill on Friends’ farm, there being none nearer than about forty miles, measures were adopted to have grist and saw-mills erected this summer; and they were so far completed, as to be in operation the ensuing winter, when the Indians had considerable grinding done, and were much pleased to see the grain reduced to meal so much quicker than by pounding it in wooden mortars.

An Indian man, after having a grist of wheat of his own raising ground and bolted, said with animation, “I think this will make the Indians see day-light.”

In the course of this season, some dissentions took place among the Indians with regard to their chiefs. Several young men of considerable influence in the nation, and who were anxious to assume the reigns of government, became disaffected to Cornplanter, and taking measures to subvert his authority, artfully prevailed with the Indians to confer on themselves the dignified title of chiefs. This, among men whose rulers only hold their authority during the good will of the people, was not 50 difficult to effect. In the mean time, Connediu, who had some time before been promoted to the highest title in the nation, continued (as he said) his imaginary interviews with the inhabitants of the spiritual world, so that his fame spread abroad, and visits were paid to him from distant tribes. He also travelled to distant parts himself, and promulgated his doctrines, (which happily were now become more innocent,) throughout the Seneca nation.

In the latter end of the winter and spring of 1805, the Indians experienced much damage to their infant settlements, by some unusual freshets in the Alleghany river. Nearly all their fences were swept away; but instead of being discouraged by their losses, they joined together very spiritedly, and soon repaired them; and in the end appeared to have been benefitted; for by this exertion, they gradually became more accustomed to labour—a thing, to them, of the greatest consequence.

As it was believed the time had now come when it would be right to take some measures to instruct the Indian women in the various branches of housewifery, and domestic economy, and as this could not be done without female aid, a suitable family were sought for, and a man and his wife offering for that service, as well as a single female, who had before been at the Oneida settlement, they proceeded to Tunesassa in the early part of summer; and the natives expressed much satisfaction on their arrival among them.

The arrival of the females was no less satisfactory to the Friends residing at Tunesassa—for as from the first settlement to this time, in addition to the various calls of the Indians, and their out-door labours, they had all their domestic and culinary services to perform,—except some little aid received at times, by hiring some of the Indian women.

Although many of the Indians had constructed comfortable houses, very few of their women took any pains to keep them clean and in neat order. They manufactured none of their own clothing, except the mockasins they wore on their feet. They had no knowledge of making soap, and of course their clothes could not be very clean—and very little improvement in domestic affairs had as yet taken place among the Indian families. In proportion, however, as the men became more accustomed to labour, it released the women from their former drudgery; and having now the opportunity of getting all their grain ground, which before they had to pound in wooden mortars, it would afford them more time to turn their attention to the business of the house, and the concerns more properly allotted to females, in all civilized societies.

To aid and assist them in accomplishing this, was the object of our female friends; and some of the Indian girls pretty soon began to show a willingness to be instructed in knitting and spinning. A house of employment 51 was built at a little distance from Friends’ dwelling, and particularly allotted to their use; but for want of the necessary materials, not much could be done at these useful employments the first season. Our women Friends were, however, enabled to instruct many of them in the art of making soap, which enabled them to keep their clothes and persons more cleanly; and also by frequently visiting them in their families, had opportunities of instructing and encouraging them in habits more assimilated to civilized life. The Indian women, also, made frequent visits to them, and by observing their industry, economy, and superior mode of living, an inclination began soon to manifest itself, even among these uncultivated females of the wilderness, to imitate the more useful and rational economy of our women Friends.

In the course of this summer, Friends had got about thirty acres of land cleared on their farm—their spring crops were productive, and they sowed fourteen or fifteen acres with winter grain. The grist and saw-mills were kept in operation, and found to answer a valuable purpose.

In the spring of 1806, the Indians were much engaged in clearing land, splitting rails, and carrying on various improvements. One of the more sagacious observed to Friends, “Our Indians are getting to have more sense, very fast.”

They continued strongly opposed to the use of spirituous liquors, and seldom held a council without some animadversions on their baneful effects—and nothing excited more wonder among the surrounding white people, than to find them entirely refuse liquor when offered to them. The Indians said, that when the white people urged them to drink whiskey, they would ask for bread or provisions in its stead.

In the course of this summer, a company of Indians from Alleghany, with Connediu (whom they called their prophet,) at their head, paid a visit to several villages of their brethren, near the Genessee river, in order to dissuade them from the use of strong drink, and to encourage them in habits of industry.

In the Ninth month, this year, the settlement was again visited by three of the committee. The writer being one of the number, and having resided more than two years among them at the first opening of the settlement, was afforded a full opportunity of judging of the improvements the Indians had made. A council was held with the Indians at Cold Spring, which was a new town the Indians had built on the west side of the river, a few miles above Tunesassa. Various subjects were discussed in this council, relative to the Indians’ improvement, and much advice communicated relative to their moral conduct, and long replies again made by the Indians, which the limits prescribed for this narrative will not admit in detail. One thing, however, not heretofore 52 noticed, was earnestly pressed upon them; to live in peace and harmony with their wives, and not to let trifling matters part them, as was sometimes their practice; but to consider them as companions for life: and also to live in peace and friendship one with another, which would enable them to make a greater progress in the good work Friends were endeavouring to promote among them.

Our Friends at Tunesassa had now got about fifty acres of land cleared, well enclosed, and in good order. They had built a large and commodious dwelling house and barn, which, together with the mills and improvements generally, gave it the appearance of a desirable settlement.

It was believed the Indians had built about one hundred new houses since the committee visited them three years before. Most of them were put up with hewn logs very neatly notched at the corners; many of them were covered with shingles, and some had pannel doors and glass windows. The carpenter work was chiefly done by the Indians. Scarcely a vestige remained of the cabins they occupied when Friends first settled among them. Their farms, which were of different dimensions, were enclosed with good fences, and much more detached from each other than formerly. A much greater proportion of corn was planted this season than had been known before, and generally looked well. Many of them had raised wheat and oats, and several had raised flax and buckwheat, besides potatoes and turnips in abundance. Their stock of cattle and horses was increased, and they had a good many working oxen, which they found very advantageous to them. Sheep were not yet introduced, owing to the danger of their being destroyed by wolves.

Upon the whole, it was evident their improvements rather exceeded, in divers respects, those made in some new settlements of white people on the frontiers, in the same length of time.

Several of the young women had this year learned to spin and knit a little; but although the improvement among the females was yet small, it was, nevertheless evident, a change in this respect had taken place for the better, since our women Friends came among them. Their persons and apparel, as well as their houses, appeared in more neat and cleanly order. And as Friends approached some of their habitations, a pleasing mark of neatness discovered itself among some of their women, who would immediately begin to sweep their houses, and appear somewhat disconcerted, if Friends entered their doors before they got their apartments in good order.

After spending near a week at Alleghany, the committee proceeded to Cattaraugus, and had a very satisfactory interview with the Seneca Indians at that place. Various matters were opened to them in a written communication, tending to incite them to industry, and to encourage 53 them in a life of sobriety. A great reform had taken place among those Indians in this respect. The chief warrior in his reply said, “He believed the Great Spirit was better pleased with them when they took hold of the axe and the hoe and went to work, than when they were pursuing their former bad practices of drinking, &c.” “And he was very glad Friends had given them their speech upon paper, that they would not only advise their young people themselves, but would have that speech to apply to, to strengthen their minds.”

Although a considerable change had taken place for the better at this settlement within three years past, their stock of cattle and horses having considerably increased, (and instead of confining them as formerly in small enclosures round their villages, they had, since enclosing their cornfields, the advantage of pasturing them on the large plains,) yet they appeared very far behind their brethren at Alleghany, in agricultural improvements, as well as in buildings and cleanliness of living.

In the year 1807, no very important change took place among the Indians at Alleghany, except that divers of the young women and girls applied themselves to spinning in the course of the winter, under the direction of our women Friends, and succeeded so far as to have a piece of linen spun and wove into cloth, besides manufacturing a quantity of sewing thread with which many of the Indians were well pleased.

Some evil disposed persons, and doubtless opposed to the advancement of the Indians in civilization, took every opportunity of creating suspicions in their minds, of the views of Friends, and artfully insinuated that Friends’ saw-mill was erected to accumulate an interest out of them, notwithstanding that Friends had given them many thousand feet of boards, and also their grain at the grist-mill was then ground free of toll.

In order, therefore, to settle the minds of the Indians, to counteract the suspicions in circulation, and as a convincing evidence of the disinterested views of Friends,—believing also, that it might redound to the Indians’ advantage, they offered to assist them in building a saw-mill for themselves; and three hundred dollars, in addition to a set of saw-mill irons, were granted for that purpose.

This fall Cornplanter was again restored to his former station of chief; and from the disposition he had always manifested to the object of Friends, there was reason to expect his renewed influence in their councils would be useful.

The family at Tunesassa, experienced a great trial by the removal of the Friend’s wife residing there, who, after about two weeks illness was taken from this transitory scene. She had by her prudent and obliging conduct very much endeared herself to the natives, many of whom attended her funeral, and a number of them called to see the family some 54 days afterwards, and desired them to make their minds easy, seeing it was the will of the Great Spirit, and what must happen to all mankind; and they were come to sympathize with them, and to wipe away their tears that they might sorrow no more.

In the following winter, a number of the Indian women and girls were engaged at spinning, and a disposition to industry and manufacturing their own clothing, seemed to be gaining ground. A loom was provided, and several pieces of their own spinning were made into cloth.

1808. As Friends for sometime past, had been desirous of rendering more essential service to the Indians at Cattaraugus, it was now believed expedient to purchase a tract of land adjoining their reservation, and have a family stationed there, that would more effectually accelerate their improvement.

Accordingly a large tract of land was agreed for, on Clear creek, which furnished a good seat for water-works, within four or five miles of the Indian town. The land being heavily timbered, the Indians were engaged in opening a road from their villages to it; and considerable advances were made towards opening a settlement this season, superintended by some of the Friends from Tunesassa.

The Indians at Alleghany got their saw-mill completed this fall so as to be in operation, and the Friends at Tunesassa were joined by another family, a Friend with his wife, a single female who accompanied them, and several children; the parents offering their services to spend some time in the instruction of the Indian natives.

Near the close of this year, and through the succeeding winter, very considerable progress was made among the women and girls in learning to spin; several purchased wheels and commenced spinning at their own houses; and an aged female, of the first influence, named O-yong-go-gas, resided sometime with Friends, to be instructed in this employment, and made an unexpected progress. Her attention to assist in encouraging and superintending the younger women and girls, was a favourable circumstance, and tended to promote their improvement. On hearing that Friends at Tunesassa were about writing to the committee, she delivered the following address, desiring it might be sent also.

“Brothers, attend—I wish to speak a few words to you. Since your women came here, I have frequently had a prospect of learning to spin; but as I was an ancient woman, I was afraid to make a beginning, lest I should not make out, and would then have to decline it, without accomplishing any thing. I at length concluded to try, and have learned so much as to be able to spin flax and tow pretty well.

“Brothers, I am very happy that I have the satisfaction to inform you a little of my progress, and also that I can now with more assurance, impress the necessity of this valuable improvement on the minds of our 55 young women, and I intend in future to recommend it as a most necessary employment.

“For my own part, I intend to pursue it as long as my eye-sight will continue, and I hope yet to be able to spin wool for a blanket, if the Good Spirit will continue my sight. I am very thankful for the knowledge I have acquired of your women Friends.

“Brothers, I hope this may find you all well, and I wish the Great Spirit may bless you.”

In the spring of 1809, a Friend, who had spent many years among the natives, returned again to his former station at Tunesassa, and being acquainted with the weaving business, he was usefully employed in manufacturing into cloth the yarn which the Indian women had spun in the last winter, and the industry of several of them procured them sufficient specimens of domestic manufactures, to stimulate them to further exertions.

This spring four of the Friends resident at Tunesassa proceeded to Cattaraugus, in order to carry on the improvements at this new station, and to instruct the Indians in that settlement.

The Indians at Alleghany continued to make a satisfactory progress in their agricultural labours, seven or eight families sowed flax this spring, and other marks of improvement were observable. The settlement was visited again by a deputation from the committee, and the situation of the Indians fully inspected, and much advice and counsel were communicated to them relative to their moral conduct, as well as in regard to their temporal concerns.

They were particularly warned of the iniquity of men and their wives separating, (a practice which was too common among them,) and marrying again with others; the natural consequence of which was, leaving their children in poverty and distress, besides being attended with a variety of other evils.

The communications of Friends appeared to be well received, and in the replies which the Indians made, among many other things, Cornplanter remarked, “We are sensible that it is displeasing to the Great Spirit for men and their wives to separate, and I am very happy that you have now mentioned it, when so many of our young warriors are present who have the opportunity of hearing; and I hope they will attend to the good counsel you have given us.”

This deputation from the committee also visited Cattaraugus settlement, and had satisfactory interviews with those Indians, encouraging them to industry and sobriety, and to avail themselves of the opportunity they now had of receiving instruction from our Friends, who had lately come to settle near them.

In their replies to Friends, the chief warrior observed:—“You 56 still continue to speak the same language to our nation, and we believe your views towards us are the effects of pure friendship, and a desire for our welfare; and although we have fallen short in fulfilling your former advices, we are still encouraged to follow your counsel, and to pursue the path you have set before us. We hope you will continue to have patience towards us, as Indians cannot adopt all these habits that you recommend at once; but we are convinced that industry in cultivating our lands, is the only method by which we can receive lasting benefits, and we are determined to pursue it—and we hope we shall still continue to make a gradual advancement.”

During the winter and spring of 1810, the Indian women at Alleghany gave increasing attention to spinning. Some elderly females, who had acquired sufficient knowledge, and being anxious to promote this valuable art, took the superintendence of the young girls, and this season they spun sufficient to make one hundred and twenty yards, part of which was woollen, and manufactured into blankets.

Some small premiums were offered to such of the men as should sow spring wheat, which had a stimulating effect; and sixteen or seventeen individuals availed themselves of the offer.

The Indians purchased four yoke of oxen, which enabled them to do more ploughing—and during the course of the season many of the young men inclined to hire to work for other Indians, a practice which had not been common among them. This, however, was in part produced by the embargo system which was now in operation, and had an effect to reduce the price of skins and furs, so as to render hunting not worth pursuing as an object of profit.

Red Jacket, and three other chiefs of the Seneca nation, visited Philadelphia this year, and Friends had a satisfactory interview with them. Red Jacket in his remarks, stated:

“I am unable to express the thankfulness I feel for the many acts of kindness your society have shown to us; particularly when that old gentleman, (pointing to an elderly Friend present,) and many others now no more, attended at our treaties. And I am happy in observing your disposition to pursue the same track of conduct your fathers observed towards Indians, now they are removed to the world of spirits.”

Some implements of husbandry were furnished to the Tuscarora Indians, residing on the Seneca reservation near Buffalo; and the situation of the Delaware Indians residing on the Cattaraugus reservation claiming the sympathy of Friends, as being the remnant of a scattered tribe who formerly inhabited the parts along the river Delaware, and who for many years lived on terms of sincere friendship and reciprocal acts of kindness with the early settlers, while the country was then a wilderness; it was believed right to make them an offer of purchasing a 57 tract of land in the neighbourhood of Cattaraugus, provided they would live on, and occupy it. Although the offer was not accepted they gratefully acknowledge the kindness of Friends, and their answer on this occasion strongly excites our sympathy for the destiny of this once great and powerful nation.

“Our nation, say they, seem as if they were scattered over the whole world; and we have been desirous, for many years past, of getting together, and have now fully concluded to leave the country of the Senecas. The land you propose giving us here, if we could take it on our backs and set it down in the neighbourhood of our nation to the westward, we should be very thankful for; but we don’t feel satisfied to remain in this country, and have concluded certainly to leave it as soon as we can.”

Considerable progress was made this season by the Cattaraugus Indians. Many of them enclosed fields separately, and had plentiful crops of corn; and as an incitement to this plan of farming, small premiums had been offered by Friends. And as a further encouragement, to accommodate the Indians, preparations were made to erect grist and saw-mills on the tract of land belonging to Friends, whereby they could have their grinding done, and be furnished with boards to enable them to build better houses.

In the beginning of the year 1811, the Indian women at Alleghany manifested a much earlier attention to the spinning business; and before the time they usually began, had sufficient spun for one hundred and sixty yards of cloth. Near one half of their women by this time, had acquired some knowledge of this business; and though they had heretofore, for the most part, attended to it at the house of employment, many of them now procured wheels of their own, and attended to it at their own houses. Four of them within two years had spun yarn for about one hundred and twenty-five yards; and two others, in the last season, had spun and wove themselves twenty-one yards of linsey.

The instruction of their children in school learning, had for several years past, been but little attended to, owing to the impediments the Indians themselves had thrown in the way—but this year it was again revived; and a young man, qualified for that purpose, kept a school among them, at their request.

The Indians at Cattaraugus were also making satisfactory improvement this season. The saw-mill was in operation this fall, and the grist mill in a considerable state of forwardness.

The progress of improvement had, for many years past, exhibited an encouraging prospect—affording a comfortable hope, that the desirable object would be effected, of reclaiming at least a portion of the Indians from a savage and rambling life, to enjoy in a plentiful manner, and in 58 undisturbed security, the productions of the fruitful field. Yet it now seems our painful task to record some circumstances, which for a time much unsettled the minds of the Indians, and retarded their progress in civilization.

By a company of individuals, claiming what they called the pre-emption right, an attempt was now made to purchase from the Seneca nation, all their land which they held in the state of New York, and under a specious show of benevolence, to give them a large tract of country far to the westward, where they might enjoy their native forest, away from the intrusions of white people.

The peculiar situation of their land—being generally of an excellent quality, and an increasing white population fast settling round it—made it an object very desirable to this company, who, it is probable, paid a large sum of money for this pre-emption right.

From the best information I have received respecting this claim, it appears, by the original charter, that the state of Massachusetts had this pre-emption right, or privilege of purchasing the Indians’ land in this part of the territory; and to satisfy this claim, in 1787, the state of New York ceded to Massachusetts the right of soil—reserving to itself the jurisdiction thereof. The state of Massachusetts, in 1792, again sold their right of purchase to an individual, who, in the year 1797, at a treaty held at Genessee river, in the state of New York, purchased of the Indians a large tract of country, as has been already stated—the Indians “nevertheless and always reserving” out of this grant and conveyance, such reservations as were therein agreed upon; “to remain the property of the said Seneca Indians, in as full and ample a manner,” as if the said sale had not been made. This purchase again passed into other hands, and finally the pre-emption right to the Indians’ reservations into the hands of the company now claiming them.

Notwithstanding these were the only persons who had a legal right to purchase, it was only when the Indians were disposed to sell: and always to be understood, as the original owners of the soil, they had the right to refuse to sell, as guaranteed in the most solemn manner by the president of the United States.

But notwithstanding their indubitable title to the soil, the attempt thus made, in an artful manner, to obtain their land, had the effect to produce great commotion and disturbance among them. Nor was it to be doubted, but that means, too frequently practised on such occasions, would be resorted to. These were, to offer rewards to the chiefs or principal men of the nation, to gain their influence, in order to bring about the object they had in view.

The Indians, however, at this time, did not accede to the proposals that had been held out to them, as may be seen from the following 59 extracts of a speech of Red Jacket to an agent, who, it seems, was employed by the primitive holders to negotiate this business.

“Brother, we opened our ears to the talk you lately delivered to us, at our council fire. In doing important business, it is best not to tell long stories, but to come to it in a few words—we shall therefore not repeat your talk, which is fresh in our minds. We have well considered it, and the advantages and disadvantages of your offers—we request your attention to our answer, which is not from the speaker alone, but from all the sachems and chiefs now round our council fire.

“Brother, your application for the purchase of our lands is, to our minds, very extraordinary. It has been made in a crooked manner. You have not walked in the straight path, pointed out by the Great Council of your nation. You have no writing from our Great Father the president. We have looked back, and remembered how the Yorkers purchased our lands in former times. They bought them, piece after piece, for a little money, paid to a few men in our nation, and not to all our brethren,—until our planting and hunting grounds have become very small; and if we should sell these, we know not where to spread our blankets.

“Brother, you tell us your employers have purchased of the council of Yorkers, a right to buy our lands. We do not understand how this can be. The lands do not belong to the Yorkers. They are ours, and were given to us by the Great Spirit.

“Brother, you want us to travel with you, and look for other lands. If we should sell our lands, and move off into a distant country, towards the setting sun, we should be looked upon, in the country to which we go, as foreigners and strangers, and be despised by the red, as well as the white men. We should soon be surrounded by the white people, who would there also kill our game, come upon our lands, and try to get them from us.

“Brother, we are determined not to sell our lands, but to continue on them. They are fruitful, and produce us corn in abundance, for the support of our women and children, and grass and herbs for our cattle.

“Brother, the white people buy and sell false rights to our lands; and your employers, you say, have paid a great price for their right. They must have plenty of money to spend it buying and selling false rights to lands belonging to Indians. The loss of it will not hurt them, but our lands are of great value to us; and we wish you to go back to your employers, and tell them and the Yorkers, that they have no right to buy and sell false rights to our lands.”

Although the inducements held out to Indians at this time were rejected, yet the scheme, on the part of the applicants, was by no means abandoned; and as a measure like this, so inimical to the cause in which Friends were engaged, could not fail of exciting considerable 60 alarm, it was reasonable to suppose, their influence would interpose to prevent the adoption of a measure so pregnant of evil to the poor Indians. Accordingly, an appropriate address was presented to the Seneca nation, strongly recommending them to a diligent improvement of their land, and to keep strong in their resolution not to part with it—for if they should sell and remove to a distant country, it was not likely Friends would go with them, or assist them, as they had heretofore done.

The minds of the Indians appeared to be quieted for the present, and they were peculiarly pleased with the communications of Friends on this occasion. One of their chiefs observed in council—“Your words reached our hearts, and as though they had been handed down from the Great Spirit above, they have satisfied our minds.”

The spring of 1812, commenced with very encouraging prospects of improvement at both the settlements. The women were engaged in their spinning business, and the men in their agricultural pursuits, which relieved the women of much of their former hardships and burthens in procuring a livelihood. The measures adopted for their improvement had now been in operation at the Alleghany settlement for fourteen years, and the advantages resulting therefrom were more sensibly felt, and clearly distinguished by the Indians than at any former period. The progress of the Indians at Cattaraugus, considering the infant state of the establishment of Friends there, afforded the most sanguine prospect, that, by a steady perseverance, in the course of a few years more, a very important change would be effected in their situation and manner of life. But a reverse of circumstances, in the course of events, again took place, which it seems proper now to mention.

It was in the Sixth month, this year, that war was proclaimed by the United States against Great Britain, and her dependencies. This circumstance created very considerable alarm amongst the Indians, and to use their own expressions, “seemed to turn the world upside down.”

Their situation was peculiarly trying. War was a circumstance replete with many evils, which would inevitably involve them in serious difficulties. Their money, for which they had sold their land in 1797, was in the hands of the government. Their remaining lands were nearly all within the boundaries of the state of New York, and lying near to the British lines, which it was probable would become the seat of war, and therefore they would be liable to be much harassed by either party, even should they remain neutral. In the next place, there were several tribes of their confederates of the Six Nations, whom they had always considered as brethren, who resided within the British dominions, and called upon to fight their battles; and it was probable they would be 61 called upon by the United States to assist in the contest, and thus they would be reduced to the sad dilemma, of either being considered, in case of a refusal, as enemies to the United States, or otherwise be under the necessity of raising the hatchet against their own flesh and blood, who had not given the slightest cause of offence or provocation.

Nor were these all the evils that seemed to threaten their repose. They were generally represented, in war, as a ferocious, unrelenting people; and hence it was natural to conclude, that jealousies would exist among their surrounding white neighbours, and prejudices be excited, which it would be difficult to remove.

Their fears were not groundless in this respect; for soon after war was proclaimed, many of the surrounding inhabitants became very uneasy, and divers left their settlements, and removed to places more remote from the natives. This circumstance caused some alarm among the Indians. They apprehended that their sincerity and friendly dispositions were suspected; in consequence whereof, a council was held between them and their white neighbours, to endeavour to eradicate the fears and jealousies which existed between them. The result of this was, that the Indians promised to take no part in the war, and the whites agreed not to molest them in their peaceable possessions.

This conclusion, however, did not stand long, on the part of the Indians. They were called upon by the United States to engage in the contest, and to take up arms against their brethren in Canada, who were, no doubt, excited to this unnatural war, by the British government. Some of the young warriors, who had never before seen the dreadful effects of such a conflict, were anxious to try their valour, and gain themselves a name; while many of their elderly people, who retained some knowledge of former wars, were more disposed to remain quiet at home. But as it is not the design of this work to give a history of the war, in all its bearings on the Indians, it is sufficient to say, that during the period the war lasted, they were at times engaged therein by parties; and in proportion to the part they acted on this occasion, their advancement in civilization was impeded.

In the autumn of this year, two of the committee visited the settlements at Tunesassa and Cattaraugus, by whom a suitable address was sent to the Indians. But they found them in a very unsettled situation, on account of the war; and said “they could not, at present, attend to their improvements—for, look which way they would, they saw nothing but war.”

As the situation of the Friends stationed among the Indians was also trying at this period, they were left at liberty either to leave them, and return home, or to remain, as they felt best satisfied to do.

In the year 1813, although frequent alarms continued to pervade the 62 Indians’ borders, our Friends did not apprehend it sufficient cause to abandon their residence, or to relax their endeavours to establish the Indians in a more permanent advantage from the soil. The Indians, too, appeared to have a special confidence in Friends, and often consulted them on account of their own safety, stating “that if Friends removed from them, they would become uneasy, and flee also.”

Although some of the Indians attended to their business, yet the continual alarms, and frequent calls on them to assist in the invasion of Canada, very much diverted their attention from their domestic concerns; and their war excursions had a demoralizing effect, by exposing them again to the use of intoxicating liquors, which gained an ascendency over some.

Towards the close of this season, at the time Buffalo was attacked and burned by the British, the Indians became exceedingly agitated. Those of Cattaraugus, lying more contiguous to the scene of action, moved a great part of their property to the south side of the river, in order to flee in case of an attack. The consternation that prevailed among the inhabitants generally, in that country, had a tendency to increase their fears; and probably a consciousness of their having taken up arms against their brethren in Canada, naturally created apprehensions, that, if their enemies proved victorious they would have to suffer a retaliation.

The alarm, however, subsided, as there was no attack made on them, and they were permitted to remain quiet the succeeding winter, and attend somewhat to their necessary concerns.

In the fall of 1814, the settlements were visited again by four of the committee. They arrived at Cattaraugus the thirteenth of the Ninth month, and had a council on the fifteenth with the Indians. Many of them were then absent, being engaged in the war, and more were about going. But when they heard of Friends’ arrival, they concluded to stay at home.

They stated the many difficulties which they laboured under, on account of the war, and the great obstruction it was to their improvement. They said the officers often called on them to go to war, and if they staid at home, they were not satisfied—and they did not know whether they were safe or not.

“Brothers, said they, the war has continued for three summers past. We have still had time to provide a little for our families; but this year we scarcely get home, before another express comes for us. We have been in hopes these troubles would subside; but from the present commotions, and noise of the great guns on the lines, we have entertained doubts how or when it will end.”

At the conclusion of the council, they remarked the great satisfaction 63 they felt, that the Friends who lived beside them had remained so steady with them through their difficulties, that although the great guns had roared so loud as to shake the ground whereon they stood, yet they remained quiet; which convinced them that they must be under the protection of the Great Spirit.

Notwithstanding the various interruptions the Indians had met with on account of the war, they had made very considerable advances in agricultural improvements, at this settlement. The author, being one of the deputation who now visited them, had an opportunity of observing the great contrast in their situation, since Friends came to settle among them. They had enclosed with good fences, and cultivated several hundred acres of good land, within three or four years past; a great proportion of which was planted with corn and potatoes, or sowed with oats, &c. and generally looked well. Many families had raised wheat, and were preparing to sow more in the fall. Several had raised flax, and about twenty-five of their women had learned to spin. Their women, also, appeared more neat and cleanly, in their dress and houses. But three or four families remained in their old village, having found it much to their advantage to settle more detached from each other. They were now scattered along, on the rich bottoms, for several miles. Considerable improvement had also taken place in the mode of building. Many had good houses, and some had barns, and scarcely any of the old cabins were seen standing. The Indians had procured a number of wagons and carts, with other farming utensils, as well as several yoke of oxen. Their stock of cattle, in general, was much increased; and the Indians said, in council, there were but one or two families but had cows or horses.

The committee also visited the settlement at Alleghany, and held a general council with the Indians at Cold Spring, where they were encouraged to perseverance in the path they had for many years been pointing out to the Indians, and in which good way they had made considerable progress. But it was observed, that they were deficient in several respects, and had not made so much improvement as was desirable for the opportunity they had had. In their replies, they acknowledged the very great benefit they had received in time past, from the advice and instruction of Friends, but said they had made less improvement since the war commenced; that they were frequently called upon by the officers to go to war, and this kept them uneasy, so that they could not attend to their business. Some of their people had, also, during the war, got into habits of intemperance—and this tended to retard their advancement in the modes of civilized life.

The old chief, Cornplanter, not having attended this council, several of the company paid him a visit at his own house, about eleven miles 64 distant from Tunesassa. About five or six families remained with the old chief, at his settlement, mostly his connexions. The old town of Jenuchshadaga, where all the first councils between Friends and the Indians were held, was entirely deserted, and so overgrown with young timber, as almost to conceal the place where it stood. This strange mutation of things at this place, was principally owing to the land being Cornplanter’s private property, and to the disposition of the other Indians to move higher up the river, and settle on land belonging to the nation, where they would have a greater security for the improvements they should make.

Cornplanter expressed his great satisfaction at once more seeing his friends in his own house, and that he was still preserved alive to talk with them. He acknowledged the advice of Friends had always been good, and that in consequence of many of the Indians adhering to it, their situation had been much improved, but that in consequence of the miseries of war, some of his people had again become intemperate.

The too common practice of men and their wives parting, having been animadverted upon at the late council, the old chief observed, that he also reprobated it, as being attended with many evil effects; and that he had often seen children, who had been thus neglected, when young, in consequence of their parents’ separation, reflect on their parents, when they got old, and charge them with neglect of duty; it being generally the practice where separations take place, for the mother to take charge of the children, and provide for them as well as she can.

“The liquor, said he, has been introduced among us by white people; but this evil practice has grown up among ourselves. Our young people are too fond of diversions, and not serious enough, in forming connexions. I have often advised them to more sobriety and regular conduct, and spent much of my time in serving the nation.”

The Indians, generally, on the Alleghany river, continued to increase their stock of cattle, horses, and swine, quite equal to their means of supporting them through the winter; although in other respects, since the commencement of the war, they had made but little progress in agriculture. Many of the women, however, had given considerable attention to spinning—especially in the winter season. They appeared more cleanly in their persons and houses than they formerly did; and their manners, and general deportment, appeared to be rising from that degraded state in which they had formerly lived, and becoming more assimilated to the modes and practices of white people.

The spring of 1815, was ushered in with the welcome and consoling news of peace, to the poor Indians; an accommodation having taken place between the United States and Great Britain in the preceding 65 winter. Not only could the Seneca nation participate in the blessings of peace, by having their prospects to pursue their agricultural labours again brightened, but many of the surrounding tribes, who had been more extensively engaged in the late contest, could now lay down the hatchet, which had often been stained with the blood of their enemies.

But although peace had now taken place, and hostilities ceased between the contending parties, it was doubtful whether the Seneca nation would be conciliated, and immediately restored to that mutual friendship, which previous to the war had subsisted between them and their confederate tribes in Canada, who had, under the banner of Great Britain, taken up arms against the United States. It was, therefore, believed expedient by the committee at this critical juncture to send them a suitable address on the occasion, from which the following is extracted.

“Brothers, since it has pleased the Great Spirit to restore to our country the blessing of peace, we have felt our minds concerned to address you, in order to encourage you to pursue the path we have long been pointing out to you; and likewise to call your attention to the great advantages resulting from living in peace with all men.

“Brothers, we are sensible that there are two spirits at work in the minds of men. The one produces in us a disposition of love and good will towards all men, and is a comforter for all good actions. The other excites evil thoughts and desires, and influences to bad actions, such as lying, swearing, drunkenness, pride, envy, hatred, gaming, and many other evils, which, if given way to, often create war between nations. So we believe it is in our power to resist the evil spirit, and conquer all the evil propensities of our nature, by obeying the Good Spirit, and by daily watching, and prayer to him. If we so conduct, he will deliver us from evil.

“Brothers, our fathers, and we their children, who profess the same principles by which they were guided, have always believed that wars and fightings are displeasing to the Great Spirit, who is all love, and who made of one blood all nations of men, that they should live in peace and love with each other. For this cause, he hath placed his law in our hearts, and in the hearts of all men, teaching, not only to love one another, but also to forgive injuries, and even to love and do good to our enemies.

“Brothers, where people live in this disposition, and trust in the Great Spirit for protection, it has a powerful effect in producing the same disposition in the minds of those who wish to do them an injury; and instead of hatred, it will produce in their minds love and good will. For you must be sensible, brothers, that when a man is angry with another, and uses many threatening expressions, if the other returns 66 mild answers, and endeavours to pacify him by acts of kindness and good will, it is more likely to restore the angry man to a sober and right state of mind, than if he were to quarrel and fight with him—and this would be overcoming evil with good, which is always pleasing to the Great Spirit.

“Brothers, we are sensible that the late war must have brought you into great difficulty and distress—and we are thankful for the return of peace. We hope the Great Spirit will preserve you from again feeling the miseries of war. We also wish you to be reanimated, to pursue your farming, and the improvement of your land, under the instruction of our friends who reside among you, as this is the only sure method we can recommend to you to obtain a comfortable living for yourselves and families; and the most likely means, as you are industrious and become sensible of the value of your property, of securing you in the permanent possession of your land.

“Brothers, our desires continue as strong at the present day, as ever they were, to promote your happiness in this life, and in that which is to come. But this happy state we know can only be attained, by having our minds drawn to the Great Spirit, by imploring his protection, and by beseeching him that he would preserve us in love towards all mankind. If we are sincere in our desires for his assistance, and attentive to the voice of his spirit in our hearts, we shall have reason to hope for his blessing upon our labours, which is our desire for ourselves, for our Indian brethren, and for all men.”

The Indians were also strongly reminded in this address, of the dangerous tendency of introducing strong liquor again into their villages, as the late war had exposed them to the use of it more than they had been for many years previous—and if they now become so unwise as to fall again in love with it, it would prove their ruin.

This communication had a stimulating effect upon the Indians at both the settlements. Those of Alleghany sent a written address to the committee, signed by six of their chiefs, in which they expressed in a high degree, their sense of gratitude for the continued care of the society of Friends over them, and the great advantages they had received from their instruction. They also renewed their request that they might be furnished with a schoolmaster, as but little attention had been given to their improvement in school learning for some time past, owing to the general disinclination of the Indians to have their children thus instructed.

At the request of the Indians, also, in the summer of 1816, four lads, two from Buffalo, and two from Alleghany, were brought into Chester county, within forty miles of Philadelphia, and placed with suitable 67 persons under the care of the committee, to be instructed in school learning, and some of the mechanic arts.

In the Eighth month this year, a Friend who had formerly devoted many years to the instruction of the natives, proceeded again with his wife to the Alleghany settlement, accompanied by a young man in the capacity of a schoolmaster; and the family who had resided there for some years past returned from thence. The school was again opened at Cold Spring town, in the Tenth month, where about twenty different scholars attended, in an irregular manner, owing, in part, to the scarcity of provisions. This scarcity of food was occasioned by unusually early frost, which destroyed more than half their corn, and likewise many other vegetables. This calamity was felt through all that part of the country bordering on the lakes.

Although the Indians had had the fairest prospect of a plentiful supply, yet, from the foregoing circumstance, many of them were compelled to resort to their former source of dependence, and with their families, retire to the woods and hunting encampments, where they remained a great part of the winter.

The Indians at Cattaraugus were conspicuous sufferers by this calamity; many of them having their crops of corn entirely cut off, while they had as yet scarcely recruited from their sufferings during the late war. Friends duly considered their distressed situation, and granted five hundred dollars to be applied in supplying them with provisions, and three hundred more to be administered to the necessities of those on the Alleghany reservation. These donations were gratefully received by the Indians, and were peculiarly useful in enabling them, the following spring, more generally to attend to their agricultural pursuits, without being compelled from necessity to retire to their hunting grounds. It was said five hundred and twelve individuals at Alleghany, and three hundred and ninety at Cattaraugus, partook of this timely donation of Friends.

In the spring of 1817, the fears of the committee were strongly excited for the safety of the Indians, from the various concurring accounts, that plans were again devising to induce a removal of many of them in the state of New York, from their present seat, to one very remote among the western tribes. A measure of this kind would not only tend to unsettle the Indians in their agricultural pursuits, but if carried into effect, would entirely frustrate the plan of their civilization, and render of little avail the labours of Friends for twenty years past, and the expenditure of more than forty thousand dollars in promoting their advancement toward a civilized state.

The committee, therefore, being fully impressed with the great loss the Indians would inevitably sustain by a removal to a distant clime, 68 communicated their views by a written address; and with a view of setting them in a more permanent possession of the soil, recommended a division of their land into lots, suitable to accommodate each family, to be held under such regulations, that it might descend from parent to children, and other near connexions; and under such restrictions as would debar individuals from selling, leasing, or transferring it, in any way, to white people.

This measure being of an important character in the disposition of Indian affairs, it was believed expedient, by the committee, to present a memorial to the President of the United States, in their behalf, by which he was fully made acquainted with the plan proposed to the Indians for a division of their land; and being visited, also, by a deputation from the committee, and furnished with various documents, it opened the way for a free communication of sentiment on the subject, and the president gave assurance of attentively perusing and duly considering the documents and memorial.

In the Ninth month this year, the settlements of Tunesassa and Cattaraugus were again visited by four of the committee, who spent several weeks among the Indians, in attending to the various services of their appointment. They inspected, particularly, the state of improvement at both the settlements, and also had divers interviews with the Indians in council, at both places.

With respect to the improvements at Cattaraugus, the author being one of the deputation now visiting them, had a fair opportunity of judging of the advances they had made in three years past. Their settlements at this place were now extended about ten miles in length—and they had fenced in many fields and laid out their farms much more detached from each other—and were gradually advancing in agriculture. It was supposed they had more than two hundred acres of corn growing, (and it generally looked well,) besides one hundred acres more under cultivation; spring wheat, oats, potatoes, and a great variety of garden vegetables. Their stock of cattle and horses was much increased, and divers of them had enclosed lots of grass on which they gathered hay for winter. Many of the women had made considerable progress in spinning, so as, in the course of the last year, to make about one hundred and seventy yards of cloth.

The Alleghany settlement was said to consist of about seventy families, all of whom, except four, had horned cattle, amounting in the whole to upwards of four hundred.

They had more horses than was any advantage to them. Their corn, oats, and buckwheat, were in a prosperous condition, and promised to afford them a plentiful supply. And it was pleasing to find, that they had generally refrained from the use of spirituous liquors. The women, 69 also, continued their attention to spinning and manufacturing their clothing.

The school taught by the Friend at this place was also in a more prosperous condition than had hitherto been evidenced among those Indians. Nearly twenty lads attended, divers of whom could write and read the English language, and had otherwise made satisfactory progress in learning. The cleanliness of their persons, their order in the school, and general deportment, appeared to be encouraging.

A prominent object in this visit was, to encourage the Indians to make the experiment of dividing their land into lots, and holding it as private property, under certain restrictions. This was suggested to them, in separate councils with the different tribes, as the most eligible plan by which they could continue to possess the good land which they and their fathers had so long enjoyed, and which of late years they had improved so much, that “this land, with its valuable improvements, might pass to their children, and be inherited by them as long as the Alleghany and Cattaraugus rivers should continue to run, and the grass and corn to grow.”

The Indians in their several settlements, took this matter under serious consideration; and, in consequence of an arrangement made for the purpose, Friends met the principal chiefs, and many others of the Seneca nation, in a general council at Cattaraugus, among whom was the noted chief, Red Jacket, and several others from Buffalo. In this general council, the subject of dividing their land into lots, was again proposed to the Indians, as the most eligible means of accelerating their civilization, and securing them more permanently in the possession of the remnant of the land they yet occupied; and that these lots should be of adequate dimensions to accommodate each family with a farm, and be held under such restrictions, that they could not be alienated, or leased to any other than their own people, but in such manner as to secure to the individuals respectively, the land, with the improvements thereon, which should be appropriated to each. It was believed the adoption of this measure would prove an additional stimulus to their industry and care, in the prospect it presented, of the benefits which might result from their agricultural labours descending to, and being enjoyed by, their children, and posterity more remote. This important subject occupied the deliberate attention of the Indians for several days. The result was, a resolution that an experiment should be made on the Alleghany reservation by the Indians residing thereon, many of whom had for a considerable time been desirous of possessing their property more distinct from each other than had heretofore been the case.

On the morning Friends were about to proceed on their way homewards, a number of the chiefs called to see them, and expressed their 70 great satisfaction with the conclusions that had resulted at the late council. One of them named Blue-eyes, said, “Brothers, we want you to continue your endeavours to strengthen us, that we may not become a lost people, but that by persevering in the right path, we may experience preservation. We believe it is owing to the favourable disposition of the United States, that the Six Nations yet exist. And we are of the opinion, from the representations that have been made, that we owe much to you—and we trust to an overruling providence, who has thus favoured us, that we may yet experience preservation.”

Notwithstanding the repeated refusals of the Indians to dispose of any more of their land, renewed applications were made by those holding the pre-emption right in the beginning of the year 1818; and at a general council, held at Buffalo, about this time, they again determined not to sell; and with a view of making the President of the United States more particularly acquainted with their situation, and with the difficulties to which they were subjected, by these repeated applications for land, they sent forward a talk for that purpose, signed by twenty-one chiefs of the Seneca, Cayuga, and Onondago tribes, which was published in the Niagara Patriot, and from which, for its simple, natural, impassioned, and pathetic eloquence, we shall present to the reader a few extracts.

“Father, from the fatherly care the presidents of the United States have exercised towards their red children, we speak to our father in confidence, believing he will not turn away his ears from his red children. We are alarmed lest we lose our seats. Those men who say they have a right to purchase our lands, have been distressing us for a number of years with their plans to possess our lands—offering us in exchange lands to the westward. We declare to you, we desire you to publish to all our white brothers, that it is our fixed and determined purpose to live and die on our present land. It is sealed to us by the bones of our fathers—they obtained it by their blood. Our bones shall lie beside theirs—it is the heritage of the Almighty—he gave it us—he it is must take it from us.”

“We mean no threat by this—we know we are in the hands of our white brethren—they can destroy us with ease—but they need not think to persuade us to part with our lands—as free men we claim the right to choose between being killed outright, or a lingering execution, by being driven a thousand miles into the wilderness.

“Where, father, where would our white brothers have us to go? The Indian claim to land is put out for more than a thousand miles to the west—except little spots for particular nations.

“We have confidence in you. You cannot see your red children, 71 with their little ones, driven off by stealth and fraud—leaving the sepulchres of their fathers, their farms, their farming tools, and their cattle, and dying by families on the road, through hardships and privation—exchanging all their advances in civilization and its comforts, for the hardships of the chase—without house or friend.

“Father, we have confidence in you, that if you see any device formed against us, you will frustrate it, and succour your red children. We have deceived no man—we have wronged no man—our language has been one—we choose not to part with our land. If we have been needlessly alarmed, you will pity our ignorance, and forgive our childish fears.

“We trust that you will pardon the multitude of our words. Let none deceive you in saying that this is the voice of a few individuals, and not the voice of the Six Nations. It is the voice of the Six Nations in the state of New York. The chiefs of Buffalo, Cattaraugus, Genessee, and Onondago, are now in council. We have the message of Oneida and Alleghany with us, desiring we should speak to our father the president—intreating him to consider and help us. Speak, father—speak to your children, that their minds may be at rest. Speak to our council fire at this place, and let us hear your own words; send them by safe hands.

“May the Great Spirit preserve you many years a blessing to all your children.”

The Indians also sent a copy of the foregoing talk to the governor of New York, accompanied with a short address, from which we make the following extracts:

“Father, we thank you that you feel anxious to do all you can to the perishing ruins of your red children. We hope, Father, you will make a fence strong and high around us, that wicked white men may not devour us at once, but let us live as long as we can. We are persuaded you will do this for us, because our field is laid waste and trodden down by every beast—we are feeble and cannot resist them.”

“Father, we are persuaded you will do this for the sake of our white brothers, lest God, who has appeared so strong in building up white men and pulling down Indians, should turn his hand and visit our white brothers for their sins, and call them to an account for all the wrongs they have done them, and all the wrongs they have not prevented, that it was in their power to prevent, to their poor red brothers, who have no helper.

“Father, would you be the father of your people and make them good and blessed of God, let not the cries of his red children ascend into his ears against you.” 72

Without further comment on these impressive communications of the Indians, we shall leave the reader to his own reflections, after stating, that whatever impressions they might have made on the rulers to whom they were addressed, it did not prevent the renewed and persevering applications of the pre-emption holders, to obtain the Indians’ land, which, although they as often refused to sell, had the effect to keep them in a state of agitation and unsettlement; for although they had been repeatedly told that their lands were their own, and that they could not be compelled to dispose of them without their consent, and that President Washington had fully assured them that the United States would protect them in the remainder of their lands, which they had not legally conveyed away at public treaties, yet there appeared to be a degree of jealousy existing with some, as to the sincerity of these professions, and a fear lest they might, at some time, be compelled to relinquish their rightful possessions and be removed to another clime.

The Indians at Alleghany, therefore, sent a message to the committee, in which they expressed a wish that Friends would endeavour to obtain for them a written instrument from the President of the United States, to strengthen, as they said, their title to their land, so that they might be easy themselves, and their children after them. And as it had been concluded in the last fall, to divide the Alleghany reservation into lots, they also wished to know whether this plan was agreeable to the President.

In consequence of this request of the Alleghany chiefs, as also with a view of making the executive department of government more fully acquainted with their situation, various documents were prepared and committed to the charge of four of the committee, to present to the secretary of war, and such other officers of government as seemed to be requisite. These documents were calculated to explain the views of Friends in the interesting and benevolent design of ameliorating the condition, and promoting the civilization of the Indians, and also to impress the public mind with the peculiarly distressed situation of the aborigines of our country generally.

A surveyor being furnished by Friends, some essay was made, in the course of this year, towards dividing the Alleghany reservation into lots, as had previously been concluded on in general council. But difficulties occurred among the Indians respecting it, which they were not at that time able to reconcile; as the division lines would in many instances interfere with their present improvements; and their local attachments having, in a considerable degree, been increased since they become more detached in their settlements and applied themselves to the pursuits of an agricultural life, the plan of division was abandoned for the present. 73

It may here be proper to state, that in their former practice of locating the land they wished to cultivate, they never interfered with each other’s boundaries. There was land sufficient for them all. Each family possessed the spot upon which they settled, without interruption from others; and if they wished to relinquish it, and remove to another, they might sell their improvements to other Indians. It is, therefore, not surprising, that in effecting so radical a change from their former customs, as the one contemplated, difficulties should occur—and it will require time for local prejudices, gradually to give way to the more enlightened views of civilization, and for more correct ideas of distinct property to be realized.

Notwithstanding the state of unsettlement, considerable improvement in divers respects, was apparent this year, especially at the Cattaraugus settlement. A school for the first time was opened at that place, by a young man who offered for that service, and was attended by a number of children, with as much regularity as could reasonably be expected.

In the year 1819, and for some time previous, the Indians on the Alleghany river had got much in the practice of cutting and rafting pine timber down the river, and selling to white people, which was rather an injury to them than otherwise, as it opened an intercourse with some of the most profligate of the whites, and exposed them more to the use of intoxicating liquors than when at home, engaged in their agricultural labours. It also had a tendency to frustrate the plan of dividing their land into lots, as they now had liberty to range at large in the woods and get timber where they pleased, while the land remained as common stock to the nation.

In the spring of this year, an Indian, who was a lad when Friends first settled amongst them, and who had since been instructed in the blacksmith business, dictated a letter to the author, in reply to one sent to him sometime before, from which, to show his own views of the improvement he had made, we make the following extracts.

“I received thy letter of the eighteenth of last month, much to my satisfaction. I was glad to hear that my old friend W—— was well, and thou may inform him that I have usual health also. I well remember the counsel of my friends, the Quakers. I see they want to do me good—I feel strong about it. They told me to work at my trade, and to plough, and sow, and raise grain and grass. All this is very good advice. I now have plenty of corn, and some other grain, and hay. I have worked at my trade so as to earn ninety dollars, and received my pay from our agent. Besides this, about thirty dollars for other smithing, done last year. I feel glad the Quakers live so near me. I do their 74 smithing. They have ploughed several days for me. I have good corn in the land they ploughed, and some good wheat, potatoes, and other things, so that I have plenty. All this comes from my friends the Quakers’ advice.

“Thee mentions about running out our land into lots, and that an evil bird has sung us a bad song. We are in hopes that the good bird will begin to sing, and in hopes that by next spring, his song will be for our good. I want he should sing a good song for us. I myself cannot say much, but I want the land divided into lots. Some say they do not want it, and are putting it by. I am glad thee has wrote thy mind on paper to me on this subject, and sent it here—I think I can see more light by it. I wish thee to make thy mind easy. I will do what I can, and speak what I know is for our good. I am in hopes to see my friend H—— here, whom I remember when I was a boy. I intend to keep thy letter by me, that I may see what it says in time to come, that I may not forget thy advice. Farewell.”

Notwithstanding the repeated assurances, from time to time, given to the Indians, that Friends were acting towards them from disinterested motives, and would never bring any charge against them, yet there were still individuals among them, probably instigated by the enemies of Friends among white people, who continued to excite jealousies and surmises, that Friends would at some future day, bring a charge against them. In order, therefore, to make their minds entirely easy on this subject, a writing was drawn up on parchment, containing the same assurances heretofore given, that Friends never would bring any charge against them for their services. This, as also a communication obtained from the President of the United States, respecting the division of their land, and sanctioning the plan of Friends, was forwarded to them, and seemed for the present to have a conciliating effect.

During this summer, an increasing improvement was manifested by several of the Indians, clearing themselves new farms, distinct from their former fields, and preparing to put in their crops, which they accomplished in due season.

In the summer of 1820, circumstances again requiring a visit from the committee to the Indian settlements, two other Friends and the writer, were deputed for that service. They proceeded to Tunesassa in the Ninth month; and after inspecting into the situation of the Indians, and their state of improvement, they found, that, although many had made considerable advances in agriculture and the modes of civilized life, yet there were individuals who probably being instigated by designing white men, or from a perverse disposition in themselves, had become inimical to their abandoning their former habits, and pursuing 75 the mode of life in which Friends had for many years been endeavouring to instruct them. This created jealousy and party spirit in some degree among them at this period.

To meet these circumstances, and to endeavour to reconcile the minds of the Indians, a council was called, which their chiefs generally, and many others of their people, attended, to the number of about seventy.

The following is extracted from the address of Friends, delivered to them on this occasion.

“Brothers, by the permission of the Great and Good Spirit who made the world, and is acquainted with all the actions of men, we are permitted to meet in council, and we desire that he may help us to come to right conclusions.

“Brothers, it is now a long time since the Seneca nation became sensible that if they continued to exist as a people, they must change their mode of living from the hunter state, and engage in agricultural pursuits. They were very desirous that their brothers, the Quakers, would assist them. They believed it pleasing to the Great Spirit, that men should assist and help each other, and that Friends came amongst them for that purpose.

“Brothers, when our Friends first came among you, you had no good houses—very few cattle—very little land cultivated—your numbers were decreasing, and it appears certain to us, and to yourselves, that unless a change were made, you would fast dwindle away, and the Seneca nation become as it were dead.

“Brothers, some of our friends have been engaged in instructing you for more than twenty years. You have been taught to build more comfortable houses—you have enclosed and cultivated fields—you have much increased your stock of cattle, and other useful animals. Some of your men have been instructed in useful trades. Many of your women have learned to spin, and some of your children have been taught to read and write.

“Brothers, we love you, and therefore we feel bound to speak plainly to you. We hope our words may sink deep into your minds. It is the voice of your old and true friends, who have never deceived you. You must endeavour to improve in the habits of civilized life, until you arrive at the state of some of the best of the white people, or you will gradually go back until you lose what you have gained—your friends with mournful hearts will give you up—your lands will go from you—and the very name of the Seneca nation, like many that have gone before you, will only be known in history.

“Brothers, a man in the habit of taking strong drink to excess sets a bad example to his neighbours, and his family, and brings his poor wife 76 and innocent children to poverty and distress. This conduct is offensive to the Great Spirit; and unless he changes, he becomes one of the most wretched of men. We wish you, therefore, to endeavour to reclaim such of your people as have fallen into this evil practice, and to warn those who may be in danger of contracting the habit.

“Brothers, we desire to stimulate you to increased industry. The industrious man is always the most comfortable. Labour is good for health; it makes the mind cheerful; and by steadily attending to business, we have the satisfaction to see every thing improving around us. What appeared hard, by perseverance becomes easy.

“Brothers, the greatest kindness a man can do to his children, is to begin early, to learn them to be industrious, and to engage them in business suitable to their years. The boys ought to help their fathers in the fields—the mothers and daughters to be engaged in spinning—in making clothes, in cooking victuals, and in all the business that is suitable to their sex—their houses, their beds, their clothes, and every thing about them, should be kept clean and in good order.

“Brothers, it is consistent with the will of the Great Spirit, that men and women should be connected in marriage. It is an engagement of great importance, and we should not enter into it, until we are of sufficient age to think and judge for ourselves; and when marriage is contracted, the parties are bound to help and love each other—to care for, and instruct their children—and while families live in love and harmony together, it is very comfortable and very good;—but when division gets in, and differing, it is the work of the evil spirit—and if man and wife separate and marry others, it produces confusion, and must be displeasing in the Divine sight, and no people can prosper and grow strong who are in such practices.

“Brothers, it is the duty of parents to have their children educated. The Great Spirit has given us minds capable of improvement, and by education children become more capable of learning the various trades, which will add to their comfort and happiness; and we believe it is right that the girls should be taught as well as the boys.

“Brothers, we have been desirous that the lands belonging to you might remain firm in your hands, that your children and children’s children might possess them. For this end, we advised you to divide to every family a farm, so that they might say, “this is mine,” and improve it for their own benefit. And although changes are at first subject to some difficulties, yet we believe those difficulties may be overcome.

“Brothers, on this subject you wished to have the mind of your father, the President of the United States, to strengthen you in the conclusion you had come to in general council, to divide the Alleghany 77 reservation. You requested your friends in Philadelphia to go to the President, and obtain his opinion. One of us, who are now present, with some others, took a journey to Washington, for the purpose of complying with your request, and we found the President fully impressed with the necessity of such a measure, and he gave us a paper, in strong words, sealed with the great seal of the United States, and directed to the Alleghany chiefs, advising and urging that you might carry the business into effect, which paper was sent to you.

“Brothers, we hope you will keep your minds strong on this subject, for we shall hardly know how to go again to the President, and make requests on your behalf, if, when they are granted, they are not proceeded in.

“Brothers, our talk has been long. Circumstances seemed to require it; we hope you will consider it well. We love and desire the prosperity of you all; and although you may differ in opinion in some matters, yet we desire that the Good Spirit may unite your minds in love, and that you may all join in endeavours to promote education and improvement.”

The Indians took these matters into serious consideration, and promised to make a reply the day following—and when they assembled for that purpose, it was evident they were divided into two parties, and divers of them had become opposed to their children’s being instructed in school learning, giving this as a reason, “that they were more liable to be corrupted by bad white people.”

Much the greater part, however, continued to manifest an attachment to Friends, and, in their replies, gave hearty assurances of attending to their advice. They appeared to be fully sensible that remaining on their land, and pursuing the plan that Friends had pointed out to them, were the only means by which they could continue to be a nation. The chief sachem, named Blue-Eyes, in the course of his speech, remarked, “If we go from here we are a lost people. Look to the east, west, north, or south; all is filled up, and there is no place for us.”

On the subject of dividing their land, they appeared to be discouraged, owing to their divided state, and the opposition met with from some individuals, who no doubt were influenced by interested and designing men; as this great object would be the most likely means of settling the Indians in a permanent possession of the soil, and thereby frustrate the avaricious designs of speculators. The secret insinuations of this class of the white people added much to the difficulties of Friends in pursuing their plans of civilization; nor was it to be wondered at, that individuals, among a people who had long been a prey to designing 78 white men, should become alienated from Friends, and cease to follow their counsel.

At the close of this council, they were, however, reminded of the dangers to which they were exposing themselves, and the advantages that might be taken by their enemies, of their divided state, and especially by those who wished to obtain their lands. They were told that, “we still considered them as brethren—that we were not divided in our good wishes for them—that we had always desired, and continued to desire, the welfare of all Indians, and that, on bidding them farewell, on the present occasion, we still hoped the Great Spirit might incline their minds to unite together in love as brethren, and that they would yet join in promoting the education of their children, and in advancing in all the improvements that were necessary for the comfort and real benefit of man.”

From Alleghany the committee proceeded to the Cattaraugus settlement, and spent some time in viewing the improvements of the Indians at that place. They found that considerable progress had been made within three years past, in building houses, and enclosing more land on the rich fiats, which was cultivated with corn, oats, potatoes, turnips, and other vegetables of various kinds, affording a prospect of a plentiful supply of provisions.

A council was held with the Indians, and after an introductory speech from the chief warrior, which is customary on all such occasions, the following address was delivered to them.

“Brothers, having been preserved through a long journey, we are now, by the favour of the Great Spirit, enabled once more to meet you in council.

“Brothers, in passing through your land, we are glad to see that you are situated on a rich and fruitful soil, where, by reasonable care and industry, every thing necessary for a comfortable subsistence may be readily obtained.

“Brothers, it affords us satisfaction to observe the improvements you have already made—your well fenced fields, your corn, and other grain, and your cattle—and we feel, as your old and true friends, a strong desire that you may be stirred up to increased industry.

“Brothers, by perseverance and daily attention to business, the industrious man prospers, and is able to make a comfortable provision for his family; and it is not only our duty to labour for their support, but to train our children to assist in all the business they are capable of—to begin with them young, and thus, while they are useful to their parents, it adds greatly to their own real comfort.

“Brothers, by the united exertions of a family, much may be done. 79 The house may be made more comfortable. Out houses may be erected to shelter the cattle. Barns may be built to store the grain and hay, to prevent injury from the weather. While the boys are engaged in assisting their fathers in these things, the girls ought to help their mothers in keeping the house clean, in spinning, in making clothes, in cooking victuals, and every business that is suitable for their sex.

“Brothers, by thus uniting in promoting improvements, you would soon make your farms to equal some of the best of your white neighbours; and if you would fully make the experiment, you would find that what we tell you is true.

“Brothers, it is good that parents tenderly love their children. It is also the duty of children to love and serve their parents. Families should live together in harmony; and when men and their wives differ and part, and marry to others, it is wrong—it is an injury to their children, and displeasing to the Great Spirit. We wish you seriously to think of these things, and to discourage so injurious a practice.

“Brothers, you have often been told by your friends, that the use of spirituous liquors is hurtful. We must again repeat it—we wish you to keep your minds strong on this subject, and often advise such of your people as are in the use of it to decline the practice.

“Brothers, we think it our duty to caution you not to listen to every voice that would divide you into parties. It will make you weak in your councils. Your enemies may take advantage of it, and by this means, the very land that you own may slide from you.”

To the foregoing communication, the chief warrior made a short reply, but intimated that they must confer together on the subject of Friends’ communication, and wished to meet them again in council, in two days, when they would reply more particularly.

At the close of this interview, which appeared to be solemn, one of the Friends present communicated some sentiments on the subject of religion, and the nature of true worship to the Great Spirit—stating that it might be performed while engaged in their fields, on the road, or while sitting with their families by their firesides. This they appeared fully to comprehend; and the chief warrior replied, “it was his religion, and the only one with which he was acquainted.”

This short though sincere confession of faith, from a native Indian, was a corroborating evidence that they were not destitute of the divine principle operating in the heart of man, which teaches him what constitutes the true worship of God, and requires not the aid of men or books to accomplish it, but is performed according to Christ’s testimony “in spirit and in truth,” arising from the sincere homage of a devout heart. 80

It appeared that the Indians at this place were also divided into parties, which prevented that free intercourse and conference with each other, which in former councils, were manifest, in forming their replies to Friends—and without a design to impeach the sincere natives of any religious sect of professing Christians, I may here state, from the observations made, and the information received on this visit, that the introduction of these, under the character of missionaries, on their land at Buffalo, where the chief councils of the nation are held, had created great uneasiness among them, and was a prominent cause of their present difficulties, and conflicting opinions. Some of the Indians had attached themselves to the missionary system, and joined in their modes of worship, singing, &c. and these were looked upon as converted to the Christian faith. Hence the others, who were opposed to the missionary plans, were branded with the epithet of pagans, a term hateful to Indians, and which they did not fully understand. Thus a spirit of jealousy was excited between the parties, and a fear entertained by some, that the introduction of missionaries on their land was designed to obtain a permanent possession, and eventually to dispossess them of it.

At the appointed time to meet them again in council, Friends attended, when the Indians of each party made replies to the former communication of Friends, which, for novelty of opinions, and to show the dilemma in which the Indians were involved, the reader will indulge me to give at considerable length.

The chief warrior’s son, on behalf of the one part, opened the council in the following manner.

“Brothers, the Great Spirit has blessed us, and enabled us once more to meet in council, with our brothers, the Quakers. We feel thankful that the Great Spirit has preserved our friends in health who have come to see us.

“Brothers, we want you not to be displeased, if we of this party open our minds to you. We are going to tell you our situation. Some of us pay attention and observe the sabbath day—others do not. We wish you now, brothers, to give us suitable advice, and make our difficulties straight, as you understand how to remove difficulties.

“Brothers, you know the cause of our difficulties. You know the reason we are divided. The young men who sit here (pointing to four or five who sat near him,) think different from the old ones. Our old men observe the sabbath, or First day. We are not prepared for it. We wish you to tell us which is best. Whether to do as our old men do, or follow our old customs.

“Brothers, we have heard from the Quakers, that it is a bad thing for a nation to divide, and you wished us to be of one mind as one man—and 81 now we want you to tell us which is the best plan for us to pursue—whether white people’s customs, or our old ones. On the other hand, you have been well acquainted, from old time, with our ancient customs. We meet three times in the year to worship the Great Spirit; and we want you now to put us right about it, and give us your advice on this subject, whether we shall keep the sabbath, or continue to adhere to our former practice of worshipping the Great Spirit.

“Brothers, it is now many years since you have taken us by the hand, and have yearly given us advice. We intend to follow the advice we have heard from you; but some of our old men have been drawing towards the missionaries, and keeping the First-day.

“Brothers, we hope you fully understand what we have said, and wish the chain of friendship still may be kept bright between us and you—and that you will not be displeased at what we have said to you.”

A chief, named Strong, of the opposite party, then spoke nearly as follows:

“Brothers, yesterday we deliberated among ourselves, and we wanted to have our minds made up and united. When our younger brother proposed the foregoing questions to be put to our brothers the Quakers, we were glad; hoping they would make the thing straight among us.

“Brothers, I will now tell you our minds about it, and the reason why we have undertaken to keep the First-day of the week. Last season we went to a council at Buffalo, our agent P——, showed us a paper which came from the President, which stated that he wanted his brothers, the Indians, to take hold of improvements, and also to keep the First-day of the week. He also wanted our children to learn their books. He told us that Congress had made an appropriation for the purpose of improving the condition of the Indians, and he wished to know whether they would accept it. We told the agent we had the Quakers living beside us, with whom we were satisfied; and if any help came from the President, we wished it to come through the Quakers. Our agent told us, the Quakers, he knew were friends to us; they have property of their own to help you. Congress has also appropriated money to assist you, and you should leave it to the President to dispose of that, as he thinks best for your benefit. We, therefore, concluded to pay attention to both the Quakers and the President, and have friends of both. We saw that many of the different nations of Indians were becoming civilized, and that the Seneca nation still remained in their old habits. We saw that the Quakers and the ministers, (meaning missionaries,) both observed the First-day. We concluded, as they 82 did so, it must be an appointment of the Great Spirit to keep that day holy. We then thought, that as he had appointed it we must observe it also. Some of our people were wicked. They stole, and committed many bad actions. We thought we would endeavour to have our children instructed, while young, which would be better for them. We have been told, the world had been made a long time, when the Great Spirit sent his son, who brought light into the world, and wished that knowledge might be spread among mankind. Your brothers have often told us, there was but one God over all—we, therefore, thought our friends would be pleased if we should endeavour to christianize our children. We then inquired among our people who were prepared for keeping First-day. Many of them were pleased with it, and prepared to observe it, and others were not. And after a while, a minister came along, and wanted to know if they wished to hear him preach. We consulted among ourselves, and concluded that when a minister came of his own accord, if he was a good man, he ought to be heard, but if he wanted to come and live amongst us and preach to us steadily, we would not accept him, or have a minister that our children could not understand. But we rather concluded to have some of our own people to give good advice to our children, on First-day, that they might improve and grow better. Some of our people have often heard of the accounts given in the Bible, and we thought it was right for us to keep First-day and hear good advice, or be read to, out of the Bible. The ministers who come here are different from our friends the Quakers. They are only travellers. Our friends the Quakers have given us a writing on parchment, stating that they would never bring any charge against us for what they have done.”

Friends, in their former council, had impressed upon the Indians the necessity of having their children instructed in school learning, and offered to supply them with a teacher, provided they would erect a school house, and send their children. The chief warrior, in reply, stated, that on consulting among themselves, both parties were willing to have their children instructed, and would endeavour to procure a house for that purpose. He also made some remarks on the advantages they had already received from the instruction of Friends, and among other things said,

“Brothers, in your good advices, you have cautioned us against the use of strong drink. There is a great alteration among us in that respect, and many of us are much improved both in this, and in industrious habits. Long ago we had no fences, no cattle, and were destitute of many other things which we now enjoy. We see a great difference 83 in our people. We think we shall get along, though perhaps it may be slowly.

“Brothers, this village is divided into three or four districts, in each of which there are persons appointed to endeavour to have your advices put in practice. When they see any disorders, they are to treat with their brothers in order to reclaim them.”

They were then informed, that as the day was far spent, Friends would retire a few minutes to consult together, and return them an answer. In about half an hour, Friends returned again to the council house, and after informing them that (although they were divided in some things,) they were glad they were of one mind about the education of their children; and as soon as they got their house in readiness, they might inform Friends of it, and they would endeavour to furnish them with a teacher.

They were then presented with the following observations in writing, as the best advice that Friends could give them in their present divided and critical situation.

“Brothers, when your friends the Quakers came among you, their design was to improve your condition—to teach you to build more comfortable houses, to cultivate your land, to raise more grain, so as to enable you to raise and support more cattle—to educate your children, and to advance in all the useful habits of civilized life.

“Brothers, we believe that men ought to live, so as to seek for the assistance of the Good Spirit, to enable them to love and worship him—and although it is our practice to meet together to worship him, yet we do not wish to force upon you any of our performances in religion. We think it right that every man should follow the teachings of the Good Spirit, in his own heart, which, if attended to, would always lead him in the right path.

“Brothers, we beseech you not to let any thing divide you into parties, and make you feel enmity one against another. It would put you back in your improvements, it will make you weak—it is contrary to all right religion, and displeasing to the Great Spirit.”

Signed, Samuel Bettle.
William Newbold.
Halliday Jackson.

Several of the chiefs seemed desirous of having a more decided reply to the question they had urged upon us, with regard to the observation of the First-day of the week; and although they well knew the practice of Friends in meeting together for public worship on that day, yet it 84 was believed most expedient, under their present circumstances, not to enforce it upon them. They were again recommended to attend strictly to the one, unerring guide, the voice of the Good Spirit in their own hearts, which was sufficient to direct them in the right path, without the teachings of any man; and that as they were obedient to this principle, it would gradually enlighten their understandings, and by degrees they would come to see more light.

This council concluded, with a hearty farewell by Friends, who informed them that they parted with them in as sincere friendship as they had ever done; having the same regard for one party as for the other.

From what transpired in this council, it was very evident that their difficulties and divisions arose from the introduction of the missionary system. By enforcing the observation of the Sabbath, so called, and inculcating doctrines and dogmas, which the Indians could not comprehend, and were not prepared to adopt, their ideas with regard to religion had become confused. Hence some were disposed to make the observation of the Sabbath and some formal ceremonies, essential and fundamental points,—while others, jealous of the encroachments of missionaries on their land, and fearing they might have some sinister motives in view, were disposed to lay aside all ideas of imitating the whites in the practice of religion and worship, and adhere only to their old Indian customs, in this respect.

From Cattaraugus, Friends again returned to Alleghany, and had some further interviews with their chiefs respecting the schooling of their children, and although a few of them continued to be opposed to having a school on their land, yet the greater part were anxious for it, and expressed strong desires that a school might again be established among them.

While the committee remained at Alleghany, they were visited by the son of the ancient Guy-us-hu-ta, mentioned in the early part of this narrative. He had learned the blacksmith business—was fifty-six years of age, and had lived with his present wife thirty-four years, and never had any other. A chief of the same age, who accompanied him, had twelve children by one wife, with whom he still lived.

These circumstances, among all their depravity in this respect, may be noted to their credit.

Although these Indians were not yet prepared to make a division of their land into lots, so as for each to have his distinct property, yet the practice of buying and selling each other’s improvements was becoming more frequent among them. In several instances they had applied to Friends to value them, and this circumstance, it was hoped, would open their ideas more to the advantage of individual possessions, and in time, 85 Induce them to adopt the plan that had been recommended, of dividing their land.

The young man, in the capacity of a schoolmaster, again commenced teaching their children, and devoted a part of his time to visiting them in their houses, in a more familiar way, and also affording them instruction in the labours of the field. It was evident, that those who had the most frequent intercourse with Friends, had made the greatest progress in the arts of civilized life.

In the spring of 1821, an Indian lad, (the son of one of their principal chiefs) who had been brought to the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, instructed in school learning, and taught the shoemaker’s trade, returned to his father at Alleghany, and immediately commenced his business, which promised to be advantageous to him, as well as a great accommodation to the Indians.

The frequent solicitations of the pre-emption holders, continued to be a source of uneasiness to the Indians—as they urged the necessity of having surveys and drafts made of their different reservations of land, to be divided and kept by the pre-emption holders, in order that when the Indians were disposed to sell, each one might know the quantity as well as the quality of such reservation, as they were about to purchase.

In the Twelfth month, this year, the following statistical account of the Indians at Alleghany was furnished to the author by the schoolmaster, who resided among them, which will exhibit the improvements made by about thirty-five families, though it is cause of regret that the account was not completed—there being about forty families more, which were not included.

The dates affixed to the names of individuals, is the time the account was taken.

Big John, Tenth month 23, 1820.—Has about twenty acres of cleared land, raised eight acres of corn, three of oats, one of potatoes—about forty apple-trees, several of which are bearing fruit—three cows, four calves, one steer, one yoke of oxen, four horses, eighteen pigs, one plough, and one wagon.

William Platt, 30 years of age.—Fifteen acres of cleared land—a considerable quantity of corn, three acres of oats, half an acre of potatoes, one yoke of oxen, and twenty pigs.

Levi Halftown, blacksmith.—Nine and a half acres of land cleared—one yoke of oxen, two cows, one calf, two horses, one plough and ox chains, seven hogs and eight pigs.

Long John, Tenth month 25, 48 or 50 years of age.—Has twelve children by one wife, with whom he still lives—twenty acres of cleared land, seven acres of corn, four of oats, a quantity of potatoes, two yoke 86 of oxen, three cows, one heifer, three calves, twelve hogs, and a number of pigs; one wagon, and ploughs.

Stephen, a blacksmith, 56 years old, and son of the ancient Guy-us-hu-ta.—Eight acres of corn, four of oats, one of potatoes, four of mowing grass, one yoke of oxen, five cows, six calves, fifteen hogs and pigs, and one plough.

John Jemison, 24 years old.—Fifteen acres of cleared land, four acres of oats, one of buckwheat, four of corn, potatoes, and beans; sixteen hogs and several pigs, two horses, two cows, one heifer, one calf, one yoke of oxen, one steer. Ploughed last spring about thirty acres of land, twenty-one of which was hired by other Indians at two dollars per acre—has put up a new barn fifty feet long—made new fence to enclose six acres of land the present season.

Big Jacob, 50 years old.—Eight or ten acres of cleared land, five acres of corn, four of oats, one of potatoes, one yoke of oxen, three yoke of steers, four cows, one calf, five hogs and near twenty pigs; has sown one bushel of wheat this fall.

Moses Pierce, aged 32.—Twenty acres and a half of land, two and a half of corn, three and a half of oats, quarter of potatoes, one and a half of hay, one yoke of oxen, two cows, three young steers, one calf, five hogs and seven pigs; makes ploughs, sleighs, and does carpenter work.

John Pierce, Eleventh month 3, aged 56.—Twenty acres of cleared land, raised five acres of corn, one and a half of potatoes, four of oats, four of grass, has eight head of cattle, fifteen hogs and pigs.

Eli Jemison, twenty-seven years old.—Has begun a new improvement in the woods, and has about three acres cleared—parted with his old field, which contained six acres, raised three acres of corn, half an acre of potatoes, and one acre of turnips, five hogs, one yoke of steers, one cow, one heifer, one plough and wagon.

Simon Pierce, Eleventh month 16, 26 years old.—Fourteen acres of land, five acres of corn, three of oats, half an acre of potatoes, two of wheat, three and a half of meadow, two cows, two heifers, two steers, one ox, four hogs and ten pigs.

Billy, 50 years old.—Raised fifty bushels of corn, half an acre of potatoes, one cow, one calf, and three hogs.

William Johnson, Twelfth month 2, 50 years old.—Eleven acres of land, raised six acres of corn, half an acre of potatoes, quantity of beans, one yoke of oxen, two cows, two heifers, twelve hogs and pigs.

Morris Halftown, First month 31, 1821, 26 years old.—Eighteen acres of land, raised last year three and a half acres of corn, six of oats, one and a half of potatoes, two and a half of hay, one yoke of oxen, two cows, three steers, one calf, one horse, four pigs, and three hogs.

Israel Jemison, Second month 2, 30 years of age.—Fourteen acres of 87 land cleared, and four more part cleared, three and a half acres of corn, three of oats, two of buckwheat, half an acre of peas, one of potatoes, one of wheat, two and a half of meadow, two yoke of oxen, two cows, one yoke of steers, six hogs, fourteen pigs; killed in the fall five hogs—one plough, one cart and log chains.

John Dick, Third month 29, 65 or 70 years old.—Had last year two acres of spring wheat, four of oats, three horses, and one hog.

Jemison, a blacksmith, 54 years old.—Ten and a half acres of land, three horses, two cows, three calves, three hogs and four pigs, and killed three hogs for pork; five acres of corn, one of potatoes, three of oats, half an acre of peas, one plough, and harness for horses.

Jacob Taylor, Fifth month 10, 40 years old.—Five and a half acres of land, one yoke of steers, one heifer, four hogs,—corn, oats, and potatoes, quantity not mentioned.

James Robeson, Seventh month 1, 48 years of age.—Thirteen and a half acres of land, planted five acres of corn, half an acre of potatoes, two acres of spring wheat, three and a half of oats, two and a half of meadow, nine head of cattle, seven hogs, one plough, one harrow, chains and sled.

Blue Eyes.—Twelve acres of land, quantity of corn, one acre of wheat, three and a half of oats, sowed half a bushel of flaxseed, two and a half acres of meadow, one yoke of oxen, five cows, three calves, four hogs, twenty-two pigs, five horses, plough, chains, &c.

John Watt, 35 years old.—Three acres of corn, half an acre of potatoes, four hogs, twenty-six pigs.

Jonathan Titus, 55 years old.—Three acres of land, two cattle, and three pigs.

Jacob Snow, Seventh month 8, 50 years old.—Five acres of land, three acres of corn, one and a half of potatoes, one-third of an acre of beans, and four hogs.

Jacob Thomas, 28 or 30 years old.—Eight acres of land, three of corn, two of oats, three-fourths of an acre of peas, some potatoes, seven cattle, seven hogs, and seven pigs.

Big John, Seventh month 23, 53 years old.—Fourteen acres of land, five acres of corn, one of potatoes, five of oats, three of meadow, sixteen head of cattle, four horses, and thirteen hogs.

William Halftown, aged 26.—Fourteen and a half acres of land, ten of which he lately had cleared, for which he paid fourteen dollars per acre for clearing; one acre of corn, two of oats, two and a half meadow, one yoke of oxen, one cow, one horse, plough, sled, and some bearing apple-trees.

John Bone, 33 years old.—Three acres of corn, two of oats, two of meadow, four cattle, one plough. 88

George Silverheels, 43 years old.—Ten and a half acres of land, eight head of cattle, eleven hogs, five acres of corn, one of potatoes, one of oats, one and a half of meadow—has lately commenced a new improvement.

John Lewis, Eighth month 4, 21 years of age.—Five acres of land, mostly in with corn, one yoke of steers, one heifer, and eight hogs.

Bucktooth, 55 years old.—Ten acres of land enclosed, six acres of corn, three horses, one heifer, and eleven hogs.

Jacob Strong, Eighth month 14, 32 years old.—Eleven acres of land, three of corn, one and half of potatoes, one and half of oats, one and a half of meadow, one cow, two heifers, one calf, ten hogs, one plough—has put up a good house with stone chimneys up and down stairs.

Jacob Jemison, Ninth month 3, 30 years of age.—Four acres of corn, one and a half of oats, three-fourths meadow, one yoke of oxen, one cow, about twenty head of swine, one plough and chains.

David Halftown.—Five acres of corn, one of buckwheat, two of oats, one of potatoes, two of beans and other vegetables, one yoke of oxen, two cows, one yoke of steers, five hogs, one plough and chains.

Fight Thompson, 34 years of age.—Three acres of corn, half an acre of potatoes, one patch of turnips, one yoke of oxen, one calf, five hogs, and one plough.

William Patterson, Tenth month 1, 28 years old.—Four acres of corn, two of oats, two cows, and nine hogs, which he is fattening.

From the foregoing account of thirty-five families, it appears they had about four hundred and forty acres of cleared land, one hundred and fifteen of which was cultivated with corn, seventy-one with oats, nine with wheat, seventeen with potatoes, and thirty-two in meadow ground. They possessed twenty-six horses, twenty-two yoke of oxen, one hundred and fifty-five other cattle, and nearly four hundred head of swine. But little account is given of their improvements in building—this having been heretofore noticed in this work.

In the spring of 1822, a school was opened on the land owned by Friends, for the instruction of the Indian children at the Alleghany settlement; the schools hitherto kept for their instruction, having been mostly on the Indians’ land. This school was continued for several years, under the care of a teacher who had devoted many years of his time to the instruction of the natives. In 1823, it was attended by an average number of about twenty children, most of whom were in the rudiments of their learning, but made considerable progress for the time they had attended, and their general deportment gave satisfactory evidence of an improvement in other respects. Another Friend, who resided among them at this period, afforded them instruction in some of 89 the mechanic arts; and through this, and the succeeding year, notwithstanding the existence of various difficulties in relation to the prosecution of this desirable object, a spirit of industry and attention to business continued to be apparent with many of the natives.

In 1825, the school continued to be attended by about twenty children, whose conduct and improvement were satisfactory. Many of the natives had become increasingly sensible of the need they had of further instruction, especially in those branches of domestic economy in which females are commonly engaged.

The Friend and his wife, who had long resided at this settlement, having withdrawn therefrom, for a considerable time, another Friend, with his wife and a single female, offered their services, and proceeded to that settlement in the summer of this year, to unite with the two Friends there, in their arduous and interesting service. A school was established for the instruction of young females, and in 1826 the accounts were encouraging, of the progress made by the Indian girls in their studies, as well as in knitting, spinning, and other employments adapted to their sex. The school for the boys was also regularly attended, and their conduct satisfactory. Between school hours, they were employed on the farm at agricultural labours, or otherwise in the shop at some mechanical business; and the regular industrious habits thus encouraged and inculcated among the youth, it was evident, would have a beneficial effect in the formation of their future character.

From a more particular investigation into the state of the Indians at the Alleghany settlement, about this period, it appeared that eighty families, composed of four hundred and thirty-nine individuals, possessed four hundred and seventy-nine head of cattle, fifty-eight horses, three hundred and fifty hogs, and six hundred and ninety-nine acres of improved land, in which seventy acres of meadow were included; two hundred and thirty-nine acres were the last season planted with corn, forty-two with potatoes, thirty-eight sown with wheat, and one hundred and sixteen with oats, besides a quantity of buckwheat, and divers sorts of vegetables. But notwithstanding these encouraging circumstances in agricultural pursuits, and the prosperous state of the schools of both sexes, affording strong ground to believe, that this people might be essentially and permanently benefitted by the labour of Friends, yet their situation, at this period, was particularly trying, and critical, from the great liability to be dispossessed of their possessions. The continued applications in various ways of those claiming the pre-emption right, and the evident influence they were gradually making on the minds of some of the Indians, gave uneasiness to others more considerate and reflecting among them, and their fears in this respect soon became realized; for the Seneca nation, finally, were induced to part with large 90 bodies of their lands in different places to the pre-emption holders. These sales (the amount of which I have not ascertained) were parts of the Cattaraugus, Buffalo, and Tonewanta reservations, and some smaller reservations near the Genessee river. The reservation at Alleghany, where the greatest improvements in agriculture were made, remained in the hands of the Indians; and could this avaricious disposition on the part of the whites to obtain their land be here restrained, and the natives left in the undisturbed possession of their rightful inheritance, the Seneca nation have yet a sufficiency of land to accommodate their numbers, and with industry and care, in pursuing their agricultural labours, they might obtain all the necessary comforts of life.

The progress made by the Indians at the Cattaraugus settlement, and the favourable situation of their land for cultivation, with proper attention on their part, had induced Friends to withdraw their aid for several years past, as it regarded an instructor among them. And the settlement, having been now continued among the Indians at the Alleghany for about thirty years, it was believed the time was nearly come to withdraw from them; and, accordingly, the Friends residing at Tunesassa, returned home in the year 1828, and left the Indians to improve on the instructions already received from the long and arduous labours of the society of Friends.

Having no official means at command, of obtaining correct information of their real situation at present, I am not able to bring this account to as satisfactory a close as would be desirable; but from the best information I can obtain on the subject, it appears, that the Indians continue to progress in agricultural pursuits, and in some of the mechanic arts; and some of their own people have kept schools for the instruction of the youth.

But it is also said, that the constant pressure upon them to obtain their land, affords strong ground to fear, that their former sales were only a prelude to their parting with the remainder, at no very distant period.

It is, however, a consoling reflection to the society of Friends, that they have extended a benevolent hand to this poor, degraded, and much injured people; and even should they finally be induced to part with, and relinquish the remnants of their present possession, and migrate to a more distant clime, the instruction they have already received in the mechanic arts, together with their knowledge of agriculture, will greatly contribute to their happiness and comfort, in the land in which they may settle, and not only so, but the benefits resulting from their knowledge of civilized habits be extended to more distant and savage tribes.

In concluding this account of the proceedings of Friends of the Yearly Meeting of Philadelphia, it may be proper to state, that many individuals, 91 both male and female, from an apprehension of duty, have, at different periods, devoted many years of their time to the instruction of the natives, and have had the consoling evidence of peace for their labours. But as this benevolent work could not be accomplished, without very considerable expense to the society, voluntary subscriptions were raised, at different periods, to a large amount, in which it is but just to acknowledge, that the society of Friends in England, feeling a lively interest in this righteous work, liberally contributed to a fund for that purpose, which the Yearly Meeting of New York and Baltimore partook of, for the purpose of aiding them in extending their benevolent views, in promoting civilization among various tribes, and of whose proceedings therein, a short account will be here subjoined.

A brief account of the proceedings of Friends of the Yearly Meeting of New York, in promoting civilization among the Indians, residing in that state.

It will be seen in the early part of this narrative, that Friends of the Yearly Meeting of Pennsylvania, first promoted a settlement among the Oneida nation living near the Mohawk river, in the state of New York. They also extended some aid to the Stockbridges, and some other tribes in that quarter. This attention was continued from the spring of 1796, till about the close of the year 1799, when Friends withdrew from them; and the Yearly Meeting of New York, being actuated by the same benevolent motives to improve the condition of the aboriginal inhabitants, appointed a committee for that special purpose, who sent instructors among them, and continued to aid and assist them in agricultural pursuits, in some of the mechanic arts, and in school learning, for many years. But as I have not at command the means of furnishing a particular account of the gradual advancement made in the civilized arts among those Indians, I can only say, that in the prosecution of the work, Friends have had many difficulties to encounter; and the Indians have frequently been disturbed and harassed, by the same covetous spirit, that so frequently annoyed the Seneca nation, in order to dispossess them of their land. In consequence of this many of the tribes have been induced to sell and remove far to the westward.

By the kindness of a Friend in New York, I have been furnished with an account of some of the more recent transactions of the society of Friends, towards the Indians. He states some of the difficulties to which 92 the Indians are subjected, by the officious interference of a proselyting spirit, which has much agitated several of the tribes, and created parties and animosities among them. The ultimate object appears to be, to unsettle them in their present possessions, and eventually to induce them to abandon the rightful inheritance of their fathers.

It appears from the account, that the Onondaga tribe are the only Indians at present under the care of the Yearly Meeting of New York; and the only tribe in that state united among themselves, and exempt from a party under the influence of a blind missionary zeal—desirous to relinquish their present possessions and emigrate. But a few years ago the Onondaga’s were an indolent, drunken people, and desirous of moving to the westward, but as they have in a good degree embraced the counsel of Friends, become industrious, and availed themselves of their local advantages, and tasted the sweets of their labour from the produce of the soil, a radical change has been effected among them.

This tribe has for seven or eight years past been under the particular care and superintendence of Adin T. Corey, as agent for the committee of the Yearly Meeting; and being well qualified for the important trust, and feeling his mind devoted to it, the Indians have reposed great confidence in him, and distinguished him by the name of ‘Oatnus,’ and consider him as their benefactor, as will be seen in the following speech.

Onondaga, Fourth mo. 27, 1829.
“To the committee of the Yearly Meeting of New York, on Indian

“Brothers—Oatnus, our brother, told us he was going to New York to attend the great council—and we thought good to send you a talk, to let you know our minds. First, we thank you for all your goodness in giving us the many useful things you have given us, for our benefit, and we thank the Great Spirit, who in his unspeakable mercy put it into your hearts to take us by the hand, and pity our condition; but most of all, that he put it into your hearts and the heart of our brother Oatnus, to come and live amongst us.

“Brothers, he has been a wall about us, that in a great measure has fenced out the encroachments of our white neighbours. When he speaks, the white people hear, and they do not cheat us as they used to do.

“Brothers, he has improved our condition much every way. When he came among us, we were hungry and almost naked, but now we are more comfortable. Our lands lay common, and were running up with bushes—now there are many of them fenced and well cultivated, yielding 93 an abundant supply of food for our people. Our young men, women, and children were running about doing no good—now, most of them are diligently and profitably employed. One of our young men has learned to work pretty well at blacksmithing—three lads have learned to make good shoes—our young women, most of them, can spin, knit, and sew, and some of them can weave. Oatnus has also transacted most of our business—made many bargains, and handled much of our money, and done all well—not one shilling sticks in his pocket—he has fed our hungry children, clothed our naked, and helped us when we were sick—when he came we were divided, now we are united—when there is war he makes peace—when he speaks our young men hear and keep mostly out of bad company—our farming begins to flourish, and although we have made much improvement, we still want a head—we cannot go alone, and if you leave us now, it will be like making us a very valuable present, and taking it away again.

“Brothers, remember, when our brother Oatnus come, we were wild and ignorant respecting business, and it must necessarily take a good while to tame a whole nation.

“Brothers, our brother told us, our school was so thinly attended, he thought it would be best to drop it till winter, but we are unwilling it should stop, for fear our children will go back—we wish you to keep it going—some of us have been negligent in sending our children, but we will endeavour to be more diligent in the future, if we can be favoured with it.

“Brothers, our very tried brother is growing old, and through abundance of labour and fatigue has grown feeble, having been sick a good deal, and cannot do as he used to do, yet we are not willing to part with him, we want him to stay enough with us, to oversee our business, manage our affairs, and sit with us in council.

“Brothers, we still want to go on in improvement, and as our young man that has learned to work at smithing, has taken to farming in the summer season, we therefore want to get a sober goodly man, to come and set up his trade among us, and take some of our boys and learn them the trade. We also want a wagon maker, and a cooper of the above description, and for the same purpose, and we believe it might be done with very little expense to our brothers, if Oatnus stays with us a part of the time, and has the management of our affairs; for we have abundance of materials to carry on the two last mentioned trades, and part of the first; and our circumstances are very different now from what they were when he first came amongst us.

“Brothers, we have concluded to build a saw-mill this season, among ourselves.

“Brothers, it makes our hearts sick when we look abroad and see 94 our Oneida and Seneca brethren, who have got the blackcoats and hungry mouths among them—for there is nothing but contention, spite, and animosity, and no business that is profitable—and we thank the Great Spirit that has sent us peace—sweet peace and no blackcoats.

“Brothers, may the Great Spirit preside over your councils—make you love one another, remember your real brethren and do much good. Farewell.”

Signed by the chiefs and some of the warriors.

To the foregoing speech the committee on Indian affairs made the following reply:

“Brothers, we have received by the hands of brother Oatnus your communication to us, and it has made our hearts glad; and, that our brothers and sisters of the Great council might hear it, we gave it to them to read, and it made their hearts glad also, and greatly to rejoice, to hear from you and to hear that Oatnus did well with you—and that you listened to his voice.

“Brothers, we cannot tell you how much we want you to improve in all things—we know you cannot do every thing at once, but we want you to hearken to our counsel—we love you—we desire your good, and that you may increase and leave a good name behind you, when the Great Spirit shall take you away.

“Brothers, remember we can only counsel you for good—if you take our counsel the Great Spirit will help you.

“Brothers, you have now witnessed a little of the rewards of the Good Spirit, in taking our counsel and the counsel of our brother Oatnus—our counsel to you is, that you continue to improve as you have begun.

“Brothers, be sober, be industrious—love to improve yourselves, and the Great Spirit will bountifully assist you.

“Brothers, we want you to mind the Great Spirit, to be industrious—to try to learn yourselves—to keep out of bad company—to avoid strong drink—to counsel with brother Oatnus, who will never deceive you, but counsel you for your good.”

Signed, &c.

Fifth mo. 29, 1828.

By a report of the committee on Indian affairs dated the twenty-seventh of the Fifth-month, 1830, and presented to the Yearly Meeting held in the same month, it appears that during the past year, the Onondaga tribe have received their care and attention as heretofore, and that those Indians are realizing in an unprecedented manner, the fruits of their own industry, being stimulated and encouraged, by the care 95 which Friends have extended towards them, for a few years past, which affords great cause for encouragement. There is a striking contrast between their situation now, and what it was seven years ago, when their only buildings were two small barns, and a few inferior huts. The lands which they then had cleared, were very imperfectly cultivated, and the state and quality as well as quantity of their stock, as also teams and utensils of husbandry of every kind, were correspondent. Since that time, they have greatly increased their quantity of cleared land; this season they had about three hundred acres of wheat—their crops are more abundant, furnishing more than a supply for their people. The fencing and arrangement of their fields are farmer-like and judicious. The number of their barns is increased to about twenty—their teams of horses and oxen, are numerous and efficient—they are pretty well supplied with wagons, harness, ploughs, and other farming utensils, and these articles are kept in tolerable repair. Many of their present dwellings, though small, are comfortable frame buildings, and their household furniture consists mostly of useful and plain articles—such as are used in civilized life.

On a good mill stream within their territory, which consists of a reservation of about ten thousand acres, the committee’s superintendent, during the past year, aided by the individual labour of the Indians, raised a substantial dam, and by a discreet dispensation of their resources, and by a general economy introduced among them, has collected about five hundred dollars, which defrayed the expenses of erecting a good saw-mill, which the Indians find to be highly useful and productive.

As the same stream furnished an eligible site for a grist-mill, at no great distance from those improvements, and as the reducing of their grain into meal for this tribe, was performed by the manual labour of the women in a great measure, the committee were encouraged to believe, that as they duly appreciated the benefits resulting from their newly erected saw-mill, and from the increased display of mechanical genius, industry, and method among them, the time was not far distant when further and more useful improvements will be made by themselves, calculated to raise their habits in domestic and civilized life, and elevate their minds to a steady pursuit of their more substantial happiness and welfare.

The committee not having been able to comply with the Indians’ request, made in their speech two years ago, for a blacksmith, wagon maker, and cooper to be placed among them, as no suitable persons had offered for that purpose, and also the school having been dropped, that had formerly been kept, and in a flourishing condition among them, partly for want of sufficient funds to continue a permanent teacher, these subjects were again suggested to the Yearly Meeting, with an 96 earnest wish to inspire in the minds of Friends a feeling that might prove beneficial in promoting these desirable objects.

Notwithstanding this concern, to meliorate the condition of the Indians, has been prosecuted for many years by the committee, with at times, but little evidence of good resulting to these people, from their labours, yet from more recent developments evinced from the latter experience and research of the committee, though the prospect is an arduous one, it presents encouragement, and the field of labour is brightening, as the hidden causes of past obstructions present themselves.

The committee say in their report, “It appears that many associations are formed in this country, and some of them under the denomination of benevolent and religious; all apparently well disposed, and even anxious to promote the good and the happiness of these original proprietors of the soil. Yet unhappily for these, the means resorted to, to advance their prosperity, have (in too many instances) been elevated above their comprehensions, and not adapted to their wants, their habits, and their religious views. From a zeal beyond knowledge, to benefit these people, agents and missionaries have been settled among them, patronized by these associations, little qualified to inspire their confidence and respect, and in their zealous pretensions to christianize, previous to properly instructing in the arts of civilized life, they produce discouragement and incalculable injury, divisions and dissentions; and in the language of the Indians themselves, ‘quarrelling and contention, spite and animosity, and no business that is profitable.’

“Since the Onondaga tribe has been under the care of the committee, the missionaries have been inclined to leave them to the care of Friends. And this tribe, which a few years ago was divided and full of dissention, is restored to union and harmony, and there is a laudable feeling springing up among them, and an increased desire to become introduced into, and firmly fixed in the habits of civilization.”

The committee, in time past, having extended some care to several tribes of the Seneca nation west of the Genessee river, are of the opinion that essential and lasting good might, by that care being further extended, result to those people. To show the desire of the Indians herein, the following speech of a principal chief, on behalf of a large majority of the Indians, in the state of New York, presented in the last winter, was laid before the Yearly Meeting.

New York, January 20, 1830.

To the society of Friends of the city of New York.

“At the treaty of Philadelphia with William Penn and the Six Nations, we considered William Penn as a friend to us, not wishing to cheat 97 us out of our lands, but to pay us a full value for them. Since that time, the society of Friends have treated us very kindly—they have never shown a disposition to wrong us out of our lands, but seemed to wish to cultivate friendship with us, and to let us have our rights and privileges—and to enjoy our own religion. But there are certain persons residing among us, at present, who we believe have a different object. They say they have been sent by the Great Spirit, but we do not think the Great Spirit would send people among us, to cheat us out of our lands, and to cause disturbance to arise amongst us, which has made a division in our nation. No, we do not think the Great Spirit sent the blackcoat’s among us for any such purpose. There is at present five thousand of our people and upwards, who wish the society of Friends to send a suitable person among us, to teach our young men how to till the ground, and our young women the art of domestic manufactures, and our children to read and write. If our friends feel disposed to comply with our wishes, we shall be happy to receive them, and will cause all necessary buildings to be erected for their use—we think by having this plan carried into effect, the nation once more would be united, and become a happy people.”

Your friend,
Signed, Red X Jacket.

Although the way has not yet opened to comply with the request in the foregoing communication, the committee were encouraged to persevere in their services the present year, in rendering such aid for the benefit of this poor afflicted people, as the limited means within their power would, under the direction of best wisdom enable them to do.

Some account of the proceedings of Friends of Baltimore Yearly Meeting.

This concern for improving the condition of our red brethren, having been opened and spread in the Yearly Meeting of Baltimore, in the fall of 1795, and the minds of Friends being much united, and actuated by benevolent motives to promote this desirable object, referred the same to a special committee, to proceed therein as way might open, to render essential service to these aboriginal inhabitants. Accordingly their 98 attention was turned to some of the Indian tribes north-west of the river Ohio, and a deputation was delegated to visit the Shawaneese, Delawares, Wyandots and such other natives in those parts as they might find practicable. They proceeded thereon, in the summer of 1796, after having first obtained the approbation of the general government.

When they arrived at the forks of the Muskingum river, where they had been informed a considerable number of Indians were collected, they found to their great disappointment, that the chiefs and hunters were dispersed: and it not appearing practicable to convene them at that time, to have a suitable conference with them, they returned without accomplishing the object of their visit. They, however, saw divers hunters and others, who appeared well disposed to receive the instruction and assistance which Friends proposed to furnish them.

In the spring of 1797, three Friends again proceeded to that country on an embassy, to inquire into the real situation of the Indian tribes; in the course of which visit, having passed by a number of their hunting camps and several of their towns, they had a large opportunity of discovering their destitute condition, often exposed to the inclemency of the weather, with a very precarious, and often a very scanty supply of food and clothing. They suffered all the miseries of extreme poverty, in a country which from its great fertility, would, with but little cultivation, supply them abundantly with all the necessaries of life.

These Friends had opportunities with some of the chiefs and hunters of the Wyandot and Delaware nations, in which they informed them of the views of the society of Friends, relative to their improvement; and endeavoured to impress on their minds the advantages they would derive, from permitting to be introduced among their people, a knowledge of agriculture, and some of the most useful mechanic arts.

The Indians were attentive to their communications, and promised to lay these matters before their grand council, and inform Friends of their conclusions on the subject.

As no way opened during the year 1798, for carrying the object of the Yearly Meeting into effect, but little was done, more than furnishing a few implements of husbandry, and some assistance to a few Indian families, situated upon the branches of the Tuskarawee’s river.

In the Second month 1799, the committee received a speech and belt of wampum, from Tarhie, the principal chief of the Wyandot nation, delivered at Detroit, in the Ninth month preceding, of which the following is an extract.

“Brethren Quakers—you remember we once met at a certain place. When we had there met, a great many good things were said, and much friendship was professed between us. 99

“Brothers, you told us at that time that you not only took us by the hand, but that you held us fast by the arm; that you then formed a chain of friendship. You said that it was not a chain of iron; but that it was a chain of precious metal, a chain of silver that would never get rusty; and that this chain would bind us in brotherly affection for ever.

“Brethren, listen. We have often heard that you were a good and a faithful people—ever ready to do justice, and good to all men without distinction of colour—therefore, we love you the more sincerely, because of the goodness of your hearts, which has been talked of among our nation long since.

“Brethren, listen. You have informed us that you intended to visit us. Yes, that even in our tents and cabins you will take us by the hand. You, brethren, cannot admit a doubt, but that we would be very happy to see you.

“Brethren, listen. It is but proper to inform you at this time, that when you do come forward to see us, you will no doubt pass by my place of residence, at Sandusky. I will then take you not only by the hand, but by the arm, and will conduct you safe to the grand council fire of our great Sasteretsey, where all good things are transacted, and where nothing bad is permitted to appear. When in the grand council of our Sasteretsey we will then sit down together in peace and friendship, as brethren are accustomed to do, after a long absence, and remind each other, and talk of those things that took place between our good grandfathers, when they first met upon our lands—upon this great island.

“Brethren, may the Great Spirit, the master of light and life, so dispose the hearts and minds of all our nations and people, that the calamities of war may never more be felt or known by any of them—that our roads and paths may never more be stained with the blood of our young warriors—and that our helpless women and children may live in peace and happiness.”

On considering the foregoing communication, some Friends were deputed to make them a visit, and to afford such assistance as they might be enabled to render. They accordingly proceeded with an intention of being at their general council, and arrived on the third of the Sixth month at upper Sandusky, the principal village of the Wyandots, where they were received by Tarhie (the crane,) and others of that nation.

On their arrival there, it appeared a mistake had been made in the translation of the speech the Indians had sent to Friends, respecting the time of opening their great council, to which Friends had been invited. 100 They were now informed that it began annually at the full moon in the Sixth month.

Finding it would be difficult to procure food for themselves and horses there, until that time, the committee concluded it best to have a conference with Tarhie and other chiefs who were then in the neighbourhood of Sandusky, which was accordingly agreed to. At the time appointed they met at Tarhie’s house, with several other chiefs, and a number of hunters, when they had a full opportunity with them, on the subject of their visit.

Their communication appeared to be received with great satisfaction by the Indians, and in their answer, delivered on some strings of wampum, they expressed the gratitude they felt for the care and friendship, which their beloved brethren the Quakers had always manifested for the Indians, and promised as soon as the grand council met, that they should communicate fully to it, respecting the concern which the society felt for their improvement, and inform Friends by a written speech of their conclusion thereon.

Whilst these Friends were at Sandusky and other villages, their minds were deeply affected under the sorrowful considerations of the baneful effects of spirituous liquors upon the Indians, who were at that time supplied with it in almost every village, by Canadian traders, residing amongst them—and they were confirmed in the opinion, that unless these traders could be restrained from furnishing them with this destructive article, in exchange for their skins and furs, they could not easily be persuaded to turn their minds towards agriculture and the mechanic arts. Notwithstanding which discouragement, the great affection they have for the society of Friends, manifested on all occasions whilst the committee were with them, induced them to hope that Friends would endeavour to keep under the weight of the concern, and be prepared to proceed in the benevolent work whenever way might open, for further service amongst them.

In the year 1800 and 1801, no personal interview was had by Friends with those Indians. In the year 1802, the Little Turtle, Five Medals, and several other principal chiefs of the Miami and Pottawatomie nations passed through Baltimore, on their way to visit the President of the United States, when the committee had a conference with them, in which the view’s of Friends were fully opened, and they were informed of the great discouragement Friends had met with, in carrying their benevolent designs into effect, from the intemperate and destructive use of spirituous liquor amongst the Indians, which was found to be the greatest obstacle in the way of their profiting by the aid which the society had been desirous of giving them. 101

The Little Turtle in reply, made a very pathetic and impressive speech upon this subject, from which the following is extracted.

“Brothers and friends—When our forefathers first met on this island, your red brethren were very numerous. But since the introduction of what you call spirituous liquors amongst us, and what we think may justly be called poison, our numbers are greatly diminished. It has destroyed a great part of your red brethren.

“My brothers and friends—we plainly perceive that you see the very evil which destroys your red brethren; it is not an evil of our own making; we have not placed it amongst ourselves; it is an evil placed amongst us by the white people. We look to them to remove it out of our country. We tell them, brethren, fetch us useful things, bring goods that will clothe us, our women and our children, and not this evil liquor that destroys our reason—that destroys our health—that destroys our lives. But all we can say on this subject is of no service—it gives no relief to your red brethren.

“My brothers and friends—I rejoice to find that you agree in opinion with us, and express an anxiety to be, if possible, of service to us in removing this great evil out of our country; an evil which has had so much room in it, and has destroyed so many of our lives, that it causes our young men to say, ‘we had better be at war with the white people; this liquor which they introduce into our country, is more to be feared than the gun and the tomahawk. There are more of us dead since the treaty of Grenville, than we lost by the six years war before. It is all owing to the introduction of this liquor amongst us.’

“Brothers, when our young men have been out hunting and are returning home loaded with skins and furs, on their way, if it happens that they come along where some of this liquor is deposited, the white man who sells it, tells them to take a little drink. Some of them will say no, I do not want it; they go on till they come to another house, where they find more of the same kind of drink; it is there offered again; they refuse, and again the third time; but finally the fourth or fifth time, one accepts of it, and takes a drink, and getting one he wants another, and then a third, and a fourth, till his senses have left him. After his reason comes back again to him, when he gets up and finds where he is—he asks for his peltry—the answer is, ‘You have drank them’—Where is my gun? ‘It is gone’—Where is my shirt? ‘You have sold it for whiskey!’ Now brothers, figure to yourselves what condition this man must be in. He has a family at home—a wife and children who stand in need of the profits of his hunting. What must be their wants, when he himself is even without a shirt.” 102

These chiefs appeared to be much rejoiced at the assistance Friends proposed to render them, and in reply to that part of their communication, observed, ‘that it was their anxious wish to engage in the culture of their lands, for although the game was not so scarce but that they could get enough to eat, yet they were sensible it was daily diminishing, and that the time was not far distant, when they would be compelled to take hold of such tools, as they saw in the hands of the white people.’

The committee, from their former experience, being of the judgment, that no great progress could be made in the civilization of the Indians while they were so abundantly supplied with distilled spirits, concluded to address congress on the subject. Their memorial was favourably received, and a law passed, which in some measure provided a remedy for the evil.

As it now appeared to the committee, that the principal obstruction to agriculture amongst the Indians was removed, they were encouraged to proceed in their undertaking. They accordingly provided a number of implements of husbandry, such as ploughs, hoes, axes, &c. &c. which were forwarded and immediately distributed, as a present from the society of Friends. These things were thankfully received by the Indians.

A letter in the summer of 1803, from the agent for Indian affairs at Fort Wayne, informed, that ‘since there had been no spirituous liquor in the Indian country, they appeared very industrious, and turned their attention to raising stock.’ This agent also expressed as his opinion, “that the suppression of spirituous liquors in that country, was the most beneficial measure which had ever been adopted for them, by the United States—that there had not been one Indian killed in that neighbourhood for a year—and that in no preceding year since the treaty of Grenville, had there been less than ten killed, and in some years as many as thirty.” The agent further added, “that the Indians appeared very desirous of procuring for themselves, the necessaries of life, in our way, but say they do not know how to begin. Some of their old men say, “the white people want for nothing.” We wish them to show us how to provide the many good things we see amongst them, if it is their wish to instruct us in their way of living as they tell us it is, we wish them to make haste and do it, for we are old and must die soon; but we wish to see before we die, our women and children in that path, that will lead them to happiness.

At the same time, a letter was received from the Little Turtle, and Five Medals, in which they expressed a wish that some Friends would visit their country. The committee, therefore, deputed some of their number for that purpose. They were authorized to procure one or 103 more suitable persons to reside amongst the Indians, for the purpose of teaching them agriculture and other useful knowledge, as far as it should appear practicable.

In Second month 1804, two of the deputation proceeded to Fort Wayne, accompanied by Philip Dennis, who had offered his services to go with them, and remain with the Indians during the summer, for the purpose of instructing them in husbandry. They took with them two horses to be employed in ploughing, &c.

They arrived at Fort Wayne in the latter end of the Third month, and soon after, convened several of their chiefs in a council with them; a future day was fixed upon for the committee to meet them, with as many of their old men, and their women and children as could be assembled. Their chiefs previously requested, that whatever matter Friends might have to communicate to the Indians, should be written down, in order that they might lay it before the grand council in the Sixth month following, to the attendance of which, they pressingly invited the committee.

On the day appointed, being met by a considerable number of the natives, the committee presented them with a written address, from which, though all excellent, and well calculated to impress the Indians’ minds with the importance of adhering to their counsel, we shall, for brevity, content ourselves with extracting some of the most material parts, as follows:

“Brothers, our hearts are filled with thankfulness to the Great Spirit, that he has brought us safely to the country of our red brethren, and protected us through our journey. We also rejoice, that he has given us this opportunity of seeing you and of taking you by the hand.

“Brothers, we had for some time entertained apprehensions that the many changes that were taking place in circumstances, must greatly change the situation of our red brethren, and that the time was fast approaching when it would be necessary for them to alter their mode of living.

“Brothers, after our talk with the chiefs, (alluding to the Little Turtle and others whom we have just mentioned,) we were fully convinced that the time was come, in which our red brethren ought to begin to cultivate their lands. That they ought to raise corn and other grain, also horses, cows, sheep, hogs, and other animals. We then proposed to afford them some assistance. They appeared to be glad of the proposal, and informed us, that many of their people were disposed to turn their attention to the cultivation of the earth—they also expressed a desire to be assisted by their brothers of Baltimore.

“Brothers, it is for this purpose that we have now come, and we 104 again repeat, we rejoice that we have this opportunity of seeing you, and taking you by the hand.

“Brothers, in coming into the country of our red brethren, we have come with our eyes open. And although we are affected with sorrow, in believing that many of the red people suffer much for the want of food and clothing, yet our hearts have been made glad, in seeing that it has pleased the Great Spirit to give you a rich and valuable country. Because we know, that it is out of the earth that food and clothing come. We are sure, brothers, that with but little labour and attention, you may raise much more corn and other grain than will be necessary for yourselves, your women and children; and that you may also with great ease, raise many more horses, cows, sheep, hogs and other valuable animals, than will be necessary for your own use. We are also confident that if you will pursue our method in the cultivation of your land, you will live in much greater ease and plenty, and with much less fatigue and toil, than attend hunting for a subsistence.

“Brothers, it will lead you to have fixed homes—you will build comfortable dwelling houses for yourselves, your women and children, where you may be sheltered from the rain, the frost and the snow, and where you may enjoy in plenty, the rewards of your labour.

“Brothers, we will here mention, that the time was, when the forefather of your brothers, the white people, lived beyond the great water, in the same manner that our red brethren now live. The winters can yet be counted when they went almost naked, when they procured their living by fishing, and by the bow and arrow in hunting—and when they lived in houses no better than yours. They were encouraged by some who came from towards the sun rising, and lived amongst them to change their mode of living. They did change—they cultivated the earth, and we are sure the change was a happy one.

“Brothers and friends, we are not ashamed to acknowledge that the time was, when our forefathers rejoiced at finding a wild plum tree, or at killing a little game, and that they wandered up and down, living on the uncertain supplies of fishing and hunting. But brothers, for your encouragement we now mention that by turning their attention to the cultivation of the earth instead of the plum tree, they soon had orchards of many kinds of fruit—instead of the wild game they soon had large numbers of cattle, horses, sheep, hogs, and other valuable animals—and in many places instead of their forests they had large fields of corn, and other grain—also many other valuable productions of the earth.

“Brothers, we have spoken plainly, we desire to speak plain—we will now tell you that we have not come merely to talk with you. We have come prepared to render you a little assistance. Our beloved 105 brother, Philip Dennis, who is now present, has come along with us. His desire is, to cultivate for you, a field of corn, and also to show you how to raise some of the other productions of the earth—he knows how to use the plough, the hoe, the axe, and other implements of husbandry.

“Brothers, he has left a farm—he has left a wife and five small children who are very dear to him—he has come, from a sincere desire to be useful to our red brethren. His motives are pure—he will ask no reward from you for his services—his greatest reward will be, in the satisfaction he will feel, in finding you inclined to take hold of the same tools he takes hold of—to receive from him instruction in the cultivation of your lands, and pursue the example he will set you.

“Brothers, we hope you will make the situation of our brother as comfortable as circumstances will admit. We hope, also, that many of your young men will be willing to be taught by him, to use the plough, the hoe, and other implements of husbandry—for we are sure, brothers, that as you take hold of such tools as are in the hands of the white people, you will find them to be to you, like having additional hands. You will also find that by using them they will enable you to do many things, which without them, cannot be performed.

“Brothers, the white people, in order to get their land cultivated, find it necessary that their young men should be employed in it—and not their women—women are smaller than men—they are not as strong as men. It is the business of our women to be employed in our houses—to keep them clean—to sow, knit, spin, and weave—to dress food for themselves and families—to make clothes for the men and the rest of their families, to keep the clothing of their families clean, and to take care of their children.

“Brothers, we are fully convinced that if you will turn your attention to the cultivation of the earth, to raising the different kinds of grain—to building comfortable dwelling houses for your families—to raising useful animals—amongst others, sheep for the advantage of the wool, in making clothing—to raising flax and hemp for your linen—and your women learn to spin and weave—your lives will be much easier and happier than at present—and your numbers will increase, and not continue to diminish. As we before observed, brothers, your land is good—it is far better than the land which the white people near the great waters, cultivate. We are persuaded that your land will produce double the quantity of any kind of grain, or flax, or hemp, with the same labour necessary near the great water.

“Brothers, we shall now end what we had to say, with informing you, that all the corn and other productions of the earth which Philip Dennis may raise, we wish our red brethren to accept as a token of our friendship. And it is our desire that the chiefs of the Pottawattamie 106 and Miami nations who are now present, added to our brothers the Five Medals, Tuthinipee, and Philip Dennis, make such a distribution thereof as they may think proper.”

The Indians manifested great decorum, and were very attentive during the delivery of this address—in reply to which, the Little Turtle delivered a speech on behalf of the council, from which we extract the following:

“Brothers and friends—we rejoice that the Great Spirit has appointed, that we should meet this day, for we believe this meeting will be of the utmost consequence to your red brethren.

“Brothers, the things which you have said to us, require our greatest attention: it is really necessary that we should deliberate upon them. In order to do so, we must beg you to leave the paper, upon which they are written, that we may communicate them to our chiefs, when they assemble in grand council.

“Brothers, you have been very particular in pointing out to us the duties of our women, and you have told us that in adopting your mode of living, our numbers would increase and not continue to diminish. In all this I certainly agree with you, and I hope my brother chiefs will also agree with you.

“Brothers, assure your people who sent you here—tell your old chiefs that we are obliged to them for their friendly offers to assist us in changing our present mode of living. Tell them it is a great work that cannot be done immediately; but that we are favourably disposed, and hope it will take place gradually.”

These Friends remained several weeks amongst the Indians, during which time they visited a number of their towns and villages, at all of which, they were received in the most friendly and hospitable manner.

In the course of their journey, they passed by a settlement of the Wyandots at Brownstown or the rock. They found that the Indians at this place, had, since the visit made by Friends to their nation in the year 1799, advanced considerably, in agriculture, many of them having built comfortable houses, and acquired a considerable number of cattle, hogs, and other domestic animals. The Wyandots residing at Sandusky and the Shawaneese, on the Auglaize river, had likewise, since that visit, turned their attention very much towards the cultivation of their lands; Friends had, therefore, the satisfaction to remark, that the communication from the committee to these nations, and the exertions which had been made to turn their attention to agriculture, although limited in their effect, had not been altogether unavailing.

They also visited the place fixed upon for the settlement of Philip 107 Dennis, on the Wabash river, about forty miles south-west of Fort Wayne, and found its situation to be very advantageous for farming; the soil appeared to be equal in fertility to any land in the western country.

Soon after the return of the Friends, a letter was received by the committee, from the Indian agent at Fort Wayne, informing that the Indians had held their grand council in the Sixth month, agreeably to expectation, at which eight hundred and seventy-four of them attended, when the written address of Friends delivered at Fort Wayne in the previous spring, was produced—read and interpreted to all the different nations present. In reply to which, divers of their chiefs expressed great satisfaction, and amongst others Toethteboxie on behalf of the Delawares said, ‘For many years before I came into the world, the white people have been offering to do for us what is now mentioned, and it appears that our eyes were never opened until this time; we will now take hold of it and receive it. I am an old man and want to see it before I die; if I once see it, I will die in peace, to think I have left my women and children in comfort.’

On the return of Philip Dennis, who remained in the Indian country during most of the year 1804, and spent his time agreeably with the natives—he informed that he had raised about four hundred bushels of corn, besides a quantity of turnips, potatoes, and a quantity of other garden vegetables, which he directed to be divided amongst the Indians on their return from their hunting camps. He left with the Indians, with whom he had resided, upon the farm he had cultivated, twenty-three hogs and pigs, seven of which were in good order to kill; and he engaged the agent to attend to killing and salting them. They were small when they were brought to the farm in the spring, and had no other food than what they gathered in the woods.

With some assistance which he obtained from Fort Wayne, he cleared and enclosed under a substantial fence twenty acres of ground, and built a house thirty-two feet long, and seventeen wide, a story and a half high, with floors and partitions.

The Indians who remained with him had been very industrious, and attended to his directions. The young women wished to work in preparing the ground and in tending the corn; from this he dissuaded them, and as some spinning wheels had just arrived at Fort Wayne, which had been sent on by government—he encouraged them to go there, and learn to spin and knit, of a white woman who was at that place;—this they did, and soon learned both to spin and knit; and when he came away, he left them knitting yarn of their spinning.

The Indians were very desirous of Friends continuing their care towards them, and that they should send a person to take the place of 108 Philip Dennis, but as no suitable Friend offered for that purpose, it was believed best to request the agent of government residing at Fort Wayne, (and who appeared to be friendly disposed towards the views of Friends,) to procure and employ the most suitable person he could, in that country, to plough the land cultivated by Philip Dennis, the last season, and plant it in corn, and to endeavour to enlist the service of the Indians in the labour of tending it; also to prepare a garden of the most useful vegetables for the Indians’ use, which they might afterwards easily manage.

In reply to this request, Friends received an account from the agent, stating that he would lose no time in complying with their request, and that he was ready at all times, to put in execution the benevolent designs of Friends towards the Indians, as far as it was in his power.

He also mentioned, that at that time, ‘a spirit of industry existed amongst the Indians generally, and that as several of the tribes had requested of government to have a part of their annuities expended in the employment of men to split rails and make fences for them, the Delawares had twenty-three thousand rails put up into fences the last winter; and that forty thousand more would be made into fences for the Miami and Eel river Indians, by the first of the Sixth month—that ten families of the Miamis had settled adjoining the place cultivated by Philip Dennis, and that four men were employed in making rails to fence in forty acres for them; also, that three persons more were at work for the Eel river Indians, half a mile below Dennis’s station; that they had twenty-five acres cleared and ready for the plough, and expected to have fifty or sixty fenced in by the first of the Sixth month. He expected at least twenty-five families would remove to reside at that place the present season, and was confident the settlement would increase very fast. The Indian who worked with Philip Dennis during the last season, was about building himself a comfortable house, had cleared two acres more of ground, and was ploughing the field previously cleared by Philip Dennis. The hogs which were left there with him had increased to one hundred in number.’

The agent further informed, ‘that there would be one hundred acres of land under good fence at the Little Turtle’s town, (eighteen miles north of Dennis’s station,) by the first of the Sixth month, where they had also obtained a large number of hogs and some cows, and he doubted not, the Indians would soon see that it was easier to raise food, than to procure it by hunting.’ He also added, ‘that Friends may see from the great progress they have made in civilization since Philip Dennis was with them, that they only want good and suitable men to reside among them, and teach them how to work.’

In the fall of the year 1805, the agent at Fort Wayne informed the 109 committee by letter, that agreeably to their directions, he had employed a man to assist the Indians in cultivating the field on the Wabash, which was cleared and cultivated by Philip Dennis, the last year. The Indians with this man’s assistance, had raised, it was supposed, at least six hundred bushels of good corn from this one field, exclusive of what they had raised from ground of their own clearing.

“Many of the oldest of the Eel River and Weas Indians had removed and settled at that place, where they would be followed by the younger branches of their tribes in the ensuing spring.”

He further adds, “Believing as I do that the society of Friends are desirous of ameliorating the situation of their red brethren in the country, I will take the liberty to observe, that the present is a favourable time to put in execution their benevolent views towards the distressed natives of the land; and that much good may be done on the Wabash by sending one or two suitable men to reside amongst the Indians, and teach them how to raise stock, and cultivate the earth. Witness what Philip Dennis effected amongst them the last year, at a station where he had every thing to begin. There are now at least four hundred hogs, and twenty cows, and the Indians at no village in this country live so comfortably as those at that place. If this spirit of industry is kept alive for a few years, it will certainly have a powerful influence upon the minds of the Indians in many of the neighbouring villages.”

An account published by the committee of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, about this period, has enabled me to furnish so many interesting particulars of their proceedings, that I have already exceeded the bounds I had prescribed to myself, in this narrative. I shall, therefore, only add, that the Yearly Meeting of Baltimore continued for many years to extend aid and instruction, to the Indians in that quarter, by personal visits, and by teachers frequently stationed among them; and continued to have satisfactory proofs of the benefits derived to this people, from their benevolent labours. Their progress, however, in this laudable work was interrupted by the war of 1812, which much agitated, not only those tribes of Indians, but the white people generally, bordering on the Indian territory—this continued while the war lasted. And many of the white inhabitants, it was said, went into block houses, the better to secure themselves.

It may, however, be noted, that Friends on the frontiers, generally remained in their habitations, at least with a few exceptions, and the Indians seemed to repose an unlimited confidence in them, and frequently visited them. The author having visited a settlement of the Indians, (called Lewis’ settlement) in the year 1816, had some opportunity of judging of the high estimation in which the Indians held the society of Friends, on the frontiers of that country. He also had an 110 account from one of the Friends who first settled in those parts (near Mad river,) about the year 1800. He said the Indians manifested much kindness to them, when the country was all a wilderness, by frequently visiting them, and administering to their wants, while they were first opening a settlement and preparing something to subsist upon.

I may also here relate another evidence of the Indians’ kindness and hospitality to the whites. A surveyor who lived in Chilicothe informed me, when at his house in 1816, that being employed by government the summer previous, to survey some land in the Michigan territory, he and his company composed of seven or eight persons, running scant of provisions, were put to their allowance of a spoonful of meal a day, for each person, on which, with some little meat they procured from the forest, they had subsisted for twenty-three days together. But setting out at length towards the settlements in search of provisions, they met with an Indian going on a journey very smartly. They made him understand they were very hungry and had nothing to eat. He looked on them with compassion—pointed towards his cabin, and making signs to them to follow him, struck off in a direction towards it. They pursued his track, often having to stop him, to wait for them, and after about eight miles travelling, arrived at his solitary abode, where he kindly treated them to all the provision at his command, which, though coarse, was to them a delicious dainty.

But to return from this digression, it may be proper to state, that about the year 1813, a Yearly Meeting of Friends was established in the state of Ohio, and being composed of part of the members previously constituting the Yearly Meeting of Baltimore, they also become, as a body, enlisted in the same concern, to improve the condition of the Indian natives; and appointed a committee to carry their views into execution. Friends of this Yearly Meeting living more contiguous to the Indian settlements, unitedly agreed with the Yearly Meeting of Baltimore, to make it a joint concern, as it regarded the requisite pecuniary aid for promoting the object in view. Friends in Ohio, however, became more actively engaged in personal visits, and sending instructors among the Indians.

When peace took place, and the minds of the Indians became somewhat settled, the settlement which had previously been made at Waughpaughkannatta was again resumed, and another promoted at captain Lewis’, and considerable advancement made by the Indians in some of the arts of civilized life.

About the years 1817 and 1818, considerable sales of their lands were made to the United States—and in the north-western parts of the state of Ohio, which much unsettled the minds of the Indians, and in consequence thereof, many of them removed further to the westward. 111

In the rapid settlement of the states of Ohio and Indiana, and the emigration of Friends further to the westward, it became necessary to establish a Yearly Meeting in Indiana, which event took place about the year 1820 or 1821. This Yearly Meeting, also as a body, feeling the same deep interest, in the welfare of the aboriginal inhabitants, appointed a committee to unite with Ohio Yearly Meeting in promoting their civilization and improvement.

Having but scanty means within my reach, of ascertaining the progress made by those Yearly Meetings of latter years, I can only state, that the concern still continues to engage their attention, and from a report to the Yearly Meeting of Indiana, in 1826, it appears, that the committee had continued their attention to the object of their appointment. “Soon after our last Yearly Meeting,” say they, “the school for the education of the Indian children was resumed, and continued about two months, to the satisfaction both of the Indians and the committee. The children conducted themselves orderly, and made reasonable progress in learning. But towards the latter part of winter the Indians became unsettled in their minds, and it was found impracticable to continue the school to advantage. It was, therefore, dismissed, and soon after Isaac Harvey and wife, in consequence of his indisposition, returned to their former residence. They took with them an Indian lad who remained about three months, during which time he was at school.

“About two hundred of the Indians who resided on the Waughpaughkonnatta reserve, have removed, and are now on their way to join those of their nation settled west of the Mississippi; and it is yet uncertain, whether those that remain will shortly be in a situation to receive instruction. However that may be, we feel satisfied that the labour heretofore bestowed on them will not all be lost. They have obtained a sufficient knowledge of agriculture, to enable them to supply their more pressing wants, and many of them have acquired habits of industry, which we believe they will retain. And should they all eventually remove to join their nation in the west, we apprehend the advantages they are deriving from the change in their manner of life, will be sufficient to prevent them from returning to their former habits.”

It appears also, that soon after the Yearly Meeting held in Indiana, in the year 1827, “a deputation from the committee in company with a like deputation of the committee of Ohio Yearly Meeting, visited Friends’ establishment, near Waughpaughkonnatta, who found the farm in good order, and the school progressing to satisfaction.”

The minutes of the last Indiana Yearly Meeting of the society of Friends, held at Miami, also show, that they continue a committee, to 112 act in conjunction with the Yearly Meetings of Ohio and Baltimore, and to proceed in the further prosecution of this concern as way may open.

Thus the society of Friends constituting the Yearly Meetings of Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore, have, for more than thirty years, and those of Ohio, and Indiana, since their first establishment, been engaged in endeavouring to reclaim from savage life, and to meliorate the condition of various tribes, of the interesting but much injured aborigines of our country; and they have succeeded in instructing many of them in agriculture, in school learning, in many of the most useful mechanic arts, and the raising of domestic animals, whereby their lives are rendered more comfortable, and their domestic engagements increased, as well as their moral condition improved—and, could the Indians have been permitted to remain quiet in the possession of their land, and to enjoy the fruits of their labours, without interruption from the whites, there is reason to believe, that by a continuation and extension of this care towards them, a radical change in their character would in a short time have been effected; and instead of migrating by families and tribes, far to the westward, and traversing the dreary regions of an unknown wilderness, in quest of a home, and in search of food, they might have become useful citizens of the community, contributing to the wealth, the happiness, and national character of the United States. For truly it must be acknowledged, that there are among these native sons of the forest, men of deep reflection—men of extraordinary talents—men of superior powers of mind, and men who, considering the means of their menial improvement, might rank with the ancient orators of Greece and Rome. Added to this, there is sufficient evidence, that they believe in the principle operating within them, a measure of which, or the grace of God, according to the apostle’s doctrine, is given to every man to profit withal, whether Jew or Gentile, bond or free. And they acknowledge in all important transactions, the overruling providence and superintending care of one all-wise, omnipotent, and omnipresent Being, who governs the universe; and they believe that they will be rewarded in a future state, according as their actions have been in this life, either good or evil. Why then should not the policy of the government be directed to the protection and preservation of these people, and not to their extermination from their native soil? Is it not a doctrine sanctioned by the general consent of Christians, that all nations are equally free? That one nation has no right to infringe upon the freedom of another?

Let us then fulfil the golden rule—let us then, my fellow citizens, exercise that kind of policy towards them, that we would they should have done to us, if they had landed on our shores with a superiority of 113 strength. Why should not things be equal on both sides? Or is the balance of power always to decide the balance of justice, and rob the weak and defenceless of their lawful rights—shall a nation professing christianity, and having pledged itself in the most solemn manner to protect the Indians in all their rights, be guilty of such injustice? Or what part of the gospel will they plead in extenuation of such a crime? In what part of the earth did the apostles or first promulgators of the gospel assume, to extirpate from their country, or to claim a right over the freedom and the substance of the Gentiles? What a strange method this would be, of propagating the gospel of peace. And can it be expected the natives of America, those keen-eyed observers of the actions of men, will be brought to embrace the christian religion by such a policy as this! And, while injustice is practised towards them instead of the government redressing their wrongs, will they not be induced to say as an Indian chief once did, to a missionary, on a certain occasion, “We find the christians much more depraved in their morals than we are, and we judge of their doctrine by the badness of their lives.”

Since the foregoing was prepared for the press, the following, taken from a Pittsburg Gazette, has been forwarded by a friend, and as it gives some recent account of the noted and ancient chief, Cornplanter, as well as other of the Seneca Indians, it may prove an interesting addition to this work.

It appears a trip was performed up the Alleghany river in the Fifth month last, as high as Olean, in the state of New York, by a new steamboat, and as it was the first that had ever ascended that river, as far as the Indian towns, it excited some astonishment. The account states, that “On the thirteenth of May, at nine o’clock, she arrived opposite the village of Cornplanter. Here a deputation waited on that ancient and well known Indian king or chief, and invited him on board this new, and to him wonderful visiter, a steamboat. We found him in all his native simplicity of dress and manner of living, lying on his couch, made of rough pine boards, and covered with deer skins and blankets. His habitation, a two story log house, is in a state of decay, without furniture, except a few benches, and wooden bowls and spoons to eat out of. This convinced us of his determination to retain old habits and customs. This venerable old chief was a lad in the first French 114 war, in 1744, and is now nearly one hundred years of age. He is a smart active man, seemingly possessed of all his strength of mind, and in perfect health, and retains among his nation all that uncontrolled influence he has ever done.

“He, with his son Charles, sixty years of age, and his son-in-law, came on board, and remained until she had passed six miles up, and then they returned home in their own canoe, after expressing great pleasure. His domain is a delightful bottom of rich land, two miles3 square, nearly adjoining the line between Pennsylvania and New York. On this, his own family, about fifty in number, in eight or ten houses reside. Cornplanter’s wife, and her mother, one hundred and fifteen years of age, are in good health.

The lands of this tribe being forty miles long and half a mile wide on each side of the river, lie just above, but all in the state of New York. They have a number of villages, and are about seven hundred in number, scattered all along this reserve. Many of them have good dwellings, and, like the whites, some are intelligent, industrious, and useful—while others are the reverse. On the whole they are becoming civilized and christianized, as fast as can be expected. The natives appeared in great numbers, (we counted four hundred) who were attracted to view this unexpected sight on their waters. Their lands terminate eight miles below Olean.”

A vocabulary of some of the most familiar words and phrases in the Seneca language, and the English, in alphabetical order.

All Cock way go
All gone Ono, cock way go
Any where, any thing, &c. Te caw a noo we
A quiet mind Ska no sa na to nee
Axe At too ga
Boy or child Uc shaw
Brother Hogh gee
Blood Ot quoon sah
Board Con nish ta
Bear U qui
Black Gis taa
Beaver Te con ne a ga
Big lake Con nu di go wan nee
Birds Ge daa
Bread Wagh qua115
Beans Ci daw
Beyond Shee qua
Both De jall
Book Ki au dau shaw
Blanket Ee yuse
Bed Con noch ta
Barrel or tub Con noch qua
Blacksmith Cow wish to nee
Bad Toos coss
Cold Hit too a
Cow Tus quan
Cat Dac coos
Child Uc shaw
Cousin Kaa say
Chief Shin e wan nee
Cannon Ca u da go aw
Coat Ja dau wis a
Chest Count sah
Cup Cow wish ta
Candle Ogish to taugh qua
Canoe Cau waugh
Chocolate Nig a di u
Crane Jo a sah
Deer Nea yu ka
Duck Se wack
Dead A way yu
Devil Nishe o nee
Dog Gee ah
Dish Cud gee
Day Udaugh
Drink Nig ge ah
Dark U dagh sin di go
Do you want it Ees no wees
Earth U en jau dy
Elk Je naun de
Eel Con taa na
Eat Sutte coo nee
Eye Ka haa
Ear Woun tah
Evening, or sun down Ono gagh qua
Father Hau nee
Field K ion to
Farmer E yeant has
Fox O nung quat qua
Fish Kin jugh
Fire O gish ta
Flour or meal Tee sah
Fruit O yah
Flea Te was en tas
Fine day O we see ah116
Fire-fly Gish te noch qua
God, or Great Spirit How wau ne au
Grandmother Uc sute
Good Scoss
Grist-mill Cau thish e o ne
Gnat O gaw whont
Gun Ca u da
Greedy Dus ki hau sy
Gift Ska no
House Con ne sute
Horse Con don nah que
Hungry A dus swa dau nee
High Eait kah
Here in this place Nich hooh
Him or her Au whau
Hear Gut hoon dy
Happy Ska no so ne to nee
Hat or cap Kah e quay
Hand Kas chuch tah
Half Sut te wau so nee
How many Ton ne yu
How many miles Ton ne yute cot ho
Hawk Swin go dau ge au
Have you any, &c. Goih yah
Indians A gue o we
Indian corn O ne ah
If Cow a nee
I myself Ee
I don’t know Te quaw
I think E we
Island Cow we naut
Iron Con ne u sah
Ice O we sa
I don’t understand Te gunk hau
I want it Ic no wees
I am going now Ono se gogh tan dee
Iron pot Te quosh e naute
King Co wa co a
Kettle Can naun jau
Knife Ka gun ne au sau
Land U aun ja
Louse Gee no e
Lonesome A goon date
Lake, or sea Con nu di
Lie Sun noo aunt
Large Go wau nee
Long ago O nuch chee
Little, or small Nee wau, or wis too
Little while ago Wau gee
Linen Con ne ga un sah117
Like this Sau gat
Log Can hagh tau
Man or male Can gee nah
Mother No yegh
Many Con nong gee
Much We sue
Meat Au wagh
Mosquito Ge ne au da sa
Mush Gis qua
Mountain Non on dau dee
Mile Yute cot hoo
Money O wish ta
Merry, or pleased Oon dut ca dee
Milk Nung qua
Moon Gagh qua
Mouth Kish e gaen
Morning Se tugh ge au
Make it Shish she o ne
New town Can na da say
Noon Gick ne gah quaw
No Tah
Now Nay wau
Not many Tanty co nong gee
Not much Tanty we sue
Not Tanty
Nose Ka kan dah
Nonsense, trifling, &c. Gish nit
One month Swa no dock
Owl E he
Old Caw cuch gee
Over the river Ska hoon dee
On this side Caw oo
Philadelphia Ca ne di an go au
Pittsburg Taun too ga
Pig Quees quees
Provisions A den a sah
Potatoes Non nun dau
Plenty Con nong gee
Pipe Se guah ta
Pretty We u
Pheasant Chuc que a ne
Pigeons Jah go au
Presently A ge quash
People Ung que
Rain Us taun dee
River Ka hone dee
Racoon Jo ah qua
Rattlesnake So quant
Right, or proper Ty wi ye a
Raining, or stormy Onish wy ate kah118
Sea, or ocean Ska ne la te co ne
Shoes, or sandals At tagh qua
Sun Gagh qua
Squashes, &c. O nuch sha
Sheep Te de ne gen do
Stone Cos quagh
Spinning wheel See in yeah ta
Saw mill Con nish te o nee
Sick Nonk ta nee
Strong Cau haus tee
Star O gish un da
Sit down Sut tee
Snow Cun ne i
Snow falling U gaun dee
Spoon At te quot sa
See, or look Sut cot hoo
Silver O wish ta no e a
Shut the door Se ho tong goo
Snipe Te ith to we
Shoemaker At taugh qua nee
Susquehanna Cau wa ne wy ne i ne
Turkey Os soo aunt
Thief Nus qus
Turnips Uc te au
Town Con na da go
Tobacco Yaun gwa
Turtle Cun ne wau
This Nick hoo
Thou Eece
Tooth, or teeth Ca noo jah
Tell it Sat hu e
Talk Gish nee
True, or truth To gas
To-morrow U haut
Uncle Auh no ze
Ugly Wy ate u
Verily, or very true To gas neh hue
Very large Agos go wan nee
Very far Way uh
Winter Ka unch neh
Water Nick a noos
Woods Ca ha da go
Wheat O naun jah
Weeds We aah ta
Wolf Ty o nee
Wild geese Hung gawk
Watch Gah que shawk ta
White people Hit teen yah
Warm Di u
Warm day Con naa no119
Woman Yee uh
Wife Yeak nee
Wind Ga haa
Work Sutte ye dott
Want. I want it, &c. Ick no eece
Where Cong gwa
Yonder Ho quaw
You Eece de jal
Yes Naye
You want it Eece no wees
Year Tush shate
Yesterday Tay day
Names of some of the Indians, and their signification.
Ki on twa ky Cornplanter
Te ki on da A wager, or money staked
Con ne di u Hansom lake
Neh ta go a A large pine tree
Waun dung guh ta Passed by
Sa go e wah ta Keeper arise
O gish quat ta Dried mush
Tak e wau sah Go to war
Twa de ac Broken gun
Yeang gwa haunt Chew tobacco
Ki an gwah ta Smoke
Numerical terms, &c.
One Scote
Two Tick nee
Three Shaugh
Four Keah
Five Wush
Six Yeah
Seven Chaw tawk
Eight Tick yugh
Nine Tugh tah
Ten Wush hau
Twenty Te was hau
Thirty Sha ne was hau
Forty Kea ne was hau
Fifty Wush ne was hau
Sixty Yea ne was hau
Seventy Chaw tawk ne was hau
Eighty Tick yaugh ne was hau
Ninety Tugh ta ne was hau
One hundred, that is, ten times ten Wush haw ne was haw, or scote de wy ne i
Two hundred Te non de wy ne i
Three hundred Sha non de wy ne i
Four hundred Keah non de wy ne i, &c. &c. 120
One dollar Scow wish taut
Two dollars Te gaw wish tau gay
Three dollars Sha ne gaw wish tau gay
Four dollars Kea ne gaw wish tau gay, &c.
One penny Quin nish
One shilling Sco ti on shate
Two shillings Te gash e on se gay
Three shillings Sha ne gash e on se gay
One yard Tu we naut
Two yards Tic ne ju we non gay
Three yards Sha ne ju we non gay
One pound Cau goon sate
Two pounds Tich ne cou goon se ga
Three pounds Sha ne cou goon se ga
One quart Cus saa dee
Two quarts Tick ne cus say dee
Three quarts Shane cus say dee
One day Onish shate
Two days Te ne wa nish a gay
Three days Sha ne wa nish a gay
One month Swa ne dock
Two months Te wa ne da gay
Three months Sha ne wau ne da gay
One year Tush shate
Two years Te ush a gay
Three years Sha ne ush a gay, &c.

The author not having an opportunity of examining the proof sheets, some typographical errors have occurred, especially in the Indian words—the following errata will be observed by the reader.

Page 5, line 20 from top, before motives, insert the words natives the.

Page 8, line 18 from bottom, for retaining read retained.

Page 9, line 18 from top, read the following speech from.

Page 29, line 14 from top, read Je nuch sha da go.

Page 40, line 13 from top, for Memsies read Munsies.

Page 42, line 6 from top, for Connedin read Co ne di u; and so through the book.

Same page, line 4 from bottom, for government read governor.

Page 47, line 7 from bottom, for Junesassa read Tunesassa; and so through the book.

Page 54, line 20 from bottom, for nation read natives.

Page 80, line 19 from bottom, read the chief warrior’s son.

Page 110, line 16 from top, for nations read natives.

Same page, line 3 from bottom, for in, read to the United States.

Page 111, line 20 from top, for Harkey read Harvey.


1 Alluding to an ineffectual attempt made during the war in 1793, when six Friends, as before stated, attended with the commissioners of the United States.

2 A British agent for Indian affairs resident in Canada.

3 I apprehend there is some mistake in the account given, of the quantity of land possessed by Cornplanter. By the act of assembly, it appears six hundred acres was the quantity located at that place.—Ed.

Transcriber’s Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.