By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: History, Manners, and Customs of The Indian Nations who once Inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighbouring States.
Author: Heckewelder, John
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History, Manners, and Customs of The Indian Nations who once Inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighbouring States." ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



  Historical Society of Pennsylvania.





[Illustration: John Heckewelder]









  New and Revised Edition.






“The Trustees of the Publication Fund of the Historical Society of
Pennsylvania” have published nine volumes, viz.:

  The History of Braddock’s Expedition.
  Contributions to American History.
  Record of Upland, and Denny’s Journal.
  Reissue of Vol. 1 of the Memoirs.
  Minutes of Defence of Philadelphia, 1814-1815.
  Correspondence of Penn and Logan, Vols. 1 and 2.
  History of New Sweden, by Israel Acrelius.
  Heckewelder’s History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations.

The investments held by the trustees of the Fund now amount to
twenty-three thousand dollars, the interest only of which is applied to
publishing. By the payment of twenty-five dollars, any one may become
entitled to receive, during his or her life, all the publications of
the Society. Libraries so subscribing are entitled to receive books for
the term of twenty years.

The Society desire it to be understood that they are not answerable for
any opinions or observations that may appear in their publications: the
Editors of the several works being alone responsible for the same.

  AUBREY H. SMITH,  } Trustees.

  Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1876, by


  in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.













John Gottlieb Ernestus Heckewelder, the author of “An Account of the
History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations who once inhabited
Pennsylvania and the neighboring States,” was born March 12th, 1743,
at Bedford, England. His father, who was a native of Moravia, a few
years after his arrival at Herrnhut, Saxony, was summoned to England
to assist in the religious movement which his church had inaugurated
in that country in 1734. In his eleventh year, the subject of this
sketch accompanied his parents to the New World, and became a resident
of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Here he was placed at school, and next
apprenticed to a cedar-cooper. While thus employed, he was permitted to
gratify a desire he had frequently expressed of becoming an evangelist
to the Indians, when in the spring of 1762 he was called to accompany
the well-known Christian Frederic Post, who had planned a mission
among the tribes of the then far west, to the Tuscarawas branch of
the Muskingum. Here Post, in the summer of 1761, had built himself a
cabin (it stood near the site of the present town of Bolivar), and
here on the 11th day of April, 1762, the intrepid missionary and his
youthful assistant began their labors in the Gospel. But the times
were unpropitious, and the hostile attitude of the Indians indicating
a speedy resumption of hostilities with the whites, the adventurous
enterprise was abandoned before the expiration of the year. Young
Heckewelder returned to Bethlehem, and the war of Pontiac’s conspiracy
opened in the spring of 1763.

In the interval between 1765 and 1771, Mr. Heckewelder was, on several
occasions, summoned from his cooper’s shop to do service for the
mission. Thus, in the summer of the first mentioned year, he spent
several months at Friedenshütten, on the Susquehanna (Wyalusing,
Bradford county, Pennsylvania), where the Moravian Indians had been
recently settled in a body, after a series of most trying experiences,
to which their residence on the frontiers and in the settlements of
the Province subjected them, at a time when the inroads of the savages
embittered the public mind indiscriminately against the entire race.
This post he visited subsequently on several occasions, and also the
town of Schechschiquanink (Sheshequin), some thirty miles north of
Wyalusing, the seat of a second mission on the Susquehanna.

A new period in the life of Mr. Heckewelder opened with the autumn
of 1771, when he entered upon his actual career as an evangelist to
the Indians, sharing the various fortunes of the Moravian mission
among that people for fifteen years, than which none perhaps in its
history were more eventful. The well-known missionary David Zeisberger,
having in 1768 established a mission among a clan of Monseys on the
Allegheny, within the limits of what is now Venango county, was induced
in the spring of 1770 to migrate with his charge to the Big Beaver,
and to settle at a point within the jurisdiction of the Delawares
of Kaskaskunk. Here he built Friedensstadt, and hither the Moravian
Indians of Friedenshütten and Schechschiquanink removed in the summer
of 1772. Mr. Heckewelder was appointed Zeisberger’s assistant in
the autumn of 1771, and when in the spring of 1773 Friedensstadt
was evacuated (it stood on the Beaver, between the Shenango and the
Slippery Rock, within the limits of the present Lawrence county),
and the seat of the mission was transferred to the valley of the
Muskingum, Mr. Heckewelder became a resident of the Ohio country.
Here in succession were built Schönbrunn, Gnadenhütten, Lichtenau and
Salem, flourishing towns of Moravian Indians, and here our missionary
labored with his associates hopefully, and with the promise of a great
ingathering, when the rupture between the mother country and her
transatlantic colonies, gradually involved them and their cause in the
most perplexing complications. On the opening of the western border-war
of the Revolution in the spring of 1777, the Moravian missionaries on
the Muskingum realized the danger of their position. Strictly neutral
as they and their converts were in reference to the great question at
issue, their presence on debatable ground rendered them objects of
suspicion alternately to each of the contending parties; and when, in
1780, the major part of the Delaware nation declared openly for the
British crown, it was evident that the mission could not much longer
hold its ground. It was for the British to solve the problem; and at
their instigation, in the autumn of 1781, the missionaries and their
converts in part were removed to Upper Sandusky, as prisoners of war,
under suspicion of favoring the American cause. Thence the former were
twice summoned to Detroit, the seat of British dominion in the then
Northwest, and arraigned before the commandant of that post. Having
established their innocence, and at liberty once more to resume their
Christian work, the Moravians resolved upon establishing themselves
in the neighborhood of Detroit, with the view of collecting their
scattered converts, and gradually resuscitating the mission. The point
selected was on the Huron (now the Clinton), forty miles by water
northwest of Detroit. Here they built New Gnadenhütten, in 1782. Four
years later, New Gnadenhütten was abandoned, and a settlement effected
on the Cuyahoga, in the present county of that name in northern
Ohio. It was here that Mr. Heckewelder closed his missionary labors,
and years memorable in his life, in the course of which he was “in
journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in
perils of his countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the
wilderness, in weariness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in
fastings often, in cold and nakedness,” and yet spared, as to his life,
to a good old age, in the quiet days of which, when resting from his
labors, he drew up a narrative of this remarkable period in his own
experience, and in the history of his church.

On severing his connection with the mission on the Cuyahoga, in the
autumn of 1786, Mr. Heckewelder settled with his wife (Sarah m. n.
Ohneberg, whom he married in 1780), and two daughters at Bethlehem.
This change, however, brought him no rest, as much of his time for
the next fifteen years was devoted to the interests of his church’s
work among the Indians, in behalf of which he made frequent and trying
journeys to the west.

In the summer of 1792, Mr. Heckewelder was associated by Government
with General Rufus Putnam (at that gentleman’s request), to treat for
peace with the Indians of the Wabash, and journeyed on this mission as
far as Post Vincennes, where, on the 27th of September, articles of
peace were formally signed by thirty-one chiefs of the Seven Nations
represented at the meeting. This was a high testimonial of confidence
in his knowledge of Indian life and Indian affairs. In the spring of
the following year, he was a second time commissioned to assist at a
treaty which the United States purposed to ratify with the Indians
of the Miami of the Lake, through its accredited agents, General
Benjamin Lincoln, Colonel Timothy Pickering, and Beverly Randolph.
On this mission he travelled as far as Detroit. The remuneration Mr.
Heckewelder received for these services, was judiciously economized
for his old age, his immediate wants being supplied by his handicraft,
and the income accruing from a nursery which he planted on his return
from the western country. In the interval between 1797 and 1800, the
subject of this sketch visited the Ohio country four times, and in 1801
he removed with his family to Gnadenhütten, on the Tuscarawas branch
of the Muskingum. Here he remained nine years, having been intrusted
by the Society of the United Brethren for Propagating the Gospel among
the Heathen, founded at Bethlehem, in 1788, with the superintendence
of a reservation of 12,000 acres of land on the Tuscarawas, granted by
Congress to the said Society for the benefit of the Moravian Indians,
as a consideration for the losses they incurred in the border-war of
the Revolution. During his residence in Ohio, Mr. Heckewelder was also
for a time in the civil service, being a postmaster, a justice of the
peace, and an associate judge of the Court of Common Pleas.

In 1810 he returned to Bethlehem, built a house of his own, which is
still standing, planted the premises with trees and shrubs from their
native forest, surrounded himself with birds and wild flowers, and
through these beautiful things of nature, sought by association to
prolong fellowship with his beloved Indians in their distant woodland
homes. He was called in 1815 to mourn the departure of his wife to the
eternal world.

At a time when there was a growing spirit of inquiry among men of
science in our country in the department of Indian archæology, it
need not surprise us that Mr. Heckewelder was sought out in his
retirement, and called upon to contribute from the treasure-house of
his experience. In this way originated his intimacy with Du Ponceau
and Wistar of the American Philosophical Society, and that career of
literary labor to which he dedicated the latter years of his life.
In addition to occasional essays, which are incorporated in the
Transactions of the Historical and Literary Committee of that society,
Mr. Heckewelder, in 1818, published under its auspices, the “Account
of the History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations who once
inhabited Pennsylvania and the neighboring States.” His “Narrative
of the Mission of the United Brethren among the Delaware and Mohican
Indians,” appeared in 1820, and in 1822 he prepared his well-known
collection of “Names, which the Lenni Lenape, or Delaware Indians, gave
to Rivers, Streams, and Localities within the States of Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, with their Significations.” This
was his last literary effort; another year of suffering, and on the
31st of January, 1823, the friend of the Delawares having lived to
become a hoary old man of seventy-nine winters, passed away.

He left three daughters, Johanna Maria, born April 6, 1781, at Salem,
Tuscarawas county, Ohio--the first white female child born within the
borders of that State (she died at Bethlehem, September 19, 1868); Anna
Salome, born August 13, 1784, at New Gnadenhütten, on the River Huron
(Clinton), Michigan; she married Mr. Joseph Rice, of Bethlehem, and
died January 15, 1857; and Susanna, born at Bethlehem, December 31,
1786; she married Mr. J. Christian Luckenbach, of Bethlehem, and died
February 8, 1867.

Mr. Heckewelder was a fair representative of the Moravian missionaries
of the last century, a class of men whose time was necessarily divided
between the discharge of spiritual and secular duties; who preached the
Gospel and administered the Sacraments in houses built by their own
hands; who wielded the axe, as well as the sword of the Spirit, and
who by lives of self-denial and patient endurance, sustained a mission
among the aborigines of this country in the face of disappointments and
obstacles, which would have discouraged any but men of their implicit
faith in the Divine power of the Christian religion.

The subject of this notice made no pretensions to scholarship on
taking the author’s pen in hand. He was eminently an artless man, and
artlessness is his characteristic as a writer. The fascinating volume
to which this brief sketch is deemed a sufficient introduction, was
received with almost unqualified approbation on its appearance in 1818.
It was translated into German by Fr. Hesse, a clergyman of Nienburg,
and published at Göttingen in 1821. A French translation by Du Ponceau
appeared in Paris in 1822. True, there were those who subsequently took
exception to Mr. Heckewelder’s manifest predilection for the Lenape
stock of the North American Indians, and others who charged him with
credulity, because of the reception of their national traditions and
myths upon the pages of his book. Knowing, as we do, that even the
most prudent of men are liable to err in their search after truth,
it would be presumptuous to claim infallibility for our author. It
would, however, be as presumptuous to refuse his statements all
claim to respect. Hence it may not be denied that John Heckewelder’s
contributions to Indian archæology, touching their traditions,
language, manners, customs, life, and character, while supplying a
long-felt want, are worthy of the regard which is usually accorded
to the literary productions of men whose intelligence, honesty,
and acquaintance with their subject have qualified them to be its

In the preparation of his account, Mr. Heckewelder acknowledges his
indebtedness to Moravian authorities, contemporaries, or colleagues of
his in the work of missions among the aborigines of this country. He
refers frequently to the Rev. J. Christopher Pyrlæus, and introduces
extracts from the collection of notes and memoranda made by that
clergyman during his sojourn in America. His references to Loskiel, the
historian of the Moravian mission among the North American Indians, are
more frequent. In fact, it is evident that he availed himself largely
of the introductory chapters of that history, the material of which was
furnished to Loskiel by the veteran missionary, David Zeisberger. In
this way then, Mr. Heckewelder supplemented his personal experience,
and the knowledge he had gained by intercourse with the Indians,
touching those subjects of which he treats in his charming narrative.

Both the text and the author’s footnotes, as found in the edition of
1818, are faithfully reproduced in the present issue; neither have been
tampered with in a single instance. Such a course was deemed the only
proper one, although it was conceded that the omission of occasionally
recurrent passages, and a reconstruction of portions of the volume
might render the matter more perspicuous, and the book more readable,
without detracting from its value as a repository of well authenticated











[Illustration: DEDICATION]




DEAR SIR.--Having, at your particular request, undertaken the arduous
task of giving to the Historical Committee of our Society an Account
of those Indian Nations and Tribes which once inhabited Pennsylvania
and the adjoining States, including those who are known by the name of
the “Six Nations;” I have now, as far as has been in my power, complied
with your wishes, or at least I have endeavoured so to do.

Foreseeing the difficulties I should labour under, in writing the
history of a people, of whom so many had already written, I could not
but consider the undertaking both as unpleasant and hazardous; being
aware, that it would be impossible for me in all respects to coincide
with those who have written before me; among whom there are not a
few, who, although their good intentions cannot be doubted, yet from
their too short residence in the country of the Indians, have not had
sufficient opportunities to acquire the knowledge which they undertake
to communicate. Ignorant of the language, or being but superficially
acquainted with it, they have relied on ignorant or careless
interpreters, by whom they have been most frequently led astray; in
what manner, this little work will abundantly shew.

The sure way to obtain correct ideas, and a true knowledge of the
characters, customs, manners, &c., of the Indians, and to learn their
history, is to dwell among them for some time, and having acquired
their language, the information wished for will be obtained in the
common way; that is, by paying attention to their discourses with each
other on different subjects, and occasionally asking them questions;
always watching for the proper opportunity, when they do not suspect
your motives, and are disposed to be free and open with you.

The political state and connexions of the two once great and rival
nations, the Mengwe, (or Six Nations) and the Lenape (or Delawares, as
we call them), being little, or but imperfectly known to many of us,
I have been at some pains in unfolding the origin and true cause of
their rivalship; and the means resorted to by the one nation, to bring
themselves into consequence with the white people, for the purpose of
subduing the other.

How far the Six Nations have succeeded in this, we know; at least, we
know so much, that they sold the country of the Lenape, Mohicans, and
other tribes connected with them, by piecemeals to the English, so that
they were finally obliged to wander to the West, while their enemies,
during all this time, remained in full and quiet possession of their

If we ought, or wish to know the history of those nations from whom
we have obtained the country we now live in, we must also wish to be
informed of the means by which that country fell into our hands, and
what has become of its original inhabitants. To meet this object, I
have given their traditions respecting their first coming into our
country, and their own history of the causes of their emigrating from

On all the subjects which I have treated respecting the different
tribes, I have endeavoured to be impartial. Yet, if I should still
be thought to have shewn some partiality for the Delawares and their
connexions, with respect to the affairs between them and the Six
Nations, I have only to reply, that we have been attentive to all the
Six Nations told us of these people, until we got possession of their
whole country; and now, having what we wanted, we ought not to turn
them off with this story on their backs, but rather, out of gratitude
and compassion, give them also a hearing, and acquit them honourably,
if we find them deserving of it.

What I have written, concerning their character, their customs,
manners, and usages, is from personal knowledge, and from such other
information as may be relied on; and in order to be the better
understood, I have frequently added anecdotes, remarks, and relations
of particular events. In some instances I have had reference to
authors, and manuscript notes taken down upwards of seventy years
since, by individuals well deserving of credit.

To you, Sir, I need not apologise for my deficiency in point of
style and language, which has been known to you long since. I have
endeavoured to make amends for this defect, by being the more careful
and correct in my narrations, so as at least to make up in matter what
in manner may be deficient.

  I am, Sir, with great respect,
  Your obedient humble servant,

  _November, 1817._

    Since the above was written, my excellent friend DR. WISTAR has
    departed this life, lamented by the whole country, of which
    he was an ornament. To me he was more than I can express;
    he directed and encouraged my humble labours, and to his
    approbation I looked up as my best reward. He is gone, but
    his name and his virtues will long be held in remembrance. By
    me, at least, they shall never be forgotten. This Dedication,
    therefore, will remain, as a testimony of the high respect I
    bore to this great and good man while living, and as a tribute
    justly due to his memory.

  J. H.

  BETHLEHEM, _March, 1818_.

[Illustration: CONTENTS]




  INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITOR                                       vii

  DEDICATION                                                      xvii

  INTRODUCTION BY THE AUTHOR                                     xxiii


  I. HISTORICAL TRADITIONS OF THE INDIANS                           47

    AT NEW YORK ISLAND                                              71

    TOWARDS THEM                                                    76

    TRIBES                                                          83

  V. THE IROQUOIS                                                   95

  VI. GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE INDIANS                             100

  VII. GOVERNMENT                                                  107

  VIII. EDUCATION                                                  113

  IX. LANGUAGES                                                    118

  X. SIGNS AND HIEROGLYPHICS                                       128

  XI. ORATORY                                                      132

  XII. METAPHORICAL EXPRESSIONS                                    137

  XIII. INDIAN NAMES                                               141

  XIV. INTERCOURSE WITH EACH OTHER                                 145

  XV. POLITICAL MANŒUVRES                                          150

  XVI. MARRIAGE AND TREATMENT OF THEIR WIVES                       154

  XVII. RESPECT FOR THE AGED                                       163

  XVIII. PRIDE AND GREATNESS OF MIND                               170

  XIX. WARS AND THE CAUSES WHICH LEAD TO THEM                      175

  XX. MANNER OF SURPRISING THEIR ENEMIES                           177

  XXI. PEACE MESSENGERS                                            181

  XXII. TREATIES                                                   185


  XXIV. FOOD AND COOKERY                                           193


  XXVI. DANCES, SONGS, AND SACRIFICES                              208

  XXVII. SCALPING--WHOOPS OR YELLS--PRISONERS                      215

  XXVIII. BODILY CONSTITUTION AND DISEASES                         220

  XXIX. REMEDIES                                                   224

  XXX. PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS                                     228

  XXXI. DOCTORS OR JUGGLERS                                        231

  XXXII. SUPERSTITION                                              239

  XXXIII. INITIATION OF BOYS                                       245

  XXXIV. INDIAN MYTHOLOGY                                          249

  XXXV. INSANITY--SUICIDE                                          257

  XXXVI. DRUNKENNESS                                               261

  XXXVII. FUNERALS                                                 268

  XXXVIII. FRIENDSHIP                                              277

  XXXIX. PREACHERS AND PROPHETS                                    290


    KNOWLEDGE                                                      306

  XLII. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS AND ANECDOTES                         310

  XLIII. ADVICE TO TRAVELLERS                                      318

  XLIV. THE INDIANS AND THE WHITES COMPARED                        328

  CONCLUSION                                                       346



  INTRODUCTION                                                     351



  II. DR. C. WISTAR TO MR. HECKEWELDER (SAME DATE)                 354

  III. MR. HECKEWELDER TO DR. WISTAR, 24TH MARCH                   356

  IV. THE SAME TO THE SAME, 3D APRIL                               358

  V. MR. DUPONCEAU TO DR. WISTAR, 14TH MAY                         359

  VI. DR. WISTAR TO MR. HECKEWELDER, 21ST MAY                      359

  VII. MR. HECKEWELDER TO MR. DUPONCEAU, 27TH MAY                  361


  IX. THE SAME TO THE SAME, 13TH JUNE                              369

  X. MR. HECKEWELDER TO MR. DUPONCEAU, 20TH JUNE                   371

  XI. THE SAME TO THE SAME, 24TH JUNE                              375

  XII. MR. DUPONCEAU TO MR. HECKEWELDER, 13TH JULY                 376

  XIII. THE SAME TO THE SAME, 18TH JULY                            379

  XIV. MR. HECKEWELDER TO MR. DUPONCEAU, 22D JULY                  380

  XV. THE SAME TO THE SAME, 24TH JULY                              383

  XVI. MR. DUPONCEAU TO MR. HECKEWELDER, 31ST JULY                 387

  XVII. THE SAME TO THE SAME, 3D AUGUST                            392


  XIX. THE SAME TO THE SAME, 15TH AUGUST                           399



  XXII. THE SAME TO THE SAME, 27TH AUGUST                          414






  WORDS, PHRASES, AND SHORT DIALOGUES                              437

[Illustration: INTRODUCTION]

The reader of the following pages, having already seen what has induced
me to come forward with an historical account of the Indians, after so
many have written on the same subject, will perhaps look for something
more extraordinary in this than in other works of the kind which he has
seen. Not wishing any one to raise his expectations too high, I shall
briefly state that I have not written to excite astonishment, but for
the information of those who are desirous of knowing the true history
of those people, who, for centuries, have been in full possession of
the country we now inhabit; but who have since emigrated to a great
distance. I can only assure them, that I have not taken the information
here communicated from the writings of others, but from the mouths of
the very people I am going to speak of, and from my own observation
of what I have witnessed while living among them. I have, however,
occasionally quoted other authors, and in some instances copied short
passages from their works, especially where I have thought it necessary
to illustrate or corroborate my own statements of facts.

In what I have written concerning the character, customs, manners,
and usages of these people, I cannot have been deceived, since it is
the result of personal knowledge, of what I myself have seen, heard,
and witnessed, while residing among and near them, for more than
thirty years. I have however to remark, that this history, like other
histories of former times, will not in every respect comport with
the character of the Indians at the present time, since all these
nations and tribes, by their intercourse with the white people, have
lost much of the honourable and virtuous qualities which they once
possessed, and added to their vices and immorality. Of this, no one can
be a better judge than a missionary residing among them. And if,[2]
what these people told us more than half a century ago; that lying,
stealing, and other vicious acts, before the white men came among them,
were considered as crimes, we may safely conclude--and we know it to
be fact--that from that time to this, and especially within the last
forty years, they have so much degenerated, that a delineation of their
present character would bear no resemblance to what it was before.--It
is therefore the history of early times, not of the present, that I
have written; and to those times my delineations of their character
must be considered to apply; yet, to shew the contrast, I have also
delineated some of their present features.

It may be proper to mention in this place, that I have made use of the
proper national name of the people whom we call _Delawares_, which
is: “_Lenni Lenape_.” Yet, as they, in the common way of speaking,
merely pronounce the word “_Lenape_,” I have, in most instances, when
speaking of them, used this word singly. I have also made use of the
word “_Mengwe_,” or _Mingoes_, the name by which the _Lenape_ commonly
designate the people known to us by the name of the _Iroquois_, and
_Five_ or _Six Nations_. I shall give at the end a general list of all
the names I have made use of in this communication, to which I refer
the reader for instruction.

As the Indians, in all their public speeches and addresses, speak
in the singular number, I have sometimes been led to follow their
example, when reporting what they have said; I have also frequently, by
attending particularly to the identical words spoken by them, copied
their peculiar phrases, when I might have given their meaning in other

On the origin of the Indians, I have been silent, leaving this
speculation to abler historians than myself. To their history, and
notions with regard to their creation, I have given a place; and have
also briefly related the traditions of the Lenape on the subject of
their arrival at, and crossing the river Mississippi, their coming to
the Atlantic coast, what occurred to them while in this country, and
their retreat back again.

As the relation of the Delawares and Mohicans, concerning the policy
adopted and pursued by the Six Nations towards them, may perhaps appear
strange to many, and it may excite some astonishment, that a matter of
such importance was not earlier set forth in the same light, I shall
here, by way of introduction, and for the better understanding of the
account which they give of this matter, examine into some facts, partly
known to us already, and partly now told us in their relation; so that
we may see how far these agree together, and know what we may rely upon.

It is conceded on all sides that the Lenape and Iroquois carried on
long and bloody wars with each other; but while the one party assert,
that they completely conquered the other, and reduced them by force to
the condition of women, this assertion is as strongly and pointedly
denied by the other side; I have therefore thought that the real truth
of this fact was well deserving of investigation.

The story told by the Mingoes to the white people, of their having
conquered the Lenape and made women of them, was much too implicitly
believed; for the whites always acted towards the Delawares under the
impression that it was true, refused even to hear their own account of
the matter, and “shut their ears” against them, when they attempted to
inform them of the real fact. This denial of common justice, is one of
the principal complaints of the Lenape against the English, and makes a
part of the tradition or history which they preserve for posterity.

This complaint indeed, bears hard upon us, and should, at least,
operate as a solemn call to rectify the error, if such it is found to
be; that we, in our history, may not record and transmit erroneous
statements of those Aborigines, from whom we have received the country
we now so happily inhabit. We are bound in honour to acquit ourselves
of all charges of the kind which those people may have against us,
who, in the beginning welcomed us to their shores, in hopes that “they
and we would sit beside each other as brothers;” and it should not be
said, that now, when they have surrendered their whole country to us,
and retired to the wilds of a distant country, we turn our backs upon
them with contempt.

We know that all Indians have the custom of transmitting to posterity,
by a regular chain of tradition, the remarkable events which have taken
place with them at any time, even often events of a trivial nature, of
which I could mention a number. Ought we then, when such a source of
information is at hand, to believe the story told by the Six Nations,
of their having conquered the Lenape, (a powerful nation with a very
large train of connexions and allies) and forcibly made them women?
Ought we not, before we believe this, to look for a tradition of the
circumstances of so important an event; for some account, at least,
of the time, place, or places, where those battles were fought, which
decided the fate of the Lenape, the Mohicans, and of a number of
tribes connected with them? Are we to be left altogether ignorant of
the numbers that were slain at the time, and the country in which this
memorable event took place; whether on the St. Lawrence, on the Lakes,
in the country of the conquerors, or of the conquered? All these I am
inclined to call _first_ considerations, while a _second_ would be: How
does this story accord with the situation the first Europeans found
these people in on their arrival in this country? Were not those who
are said to be a conquered people, thickly settled on the whole length
of the sea coast, and far inland, in and from Virginia to and beyond
the Province of Maine, and had they not yet, at that very time, a great
National Council Fire burning on the banks of the Delaware? Does not
the joint tradition of the Delawares, Mohicans and Nanticokes, inform
us, that their great National Council House[3] then extended from the
head of the tide on the (now) Hudson river, to the head of the tide
on the Potomack? All this we shall find faithfully copied or written
down from their verbal tradition, and that this Council House “was
pulled down by the white people!”[4] and of course was yet standing
when they came into the country; which alone is sufficient to prove
that the Lenape, at that time, were not a conquered people; and if they
had been conquered since, we might expect to find the fact, with its
particulars, somewhere on record.

It is admitted, however, by the Lenape themselves, that they and their
allies were _made women_ by the Iroquois. But how did this happen?
Not surely by conquest, or the fate of battle. Strange as it may
appear, it was not produced by the effects of superior force, but by
successful intrigue. Here, if my informants were correct, and I trust
they were, rests the great mystery, for the particulars of which, I
refer the reader to the history of the Lenape and Mohicans themselves,
as related in part by Loskiel in his “History of the Mission of the
United Brethren among the North American Indians,”[5] and in this work.
In the first, he will find three material points ascertained, viz. 1st,
“that the Delawares were too strong for the Iroquois, and could not
be conquered by them by force of arms, but were subdued by insidious
means. 2d, that the making women of the Delawares was not an act of
compulsion, but the result of their own free will and consent; and 3d,
that the whites were already in the country at the time this ceremony
took place, since they were to hold one end of the great Peace Belt
in their hands.”[6] In the following History, which I have taken from
the relation of the most intelligent and creditable old Indians, both
Delawares and Mohicans, not only the same facts will be found, but
also a more minute account of this transaction; in which it will be
shewn, that the Dutch not only were present at, but were parties to
it, that it was in this manner that the Six Nations were relieved from
the critical situation they were in, at that very time, with regard
to their enemies, the Delawares, Mohicans, and their connexions, and
that the white people present coaxed and persuaded them to cause the
hatchet to be buried, declaring at the same time[7] that they “would
fall on those who should dig it up again;” which was, on the part of
the Hollanders, a declaration of war against the Delawares and their
allies, if they, or any of them, should attempt again to act hostilely
against the Six Nations. All this, according to the tradition of the
Lenape, was transacted at a place, since called “Nordman’s Kill,” a few
miles from the spot where afterwards Albany was built, and but a short
time after the Dutch had arrived at New York Island, probably between
the years 1609 and 1620.

The Rev. Mr. Pyrlæus,[8] who had learned the Mohawk language of Conrad
Weiser, and was stationed on the river of that name, for some time
between the years 1742 and 1748, has noted down in a large manuscript
book, that his friend there, the Mohawk chief, had told him, that at
a place about four miles from Albany, now called Nordman’s Kill,[10]
the first covenant had been made between the Six Nations and the white
people; which is in confirmation of the correctness of the above
tradition of the Mohicans.[11]

This was then, according to the best accounts we have, the time when
this pretended “conquest” took place; and the Delawares, (as the Six
Nations have since said) were by them _made women_. It was, however, a
conquest of a singular nature, effected through duplicity and intrigue,
at _a council fire_, not _in battle_. “And, (say the Delawares and
Mohicans, in their tradition,) when the English took the country from
the _Dutchemaan_, (Hollanders) they stepped into the same alliance with
the Six Nations, which their predecessors had established with them.”

Colden, in his “History of the Five Nations,”[12] informs us, page
34, that this took place in the year 1664; and in page 36, gives us
full proof of this alliance, by the following account--He says: “The
Five Nations being now amply supplied by the English with fire-arms
and ammunition, gave full swing to their warlike genius, and soon
resolved to revenge the affronts they had at any time received from
the Indian nations that lived at a greater distance from them. The
nearest nations, as they were attacked, commonly fled to those that
were further off, and the Five Nations pursued them. This, together
with the desire they had of conquering, or ambition of making all the
nations around them their tributaries, or to make them acknowledge the
Five Nations to be so far their masters, as to be absolutely directed
by them in all affairs of peace and war with their neighbours, made
them overrun great part of North America. They carried their arms as
far south as Carolina; to the northward of New England; and as far west
as the river Mississippi; over a vast country, which extends twelve
hundred miles in length, from north to south, and about six hundred
miles in breadth; where they entirely destroyed many nations, of whom
there are now no accounts remaining among the English,” &c.

To what a number of important questions would not the above statement
give rise? But I will confine myself to a few, and enquire first, for
what purpose the Five Nations were armed, and so “amply supplied with
ammunition?” and secondly, what use did they make of those arms? The
Delawares and Mohicans believed that the white people, first the
Dutch and then the English, did all that was in their power to make
the Mengwe a great people, so that they might rule over them and all
other nations, and “that they had done what they wanted them to do,”
&c. For an answer to the second question, we have only to believe what
Colden himself tells us, of what the same Mengwe or Iroquois did, after
having received arms and ammunition from the English, which it clearly
appears they could not have done before. Now, if we even were willing
to admit that they had only gone off, “to revenge the affronts they had
at any time received from the Indian Nations,” yet, we would be willing
to know, of what nature those affronts had been; otherwise we might
conclude, that they were no other than that those nations had refused
“to become tributary to them; would not submit to their mandates, nor
have them for their masters;” and therefore had beaten them off, when
they came into their country for the purpose of bringing them under
subjection, and perhaps also paid them a visit in return, after they
had murdered some of their people.

If we were permitted to omit the words, “revenge the affronts they had
received from other nations,” &c., we need not one moment be at a loss
to know precisely what they went out for, as the historian himself
tells us, that they, soon after receiving fire-arms and ammunition,
“gave full swing to their warlike genius, and went off with a desire of
conquering nations--of making all those around them their tributaries,
and compelling them all to acknowledge the Five Nations to be their
masters, and to be absolutely directed by them, in all affairs of peace
and war.” We then know with certainty, what the object was for which
they took the field.

We are here also told, of the vast tract of country over which the Six
Nations had carried their arms, subduing, and even “so destroying many
nations, that no account of them was now remaining with the English!”

In reply to this I might bring forward some sayings and assertions
of the Delawares and Mohicans, which would not comport with the
above story, nor apply to the great name the Six Nations have given
themselves, which, as Colden tells us, is _Ongwe-honwe_, and signifies
“men surpassing all others, superior to the rest of mankind:” but my
object here is merely to discuss the fact, whether, previous to the
white people’s coming into the country, and while unsupplied with
fire-arms, hatchets, &c., those Iroquois had done such wonders among
nations as they report; or, whether all this was done since that
time, and in consequence of their being put into possession of those
destructive weapons which they had not before; for how are we to judge,
and decide on the comparative bravery of two different nations, without
knowing whether or not the combatants were placed on an equal footing
with regard to the weapons they used against each other?

I might ask the simple question, whether the Dutch, and afterwards the
English, have favoured their “brethren,” the Delawares, Mohicans, and
other tribes connected with them, who lived between them and the Six
Nations, and on the land which they wanted to have, in the same manner
that they have favoured their enemies?

Colden, in his Introduction to the History of the Five Nations, page
3, says: “I have been told by old men in New England, who remembered
the time when the Mohawks made war on _their_ Indians,” (meaning here
the Mohicans, or River Indians, as they often were called,) “that as
soon as a single Mohawk was discovered in the country, _their_ Indians
raised a cry, from hill to hill, _a Mohawk! a Mohawk!_ upon which they
all fled, like sheep before wolves, without attempting to make the
least resistance, whatever odds were on their side,” and that, “the
poor New England Indians immediately ran to the Christian houses, and
the Mohawks often pursued them so closely, that they entered along with
them, and knocked their brains out in the presence of the people of the
house,” &c.

This is indeed a lamentable story! It might be asked, How could the
white people, whom those very Mohicans had hospitably welcomed, and
permitted to live with them on their land, suffer an enemy to come
into the country to destroy their benefactors, without making any
opposition? Why did these Indians suffer this? Why did they not with
spirit meet this enemy?

The answer to this last question will be found in their traditional
history of the great meeting at Nordman’s Kill, where they were
expressly told, after they had consented to bury the hatchet, wherewith
they warred against the Six Nations, “That whatsoever nation, (meaning
the Mohicans and Delawares) should dig up the hatchet again, on them
would the white people fall and take revenge!”

Thus, then, arms were put into the hands of the Six Nations, and with
them the Dutch, and afterwards the English, sided; but the Delawares
and Mohicans were compelled to remain unarmed, for fear of being cut up
by the white people, who had taken part with their enemies. May we not
conclude, that these poor New England Indians were placed between two

We do not, I believe, find that in the then middle colonies, the
Mohawks, or any of the Five Nations, had ventured so far in their
hostile conduct against the Delawares, as they had done to the Mohicans
of New England, though the alliance between the Dutch and the Five
Nations, and afterwards between the English and the latter, was much
against both, and indeed more against the Delawares than the Mohicans:
yet, by turning to treaties and councils, held with these nations
between the years 1740 and 1760, in Pennsylvania,[13] we find much
insolent language, which the Iroquois were, I will say, permitted,
but which, the people concerned say, they were “bid or hired to make
against the Delawares, for the purpose of stopping their mouths,
preventing them from stating their complaints and grievances, and
asking redress from the colonial government.”

The result of such high toned language, as that which was made use
of to the Delawares, by the Six Nations, at a council held at the
proprietors, in July, 1742, and at other times afterwards,[14] might
easily have been foretold. For although now, these defenceless people
had to submit to such gross insults, instead of seeing their grievances
redressed, yet they were not ignorant of the manner in which they one
day might take revenge, the door to the French, who were enemies
to the English, being always open to them; they had but to go “on
one side” (as they expressed themselves) to be out of the way of the
Iroquois, and they could obtain from the possessors of Canada, and
Louisiana, all that they wanted, fire-arms, hatchets, scalping-knives,
ammunition, &c. They did so, and withdrew to the Ohio country, whither
they were followed by others from time to time, and by the time the
French war broke out, they were in perfect readiness, and joining the
enemies of Britain, they murdered great numbers of the defenceless
inhabitants of Pennsylvania, laid the whole frontier waste, and spread
terror and misery far and wide by the outrages they committed; I
have been myself a witness to those scenes, and to the distresses of
hundreds of poor people, only in this one quarter.

A work, entitled: “An Enquiry into the Causes of the Alienation of the
Delaware and Shawanese Indians from the British Interest,” written by
Charles Thompson,[15] Esq., and printed in London, in 1759, which some
time since fell into my hands, well merits to be read with attention,
on account of the correctness of the information that it contains.

By this time, the Delawares were sensible of the imposition which had
been practised upon them. They saw that a plan had been organised for
their destruction, and that not only their independence, but their
very existence, was at stake; they therefore took measures to defend
themselves, by abandoning the system of neutrality into which they had
been insidiously drawn.

It was not without difficulty that I obtained from them these
interesting details, for they felt ashamed of their own conduct; they
were afraid of being charged with cowardice, or at least with want of
forethought, in having acted as they did, and not having discovered
their error until it was too late.

And yet, in my opinion, those fears were entirely groundless, and there
appears nothing in their whole conduct disparaging to the courage and
high sense of honour of that brave nation. Let us for a moment place
ourselves in the situation of the Delawares, Mohicans, and the other
tribes connected with them, at the time when the Europeans first landed
on New York Island. They were then in the height of their glory,
pursuing their successes against the Iroquois, with whom they had long
been at war. They were in possession of the whole country, from the sea
coast to the Mississippi, from the River St. Lawrence to the frontier
of Carolina, while the habitations of their enemies did not extend
far beyond the great Lakes. In this situation, they are on a sudden
checked in their career, by a phenomenon they had till then never
beheld; immense canoes arriving at their shores, filled with people
of a different colour, language, dress, and manners, from themselves!
In their astonishment they call out to one another: “Behold! the Gods
are come to visit us!”[16] They at first considered these astonishing
beings, as messengers of peace, sent from the abode of the Great
Spirit, and therefore, employed their time in preparing and making
sacrifices to that Great Being who had so highly honoured them. Lost in
amazement, fond of the enjoyment of this new spectacle, and anxious to
know the result, they were unmindful of those matters which hitherto
had taken up their minds, and had been the object of their pursuits;
they thought of nothing else but the wonders which now struck their
eyes, and their sharpest wits were constantly employed in endeavouring
to divine this great mystery! Such is the manner in which they relate
that event, the strong impression of which is not yet obliterated from
their minds.

It was the _Delawares_ who first received and welcomed these new guests
on New York Island; the Mohicans who inhabited the whole of the North
River above, on its eastern side, were sent for to participate in the
joy which was felt on being honoured by such visitants. Their tradition
of this event is clear and explicit. None of the enemy, say they,
(meaning the Five Nations[17]) were present.

It may possibly be asked, how the Dutch could favour the Five Nations
so much, when none of them were present at the meetings which took
place on their arrival in America? how they came to abandon their first
friends, and take part against them with strangers? and how the Dutch
became acquainted with those strangers? I shall simply, in answer,
give the traditional accounts of the Mohicans in their own words:
“The Dutch Traders (say they) penetrating into our country, high up
the Mohicanichtuck (the Hudson River), fell in with some of the Mingo
warriors, who told them that they were warring against the very people,
(the Delawares and Mohicans) who had so kindly received them; they
easily foresaw, that they could not carry on their trade with their
old friends, while this was the case; neither would the Mingoes suffer
them to trade with their enemies, unless they (the Dutch) assisted
them in bringing about a peace between them. They also made these
traders sensible, that they at that time, were at war with a people of
the same colour with theirs (meaning the French), who had, by means
of a very large river which lay to the North, come into the country;
that they (the Mengwe) were the greatest and most powerful of all the
Indian nations; that if the people they belonged to, were friends to
their enemies, and sided with them in their wars, they would turn their
whole force against them; but if, on the other hand, the Dutch would
join them in effecting a peace with them, so that their hatchet should
be buried forever, they would support and protect them in all their
undertakings;[18] that these traders being frightened, had returned
home, and having stated the matter to their chief (the Dutch Governor),
a vessel soon after went high up the river to an appointed place, where
meeting with the Maqua (Five Nations), a conference was held, at which
the Dutch promised them, that they would use their best endeavours to
persuade their enemies to give up the hatchet to be buried, which, some
time afterwards, actually took place.”

These are (as they say) the circumstances which led to the league
which was afterwards established between the white people and the Five
Nations, which was the cause of much dissatisfaction, injustice, and
bloodshed, and which would not have taken place, if the rights and
privileges of the different nations and tribes had been respected, and
each left to act for itself, especially in selling their lands to the

Having seen how the Five, afterwards Six Nations, rose to power, we
have next to state by what means they lost the ascendancy which they
had thus acquired.

The withdrawing of the principal part of the Delawares, and the
Shawanos, from the Atlantic coast, between the years 1740 and 1760,
afforded them an opportunity of consulting with the western tribes, on
the manner of taking revenge on the Iroquois for the many provocations,
wrongs and insults they had received from them; when _ten_ nations
immediately entered into an alliance for that purpose, the French
having promised to assist them.[19] In the year 1756, they agreed to
move on in detached bodies, as though they meant to attack the English,
with whom they and the French were then at war, and then turn suddenly
on the Six Nations and make a bold stroke. Though, for various reasons,
their designs could not at that time be carried into effect, yet they
did not lose sight of the object, waiting only for a proper opportunity.

It would, however, have been next to impossible, under existing
circumstances, and while the Six Nations were supported by such a
powerful ally as the English, for the Delawares and their allies, to
subdue, or even effectually to chastise them. These Nations, however,
at the commencement of a war between the English nation and the
Colonies, were become so far independent, that such of them as lived
remote from the British stations or garrisons, or were not immediately
under their eye, were at full liberty to side with whom they pleased;
and though the Six Nations attempted to dictate to the Western
Delawares, what side they should take, their spirited chief, Captain
White Eyes, did not hesitate to reply, in the name of his nation:
“that he should do as he pleased; that he wore no petticoats, as they
falsely pretended; he was no woman, but a man, and they should find him
to act as such.” That this brave chief was in earnest, was soon after
verified, by a party of Delawares joining the American army.

In 1781, when almost all the Indian nations were in the British
interest, except a part of the Delawares, among whom were the Christian
Indians between 2 and 300 souls in number,[20] the British Indian agent
at Detroit applied to the great council of the Six Nations at Niagara,
to remove those Christian Indians out of the country: the Iroquois upon
this sent a war message to the Chippeways and Ottawas,[21] to this
effect: “We herewith make you a present of the Christian Indians, to
make soup of;[22]” which in the war language of the Indians, is saying:
“We deliver these people to you to be murdered!” These brave Indians
sent the message immediately back again with the reply: “We have no
cause for doing this!”

The same message being next sent to the Wyandots, they likewise
disobeyed their orders, and did not make the least attempt to murder
those innocent people. The Iroquois, therefore, were completely at a
loss how to think and act, seeing that their orders were every where

At the conclusion of the revolutionary war, they had the mortification
to see, that the trade which they had hitherto carried on, and to them
was so agreeable and profitable, that of selling to the English the
land of other nations, to which they had no possible claim, was at once
and forever put an end to by the liberal line of conduct which the
American Government adopted with the Indian Nations, leaving each at
liberty to sell its own lands, reserving, only to themselves the right
of purchase, to the exclusion of foreigners of every description.

In addition to this, the bond of connexion which subsisted between
these Six Nations, if it was not entirely broken, yet was much
obstructed, by a separation which took place at the close of that war,
when a part, and the most active body of them, retired into Canada. No
nation then any more regarded their commands, nor even their advice,
when it did not accord with their will and inclination; all which
became evident during the whole time the Western Nations were at war
with the United States, and until the peace made with them in 1795.[23]

At last, being sensible of their humbled situation, and probably
dreading the consequence of their former insolent conduct to the other
Indian Nations, and principally the Delawares, whom they had so long
and so much insulted, were they not to make some amends for all this
contumely? They came forward, at the critical moment, just previous
to the Treaty concluded by General Wayne, and formally declared the
Delaware nation to be no longer _Women_, but MEN.

I hope to be believed in the solemn assertion which I now make: That in
all that I have written on the subject of the history and politics of
the Indian Nations, I have neither been influenced by partiality for
the one, or undue prejudice against the other, but having had the best
opportunities of obtaining from authentic sources, such information in
matters of fact, as has enabled me to make up my mind on the subject,
I have taken the liberty of expressing my opinion as I have honestly
formed it, leaving the reader, however, at liberty to judge and decide
for himself as he may deem most proper.

I wish once more to observe, that in this history it is principally
meant to shew, rather what the Indians of this country were previous to
the white people’s arrival, than what they now are; for now, the two
great nations, the Iroquois and the Delawares, are no longer the same
people that they formerly were. The former, who, as their rivals would
assert, were more like beasts than human beings, and made intrigue
their only study, have, by their intercourse with the whites, become
an industrious and somewhat civilised people; at least many of them
are so, which is probably owing to their having been permitted to live
so long, (indeed, for more than a century) in the same district of
country, and while the British possessed it, under the protection of
the superintendent of Indian affairs; while the latter have always been
oppressed and persecuted, disturbed and driven from place to place,
scarcely enjoying themselves at any place for a dozen years at a time;
having constantly the lowest class of whites for their neighbours,
and having no opportunity of displaying their true character and the
talents that nature had bestowed upon them.

My long residence among those nations in the constant habit of
unrestrained familiarity, has enabled me to know them well, and made
me intimately acquainted with the manners, customs, character and
disposition of those men of nature, when uncorrupted by European vices.
Of these, I think I could draw a highly interesting picture, if I only
possessed adequate powers of description: but the talent of writing is
not to be acquired in the wilderness, among savages. I have felt it,
however, to be a duty incumbent upon me to make the attempt, and I have
done it in the following pages, with a rude but faithful pencil. I have
spent a great part of my life among those people, and have been treated
by them with uniform kindness and hospitality. I have witnessed their
virtues and experienced their goodness. I owe them a debt of gratitude,
which I cannot acquit better than by presenting to the world this
plain unadorned picture, which I have drawn in the spirit of candour
and truth. Alas! in a few years, perhaps, they will have entirely
disappeared from the face of the earth, and all that will be remembered
of them will be that they existed and were numbered among the barbarous
tribes that once inhabited this vast continent. At least, let it not be
said, that among the whole race of white Christian men, not one single
individual could be found, who, rising above the cloud of prejudice
with which the pride of civilisation has surrounded the original
inhabitants of this land, would undertake the task of doing justice to
their many excellent qualities, and raise a small frail monument to
their memory.

I shall conclude with a few necessary remarks for the information of
the reader.

_Lenni Lenape_ being the national and proper name of the people we call
“Delawares,” I have retained this name, or for brevity’s sake, called
them simply _Lenape_, as they do themselves in most instances. Their
name signifies “_original people_,” a race of human beings who are the
same that they were in the beginning, _unchanged_ and _unmixed_.[24]

These people (the Lenni Lenape) are known and called by all the
western, northern, and some of the southern nations, by the name of
_Wapanachki_, which the Europeans have corrupted into _Apenaki_,
_Openagi_, _Abenaquis_,[25] and _Abenakis_.[26] All these names,
however differently written, and improperly understood by authors,
point to one and the same people, the Lenape, who are by this compound
word, called “people at the rising of the Sun,” or as we would say,
_Eastlanders_; and are acknowledged by near forty Indian tribes, whom
we call nations, as being their grandfathers. All these nations,
derived from the same stock, recognise each other as Wapanachki, which
among them is a generic name.

The name “_Delawares_,” which we give to these people, is unknown in
their language, and I well remember the time when they thought the
whites had given it to them in derision; but they were reconciled to
it, on being told that it was the name of a great white chief, Lord
de la War, which had been given to them and their river. As they are
fond of being named after distinguished men, they were rather pleased,
considering it as a compliment.

The _Mahicanni_ have been called by so many different names,[27] that I
was at a loss which to adopt, so that the reader might know what people
were meant. Loskiel calls them “Mohicans,” which is nearest to their
real name Mahicanni, which, of course, I have adopted.

The name “_Nanticokes_” I have left as generally used, though properly
it should be _Néntico_, or after the English pronunciation _Nantico_.

The “_Canai_,” I call by their _proper_ name. I allude here to those
people we call _Canais_, _Conois_, _Conoys_, _Canaways_, _Kanhawas_,

With regard to the Five, or Six Nations, I have called them by
different names, such as are most common, and well understood. The
Lenape (Delawares) are never heard to say “_Six Nations_,” and it is a
rare thing to hear these people named by them otherwise than _Mengwe_;
the Mahicanni call them _Maqua_, and even most white people call them
_Mingoes_. When therefore I have said the _Five_ or _Six Nations_, I
have only used our own mode of speaking, not that of the Indians, who
never look upon them as having been so many _nations_; but _divisions_,
and _tribes_, who, as united, have become a nation. Thus, when the
Lenape (Delawares) happen to name them as one body, the word they make
use of implies “the five divisions together, or united,” as will be
seen in another place of this work. I call them also _Iroquois_, after
the French and some English writers.

The _Wyandots_, or _Wyondots_, are the same whom the French call
_Hurons_, and sometimes _Guyandots_. Father Sagard, a French
Missionary, who lived among them in the 17th century, and has written
an account of his mission, and a kind of dictionary of their language,
says their proper name is _Ahouandâte_, from whence it is evident that
the English appellation Wyandots has been derived.

There being so many words in the language of the Lenape and their
kindred tribes, the sound of which cannot well be represented according
to the English pronunciation, I have in general adopted for them the
German mode of spelling. The _ch_, particularly before a consonant, is
a strong guttural, and unless an Englishman has the use of the Greek χ,
he will not be able to pronounce it, as in the words _Chasquem_ (Indian
corn), _Cheltol_ (many), _Ches_ (a skin), _Chauchschisis_ (an old
woman), and a great many more. Sometimes, indeed, in the middle of a
word substitutes may be found which may do, as in the word _Nimachtak_
(brethren), which might be written _Nemaughtok_, but this will seldom
answer. This is probably the reason that most of the English authors
have written Indian words so incorrectly, far more so than French

The Delawares have neither of the letters R, F, nor V, in their
language, though they easily learn to pronounce them. They have a
consonant peculiar to them and other Indians, which is a sibilant, and
which we represent by W. It is produced by a soft whistling, and is
not unpleasant to the ear, although it comes before a consonant. It is
not much unlike the English sound _wh_ in _what_, but not so round or
full, and rather more whistled. _W_ before a vowel is pronounced as in






(NOTE.--In annotating this work, the editor consulted, among other
authorities, _The Life of John Heckewelder, by the Rev. Edward
Rondthaler_, _Heckewelder’s Narrative of the Mission of the United
Brethren among the Delaware and Mohegan Indians_, _History of the
Mission of the United Brethren among the Indians in North America_,
_The Life and Times of David Zeisberger_, _Memorials of the Moravian
Church_, _The Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society_, _The
Moravians in New York and Connecticut_, and _Butterfield’s Crawford’s
Campaign against Sandusky_.

He omitted to state, in the course of the introductory biographical
sketch of the missionary, that his Account of the History, Manners,
and Customs of Indian Nations has been translated into both French
and German. The French translation was published at Paris, in 1822;
it is entitled, “_Histoire, Mœurs et Coutumes des Nations Indiennes
qui habitaient autrefois la Pennsylvanie et les Etats voisins;
par le Révérend Jean Heckewelder, Missionnaire Morave, traduit de
l’Anglais, par le Chevalier Du Ponceau_.” The German translation,
published at Göttingen in 1821, is entitled, “_Johann Heckewelder’s
evangelischen Predigers zu Bethlehem, Nachricht von der Geschichte,
den Sitten und Gebräuchen der Indianischen Völkerschaften, welche
ehemals Pennsylvanien und die benachbarten Staaten bewohnten. Aus dem
Englischen übersetzt und mit den Angaben anderer Schriftsteller über
eben dieselben Gegenstände (Carver, Loskiel, Ling, Volney), vermehrt
von Fr. Hesse, evangelischen Prediger zu Nienburg. Nebst einem die
Glaubwürdigkeit und den anthropologischen Werth der Nachrichten
Heckewelder’s betreffenden Zusatze von G. E. Schulze_.”)






The Lenni Lenape (according to the traditions handed down to them by
their ancestors) resided many hundred years ago, in a very distant
country in the western part of the American continent. For some reason,
which I do not find accounted for, they determined on migrating to the
eastward, and accordingly set out together in a body. After a very
long journey, and many nights’ encampments[28] by the way, they at
length arrived on the _Namæsi Sipu_,[29] where they fell in with the
Mengwe,[30] who had likewise emigrated from a distant country, and had
struck upon this river somewhat higher up. Their object was the same
with that of the Delawares; they were proceeding on to the eastward,
until they should find a country that pleased them. The spies which
the Lenape had sent forward for the purpose of reconnoitring, had
long before their arrival discovered that the country east of the
Mississippi was inhabited by a very powerful nation, who had many large
towns built on the great rivers flowing through their land. Those
people (as I was told) called themselves _Talligeu_ or _Talligewi_.
Colonel John Gibson,[31] however, a gentleman who has a thorough
knowledge of the Indians, and speaks several of their languages, is
of opinion that they were not called _Talligewi_, but _Alligewi_, and
it would seem that he is right, from the traces of their name which
still remain in the country, the Allegheny river and mountains having
indubitably been named after them. The Delawares still call the former
_Alligéwi Sipu_, the River of the Alligewi. We have adopted, I know
not for what reason, its Iroquois name, Ohio, which the French had
literally translated into _La Belle Riviere_, The Beautiful River.[32]
A branch of it, however, still retains the ancient name Allegheny.

Many wonderful things are told of this famous people. They are said
to have been remarkably tall and stout, and there is a tradition
that there were giants among them, people of a much larger size than
the tallest of the Lenape. It is related that they had built to
themselves regular fortifications or entrenchments, from whence they
would sally out, but were generally repulsed. I have seen many of the
fortifications said to have been built by them, two of which, in
particular, were remarkable. One of them was near the mouth of the
river Huron, which empties itself into the Lake St. Clair, on the north
side of that lake, at the distance of about 20 miles N. E. of Detroit.
This spot of ground was, in the year 1786, owned and occupied by a Mr.
Tucker. The other works, properly entrenchments, being walls or banks
of earth regularly thrown up, with a deep ditch on the outside, were on
the Huron river, east of the Sandusky, about six or eight miles from
Lake Erie. Outside of the gateways of each of these two entrenchments,
which lay within a mile of each other, were a number of large flat
mounds, in which, the Indian pilot said, were buried hundreds of the
slain Talligewi, whom I shall hereafter with Colonel Gibson call
_Alligewi_. Of these entrenchments, Mr. Abraham Steiner, who was with
me at the time when I saw them, gave a very accurate description, which
was published at Philadelphia, in 1789 or 1790, in some periodical work
the name of which I cannot at present remember.[33]

When the Lenape arrived on the banks of the Mississippi, they sent a
message to the Alligewi to request permission to settle themselves
in their neighbourhood. This was refused them, but they obtained
leave to pass through the country and seek a settlement farther to
the eastward. They accordingly began to cross the Namæsi Sipu, when
the Alligewi, seeing that their numbers were so very great, and in
fact they consisted of many thousands, made a furious attack on those
who had crossed, threatening them all with destruction, if they
dared to persist in coming over to their side of the river. Fired at
the treachery of these people, and the great loss of men they had
sustained, and besides, not being prepared for a conflict, the Lenape
consulted on what was to be done; whether to retreat in the best manner
they could, or try their strength, and let the enemy see that they were
not cowards, but men, and too high-minded to suffer themselves to be
driven off before they had made a trial of their strength, and were
convinced that the enemy was too powerful for them. The Mengwe, who had
hitherto been satisfied with being spectators from a distance, offered
to join them, on condition that, after conquering the country, they
should be entitled to share it with them; their proposal was accepted,
and the resolution was taken by the two nations, to conquer or die.

Having thus united their forces, the Lenape and Mengwe declared war
against the Alligewi, and great battles were fought, in which many
warriors fell on both sides. The enemy fortified their large towns
and erected fortifications, especially on large rivers, and near
lakes, where they were successively attacked and sometimes stormed
by the allies. An engagement took place in which hundreds fell, who
were afterwards buried in holes or laid together in heaps and covered
over with earth. No quarter was given, so that the Alligewi, at last,
finding that their destruction was inevitable if they persisted in
their obstinacy, abandoned the country to the conquerors, and fled down
the Mississippi river, from whence they never returned. The war which
was carried on with this nation, lasted many years, during which the
Lenape lost a great number of their warriors, while the Mengwe would
always hang back in the rear, leaving them to face the enemy. In the
end, the conquerors divided the country between themselves; the Mengwe
made choice of the lands in the vicinity of the great lakes, and on
their tributary streams, and the Lenape took possession of the country
to the south. For a long period of time, some say many hundred years,
the two nations resided peaceably in this country, and increased very
fast; some of their most enterprising huntsmen and warriors crossed
the great swamps,[34] and falling on streams running to the eastward,
followed them down to the great Bay River,[35] thence into the Bay
itself, which we call Chesapeak. As they pursued their travels, partly
by land and partly by water, sometimes near and at other times on
the great Saltwater Lake, as they call the Sea, they discovered the
great River, which we call the Delaware; and thence exploring still
eastward, the _Scheyichbi_ country, now named New Jersey, they arrived
at another great stream, that which we call the Hudson or North River.
Satisfied with what they had seen, they, (or some of them) after a
long absence, returned to their nation and reported the discoveries
they had made; they described the country they had discovered, as
abounding in game and various kinds of fruits; and the rivers and bays,
with fish, tortoises, &c., together with abundance of water-fowl, and
no enemy to be dreaded. They considered the event as a fortunate one
for them, and concluding this to be the country destined for them by
the Great Spirit, they began to emigrate thither, as yet but in small
bodies, so as not to be straitened for want of provisions by the
way, some even laying by for a whole year; at last they settled on
the four great rivers (which we call Delaware, Hudson, Susquehannah,
and Potomack) making the Delaware, to which they gave the name of
“_Lenapewihittuck_,”[36] (the river or stream of the Lenape) the centre
of their possessions.

They say, however, that the whole of their nation did not reach this
country; that many remained behind in order to aid and assist that
great body of their people, which had not crossed the Namæsi Sipu, but
had retreated into the interior of the country on the other side, on
being informed of the reception which those who had crossed had met
with, and probably thinking that they had all been killed by the enemy.

Their nation finally became divided into three separate bodies; the
larger body, which they suppose to have been one half of the whole, was
settled on the Atlantic, and the other half was again divided into two
parts, one of which, the strongest as they suppose, remained beyond the
Mississippi, and the remainder where they left them, on this side of
that river.

Those of the Delawares who fixed their abode on the shores of
the Atlantic divided themselves into three tribes. Two of them,
distinguished by the names of the _Turtle_ and the _Turkey_, the former
calling themselves _Unâmis_ and the other _Unalâchtgo_, chose those
grounds to settle on, which lay nearest to the sea, between the coast
and the high mountains. As they multiplied, their settlements extended
from the _Mohicannittuck_ (river of the Mohicans, which we call the
North or Hudson river) to beyond the Potomack. Many families with their
connexions choosing to live by themselves, were scattered not only
on the larger, but also on the small streams throughout the country,
having towns and villages, where they lived together in separate
bodies, in each of which a chief resided; those chiefs, however, were
subordinate (by their own free will, the only kind of subordination
which the Indians know) to the head chiefs or great council of the
nation, whom they officially informed of all events or occurrences
affecting the general interest which came to their knowledge. The
third tribe, the _Wolf_, commonly called the _Minsi_, which we have
corrupted into _Monseys_, had chosen to live back of the two other
tribes, and formed a kind of bulwark for their protection, watching
the motions of the Mengwe, and being at hand to afford their aid in
case of a rupture with them. The Minsi were considered the most warlike
and active branch of the Lenape. They extended their settlements, from
the _Minisink_, a place named after them, where they had their council
seat and fire, quite up to the Hudson on the east; and to the west or
south west far beyond the Susquehannah: their northern boundaries were
supposed originally to be the heads of the great rivers Susquehannah
and Delaware, and their southern boundaries that ridge of hills known
in New Jersey by the name of _Muskanecun_, and in Pennsylvania,
by those of _Lehigh_, _Coghnewago_, &c. Within this boundary were
their principal settlements; and even as late as the year 1742, they
had a town, with a large peach orchard, on the tract of land where
_Nazareth_, in Pennsylvania, has since been built;[37] another on
_Lehigh_ (the west branch of the Delaware), and others beyond the blue
ridge, besides small family settlements here and there scattered.

From the above _three_ tribes, the _Unâmis_, _Unalâchtgo_, and
the _Minsi_, comprising together the body of those people we call
_Delawares_, had in the course of time, sprung many others, who,
having for their own conveniency, chosen distant spots to settle on,
and increasing in numbers, gave themselves names or received them from
others. Those names, generally given after some simple natural objects,
or after something striking or extraordinary, they continued to bear
even after they ceased to be applicable, when they removed to other
places, where the object after which they were named was not to be
found; thus they formed separate and distinct tribes, yet did not deny
their origin, but retained their affection for the parent tribe, of
which they were even proud to be called the grandchildren.

This was the case with the _Mahicanni_ or Mohicans, in the east, a
people who by intermarriages had become a detached body, mixing two
languages together, and forming out of the two a dialect of their own:
choosing to live by themselves, they had crossed the Hudson River,
naming it Mahicannituck River after their assumed name, and spread
themselves over all that country which now composes the eastern states.
New tribes again sprung from them who assumed distinct names; still
however not breaking off from the parent stock, but acknowledging
the Lenni Lenape to be their grandfather: the Delawares, at last,
thought proper to enlarge their council house for their Mahicanni
grandchildren, that they might come to their fire, that is to say, be
benefited by their advice, and also in order to keep alive their family
connexions and remain in league with each other.

Much the same thing happened with a body of the Lenape, called
_Nanticokes_, who had, together with their offspring, proceeded far to
the south, in Maryland and Virginia; the council house was by their
grandfather (the Delawares), extended to the Potomack, in the same
manner and for the same motives as had been done with the _Mahicanni_.

Meanwhile the Mengwe, who had first settled on the great Lakes
between them, had always kept a number of canoes in readiness to save
themselves, in case the Alligewi should return, and their number also
increasing, they had in time proceeded farther, and settled below the
Lakes along the River St. Lawrence, so that they were now become, on
the north side, neighbours of the Lenape tribes.

These Mengwe now began to look upon their southern neighbours with
a jealous eye, became afraid of their growing power, and of being
dispossessed by them of the lands they occupied. To meet this evil
in time, they first sought to raise quarrels and disturbances, which
in the end might lead to wars between distant tribes and the Lenape,
for which purpose, they clandestinely murdered people on one or the
other side, seeking to induce the injured party to believe, that
some particular nation or tribe had been the aggressor; and having
actually succeeded to their wishes, they now stole into the country of
the Lenape and their associates, frequently surprising them at their
hunting camps, occasionally committing murders, and making off with
the plunder. Foreseeing, however, that they could not go on in this
way without being detected, they had recourse to other artful means,
by which they actually succeeded in setting tribe against tribe,
and nation against nation. As each nation or tribe has a particular
mark on their war clubs, different from that of the others; and as
on seeing one of these near the dead body of a murdered person, it
is immediately known what nation or tribe has been the aggressor; so
the Mengwe having left a war club, such as the Lenape made use of, in
the Cherokee country, where they had purposely committed a murder, of
course the Cherokees naturally concluding that it had been committed by
the Lenape, fell suddenly upon them, which produced a most bloody war
between the two nations. The treachery of the Mengwe, however, having
been at length discovered, the Lenape determined on taking an exemplary
revenge, and, indeed, nothing short of a total extirpation[38] of
that deceitful race was resolved on; they were, besides, known to eat
human flesh,[39] to kill men for the purpose of devouring them; and
therefore were not considered by the Lenape as a pure race, or as
rational beings; but as a mixture of the human and brutal kinds.

War being now openly declared against the Mengwe, it was carried on
with vigour; until, at last, finding that they were no match for so
powerful an enemy as the Lenape, who had such a train of connexions,
ready to join them if necessity required, they fell upon the plan of
entering into a confederacy with each other, by which they would be
bound to make a common cause, and meet the common enemy with their
united force, and not, as the present prospect was, be destroyed by
tribes, which threatened in the end the destruction of the whole.
Until this time, each tribe of the Mengwe had acted independent of the
others, and they were not inclined to come under any supreme authority,
which might counteract their base designs; for now, a single tribe, or
even individuals of a tribe, by the commission of wanton hostilities,
would draw the more peaceable among them into wars and bloodshed, as
particularly had been the case with the Senecas, who were the most
restless of the whole; and though the Lenape had directed their force
principally against the aggressors, yet the body of the nation became
thereby weaker; so that they saw the necessity of coming under some
better regulations and government.[40]

This confederation took place some time between the 15th and 16th
century;[41] the most bloody wars were afterwards carried on for a
great length of time, between the confederated Iroquois, and the
Delawares and their connexions, in which the Lenape say that they
generally came off victorious. While these wars were carrying on with
vigour, the French landed in Canada, and it was not long before they
and the now combined Five Nations, or tribes, were at war with each
other, the latter not being willing to permit that the French should
establish themselves in that country. At last the Iroquois, finding
themselves between two fires, and without any prospect of conquering
the Lenape by arms, and seeing the necessity of withdrawing with their
families, from the shores of the St. Lawrence, to the interior of the
country, where the French could not easily reach them, fell upon a
stratagem, which they flattered themselves would, if successful, secure
to them not only a peace with the Lenape, but also with all the other
tribes connected with them; so that they would then have but one enemy
(the French) to contend with.

This plan was very deeply laid, and was calculated to deprive the
Lenape and their allies, not only of their power but of their military
fame, which had exalted them above all the other Indian nations. They
were to be persuaded to abstain from the use of arms, and assume the
station of mediators and umpires among their warlike neighbours. In
the language of the Indians, they were to be made _women_.[42] It
must be understood that among these nations wars are never brought to
an end but by the interference of the weaker sex. The men, however
tired of fighting, are afraid of being considered as cowards if they
should intimate a desire for peace. It is not becoming, say they, for a
warrior, with the bloody weapon in his hand, to hold pacific language
to his enemy. He must shew to the end a determined courage, and appear
as ready and willing to fight as at the beginning of the contest.
Neither, say they, is it proper, to threaten and to sue in the same
breath, to hold the peace belt in one hand, and the tomahawk in the
other; men’s words, as well as their actions, should be of a piece,
all good or all bad; for it is a fixed maxim of theirs, which they
apply on all occasions, that good can never dwell with evil. They also
think that a treaty produced by threats or by force, cannot be binding.
With these dispositions, war would never have ceased among Indians,
until the extermination of one or the other party, if the tender and
compassionate sex had not come forward, and by their moving speeches
persuaded the enraged combatants to bury their hatchets, and make peace
with each other. On these occasions they were very eloquent, they would
lament with great feeling the losses suffered on both sides, when there
was not a warrior, perhaps, who had not lost a son, a brother, or a
friend. They would describe the sorrows of widowed wives, and, above
all, of bereaved mothers. The pains of child-birth, the anxieties
attending the progress of their sons from infancy to manhood, they had
willingly and even cheerfully suffered; but after all these trials,
how cruel was it for them to see those promising youths whom they had
reared with so much care, fall victims to the rage of war, and a prey
to a relentless enemy; to see them slaughtered on the field of battle,
or put to death, as prisoners, by a protracted torture, in the midst
of the most exquisite torments. The thought of such scenes made them
curse their own existence, and shudder at the idea of bearing children.
Then they would conjure the warriors by every thing that was dear
to them, to take pity on the sufferings of their wives and helpless
infants, to turn their faces once more towards their homes, families,
and friends, to forgive the wrongs suffered from each other, to lay
aside their deadly weapons, and smoke together the pipe of amity and
peace. They had given on both sides sufficient proofs of their courage;
the contending nations were alike high-minded and brave, and they
must now embrace as friends those whom they had learned to respect as
enemies. Speeches like these seldom failed of their intended effect,
and the women by this honorable function of peace-makers, were placed
in a situation by no means undignified. It would not be a disgrace,
therefore; on the contrary, it would be an honour to a powerful nation,
who could not be suspected of wanting either strength or courage, to
assume that station by which they would be the means, and the only
means, of preserving the general peace and saving the Indian race from
utter extirpation.

Such were the arguments which the artful Mengwe urged to the Lenape to
make them fall into the snare which they had prepared for them. They
had reflected, they said, deeply reflected on their critical situation;
there remained no resource for them, but that some magnanimous nation
should assume the part and situation of the _woman_. It could not be
given to a weak or contemptible tribe, such would not be listened to;
but the Lenape and their allies would at once possess influence and
command respect. As men they had been dreaded; as women they would be
respected and honored, none would be so daring or so base as to attack
or insult them; as women they would have a right to interfere in all
the quarrels of other nations, and to stop or prevent the effusion of
Indian blood. They entreated them, therefore, to become _the woman_
in name and, in fact, to lay down their arms and all the insignia
of warriors, to devote themselves to agriculture and other pacific
employments, and thus become the means of preserving peace and harmony
among the nations.

The Lenape, unfortunately for themselves, listened to the voice of
their enemies. They knew it was too true, that the Indian nations,
excited by their own unbridled passions, and not a little by their
European neighbours, were in the way of total extirpation by each
other’s hands. They believed that the Mengwe were sincere, and that
their proposal had no object in view but the preservation of the Indian
race. In a luckless hour they gave their consent, and agreed to become
_women_. This consent was received with great joy. A feast was prepared
for the purpose of confirming and proclaiming the new order of things.
With appropriate ceremonies, of which Loskiel has given a particular
description,[43] the Delawares were installed in their new functions,
eloquent speeches were delivered, accompanied, as usual, with belts
of wampum. The great peace belt and the chain of friendship (in the
figurative language of the Indians) was laid across the shoulders of
the new mediator, one end of which, it was said, was to be taken hold
of by all the Indian nations, and the other by the Europeans.[44] The
Lenape say that the Dutch were present at that ceremony, and had no
inconsiderable share in the intrigue.[45]

The old and intelligent Mahicanni, whose forefathers inhabited the
country on the east side of the North river, gave many years since
the following account of the above transaction. They said that their
grandfather (the Lenni Lenape), and the nations or tribes connected
with them, were so united, that whatsoever nation attacked the one,
it was the same as attacking the whole; all in such cases would unite
and make a common cause. That the long house (council house) of all
those who were of the same blood, and united under this kind of tacit
alliance, reached from the head of the tide, at some distance above
where Gaaschtinick (Albany) now stands, to the head of the tide water
on the Potomack. That at each end of this house there was a door for
the tribes to enter at. That the Mengwe were in no way connected with
those who had access to this house; but were looked upon as strangers.
That the Lenape, with the Mohicans and all the other tribes in their
connexion, were on the point of extirpating the Five Nations, when
they applied to the _Dutchemaan_, who were now making a settlement at
or near Gaaschtinick, to assist them in bringing about a peace with
the Lenape. That accordingly these new comers invited the Lenape and
Mohicans to a grand council, at a place situated at some distance from
where Albany now stands, which the white people have since called by
the name of _Nordman’s Kill_. That when at length, by their united
supplications and fair speeches, they had got the hatchet out of the
hands of the Lenape, they buried that weapon at Gaaschtinick, and
said that they would build a church over the spot, so that the weapon
could never any more be got at, otherwise than by lifting up the whole
church, and whatever nation should dare to do this, on them the
Dutchemaan would take revenge. That now, having succeeded in getting
the weapon out of the hands of the Lenape, the ceremony of placing them
in the situation of “the woman,” for the purpose of being mediators,
took place, when the Mengwe declared them henceforth to be their
cousins, and the Mahicanni, they said, they would call their nephews.

The Mahicanni further say, that it was fear which induced the
Dutchemaan to aid the Five Nations in bringing about this peace,
because at the place where they were at that time making their
settlement, great bodies of warriors would pass and repass, so that
they could not avoid being interrupted in their undertakings, and
probably molested, if not destroyed, by one or the other of the war
parties, as their wars, at that time, were carried on with great rage,
and no quarter was given. That in producing this peace, the white
people had effected for the Mengwe, what no other nation could have
done, and had laid the foundation of the future greatness of their
Iroquois friends, as the same policy was pursued by the English, after
they came into possession of this country.--So far the tradition of the

The Rev. Mr. Pyrlæus, in his notes, after fixing as near as he could
the time when the Five Nations confederated with each other, proceeds
in these words: “According to my informant, Sganarady, a creditable
aged Indian, his grandfather had been one of the deputies sent for the
purpose of entering into a covenant with the white Europeans; they met
at a place since called Nordman’s Kill, about four miles below where
afterwards Albany was built, where this covenant of friendship was
first established, and the Mohawks were the active body in effecting
this work.”

From these three separate accounts of the Lenape, of the Mahicanni,
and of the Mohawks, as related by Mr. Pyrlæus, it appears to be
conclusively proved, that the Europeans were already in this country,
when the Lenape were persuaded to assume the station of _the woman_,
and that the Dutch were assisting in the plot, and were at least the
instigators, if not the authors of it. It was the _Dutch_ who summoned
the great council near Albany; the tomahawk was buried deep in the
ground, and the vengeance of the _Dutch_ was threatened if it should
ever be taken up again; the peace belt was laid across the shoulders of
the unfortunate Delawares, supported at one end by the Five Nations,
and at the other by the _Europeans_; all these circumstances point
so clearly to European intrigue, that it is impossible to resist the
conclusion that the whites adopted this means to neutralize the power
of the Delawares and their friends, whom they dreaded, and strengthen
the hands of the Iroquois, who were in their alliance.

The Iroquois have denied that these machinations ever took place, and
say that they conquered the Delawares in fair battle, and compelled
them by force to become women, or in other words that they obliged
them to submit to the greatest humiliation to which a warlike spirited
people can ever be reduced; not a momentary humiliation, as when the
Romans were compelled by the Samnites to pass under the Caudine forks,
but a permanent disgrace, which was to last as long as their national
existence. If this were true, the Lenape and their allies, who, like
all other Indian nations, never considered a treaty binding when
entered into under any kind of compulsion, would not have submitted
to this any longer than until they could again have rallied their
forces and fallen upon their enemy; they would have done long before
the year 1755, what they did at last at that time, joined the French
in their wars against the Iroquois and English, and would not have
patiently waited more than a century before they took their revenge
for so flagrant an outrage. Their numbers, acknowledged to have been
far superior to that of their Indian enemies, and the vast extent of
territory which they possessed, furnished them with ample means to have
acted hostilely, if they had thought proper. On the contrary, they
lived at peace with the Iroquois, and their European allies, until that
decisive war, by which the French lost at once all their extensive
possessions on the continent of America.

In addition to these positive proofs, negative evidence of the
strongest kind may be adduced. The Iroquois say, indeed, that they
conquered the Delawares and their allies, and compelled them to become
women. But there is no tradition among them of the particulars of this
important event. Neither Mr. Pyrlæus, nor Mr. Zeisberger,[46] who
both lived long among the Five Nations, and spoke and understood their
language well, could obtain from them any details relative to this
supposed conquest; they ought, certainly, to have been able to say
how it was effected; whether by one decisive fight or by successive
engagements, or at least, when the last battle took place; who were the
nations or tribes engaged in it; who the chiefs or commanders; what
numbers fell on each side; and a variety of other facts, by which the
truth of their assertion might have been proved: the total absence of
such details appears to me to militate against them in the strongest
manner, and to corroborate the statement of their adversaries.

The Delawares are of opinion, that this scheme of the Five Nations,
however deeply laid, and meant essentially to injure them, would not,
however, have operated against them, but on the contrary, have greatly
subserved their national interest, if the Europeans had not afterwards
come into the country in such great numbers, and multiplied so rapidly
as they did. For their neutral position would greatly have favoured
their increase, while the numbers of the other Indian nations would
have been reduced by the wars in which they were continually engaged.
But unfortunately for them, it happened that the Europeans successively
invaded the country which they occupied, and now forms what are called
the middle states, and as they advanced from the Atlantic into the
interior, drove before them the Lenape and their allies, and obtained
possession of their lands; while the Iroquois, who happened to be
placed in the neighbourhood of Canada, between the French and English,
who were frequently at war with each other, had an enemy, it is true,
in the French nation, but had strong protectors in the English, who
considered them as a check upon their enemies, and, being the most
numerous people, were best able to afford them protection; thus they
were suffered to increase and become powerful, while the Lenape,
having no friend near them, the French being then at too great a
distance, were entirely at the mercy of their English neighbours, who,
advancing fast on their lands, gradually dispersed them, and other
causes concurring, produced at last their almost entire destruction.
Among those causes the treacherous conduct of the Five Nations may be
considered as the principal one.

Before that strange metamorphosis took place, of a great and powerful
nation being transformed into a band of defenceless women, the Iroquois
had never been permitted to visit the Lenape, even when they were at
peace with each other. Whenever a Mengwe appeared in their country, he
was hunted down as a beast of prey, and it was lawful for every one
to destroy him. But now, _the woman_ could not, consistently with her
new station and her engagements, make use of destructive weapons, and
she was bound to abstain from all violence against the human species.
Her late enemies, therefore, found no difficulty in travelling, under
various pretences, through her country, and those of her allies, and
leaving here and there a few of their people to remain among them as
long as they pleased, for the purpose, as they said, of keeping up
a good understanding, and assisting them in the preservation of the
general peace. But while they were amusing the Lenape with flattering
language, they were concerting measures to disturb their quiet by
involving them in difficulties with the neighbouring nations. I shall
relate one among many instances of a similar conduct. They once sent
their men into the Cherokee country, who were instructed secretly
to kill one of that nation, and to leave a war club near the person
murdered, which had been purposely made after the manner and in
the shape of those of the Delawares. Now leaving a war club in an
Indian country, is considered by those nations as a formal challenge
or declaration of war. The Cherokees, deceived by appearances, and
believing that their grandfather the Lenape had committed the murder,
collected a large party to go into their country and take their
revenge. Meanwhile, the Iroquois sent a messenger to the Lenape, to
inform them of the approach of an enemy, who, they had learned from
their hunters, was coming towards their settlement, and to advise them
to send a number of their men immediately to a certain place, where
they would be met by a large body of the Five Nations, who would take
the lead, march in front, and fight their battles, so that they would
have little else to do than to look on and see how well their friends
fought for them. The Lenape, being in no wise prepared to meet a
powerful foe, assembled in haste a few of their men, and repaired to
the place of rendezvous, where they were disappointed by not meeting
any of their pretended protectors. The enemy, however, was close upon
them; the Lenape fought with great courage, but were overpowered by an
immense superiority of numbers, and defeated with considerable loss.
Now the Iroquois made their appearance, and instead of attacking or
pursuing the Cherokees, loaded the Delawares with reproaches, for
their temerity, as they called it, in having dared, being _women_, to
take the lead in attacking _men_. They told them that the Five Nations
being their superiors, they ought to have waited for them before
they attacked the Cherokees, that then their protectors would have
fought and defeated them, but that as they had thought proper to act
by themselves, they had received the punishment justly due to their

It was thus that the Five Nations rewarded the confidence that the
Delawares had placed in them. Their treachery was not, however,
suspected for a long time; but it was at last discovered; it was even
found out that in this last engagement, a number of the Iroquois had
joined in fight against them with their enemies. The Lenape then
determined to unite their forces, and by one great effort to destroy
entirely that perfidious nation. This, they say, they might easily
have done, as they were then yet as numerous as the grasshoppers at
particular seasons, and as destructive to their enemies as these
insects are to the fruits of the earth; while they described the Mengwe
as a number of croaking frogs in a pond, which make a great noise when
all is quiet, but at the first approach of danger, nay, at the very
rustling of a leaf, immediately plunge into the water and are silent.

But their attention was now diverted by other scenes. The whites were
again landing in great numbers on their coast, in the east and south,
and this spectacle once more engaged all the capacity of their minds.
They were lost in admiration at what they saw, and were consulting and
deliberating together on what they should do. The Five Nations, who
lived out of the reach of all danger, nevertheless also came; but bent
on their own interest, while they were instigating the other nations
to fall upon the new comers, or drive them off from their shores, by
which they caused useless hostilities, in which they did not appear to
participate, they were insinuating themselves into the favour of the
powerful strangers, professing great friendship for them, persuading
them that they were superior to the other Indian nations, that they had
controul over them all, and would chastise those who should disturb
their peace.

William Penn came, with his train of pacific followers. Never will the
Delawares forget their elder brother _Miquon_, as they affectionately
and respectfully call him. From his first arrival in their country, a
friendship was formed between them which was to last as long as the sun
should shine, and the rivers flow with water. That friendship would
undoubtedly have continued to the end of time, had their good brother
always remained among them, but in his absence, mischievous people,
say they, got into power, who, not content with the land which had
been given to them, contrived to get all that they wanted; and when
the Lenape looked round for the friends of their brother Miquon, to
hear their just complaints, and redress their wrongs, they could not
discover them, and had the misfortune to see their greatest enemies,
the Mengwe, brought on for the purpose of shutting their mouths, and
compelling them to submit to the injustice done them.

They cannot conceive how the English could turn from the people by
whom they had been so kindly received and welcomed with open arms;
from those who had permitted them to sit down upon their lands in
peace, and without fear of being molested by them; who had taken
delight in supplying all their wants,[47] and who were happy in smoking
the pipe of friendship with them at one and the same fire; how they
could not only see them degraded and injured by a base and perfidious
nation, but join with that nation in sinking them still lower. For
to the countenance of the English, they say, is entirely owing the
great preponderance which the Iroquois at last attained: they complain
that the English did support that enemy against them, that they even
sanctioned their insolence, by telling them to make use of their
authority as men, and bring these women (the Lenape) to their senses.
That they were even insulted and treated in a degrading manner, in
treaties to which the English were parties, and particularly in that
which took place at Easton,[48] in Pennsylvania, in July, 1742,[49]
when the Six Nations were publicly called on to compel the Delawares to
give up the land taken from them by the long day’s walk. But for these
repeated outrages, they would not have taken part with the French in
the memorable war of 1755.[50] Nor, perhaps, would they have done so,
had not they been seduced into the measure by the perfidious Iroquois.
At the commencement of that war, they brought the war belt, with a
piece of tobacco, to the Delawares, and told them: “Remember that the
English have unjustly deprived you of much of your land, which they
took from you by force. Your cause is just; therefore smoke of this
tobacco, and arise; join with us our fathers, the French, and take
your revenge. You are women, it is true, but we will shorten your
petticoats, and though you may appear by your dress to be women, yet by
your conduct and language you will convince your enemies that you are
determined not tamely to suffer the wrongs and injuries inflicted upon

Yielding to these solicitations, the Delawares and their connexions
took up arms against the English in favor of the French, and committed
many hostilities, in which the Iroquois appeared to take no part. Sir
William Johnson requested them to use their ascendancy and to persuade
the hostile Indians to lay down the hatchet, instead of which, instead
of conforming to the ancient custom of Indian nations, which was simply
to take the war-hatchet back from those to whom they had given it, they
fell on a sudden on the unsuspecting Lenape, killed their cattle, and
destroyed their town on the Susquehannah, and having taken a number of
them prisoners, carried them to Sir William Johnson, who confined and
put them in irons. This cruel act of treachery, the Delawares say, they
will never forget nor forgive.

Thus the Lenape, whose principal settlements were then on the frontier
of Pennsylvania, took part with the French, and acted hostilely against
the English during the whole of the war of 1755. The animosity which
mutual hostilities produced between them and the settlers concurred,
no doubt, with other causes, in producing the murder of the Conestogo
Indians, which took place at the close of that war, in December, 1763,
and is feelingly related by Loskiel, part I., ch. 14 and 15.[51]

The revolutionary war put an end to the exorbitant power of the
Iroquois. They were, indeed, still supported by the British government,
but the Americans were now the strongest party, and of course against
them. They endeavored to persuade the other Indian nations to join
them, but their expectations were deceived. At a meeting which took
place at Pittsburg in 1775, for the express purpose of deliberating
on the part which it became Indians to take in the disturbances which
had arisen between the King of Great Britain and his subjects, Capt.
White Eyes, a sensible and very spirited warrior of the Lenape,[52]
boldly declared to a select body of the Senecas, that his Indians would
never join any nation or power, for the purpose of destroying a people
who were born on the same soil with them. That the Americans were his
friends and brothers, and that no nation should dictate to him what
part he should take in the existing war. Anticipating the measure
which the American Congress took in the succeeding year, he declared
_himself_,[53] in behalf of his nation, free and independent of the
Iroquois; they had pretended that they had conquered him, they had
made a woman of him and dressed him in woman’s apparel, but now he was
again a man, he stood before them as a man, and with the weapons of a
man he would assert his claim to all yonder country, pointing to the
land on the west side of the Allegheny river; for to him it belonged,
and not to the Six Nations, who falsely asserted that they had acquired
it by conquest. In the year 1778 or 1779, the Lenape bravely asserted
their national independence by joining Col. Brodhead’s troops in an
expedition against the Senecas.[54] If they did not do as much in
that war as might have been expected of them, and took only a partial
revenge, it was owing to the death of their brave chief, White Eyes,
who died of the small pox at Pittsburg, I think, in the year 1780.
He was a Christian in his heart, but did not live to make a public
profession of our religion, though it is well known that he persuaded
many Indians to embrace it.[55]

Although the Lenape acted independently in the war of 1755, and made
a formal declaration of their independence at the beginning of the
revolutionary war, yet the Six Nations persevered in their pretensions,
and still affected to consider them as women. Finding, however, that
this obsolete claim was no longer acknowledged, and that it was useless
to insist upon it any longer, they came forward of their own accord,
about the time of Wayne’s treaty, and formally declared that the Lenape
and their allies were no longer women, but MEN.

The Delawares and Mohicans agree in saying, that from the time of the
fatal treaty in which they were persuaded to assimilate themselves
to women, and, indeed, ever since the Europeans first came into the
country, the conduct of the Iroquois was treacherous and perfidious
in the extreme. That it was their constant practice to sally out
secretly and commit depredations on the neighbouring nations, with
intent to involve them in wars with each other. That they would also
commit murders on the frontier settlers, from Virginia to New England,
and charge the tribes who were settled in the neighbourhood with the
commission of those crimes. That they would then turn negotiators,
and effect a peace, always at the expense of the nation whom they had
injured. They would sell the lands of other nations to the English
and receive the money, pretending to a paramount right to the whole
territory, and this, say the Lenape, was their manner of CONQUERING



The Lenni Lenape claim the honour of having received and welcomed the
Europeans on their first arrival in the country, situated between New
England and Virginia. It is probable, however, that the Mahicanni or
Mohicans, who then inhabited the banks of the Hudson, concurred in the
hospitable act. The relation I am going to make was taken down many
years since from the mouth of an intelligent Delaware Indian, and may
be considered as a correct account of the tradition existing among them
of this momentous event. I give it as much as possible in their own

A great many years ago, when men with a white skin had never yet been
seen in this land, some Indians who were out a fishing, at a place
where the sea widens, espied at a great distance something remarkably
large floating on the water, and such as they had never seen before.
These Indians immediately returning to the shore, apprised their
countrymen of what they had observed, and pressed them to go out with
them and discover what it might be. They hurried out together, and saw
with astonishment the phenomenon which now appeared to their sight, but
could not agree upon what it was; some believed it to be an uncommonly
large fish or animal, while others were of opinion it must be a very
big house floating on the sea. At length the spectators concluded that
this wonderful object was moving towards the land, and that it must be
an animal or something else that had life in it; it would therefore
be proper to inform all the Indians on the inhabited islands of what
they had seen, and put them on their guard. Accordingly they sent off
a number of runners and watermen to carry the news to their scattered
chiefs, that they might send off in every direction for the warriors,
with a message that they should come on immediately. These arriving
in numbers, and having themselves viewed the strange appearance, and
observing that it was actually moving towards the entrance of the
river or bay; concluded it to be a remarkably large house in which the
Mannitto (the Great or Supreme Being) himself was present, and that he
probably was coming to visit them.[56] By this time the chiefs were
assembled at York island, and deliberating in what manner in which[57]
they should receive their Mannitto on his arrival. Every measure was
taken to be well provided with plenty of meat for a sacrifice. The
women were desired to prepare the best victuals. All the idols or
images were examined and put in order, and a grand dance was supposed
not only to be an agreeable entertainment for the Great Being, but
it was believed that it might, with the addition of a sacrifice,
contribute to appease him if he was angry with them. The conjurers were
also set to work, to determine what this phenomenon portended, and
what the possible result of it might be. To these and to the chiefs
and wise men of the nations, men, women, and children were looking up
for advice and protection. Distracted between hope and fear, they were
at a loss what to do; a dance, however, commenced in great confusion.
While in this situation, fresh runners arrive declaring it to be a
large house of various colours, and crowded with living creatures. It
appears now to be certain, that it is the great Mannitto, bringing them
some kind of game, such as he had not given them before, but other
runners soon after arriving declare that it is positively a house full
of human beings, of quite a different colour from that of the Indians,
and dressed differently from them; that in particular one of them was
dressed entirely in red, who must be the Mannitto himself. They are
hailed from the vessel in a language they do not understand, yet they
shout or yell in return by way of answer, according to the custom of
their country; many are for running off to the woods, but are pressed
by others to stay, in order not to give offence to their visitor, who
might find them out and destroy them. The house, some say, large canoe,
at last stops, and a canoe of a smaller size comes on shore with the
red man, and some others in it; some stay with his canoe to guard it.
The chiefs and wise men, assembled in council, form themselves into a
large circle, towards which the man in red clothes approaches with two
others. He salutes them with a friendly countenance, and they return
the salute after their manner. They are lost in admiration; the dress,
the manners, the whole appearance of the unknown strangers is to them
a subject of wonder; but they are particularly struck with him who
wore the red coat all glittering with gold lace, which they could in
no manner account for. He, surely, must be the great Mannitto, but
why should he have a white skin? Meanwhile, a large _Hackhack_[58]
is brought by one of his servants, from which an unknown substance
is poured out into a small cup or glass, and handed to the supposed
Mannitto. He drinks--has the glass filled again, and hands it to the
chief standing next to him. The chief receives it, but only smells
the contents and passes it on to the next chief, who does the same.
The glass or cup thus passes through the circle, without the liquor
being tasted by any one, and is upon the point of being returned to
the red clothed Mannitto, when one of the Indians, a brave man and a
great warrior, suddenly jumps up and harangues the assembly on the
impropriety of returning the cup with its contents. It was handed to
them, says he, by the Mannitto, that they should drink out of it, as
he himself had done. To follow his example would be pleasing to him;
but to return what he had given them might provoke his wrath, and
bring destruction on them. And since the orator believed it for the
good of the nation that the contents offered them should be drunk,
and as no one else would do it, he would drink it himself, let the
consequence be what it might; it was better for one man to die, than
that a whole nation should be destroyed. He then took the glass, and
bidding the assembly a solemn farewell, at once drank up its whole
contents. Every eye was fixed on the resolute chief, to see what effect
the unknown liquor would produce. He soon began to stagger, and at
last fell prostrate on the ground. His companions now bemoan his fate,
he falls into a sound sleep, and they think he has expired. He wakes
again, jumps up and declares, that he has enjoyed the most delicious
sensations, and that he never before felt himself so happy as after he
had drunk the cup. He asks for more, his wish is granted; the whole
assembly then imitate him, and all become intoxicated.

After this general intoxication had ceased, for they say that while
it lasted the whites had confined themselves to their vessel, the man
with the red clothes returned again, and distributed presents among
them, consisting of beads, axes, hoes, and stockings such as the white
people wear. They soon became familiar with each other, and began to
converse by signs. The Dutch made them understand that they would
not stay here, that they would return home again, but would pay them
another visit the next year, when they would bring them more presents,
and stay with them awhile; but as they could not live without eating,
they should want a little land of them to sow seeds, in order to raise
herbs and vegetables to put into their broth. They went away as they
had said, and returned in the following season, when both parties were
much rejoiced to see each other; but the whites laughed at the Indians,
seeing that they knew not the use of the axes and hoes they had given
them the year before; for they had these hanging to their breasts as
ornaments, and the stockings were made use of as tobacco pouches. The
whites now put handles to the former for them, and cut trees down
before their eyes, hoed up the ground, and put the stockings on their
legs. Here, they say, a general laughter ensued among the Indians, that
they had remained ignorant of the use of such valuable implements,
and had borne the weight of such heavy metal hanging to their necks,
for such a length of time. They took every white man they saw for an
inferior Mannitto attendant upon the supreme Deity who shone superior
in the red and laced clothes. As the whites became daily more familiar
with the Indians, they at last proposed to stay with them, and asked
only for so much ground for a garden spot as, they said, the hide of a
bullock would cover or encompass, which hide was spread before them.
The Indians readily granted this apparently reasonable request; but
the whites then took a knife, and beginning at one end of the hide,
cut it up to a long rope, not thicker than a child’s finger, so that
by the time the whole was cut up, it made a great heap; they then took
the rope at one end, and drew it gently along, carefully avoiding its
breaking. It was drawn out into a circular form, and being closed
at its ends, encompassed a large piece of ground. The Indians were
surprised at the superior wit of the whites,[59] but did not wish
to contend with them about a little land, as they had still enough
themselves. The white and red men lived contentedly together for a long
time, though the former from time to time asked for more land, which
was readily obtained, and thus they gradually proceeded higher up the
Mahicannittuck, until the Indians began to believe that they would soon
want all their country, which in the end proved true.



Long and dismal are the complaints which the Indians make of European
ingratitude and injustice. They love to repeat them, and always do it
with the eloquence of nature, aided by an energetic and comprehensive
language, which our polished idioms cannot imitate. Often I have
listened to these descriptions of their hard sufferings, until I felt
ashamed of being a _white man_.

They are, in general, very minute in these recitals, and proceed with a
great degree of order and regularity. They begin with the Virginians,
whom they call the _long knives_, and who were the first European
settlers in this part of the American continent. “It was we,” say the
Lenape, Mohicans, and their kindred tribes, “who so kindly received
them on their first arrival into our country. We took them by the hand,
and bid them welcome to sit down by our side, and live with us as
brothers; but how did they requite our kindness? They at first asked
only for a little land on which to raise bread for themselves and their
families, and pasture for their cattle, which we freely gave them. They
soon wanted more, which we also gave them. They saw the game in the
woods, which the Great Spirit had given us for our subsistence, and
they wanted that too. They penetrated into the woods in quest of game;
they discovered spots of land which pleased them; that land they also
wanted, and because we were loth to part with it, as we saw they had
already more than they had need of, they took it from us by force, and
drove us to a great distance from our ancient homes.”

“By and by the _Dutchemaan_[60] arrived at _Manahachtánienk_,”[61]
(here they relate with all its details what has been said in the
preceding chapter.) “The great man wanted only a little, little land,
on which to raise greens for his soup, just as much as a bullock’s hide
would cover. Here we first might have observed their deceitful spirit.
The bullock’s hide was cut up into little strips, and did not cover,
indeed, but encircled a very large piece of land, which we foolishly
granted to them. They were to raise _greens_ on it, instead of which
they planted _great guns_; afterwards they built strong houses, made
themselves masters of the Island, then went up the river to our
enemies, the Mengwe, made a league with them, persuaded us by their
wicked arts to lay down our arms, and at last drove us entirely out of
the country.” Here, of course, is related at full length, the story
which we have told in the first chapter. Then the Delawares[62] proceed.

“When the _Yengeese_[63] arrived at _Machtitschwanne_,[64] they looked
about everywhere for good spots of land, and when they found one, they
immediately and without ceremony possessed themselves of it; we were
astonished, but still we let them go on, not thinking it worth while to
contend for a little land. But when at last they came to our favourite
spots, those which lay most convenient to our fisheries, then bloody
wars ensued: we would have been contented that the white people and
we should have lived quietly beside each other; but these white men
encroached so fast upon us, that we saw at once we should lose all, if
we did not resist them. The wars that we carried on against each other
were long and cruel. We were enraged when we saw the white people put
our friends and relatives, whom they had taken prisoners, on board
of their ships, and carry them off to sea, whether to drown or sell
them as slaves, in the country from which they came, we knew not, but
certain it is that none of them have ever returned or even been heard
of. At last they got possession of the whole of the country which the
Great Spirit had given us. One of our tribes was forced to wander far
beyond Quebec; others dispersed in small bodies, and sought places of
refuge where they could; some came to Pennsylvania; others went far to
the westward and mingled with other tribes.

“To many of those, Pennsylvania was a last, delightful asylum. But
here, again, the Europeans disturbed them, and forced them to emigrate,
although they had been most kindly and hospitably received. On which
ever side of the _Lenapewihittuck_[65] the white people landed, they
were welcomed as brothers by our ancestors, who gave them lands to live
on, and even hunted for them, and furnished them with meat out of the
woods. Such was our conduct to the white men[66] who inhabited this
country, until our elder brother, the great and good MIQUON,[67] came
and brought us words of peace and good will. We believed his words,
and his memory is still held in veneration among us. But it was not
long before our joy was turned into sorrow: our brother Miquon died,
and those of his good counsellors who were of his mind, and knew what
had passed between him and our ancestors, were no longer listened to;
the strangers[68] who had taken their places, no longer spoke to us of
sitting down by the side of each other as brothers of one family; they
forgot that friendship which their great man had established with us,
and was to last to the end of time; they now only strove to get all our
land from us by fraud or by force, and when we attempted to remind them
of what our good brother had said, they became angry, and sent word to
our enemies, the Mengwe, to meet them at a great council which they
were to hold with us at _Læhauwake_,[69] where they should take us by
the hair of our heads and shake us well. The Mengwe came; the council
was held, and in the presence of the white men, who did not contradict
them, they told us that we were women, and that they had made us such;
that we had no right to any land, because it was all theirs; that we
must be gone; and that as a great favour they permitted us to go and
settle further into the country, at the place which they themselves
pointed out at Wyoming.”[70]

Thus these good Indians, with a kind of melancholy pleasure, recite
the long history of their sufferings. After having gone through these
painful details, they seldom fail to indulge in bitter, but too just
reflections, upon the men of Europe. “We and our kindred tribes,” say
they, “lived in peace and harmony with each other before the white
people came into this country; our council house[71] extended far to
the north and far to the south. In the middle of it we would meet from
all parts to smoke the pipe of peace together. When the white men
arrived in the south, we received them as friends; we did the same
when they arrived in the east. It was we, it was our forefathers, who
made them welcome, and let them sit down by our side. The land they
settled on was ours. We knew not but the Great Spirit had sent them to
us for some good purpose, and therefore we thought they must be a good
people. We were mistaken; for no sooner had they obtained a footing on
our lands, than they began to pull our council house down,[72] first
at one end and then at the other, and at last meeting each other at
the centre, where the council fire was yet burning bright, they put it
out,[73] and extinguished it with our own blood![74] with the blood
of those[75] who with us had received them! who had welcomed them in
our land! Their blood ran in streams into our fire, and extinguished
it so entirely, that not one spark was left us whereby to kindle a new
fire;[76] we were compelled to withdraw ourselves beyond the great
swamp,[77] and to fly to our good uncle, the _Delamattenos_,[78]
who kindly gave us a tract of land to live on. How long we shall be
permitted to remain in this asylum, the Great Spirit only knows. The
whites will not rest contented until they shall have destroyed the last
of us, and made us disappear entirely from the face of the earth.”

I have given here only a brief specimen of the charges which they
exhibit against the white people. There are men among them, who have
by heart the whole history of what took place between the whites and
the Indians, since the former first came into their country; and relate
the whole with ease and with an eloquence not to be imitated. On the
tablets of their memories they preserve this record for posterity. I,
at one time, in April, 1787,[79] was astonished when I heard one of
their orators, a great chief of the Delaware nation,[80] go over this
ground, recapitulating the most extraordinary events which had before
happened, and concluding in these words: “I admit that there are good
white men, but they bear no proportion to the bad; the bad must be
the strongest, for they rule. They do what they please. They enslave
those who are not of their colour, although created by the same Great
Spirit who created us.[81] They would make slaves of us if they could,
but as they cannot do it, they kill us! There is no faith to be placed
in their words. They are not like the Indians, who are only enemies,
while at war, and are friends in peace. They will say to an Indian, ‘my
friend! my brother!’ They will take him by the hand, and at the same
moment destroy him. And so you (addressing himself to the Christian
Indians) will also be treated by them before long. Remember! that this
day I have warned you to beware of such friends as these. I know the
_long knives_; they are not to be trusted.”

Eleven months after this speech was delivered by this prophetic chief,
ninety-six of the same Christian Indians, about sixty of them women and
children, were murdered at the place where these very words had been
spoken, by the same men he had alluded to, and in the same manner that
he had described. See Loskiel’s History, part III., ch. 10.[82]



After the murder of the Conestogo Indians, the Lenni Lenape thought
proper, for their safety, to withdraw altogether from the interior of
the white settlements, into the wilds of the Susquehannah country; and
Government, conscious that they could no longer protect any Indians,
or body of Indians, whether Christians or not, in the settled parts
of the province, advised the Christian Indians, whom, during the last
troubles, they had with difficulty prevented from sharing the fate
of the Conestogos, to retire into the back country. They did so, and
settled at Wyalusing,[83] which then became the nearest settlement of
Indians to the white inhabitants, being upwards of 150 miles north of
Philadelphia, and about 100 miles from the frontier settlers beyond
the blue mountains; all the other Indians of that nation, together
with the Nanticokes, lived then higher up the Susquehannah. For about
five years, the Indians on this river enjoyed peace, and the Christian
Indians lived quietly here and at another settlement they had made
thirty miles higher, built good houses for themselves, together with
a spacious church, planted fruit trees, and put large bodies of land
under cultivation. But, while they were flattering themselves with
the most favourable prospect, they were informed that the Six Nations
had sold the whole country, including the land they lived on, to the
English. They soon saw the object of this clandestine proceeding,
of which they had not received the least notice, and foreseeing what
kind of neighbours they should have, if they should stay where they
were, they determined to move off in a body to the Ohio, where they
had received an invitation to settle from the grand council of their
nation. Accordingly, two hundred and forty-one souls set off directly
for the Muskingum river, where a large tract of land was given them,
out of that which the Wyandots had formerly granted and confirmed
to their people; the other Indians of the same nation residing on
the Susquehannah soon followed, some settling at one place, some
at another; the Mouseys,[84] however, joined their own tribe, who
long since had emigrated and were settled on the head waters of the
Allegheny river; and so the whole country east of the Allegheny
mountains was cleared of its original inhabitants.

The Delawares thus became at once released from their troublesome
neighbours the Iroquois, who had calculated on their settling near
them, at a place they had already fixed upon; but they were mistaken,
for with all their fair speeches they could not persuade the Lenape,
who gave them plainly to understand that they were no longer inclined
to listen to a people who had so long and so often deceived them.

This happened in the year 1768,[85] about six years before the
beginning of the revolutionary war. During which short period of
tranquillity, the numbers of the Christian Indians on the Ohio rapidly
increased, and never was there such a fair prospect of their being
fixed in a state of prosperous civilisation. But the revolution put an
end to these hopes, and this opportunity was lost, perhaps, never to
return again. It was not the fault of the American government, who were
truly desirous of seeing the Indians adopt a neutral line of conduct,
and repeatedly advised them not to interfere in the quarrel between
the colonies and the mother country; happy would it have been if the
British government had acted in the same manner; but they pursued a
different plan. These poor deluded people were dragged into a war in
which they had no concern, by which not only their population was
gradually reduced, but they lost the desire of becoming a civilised
people; for the Americans, at last, become exasperated against them,
and considering all Indians as their enemies, they sent parties out
from time to time to destroy them. The murder of the Christian Indians
on the Muskingum in 1782, completed their alienation. Those who yet
remained were driven to despair, and finally dispersed.

It is not in my power to ascertain the whole number of the Lenni
Lenape, or Delaware Indians, still existing at the present time. As
far as I am informed, they are very much scattered, a number of them,
chiefly of the Monsey tribe, living in Upper Canada, others are in the
state of Ohio, and some on the waters of the Wabash in the Indiana
territory. A considerable number of them has crossed the Mississippi.
Their first emigrations to that country had already begun between the
years 1780 and 1790. What the numbers of this nation were when the
Europeans first came into this country is difficult to tell; all I can
say is, that so early as 1760, their oldest men would say that they
were not then as many hundreds as they had been thousands. They have
considerably decreased since that period. I saw them myself between the
years 1754 and 1760, by hundreds at a time, and Loskiel in his history
gives an account of upwards of 800 having been fed at Bethlehem in one
year. In the year 1762, while I lived at Tuscorawas on the Muskingum,
they were settled on that river and its branches, and also on the
Cayahoga river, which empties into Lake Erie, in the neighbourhood of
which they had since a small Christian settlement called _Pilgerruh_
(Pilgrim’s rest.)[86],[87]


The history of these people is here given, principally from the
relations of old Indians of the Mohican[90] tribe, who say that they
formerly inhabited the Southern country, Savannah in Georgia, and the
Floridas. They were a restless people, delighting in wars, in which
they were constantly engaged with some of the neighbouring nations.
At last their neighbours, tired of being continually harassed by
them, formed a league for their destruction. The Shawanos finding
themselves thus dangerously situated, asked to be permitted to leave
the country, which was granted to them, and they fled immediately
to the Ohio. Here their main body settled, and sent messengers to
their elder brother[91] the Mohicans, requesting them to intercede
for them with their grandfather the Lenni Lenape, that he might take
them under his protection. This the Mohicans willingly did, and even
sent a body of their own people to conduct their _younger brother_
into the country of the Delawares. The Shawanos finding themselves
safe under the protection of their grandfather, did not all choose to
proceed farther to the eastward, but many of them remained on the Ohio,
some of whom settled even as high up that river as the long island,
above which the French afterwards built Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburg.
Those who proceeded farther, were accompanied by their chief, named
Gachgawatschiqua, and settled principally at and about the forks of
Delaware, some few between that and the confluence of Delaware and
Schuylkill, and some even on the spot where Philadelphia now stands;
others were conducted by the Mohicans into their own country, where
they intermarried with them and became one people. When those settled
near the Delaware had multiplied, they returned to Wyoming on the
Susquehannah, where they resided for a great number of years.

In the mean while, those who had remained on the Ohio increased in
numbers, and in process of time began again to be troublesome to their
neighbours. At last, they crossed the Allegheny mountains, and falling
upon the camps of the Lenape on Juniata river, they committed several
murders and went off with their plunder. It was soon discovered who
were the aggressors; but the Lenape had now assumed the station of
“the woman,” and could not engage in wars. They could only apply
for protection to the Five Nations, which they did, expecting that
they would immediately pursue the offenders and inflict an exemplary
punishment upon them, but the Five Nations found means to evade their
demand for the present. They told the Delawares that the season was
too far advanced to commence a war; that it was better to put off
their intended expedition until the ensuing spring; that in the mean
time, both nations should put themselves in readiness, and keep their
preparations secret, and that as soon as the season should open, they
would march off separately and meet together at an appointed time and
place on the Allegheny, then push on together for the Shawano towns
below the confluence of that river and the Monongahela, where they
could fall together unawares on the aggressors and punish them. The
Iroquois promised, as usual, that they would place themselves in the
front of the battle, so that the Delawares would have nothing to do but
to look on and see how bravely their protectors would fight for them,
and if they were not satisfied with that, they might take their revenge

Agreeably to this plan, the Lenape remained quiet till the spring,
when, with a body of their most valiant men, they marched to the
appointed spot; but how great was their surprise when their pretended
champions did not make their appearance? They suspected treachery,
and were not mistaken; for having immediately marched forward to the
Shawano towns, bent on taking an exemplary revenge, they had the
disappointment to see on their arrival their enemies pushing off as
fast as they could down the Ohio river in their canoes. Some of them
were flying by land, as probably they had not a sufficient number of
canoes to convey their whole number; these they pursued and attacked,
beat them severely, and took several prisoners. Here they had a
striking instance of the treachery of the Mengwe, who had warned the
Shawanos of their approach. Some time after this, the Shawanos who
resided on the north branch of the Susquehannah, began to draw off by
degrees, first to the west branch of that river and the Juniata, and
then to the Ohio; so that at the commencement of the French war in
1755, they had all, except a few families, with whom was their chief
Paxnos, retired to the Ohio, where they joined their countrymen in a
war against the English.[92]

Peace was made in 1763 between Great Britain and France; but the
restless spirit of the Shawanos did not permit them to remain quiet;
they commenced war[93] against their southern neighbours, the
Cherokees, who, while in pursuit of the aggressors, would sometimes
through mistake fall upon the Lenape, who resided in the same country
with the Shawanos, through whom they also became involved in a war with
that nation, which lasted some time. The Mengwe being then also at war
with the Cherokees, and frequently returning with their prisoners and
scalps through their country, the warlike spirit was kept alive among
all, until at length, in 1768, the Cherokees sought a renewal of the
friendship formerly existing between them and their grandfather, the
Lenape, which being effected, they, by their mediation, also brought
about a peace between them and the Five Nations.

The Shawanos not being disposed to continue the war with the Cherokees
by themselves, and having been reprimanded by their grandfather for
being the instigators of all those troubles, willingly submitted to the
dictates of the Lenape, and from that time remained at peace with all
the nations until the year 1774, when they were involved in a war with
the people of Virginia, occasioned by some murders which were committed
on Logan’s family connexions and others by white people. In this
instance it cannot, I think, be said that they were the aggressors, yet
their thirst for revenge was so great, and the injured Mengwe at their
side called out so loudly for revenge, that they with great spirit
engaged into a war with the Virginians, which, however, was of but
short duration, as they were opposed with an equal degree of courage,
and after a severe battle between the two rivals, at or near the mouth
of the Great Kanhawa, and the destruction of many of their towns by
the Virginians, the Shawanos were brought to make peace once more;[94]
which did not last long, as they joined the British against the
American people, some time after the commencement of the Revolution,
and remained our enemies after that time, never establishing a firm
peace with us, until the memorable treaty which took place in 1795,
after the decisive defeat of the nations by the late General Wayne.

The Shawanos lost many of their men during these contests; but they
were in a manner replaced by individuals of other nations joining
them. Thus, during the Revolutionary war, about one hundred turbulent
Cherokees, who could not be brought by their own nation to be at peace
with the American people, and were on that account driven out of their
country, came over to the Shawanos, while others from the Five Nations
joined them or became their neighbours.

The Shawanos are considered to be good warriors and hunters. They are
courageous, high spirited and manly, and more careful in providing a
supply of ammunition to keep in reserve for an emergency, than any
other nation that I have heard of. Their language is more easily
learned than that of the Lenape, and has a great affinity to the
Mohican, Chippeway and other kindred languages. They generally place
the accent on the last syllable.


The Delawares say that this nation has sprung from the same stock
with them, and the fact was acknowledged by White,[95] one of their
chiefs, whom I have personally known. They call the Delawares their
grandfathers. I shall relate the history of the Shawanos,[96] as I had
it from the mouth of White himself.

Every Indian being at liberty to pursue what occupation he pleases,
White’s ancestors, after the Lenape came into their country, preferred
seeking a livelihood by fishing and trapping along the rivers and
bays, to pursuing wild game in the forest; they therefore detached
themselves, and sought the most convenient places for their purpose. In
process of time, they became very numerous, partly by natural increase,
and partly in consequence of being joined by a number of the Lenape,
and spread themselves over a large tract of country. Thus they became
divided into separate bodies, distinguished by different names; the
Canai, they say, sprung from them, and settled at a distance on the
shores of the Potomack and Susquehannah, where they lived when the
white people first arrived in Virginia; but they removed farther on
their account, and settled higher up the Susquehannah, not far from
where John Harris afterwards established a ferry.[97] The main branch,
or the Nanticokes proper, were then living in what is now called the
Eastern shore of Maryland. At length, the white people crowded so much
upon them, that they were also obliged to seek another abode, and as
their grandfather was himself retreating back in consequence of the
great influx of the whites, they took the advice of the Mengwe, and
bent their course at once to the large flats at Wyoming, where they
settled by themselves, in sight of the Shawanos town, while others
settled higher up the river, even as high as Chemenk[98] (Shenango) and
Shummunk, to which places they all emigrated at the beginning of the
French war. White’s tribe resided there until the Revolutionary war,
when they went off to a place nearer to the British, whose part they
had taken, and whose standard they joined. White himself had joined the
Christian Indians at Schschequon,[99] several years previous to the
war, and remained with them.

Nothing, said White, had equalled the decline of his tribe since the
white people had come into the country. They were destroyed in part by
disorders which they brought with them, by the small pox, the venereal
disease, and by the free use of spirituous liquors, to which great
numbers fell victims.

The emigration of the Nanticokes from Maryland was well known to
the Society of the United Brethren. At the time when these people
were beginning their settlement in the forks of Delaware, the Rev.
Christian[100] Pyrlæus noted down in his memorandum book, “that on
the 21st day of May, 1748, a number of the Nanticokes from Maryland,
passed by Shamokin in ten canoes, on their way to Wyoming.” Others,
travelling by land, would frequently pass through Bethlehem, and
from thence through the Water Gap to Nescopeck or Susquehannah, and
while they resided at Wyoming, they, together with the Shawanese,
became the emissaries of the Five Nations, and in conjunction with
them afterwards, endeavoured to remove the Christian Indians from
Gnadenhütten, in Northampton county, to Wyoming; their private object
being to have a full opportunity to murder the white inhabitants, in
the war which they already knew would soon break out between the French
and English.

These Nanticokes had the singular custom of removing the bones of their
deceased friends from the burial place to a place of deposit in the
country they dwell in. In earlier times, they were known to go from
Wyoming and Chemenk, to fetch the bones of their dead from the Eastern
shore of Maryland, even when the bodies were in a putrid state, so that
they had to take off the flesh and scrape the bones clean, before they
could carry them along. I well remember having seen them between the
years 1750 and 1760, loaded with such bones, which, being fresh, caused
a disagreeable stench, as they passed through the town of Bethlehem.

They are also said to have been the inventors of a poisonous substance,
by which they could destroy a whole settlement of people, and they
are accused of being skilled in the arts of witchcraft; it is certain
that they are very much dreaded on this account. I have known Indians
who firmly believed that they had people among them who could, if
they pleased, destroy a whole army, by merely blowing their breath
towards them. Those of the Lenape[101] and other tribes, who pretend
to witchcraft, say that they learned the science from the Nanticokes;
they are not unwilling to be taxed with being wizards, as it makes them
feared by their neighbours.

Their national name, according to the report of their chief, White,
is _Nentégo_. The Delawares call them _Unéchtgo_, and the Iroquois
_Sganiateratieh-rohne_. These three names have the same meaning,
and signify _tide water people_, or the _sea shore settlers_. They
have besides other names, by-names, as it were, given them with
reference to their occupation. The Mohicans, for instance, call them
_Otayáchgo_, and the Delawares _Tawachguáno_,[102] both which words in
their respective languages, signify a “bridge,” a “dry passage over a
stream;” which alludes to their being noted for felling great numbers
of trees across streams, to set their traps on. They are also often
called the _Trappers_.

In the year 1785, this tribe had so dwindled away, that their whole
body, who came together to see their old chief, White, then residing
with the Christian Indians on the Huron river,[103] north of Detroit,
did not amount to 50 men. They were then going through Canada, to the
Miami country, to settle beside the Shawanos, in consequence of an
invitation they had received from them.


This once great and renowned nation has also almost entirely
disappeared, as well as the numerous tribes who had descended from
them; they have been destroyed by wars, and carried off by the small
pox and other disorders, and great numbers have died in consequence of
the introduction of spirituous liquors among them. The remainder have
fled and removed in separate bodies to different parts, where they now
are dispersed or mingled with other nations. So early as the year 1762,
a number of them had emigrated to the Ohio, where I became acquainted
with their chief who was called by the whites “Mohican John.” Others
have fled to the shores of the St. Lawrence, where numbers of them
incorporated themselves with the Iroquois, and where their descendants
live at the present time, a mixed race, known by the name of the
_Cochnewago_ Indians. Upwards of one hundred of them, who lived in the
colonies of Connecticut and New York, having through the labours of
the United Brethren embraced Christianity, emigrated to Pennsylvania,
some time between 1742 and 1760, where they afterwards became
incorporated with the Delawares.[104] A considerable number migrated
from Hudson’s river about the year 1734, and settled at Stockbridge,
in Massachusetts; between the year 1785 and 1787, they removed to
Oneida, in the country of the Six Nations, and gave to their settlement
the name of New Stockbridge. Before their removal their numbers had
gradually diminished. In 1791, they were reduced to 191 persons.[105]
They were once very numerous in Connecticut, and in the year 1799,
there still were 84 individuals of them, in the county of New
London,[106] the remains of a once large and flourishing settlement. It
is probable that by this time they are nearly if not entirely extinct.

It is believed that the Mahicanni are the same nation who are so
celebrated in the History of New England, under the name of _Pequods_
or _Pequots_.[107] The Rev. Jonathan Edwards, late President of Union
College at Schenectady, in the State of New York, published in the year
1788 in a pamphlet form, some observations on their language, which
were republished at New York in 1801. This small tract, as well as the
translation of the Bible into the Natick, by the venerable Eliot, and
his grammar of that language, put it beyond a doubt that the idiom of
the Mohicans and those of the other New England Indians proceeded from
the same source with that of the Lenni Lenape.



The most intelligent and credible Indians of the Lenape stock,
including the Mohicans, have ever asserted, that in the whole country
bounded on the north by the river St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes
(including what is now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), on the west by
the Mississippi, on the east by the Great Salt-water Lake,[108] and on
the south by the country of the Creeks, Cherokees, and other Florida
Indians, there were but two nations, the Mengwe, and themselves. Theirs
was by far the most numerous and the most extensively settled, for
their tribes extended even beyond the Mississippi. On the other side of
the St. Lawrence, the Algonquins, the Killistenos or Knisteneaux, and
others, speaking dialects of their language, prove their origin from
the same stock. The Mengwe, on the contrary, were comparatively few,
and occupied a much less portion of territory, being almost confined
to the vicinity of the great lakes. But few tribes are known to be
connected with them by descent and language; the principal ones are the
Wyandots, otherwise called Hurons, and the Naudowessies. Almost every
other nation within the boundaries described, is of the Lenape family.

Each of these two great nations, say the Delawares, had an ancient
national name, and a tradition of their respective origin, handed down
to them by their ancestors, and diffused among all the kindred tribes.
By whatsoever names those tribes might be called, and whatever their
numbers were, still they considered themselves, and were considered
by others, as the offspring of the same original stock. All the tribes
who had sprung from the Lenape called the mother nation _grandfather_,
and received, in return, the appellation of _grandchildren_. They were
all united by the strongest ties of friendship and alliance; in their
own expressive language, they made but _one house, one fire, and one
canoe_, that is to say, that they constituted together, one people, one
family. The same thing took place between the Mengwe and the tribes
descended from them. They and the Lenape had no relationship with each
other, though they came over the Mississippi together at the same time.
They considered each other as nations entirely distinct.

The Mengwe or Iroquois were always considered by the Lenape as only one
nation, consisting of several confederated tribes. The name of Five and
afterwards Six Nations, was given to them by the English, whose allies
they were, probably to raise their consequence, and magnify the idea of
their strength; but the Indian nations never did flatter them with that
high sounding appellation, and considered them merely as confederated

The late Rev. Mr. Pyrlæus, in a large volume of MS. notes which he
wrote between the years 1740 and 1760 (upwards of 70 years ago),
has taken down on this subject the account given by the Iroquois
themselves, as he had it from the mouth of an intelligent Mohawk
chief,[109] whose veracity might be depended upon. After giving some
details respecting the origin of their confederation, the time about
which it took place, the names of the delegates from each of the
confederated tribes, &c., he proceeds thus: “They then gave themselves
the name _Aquanoshioni_, which means _one house_, _one family_, and
consisted of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagoes, Cayugas, and Senecas.
This alliance having been first proposed by a Mohawk chief, the Mohawks
rank in the _family_ as the _eldest brother_, the Oneidas, as the
_eldest son_; the Senecas, who were the last who at that time had
consented to the alliance, were called the _youngest son_; but the
Tuscaroras, who joined the confederacy probably one hundred years
afterwards, assumed that name, and the Senecas ranked in precedence
before them, as being the _next youngest son_, or as we would say, the
youngest son but one.”

The Rev. David Zeisberger also says: “That the Iroquois call themselves
_Aquanoschioni_, which means _united people_, having united for the
purpose of always reminding each other that their safety and power
consist in a mutual and strict adherence to their alliance.”[110] He
adds, that Onondago is the chief town of the Iroquois.

Thus, in the different translations of the name which these people
gave themselves, we find nothing that conveys the ideas of _nations_,
it implies no more than a _family_, an _united people_, a _family
compact_. The different sections take ranks in this family, of which
the _Onondagoes_ are the head, while the others are brothers and sons;
all which tends clearly to prove, that they were originally but tribes,
detached bodies of the same people, who, when brought together in close
union, formed a complete family and became entitled to the name of a

We also see that self-preservation was the cause of their uniting, and
that they were compelled by necessity to this measure, on which their
existence depended. And though we have a right to suppose that that
tribe which always takes the lead in the government of an Indian nation
(the _Turtle_ tribe), existed among them, yet it is evident that its
authority at that time was either wholly disregarded, or at least, was
too weak to give complete efficacy to its measures.

If, then, we believe the information given us by both Pyrlæus and
Zeisberger to be correct, we must be fully convinced that the Iroquois
confederacy did not consist of Five or Six Nations, but of as many
tribes or sections of the same people, forming together one nation.
These two Missionaries are known to have been men of the strictest
veracity; they were both, I may say, critically acquainted[111] with
the Mengwe idiom, and they had their information from the most
respectable and intelligent men among that nation, the former from
the Mohawk, the latter from the Onondaga tribe. There is no reason,
therefore, why the truth of their statements should be doubted.

The Lenape and their kindred tribes never have called the Iroquois
“the Five or Six Nations.” In conversation, they call them the Mengwe,
and never make use of any other but this generic name when speaking of
them. In their councils, however, they occasionally distinguished them
by the name _Palenach endchiesktajeet_.[113] These two words, literally
translated mean “the five divisions, sections or parts together,” and
does not in any manner imply the idea of _nations_. Had they meant
to say “the Five Nations,” they would have expressed it by the words
_Palenach ekhokewit_; those which they used, on the contrary, expressly
imply _sectional divisions_, and leave no doubt about their meaning.

The Iroquois themselves, as we have already seen, had adopted a name,
_Aquanoschioni_, merely indicative of their close union. After,
however, they came to be informed of the meaning of the name which the
English had given them, they were willing to let it pass as correct.
The Indians are very fond of high sounding names; I have known myself
chiefs who delighted to be called _Kings_, after they had learned from
us that the rulers of the English and French nations were distinguished
by that title.

Thus the proper name of those six united tribes is in their own
language _Aquanoschioni_. By other nations they are called _Mengwe_,
_Maquas_, _Mingoes_, and _Iroquois_. The Lenape call them by the first,
the Mohicans and Dutch by the second, the English and Americans by the
third, and the French by the fourth. I employ these different names
indiscriminately in the course of this work.

As detached bodies or tribes, their names with the Lenape are the

1. _Sankhícani_, the Mohawks, from _Sankhican_, a gunlock, this people
being the first who were furnished with muskets by the Europeans, the
locks of which, with their effect in striking fire, was a subject of
great astonishment to them; and thus they were named, as it were, _the
fire-striking people_.

2. _W’Tássone_, the Oneidas. This name means the _stone-pipe makers_,
and was given to them on account of their ingenuity in making tobacco
pipes of stone.

3. _Onondágoes_, the Onondagoes. This name signifies in their own
language _on the top of the hill_, their town being so situated.

4. _Queúgue_, Cayugas, thus called after a lake of the same name.

5. _Mæchachtínni_, the Senecas. This name means _Mountaineers_, and was
given them because they inhabited the hilly parts of the country.

6. The _Tuscaroras_, the sixth and last tribe in the league, they call
by the same name, yet I have never heard the Lenape speak of the _six
divisions or tribes_; when they describe them in that manner, it is
always by the number _Five_.



The Indian considers himself as a being created by an all-powerful,
wise, and benevolent Mannitto;[114] all that he possesses, all that
he enjoys, he looks upon as given to him or allotted for his use by
the Great Spirit who gave him life: he therefore believes it to be his
duty to adore and worship his Creator and benefactor; to acknowledge
with gratitude his past favours, thank him for present blessings, and
solicit the continuation of his good will.[115]

As beings who have control over all beasts and living creatures,
they feel their importance; before they saw white people or men of a
different colour from their own, they considered themselves as God’s
favourites, and believed that if the Great Mannitto could reside on
earth he would associate with them and be their great chief.

The Indian also believes, that he is highly favoured by his Maker, not
only in having been created different in shape and in mental and bodily
powers from other animals, but in being enabled to controul and master
them all, even those of an enormous size and of the most ferocious
kinds; and therefore, when he worships his Creator in his way, he does
not omit in his supplications to pray that he may be endowed with
courage to fight and conquer his enemies, among whom he includes all
savage beasts; and when he has performed some heroic act, he will
not forget to acknowledge it as a mark of divine favour, by making a
sacrifice to the great and good Mannitto, or by publicly announcing
that his success was entirely owing to the courage given him by the
all-powerful Spirit. Thus, habitual devotion to the great First Cause,
and a strong feeling of gratitude for the benefits which he confers,
is one of the prominent traits which characterise the mind of the
untutored Indian.

Not satisfied with paying this first of duties to the Lord of all, in
the best manner they are able, the Indians also endeavour to fulfil
the views which they suppose he had in creating the world. They think
that he made the earth and all that it contains for the common good
of mankind; when he stocked the country that he gave them with plenty
of game, it was not for the benefit of a few, but of all. Every thing
was given in common to the sons of men. Whatever liveth on the land,
whatsoever groweth out of the earth, and all that is in the rivers and
waters flowing through the same, was given jointly to all, and every
one is entitled to his share. From this principle, hospitality flows
as from its source. With them it is not a virtue but a strict duty.
Hence they are never in search of excuses to avoid giving, but freely
supply their neighbour’s wants from the stock prepared for their own
use. They give and are hospitable to all, without exception, and will
always share with each other and often with the stranger, even to their
last morsel. They rather would lie down themselves on an empty stomach,
than have it laid to their charge that they had neglected their duty,
by not satisfying the wants of the stranger, the sick or the needy. The
stranger has a claim to their hospitality, partly on account of his
being at a distance from his family and friends, and partly because he
has honoured them by his visit, and ought to leave them with a good
impression upon his mind; the sick and the poor because they have
a right to be helped out of the common stock: for if the meat they
have been served with, was taken from the woods, it was common to all
before the hunter took it; if corn or vegetables, it had grown out of
the common ground, yet not by the power of man, but by that of the
Great Spirit. Besides, on the principle, that all are descended from
one parent, they look upon themselves as but one great family, who
therefore ought at all times and on all occasions, to be serviceable
and kind to each other, and by that means make themselves acceptable to
the head of the universal family, the great and good Mannitto. Let me
be permitted to illustrate this by an example.

Some travelling Indians having in the year 1777, put their horses
over night to pasture in my little meadow, at Gnadenhütten on the
Muskingum, I called on them in the morning to learn why they had done
so. I endeavoured to make them sensible of the injury they had done
me, especially as I intended to mow the meadow in a day or two. Having
finished my complaint, one of them replied: “My friend, it seems you
lay claim to the grass my horses have eaten, because you had enclosed
it with a fence: now tell me, who caused the grass to grow? Can _you_
make the grass grow? I think not, and no body can except the great
Mannitto. He it is who causes it to grow both for my horses and for
yours! See, friend! the grass which grows out of the earth is common
to all; the game in the woods is common to all. Say, did you never
eat venison and bear’s meat?--‘Yes, very often.’--Well, and did you
ever hear me or any other Indian complain about that? No; then be not
disturbed at my horses having eaten only once, of what you call _your_
grass, though the grass my horses did eat, in like manner as the meat
you did eat, was given to the Indians by the Great Spirit. Besides, if
you will but consider, you will find that my horses did not eat _all_
your grass. For friendship’s sake, however, I shall never put my horses
in your meadow again.”

The Indians are not only just, they are also in many respects a
generous people, and cannot see the sick and the aged suffer for
want of clothing. To such they will give a blanket, a shirt, a pair
of leggings, mocksens, &c. Otherwise, when they make presents, it is
done with a view to receive an equivalent in return, and the receiver
is given to understand what that ought to be. In making presents to
strangers, they are content with some trifle in token of remembrance;
but when they give any thing to a trader, they at least expect double
the value in return, saying that he can afford to do it, since he had
cheated them so often.

They treat each other with civility, and shew much affection on
meeting after an absence. When they meet in the forenoon, they will
compliment one another with saying, “a good morning to you!” and in
the afternoon, “a good evening.” In the act of shaking hands with each
other, they strictly attend to the distinguishing names of relations,
which they utter at the time; as for instance, “a good morning, father,
grandfather, uncle, aunt, cousin,” and so down to a small grandchild.
They are also in the habit of saluting old people no ways related to
them, by the names of grandfather and grandmother, not in a tone of
condescending superiority or disguised contempt, but as a genuine mark
of the respect which they feel for age. The common way of saluting
where no relationship exists, is that of “friend;” when, however, the
young people meet, they make use of words suitable to their years or
stage in life; they will say “a good morning, comrade, favourite,
beloved, &c.” Even the children salute each other affectionately. “I
am glad to see you,” is the common way in which the Indians express
themselves to one another after a short absence; but on meeting after
a long absence, on the return of a messenger or a warrior from a
critical or dangerous expedition, they have more to say; the former is
saluted in the most cordial manner with some such expression: “I thank
the Great Spirit, that he has preserved our lives to this time of our
happily meeting again. I am, indeed, very glad to see you.” To which
the other will reply: “you speak the truth; it is through the favour of
the great and good Spirit that we are permitted to meet. I am equally
glad to see you.” To the latter will be said: “I am glad that the Great
Spirit has preserved your life and granted you a safe return to your

They are not quarrelsome, and are always on their guard, so as not to
offend each other. When one supposes himself hurt or aggrieved by a
word which has inadvertently fallen from the mouth of another, he will
say to him: “Friend, you have caused me to become jealous of you,”
(meaning that he begins to doubt the sincerity of his friendship,) when
the other explaining and saying that he had no bad intention, all is
done away again.

They do not fight with each other; they say that fighting is only for
dogs and beasts. They are, however, fond of play, and passing a joke,
yet very careful that they do not offend.

They are ingenious in making satirical observations, which though they
create laughter, do not, or but seldom give offence. For instance,
seeing a bad hunter going out into the woods with his gun, they will
ask him if he is going out for meat? or say to one another: “now we
shall have meat, for such a one is gone a hunting,” (not believing any
such thing.) If they see a coward joining a war party, they will ask
him ironically at what time he intends to come back again? (knowing
that he will return before he has met the enemy,) or they will say to
one another: “will he return this way with his scalps?”

Genuine wit, which one would hardly expect to find in a savage people,
is not unfrequent among them. I have heard them, for instance, compare
the English and American nations to a pair of scissors, an instrument
composed of two sharp edged knives exactly alike, working against each
other for the same purpose, that of _cutting_. By the construction of
this instrument, they said, it would appear as if in shutting, these
two sharp knives would strike together and destroy each other’s edges;
but no such thing: they only cut _what comes between them_. And thus
the English and Americans do when they go to war against one another.
It is not each other that they want to destroy, but us, poor Indians,
that are between them. By this means they get our land, and, when that
is obtained, the scissors are closed again, and laid by for further use.

They are remarkable for the particular respect which they pay to old
age. In all their meetings, whether public or private, they pay the
greatest attention to the observations and advice of the aged; no one
will attempt to contradict them, nor to interfere in any manner or even
to speak, unless he is specially called upon. “The aged,” they say,
“have lived through the whole period of our lives, and long before
we were born; they have not only all the knowledge we possess, but a
great deal more. We, therefore, must submit our limited views to their

In travelling, one of the oldest will always take the lead, unless
another is specially appointed for that purpose. If such a one stops
to hunt, or in order to stay and encamp at the place for some time,
all halt together, all are pleased with the spot and declare it to be
judiciously chosen.

I shall expatiate further on this interesting part of the Indian
character, in the sequel of this work.

They have a strong innate sense of justice, which will lead them
sometimes to acts which some men will call heroic, others romantic, and
not a few, perhaps, will designate by the epithet _barbarous_; a vague
indefinite word, which if it means anything, might, perhaps, be best
explained by _something not like ourselves_. However that may be, this
feeling certainly exists among the Indians, and as I cannot describe
it better than by its effects, I shall content myself with relating
on this subject a characteristic anecdote which happened in the year
1793, at an Indian village called _La Chine_, situated nine miles above
Montreal, and was told me in the same year by Mr. La Ramée, a French
Canadian inhabitant of that place, whom I believe to be a person of
strict veracity. I was then on my return from Detroit, in company
with General Lincoln and several other gentlemen, who were present
at the relation, and gave it their full belief. I thought it then so
interesting, that I inserted it in my journal, from which I now extract

There were in the said village of La Chine two remarkable Indians, the
one for his stature, being six feet four inches in height, and the
other for his strength and activity. These two meeting together one
day in the street, (a third being present,) the former in a high tone
made use of some insulting language to the other, which he could not
well put up with: he called him a coward, said he was his inferior
in every respect, and so provoked his anger, that unable any longer
to contain himself, the latter instantly replied: “You have grossly
insulted me; but I will prevent you from doing the like again!” and at
the same moment stabbed him through the body with his knife, so that
he dropped down dead by his side. The alarm being immediately spread
through the village, a crowd of Indians assembled, and the murderer
having seated himself on the ground by the side of the dead body,
coolly awaited his fate, which he could not expect to be any other
than immediate death, particularly as the cry of the people was, “Kill
him! Kill him!” But although he placed his body and head in a proper
posture to receive the stroke of the tomahawk, no one attempted to
lay hands on him; but after removing the dead body from where it lay,
they left him alone. Not meeting here with his expected fate, he rose
from this place for a more public part of the village, and there lay
down on the ground in the hope of being the sooner despatched; but the
spectators, after viewing him, all retired again. Sensible that his
life was justly forfeited, and anxious to be relieved from a state of
suspense, he took the resolution to go to the mother of the deceased,
an aged widow, whom he addressed in these words: “Woman, I have killed
thy son; he had insulted me, it is true; but still he was thine, and
his life was valuable to thee. I, therefore, now surrender myself up
to thy will. Direct as thou wilt have it, and relieve me speedily from
misery.” To which the woman answered: “Thou hast, indeed, killed my
son, who was dear to me, and the only supporter I had in my old age.
One life is already lost, and to take thine on that account, cannot be
of any service to me, nor better my situation. Thou hast, however, a
son, whom, if thou wilt give me in the place of my son, whom thou hast
slain, all shall be wiped away.” The murderer then replied: “Mother,
my son is yet but a child, ten years old, and can be of no service to
thee, but rather a trouble and charge; but here am I, truly capable of
supporting and maintaining thee: if thou wilt receive me as thy son,
nothing shall be wanting on my part to make thee comfortable while thou
livest.” The woman approving of the proposal, forthwith adopted him as
her son, and took the whole family to her house.

But we must now look to the other side of the picture. It cannot but
be acknowledged that the Indians are in general revengeful and cruel
to their enemies. That even after the battle is over, they wreak their
deliberate revenge on their defenceless prisoners; that in their
wars they are indifferent about the means which they pursue for the
annoyance and destruction of their adversaries, and that surprise
and stratagem are as often employed by them as open force. This is
all true. Deprived of the light of the only true Christian Religion,
unchecked by the precepts and unswayed by the example of the God
of peace, they indulge too much, sometimes, the violence of their
passions, and commit actions which force the tear from the eye of
humanity. But, upon the whole, are we better than they are? I reserve
this question for a separate chapter.



Although the Indians have no code of laws for their government, their
chiefs find little or no difficulty in governing them. They are
supported by able experienced counsellors; men who study the welfare
of the nation, and are equally interested with themselves in its
prosperity. On them the people rely entirely, believing that what they
do, or determine upon, must be right and for the public good.

Proud of seeing such able men conduct the affairs of their nation, the
Indians are little troubled about what they are doing, knowing that
the result of their deliberations will be made public in due time,
and sure that it will receive their approbation. This result is made
known to them by the chief through the orator, for which purpose they
are called together and assemble at the council-house; and if it be
found necessary to require a contribution of _wampum_, for carrying the
decision of the chiefs into effect, it is cheerfully complied with by
the whole assembly.

The chiefs are very careful in preserving for their own information,
and that of future generations, all important deliberations and
treaties made at any time between them and other nations. Thus, between
the years 1770 and 1780, they could relate very minutely what had
passed between William Penn and their forefathers, at their first
meeting and afterwards, and also the transactions which took place with
the governors who succeeded him. For the purpose of refreshing their
own memories, and of instructing one or more of their most capable and
promising young men in these matters, they assemble once or twice
a year. On these occasions they always meet at a chosen spot in the
woods, at a small distance from the town, where a fire is kindled,
and at the proper time provisions are brought out to them; there, on
a large piece of bark or on a blanket, all the documents are laid
out in such order, that they can at once distinguish each particular
speech, the same as we know the principal contents of an instrument of
writing by the endorsement on it. If any paper or parchment writings
are connected with the belts, or strings of wampum, they apply to some
trusty white man (if such can be had,) to read the contents to them.
Their speaker then, who is always chosen from among those who are
endowed with superior talents, and has already been trained up to the
business, rises, and in an audible voice delivers, with the gravity
that the subject requires, the contents, sentence after sentence,
until he has finished the whole on one subject. On the manner in
which the belts or strings of wampum are handled by the speaker, much
depends; the _turning_[116] of the belt which takes place when he has
finished one half of his speech, is a material point, though this is
not common in _all_ speeches with belts; but when it is the case, and
is done properly, it may be as well known by it how far the speaker
has advanced in his speech, as with us on taking a glance at the pages
of a book or pamphlet while reading; and a good speaker will be able
to point out the exact place on a belt which is to answer to each
particular sentence, the same as we can point out a passage in a book.
Belts and strings, when done with by the speaker, are again handed to
the chief, who puts them up carefully in the speech-bag or pouch.

A message of importance is generally sent on to the place of its
destination, by an inferior chief, by a counsellor, or by the speaker,
especially when an immediate answer is expected. In other cases, where
for instance only an answer to a speech is to be sent, two capable
young men are selected for the purpose, the one to deliver the message
or answer, and the other to pay attention while his companion is
delivering it, that no part be forgotten or omitted. If the message
be of a private nature, they are charged to draw or take it _under
ground_, that is, not to make it known to any person whatsoever, except
to him to whom it is directed. If they are told to enter _into the
earth_ with the message or speech, and rise again at the place where
they are to deliver it, it is to desire them to be careful not to be
seen by the way by any person, and for that purpose to avoid all paths,
and travel through the woods.

No chief pays any attention to _reports_, though they may carry with
them the marks of truth. Until he is _officially_ and in due form
apprised of the matter, he will, if questioned on the subject, reply
that he had _not heard it_. It will, until then, be considered by
him as the _song of a bird which had flown by_; but as soon as he is
officially informed, through a string of wampum from some distant chief
or leading man of the nation, whose situation entitles him to receive
credit, he then will say: “I _have_ heard it;” and acts accordingly.

The Indians generally, but their chiefs more particularly, have
many figurative expressions in use, to understand which requires
instruction. When a nation, by message or otherwise, speaks to another
nation in this way, it is well understood; but when they speak to
white people after this manner, who have not been accustomed to such
language, explanations are necessary.

Their belts of wampum are of different dimensions, both as to the
length and breadth. White and black wampum are the kinds they use;
the former denoting that which is _good_, as peace, friendship, good
will, &c., the latter the reverse; yet occasionally the black also is
made use of on peace errands, when the white cannot be procured; but
previous to its being produced for such purpose, it must be daubed all
over with chalk, white clay, or any thing which changes the colour from
black to white. The pipe of peace, being either made of a black or red
stone, must also be whitened before it is produced and smoked out of on
such occasions.

Roads from one friendly nation to another, are generally marked on the
belt, by one or two rows of white wampum interwoven in the black, and
running through the middle, and from end to end. It means that they are
on good terms, and keep up a friendly intercourse with each other.

A black belt with the mark of a hatchet made on it with red paint,
is a war belt, which, when sent to a nation together with a twist or
roll of tobacco, is an invitation to join in a war. If the nation so
invited smoke of this tobacco, and say it smokes well, they have given
their consent, and are from that moment allies. If however they decline
smoking, all further persuasion would be of no effect; yet it once[117]
happened, that war messengers endeavoured to persuade and compel a
nation to accept the belt, by laying it on the shoulders or thigh of
the chief, who, however, after shaking it off without touching it with
his hands, afterwards, with a stick, threw it after them, as if he
threw a snake or toad out of his way.

Although at their councils they do not seat themselves after the
manner of the white people, yet the attitude they place themselves in
is not chargeable to them as a want of respect. Faithful to the trust
committed to them, they are careless of ceremonies, from which the
nation cannot derive any benefit. They seat themselves promiscuously
around a council fire, some leaning one way, some another, so that
a stranger on viewing them, might be led to conclude they were
inattentive to what was said, or had become tired of attending. Not
so! even sitting in this posture gives them the opportunity of being
intent on what is said, and attentive to the subject under their
consideration. They have no object to look at, which might draw off
their attention. They are all ears, though they do not stare at the
speaker! The fact is, that nothing can draw their attention from the
subject they are deliberating on, unless the house they are sitting in
should take fire or be attacked by an enemy.

To prove the correctness of the above assertion, I shall relate the
following fact, which happened at Detroit in the winter of 1785 and

When two most audacious murderers of the Chippeway nation, who, for
many months, had put the town and whole country in fear, by the threats
and the daring murders they had committed in the settlement, were
taken, and brought before the commandant (their chiefs having been
previously sent for, and being now assembled in the council house),
heard him pronounce the words: “that according to the laws of their
Father (the English) they should[118] be punished with death,” the
younger of the two, who was the son of the other, sprang from his seat,
and having forced his way to[119] the door, endeavoured with a knife
or dagger he had hidden under his blanket, to work his way through
the strong guard placed outside of the door and[120] in the street to
prevent their escape; in this attempt, however, he was stabbed and
fell; all which occasioned much noise and commotion without, and not a
little fear and uneasiness within, among the spectators and officers of
government; yet, not one of the chiefs, who were many in number, either
moved from his seat, nor looked around, or even at one another; but
they all remained sitting in the same posture as before, smoking their
pipes as if nothing had happened.

Though there are sometimes individuals in a nation, who disregard the
counsel and good advice given by the chiefs, yet they do not meet
with support so as to be able to oppose the measures of government.
They are generally looked upon as depraved beings, who not daring to
associate with the others, lurk about by themselves, generally bent on
mischief of a minor kind, such as pilfering small articles of goods
and provisions. As soon, however, as they go a step further, and
become known thieves and murderers, they are considered a disgrace to
the nation, and being in a manner disowned by it, they are no longer
entitled to their protection.

In the year 1785, an Indian of this description, murdered a Mr. Evans
at Pittsburg; when, after a confinement of several months, his trial
was to be brought on, the chiefs of his (the Delaware nation,) were
invited to come to be present at the proceedings and see how the trial
would be conducted, and, also, if they chose, to speak in behalf of
the accused. These chiefs, however, instead of coming, as wished for,
sent to the civil officers of that place the following laconic answer:
“Brethren! You inform us that N. N. who murdered one of your men at
Pittsburg, is shortly to be tried by the laws of your country, at which
trial you request that some of us may be present! Brethren! knowing N.
N. to have been always a very bad man, we do not wish to see him! We,
therefore, advise you to try him by your laws, and to hang him, so that
he may never return to us again.”

I shall conclude this subject with another anecdote. When in the winter
of 1788 and 1789, the Indian nations were assembling at Fort Harmer, at
the mouth of the Muskingum, where a treaty was to be held, an Indian of
the Seneca nation was one morning found dead on the bank of the river.
The Cornplanter, chief of this nation, observing some uneasiness among
the officers and people of the place, and fearing the murder at this
time and place, might perhaps create much disturbance, waited in the
morning on the Governor, whom he desired “not to be uneasy about what
had happened the preceding night, for the man who had been killed was
of no consequence.” This meant in other words, that he was disowned for
his bad conduct by his countrymen, and that his death would not be a
loss to his nation.



It may justly be a subject of wonder, how a nation without a written
code of laws or system of jurisprudence, without any form or
constitution of government, and without even a single elective or
hereditary magistrate, can subsist together in peace and harmony, and
in the exercise of the moral virtues; how a people can be well and
effectually governed without any external authority; by the mere force
of the ascendancy which men of superior minds have over those of a more
ordinary stamp; by a tacit, yet universal submission to the aristocracy
of experience, talents and virtue! Such, nevertheless, is the spectacle
which an Indian nation exhibits to the eye of a stranger. I have been
a witness to it for a long series of years, and after much observation
and reflection to discover the cause of this phenomenon, I think I have
reason to be satisfied that it is in a great degree to be ascribed to
the pains which the Indians take to instill at an early age honest
and virtuous principles upon the minds of their children, and to the
method which they pursue in educating them. This method I will not call
a system; for systems are unknown to these sons of nature, who, by
following alone her simple dictates, have at once discovered and follow
without effort that plain obvious path which the philosophers of Europe
have been so long in search of.

The first step that parents take towards the education of their
children, is to prepare them for future happiness, by impressing upon
their tender minds, that they are indebted for their existence to a
great, good and benevolent Spirit, who not only has given them life,
but has ordained them for certain great purposes. That he has given
them a fertile extensive country well stocked with game of every kind
for their subsistence, and that by one of his inferior spirits he has
also sent down to them from above corn, pumpkins, squashes, beans and
other vegetables for their nourishment; all which blessings their
ancestors have enjoyed for a great number of ages. That this great
Spirit looks down upon the Indians, to see whether they are grateful to
him and make him a due return for the many benefits he has bestowed,
and therefore that it is their duty to show their thankfulness by
worshipping him, and doing that which is pleasing in his sight.

This is in substance the first lesson taught, and from time to time
repeated to the Indian children, which naturally leads them to reflect
and gradually to understand that a being which hath done such great
things for them, and all to make them happy, must be good indeed, and
that it is surely their duty to do something that will please him. They
are then told that their ancestors, who received all this from the
hands of the great Spirit, and lived in the enjoyment of it, must have
been informed of what would be most pleasing to this good being, and of
the manner in which his favour could be most surely obtained, and they
are directed to look up for instruction to those who know all this, to
learn from them, and revere them for their wisdom and the knowledge
which they possess; this creates in the children a strong sentiment
of respect for their elders, and a desire to follow their advice and
example. Their young ambition is then excited by telling them that they
were made the superiors of all other creatures, and are to have power
over them; great pains are taken to make this feeling take an early
root, and it becomes in fact their ruling passion through life; for no
pains are spared to instill into them that by following the advice of
the most admired and extolled hunter, trapper or warrior, they will at
a future day acquire a degree of fame and reputation, equal to that
which he possesses; that by submitting to the counsels of the aged,
the chiefs, the men superior in wisdom, they may also rise to glory,
and be called _Wisemen_, an honourable title, to which no Indian is
indifferent. They are finally told that if they respect the aged and
infirm, and are kind and obliging to them, they will be treated in the
same manner when their turn comes to feel the infirmities of old age.

When this first and most important lesson is thought to be sufficiently
impressed upon children’s minds, the parents next proceed to make them
sensible of the distinction between good and evil; they tell them that
there are good actions and bad actions, both equally open to them to
do or commit; that good acts are pleasing to the good Spirit which
gave them their existence, and that on the contrary, all that is bad
proceeds from the bad spirit who has given them nothing, and who cannot
give them any thing that is good, because he has it not, and therefore
he envies them that which they have received from the good Spirit, who
is far superior to the bad one.

This introductory lesson, if it may be so called, naturally makes them
wish to know what is good and what is bad. This the parent teaches him
in his own way, that is to say, in the way in which he was himself
taught by his own parents. It is not the lesson of an hour nor of a
day, it is rather a long course more of practical than of theoretical
instruction, a lesson, which is not repeated at stated seasons or
times, but which is shewn, pointed out, and demonstrated to the child,
not only by those under whose immediate guardianship he is, but by
the whole community, who consider themselves alike interested in the
direction to be given to the rising generation.

When this instruction is given in the form of precepts, it must not be
supposed that it is done in an authoritative or forbidding tone, but,
on the contrary, in the gentlest and most persuasive manner: nor is
the parent’s authority ever supported by harsh or compulsive means; no
whips, no punishments, no threats are even used to enforce commands or
compel obedience. The child’s _pride_ is the feeling to which an appeal
is made, which proves successful in almost every instance. A father
needs only to say in the presence of his children: “I want such a thing
done; I want one of my children to go upon such an errand; let me see
who is the _good_ child that will do it!” This word _good_ operates,
as it were, by magic, and the children immediately vie with each other
to comply with the wishes of their parent. If a father sees an old
decrepid man or woman pass by, led along by a child, he will draw the
attention of his own children to the object by saying: “What a _good_
child that must be, which pays such attention to the aged! That child,
indeed, looks forward to the time when it will likewise be old!” or he
will say, “May the great Spirit, who looks upon him, grant this _good_
child a long life!”

In this manner of bringing up children, the parents, as I have already
said, are seconded by the whole community. If a child is sent from his
father’s dwelling to carry a dish of victuals to an aged person, all in
the house will join in calling him a _good_ child. They will ask whose
child he is, and on being told, will exclaim: what! has the _Tortoise_,
or the _little Bear_ (as the father’s name may be) got such a _good_
child? If a child is seen passing through the streets leading an old
decrepid person, the villagers will in his hearing, and to encourage
all the other children who may be present to take example from him,
call on one another to look on and see what a _good_ child that must
be. And so, in most instances, this method is resorted to, for the
purpose of instructing children in things that are good, proper, or
honourable in themselves; while, on the other hand, when a child has
committed a _bad_ act, the parent will say to him: “O! how grieved
I am that my child has done this _bad_ act! I hope he will never do
so again.” This is generally effectual, particularly if said in the
presence of others. The whole of the Indian plan of education tends
to elevate rather than to depress the mind, and by that means to make
determined hunters and fearless warriors.

Thus, when a lad has killed his first game, such as a deer or a bear,
parents who have boys growing up will not fail to say to some person
in the presence of their own children: “That boy must have listened
attentively to the aged hunters, for, though young, he has already
given a proof that he will become a good hunter himself.” If, on the
other hand, a young man should fail of giving such a proof, it will be
said of him “that he did not pay attention to the discourses of the

In this indirect manner is instruction on all subjects given to the
young people. They are to learn the arts of hunting, trapping, and
making war, by listening to the aged when conversing together on those
subjects, each, in his turn, relating how he acted, and opportunities
are afforded to them for that purpose. By this mode of instructing
youth, their respect for the aged is kept alive, and it is increased by
the reflection that the same respect will be paid to them at a future
day, when young persons will be attentive to what they shall relate.

This method of conveying instruction is, I believe, common to most
Indian nations; it is so, at least, amongst all those that I have
become acquainted with, and lays the foundation for that voluntary
submission to their chiefs, for which they are so remarkable. Thus
has been maintained for ages, without convulsions and without civil
discords, this traditional government, of which the world, perhaps,
does not offer another example; a government in which there are no
positive laws, but only long established habits and customs, no code
of jurisprudence, but the experience of former times, no magistrates,
but advisers, to whom the people, nevertheless, pay a willing and
implicit obedience, in which age confers rank, wisdom gives power, and
moral goodness secures a title to universal respect. All this seems to
be effected by the simple means of an excellent mode of education, by
which a strong attachment to ancient customs, respect for age, and the
love of virtue are indelibly impressed upon the minds of youth, so that
these impressions acquire strength as time pursues its course, and as
they pass through successive generations.



In all the North American territories bounded to the north and east by
the Atlantic ocean, and to the south and west by the river Mississippi,
and the possessions of the English Hudson’s Bay company, there appears
to be but four principal languages, branching out, it is true, into
various dialects, but all derived from one or the other of the four
mother tongues, some of which extend even beyond the Mississippi, and
perhaps, as far as the Rocky Mountains. These four languages are:


This language is spoken by the inhabitants of Greenland and on the
Continent by the Eskimaux Indians of the coast of Labrador. Its forms
and principles are sufficiently known by means of the Grammar and
Dictionary of the venerable Egede,[121] and the works of Bartholinus,
Wœldike, Thornhallesen,[122] Cranz[123] and others. It is much
cultivated by the Missionaries of the Society of the United Brethren,
by whom we may expect to see its principles still further elucidated.
It is in Greenland that begin those comprehensive grammatical forms
which are said to characterise the languages of the vast American
continent, as far as they are known, and are the more remarkable when
contrasted with the simplicity of construction of the idioms spoken on
the opposite European shores, in Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and other
countries. It appears evident from this single circumstance, that
America did not receive its original population from Europe.


This language in various dialects is spoken by the Mengwe or Six
Nations, the Wyandots or Hurons, the Naudowessies, the Assinipoetuk,
called by the French Assiniboils, Assinipoils, or Sioux, and by
other tribes, particularly beyond the St. Lawrence. Father La Hontan
distinguishes this class of languages by the name of the _Huron_,
probably because that nation was better known to the French, whose
allies they were, than the Iroquois, who were in alliance with the
English.[124] All these languages, however they may be called in
a general sense, are dialects of the same mother tongue, and have
considerable affinity with each other. Mr. Carver is mistaken when he
describes the _Naudowessie_ as belonging to a class different from the
Iroquois.[125] It is sufficient to compare the vocabularies that we
have of these two idioms, to see the great similitude that subsists
between them. We do not, unfortunately, possess a single grammar of any
of these dialects; we have nothing, in fact, besides the fragment of
Zeisberger’s Dictionary, which I have already mentioned, but a large
vocabulary of the Huron,[126] composed by Father Sagard, a good and
pious French Missionary, but of very limited abilities, and who also
resided too short a time among that nation to be able to give a correct
account of their language. He represents it in his preface, as poor,
imperfect, anomalous, and inadequate to the clear expression of ideas,
in which he is contradicted by others whom we have reason to believe
better informed. Zeisberger considered the Iroquois (of which the Huron
is a dialect,) as a rich and comprehensive idiom. It is to be regretted
that a grammar which he had composed of it, and the best part of his
Dictionary, are irretrievably lost. Sir William Johnson speaks highly
of the powers of this language;[127] Colden,[128] though he did not
know it himself, speaks in the same manner from the information of
others. Indeed, Father Sagard’s Dictionary itself, when attentively
read by a person acquainted with the forms of Indian languages, affords
sufficient intrinsic evidence of the mistakes of the good father who
composed it.


This is the most widely extended language of any of those that are
spoken on this side of the Mississippi. It prevails in the extensive
regions of Canada, from the coast of Labrador to the mouth of Albany
river which falls into the southernmost part of Hudson’s bay, and
from thence to the Lake of the Woods, which forms the north-western
boundary of the United States. It appears to be the language of all the
Indians of that extensive country, except those of the Iroquois stock,
which are by far the least numerous. Farther to the north-west, in the
territories of the Hudson’s Bay Company, other Indian nations have
been discovered, such as the Blackfoot Indians, Sussee Indians, Snake
Indians, and others, whose languages are said to be different from the
Iroquois and the Lenape, but we are not able to form a very correct
judgment respecting those idioms from the scanty vocabularies which
have been given us by Mackenzie, Umfreville and other travellers. We
must wait for further light before we decide.

Out of the limits of Canada few Iroquois are found, except the remnants
of those who were once settled in the vicinity of the great Lakes, in
the northern parts of the now State of New York. There are yet some
Wyandots in the vicinity of Detroit. All the rest of the Indians who
now inhabit this country to the Mississippi, are of the Lenape stock,
and speak dialects of that language. It is certain that at the time of
the arrival of the Europeans, they were in possession of all the coast
from the northernmost point of Nova Scotia to the Roanoke. Hence they
were called _Wapanachki_, or _Abenakis_, men of the East. La Hontan
gives us a list of the Indian nations of ancient Acadia, all speaking
dialects of the Abenaki, or as he calls it, of the Algonquin. They
were the Abenakis, Micmacs, Canibas, Mahingans (Mohicans), Openangos,
Soccokis, and Etchemins, from whom all Nova Scotia, (excepting the
peninsula,) and a part of the now district of Maine, were once called
by the French the _country of the Etchemins_. He does not speak of the
Souriquois, who are also known to have inhabited Acadia, and likewise
spoke a dialect of the Lenape.

In the interior of the country we find every where the Lenape and
their kindred tribes. The Miamis, or Twightwees, the Potowatomies,
the Messissaugees, the Kickapoos, all those Indian nations who once
inhabited, and parts of whom still inhabit the interior of our
country on this side of the Mississippi and the great Lakes, are
unquestionably, from their dialects, of Lenape origin. The Shawanos, it
is said, formerly dwelt upon the river Savannah, in Georgia, and a part
of them remaining in that country, associated with the Creeks, still
retain their language.[129] As far as we are able to judge from the
little knowledge that has been transmitted to us of the language of
the Indians who once inhabited Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina,
they all appear to have belonged to the same stock, the Nanticokes have
been shewn to have been intimately connected with the Lenape, and among
those who called them _grandfather_. Two pretty copious vocabularies
of their language, in the possession of the Historical Committee of
the American Philosophical Society, one of them communicated by Mr.
Jefferson and the other by myself, prove it beyond a doubt to have been
a dialect of the Lenape.[130] The Canai or Kanhawas, who have given
their name to a river in Virginia which empties itself into the Ohio,
are known to have been of the same stock. The Indian names of rivers,
mountains, and towns, through that vast extent of country, appear
generally derived from the Lenape language.

The Baron de La Hontan, is one of the first writers, I believe, who
have spoken of the universality of this idiom; but it is extraordinary
that he has not said a word of the Lenni Lenape, that great and
powerful nation. He calls this language the _Algonquin_ tongue,
although he describes that people as “an erratic sort of savages, who,
like the Arabs, had no settled abode,”[131] and admits, that at the
time when he wrote, their number did not exceed 200. What he says on
this subject, however, is so much to my purpose, that I hope I shall be
permitted to make a small extract from it.

“There are,” says the Baron, “but two mother tongues in the whole
extent of Canada, which I confine within the limits of the Mississippi;
they are the _Huron_ and the _Algonquin_. The first is understood
by the Iroquois, for the difference between these two is no greater
than that between the Norman and the French. The second, namely the
_Algonquin_, is as much esteemed among the savages as the Greek and
Latin are in Europe; though it would seem that the aborigines, to whom
it owes its original, disgrace it by the thinness of their nation, _for
their whole number does not amount to two hundred_.”[133]

What the Baron says here of this language is very correct; but why does
he call it the Algonquin, and ascribe its origin to that miserable
wandering tribe? He had the Abenakis at hand, whom in another place he
puts at the head of the tribes inhabiting Nova Scotia, and who still
preserved the generic name of the whole nation, _Wapanachki_, which
the French have softened to suit the analogy of their own tongue, by
which name the different nations and tribes of the Lenape stock still
recognise each other to this day. It is probable that he did not
sufficiently understand their language,[134] to have much conversation
with them, otherwise they would have informed him that they derived
their origin from a great and powerful nation residing in the interior
of the country, whom they revered as their _grandfather_, at whose door
the great national council fire was kept constantly burning, whose
badge was the _Turtle_, and whose supremacy was acknowledged by all the
kindred tribes.

Father Charlevoix, who also speaks of the universality of this
language, commits the same error in ascribing its origin to the
Algonquins. “In the southern part of Hudson’s Bay,” says he, “the
trade is carried on with the Matassins, the Monsonies, the Christinaux
(Knisteneaux), and the Assinipoils, the three first of which speak
the _Algonquin_ language.”[135] In a later publication, (I think by a
Mr. Winterbotham,) of which, during my travels, some years ago, I had
merely a glance, I found by some words he had put down in the language
of those people, that they were _Minsi_ or _Monseys_, a branch of the
wolf tribe of the Lenape. So indeed, one of their names, _Monsonies_,
seems of itself to indicate. The name of the Matassins, means in their
language a tobacco pipe, and so it does in the Monsey to this day.
And they all speak the Algonquin, a language, say both Charlevoix and
La Hontan, universally known for a thousand leagues round. The last
mentioned author subjoins a vocabulary of what he calls the Algonquin
tongue, which bears a greater affinity to the language of the Unamis
or Turtle[136] tribe of the Lenape than that does to the idiom of
the Monsey or Wolf tribe of the same nation. I find many words in
the Algonquin (as given by La Hontan), which are exactly the same as
in the Unami, while others bear more resemblance to the Chippeway,
also a dialect of the Lenape, spoken by a tribe in connexion with the
Delawares, and who call them _grandfather_.

There can be no doubt, therefore, that this universal language, so
much admired and so generally spoken by the Indian nations, is that
of the Lenni Lenape, and is improperly named the Chippeway by Carver,
and the Algonquin by La Hontan. The celebrated Professor Vater, in
his excellent continuation of Adelung’s Mithridates, calls the class
of languages derived from this source, “the Chippewayo-Delawarian,
or Algonkino-Mohican stock.”[137] It is, perhaps, indifferent for
philological purposes, whether a language be called the Delaware or
the Chippeway, the Algonquin or the Mohican; but every body must be
sensible of the inconvenience of those long compound names, which
leave no fixed or determinate idea upon the mind. For the purpose of
general description it seems better to designate the languages of
those connected tribes by the name of their common grandfather, the
Lenni Lenape, or by the generic denomination universally adopted among
them, Wapanachki, or Abenaki. I have preferred the former as a mark of
respect to an ancient and once powerful nation, and in the hope that
her name may be preserved, at least, in the records of philological

This beautiful language, and those which are derived from it, though
more has been written upon them than on any of the other languages of
these parts of the North American continent, are as yet but little
known. The grammar of the Natick dialect published by Eliot, at
Cambridge in Massachusetts, in the year 1666, has long been out of
print, and is to be found only in very few libraries in the United
States; Dr. Edwards’s little tract on the Mohican language, although
printed twice, does not appear to have had much circulation, and is
not alone sufficient to give an idea of the forms and construction of
these Indian dialects. Zeisberger’s Delaware spelling book is but a
collection of words, and does not contain any grammatical explanations.
The learned Vater has taken immense pains, from the scanty helps within
his reach, to discover the grounds and principles of these idioms,
and what he has written on the subject is a proof of what talents
and industry can effect with little means. But still the matter is
not sufficiently understood. There is in the library of the society
of the United Brethren in this town, an excellent MS. grammar of the
Lenni Lenape, written in German by Zeisberger. I understand that the
Historical Committee of the American Philosophical Society are going to
publish an English translation of this valuable work. I rejoice in the
prospect of this publication, which will give a clear and satisfactory
view of the true genius and character of the languages of the Indian
nations. At the request of the same Committee, I have endeavoured to
give some further development of the principles which that grammar
contains, in a series of letters to their Secretary, which, I am
informed, are also to be printed. This supersedes the necessity of my
entering here into more details on this interesting subject. I hope
the result of these publications will be to satisfy the world that
the languages of the Indians are not so poor, so devoid of variety of
expression, so inadequate to the communication even of abstract ideas,
or in a word so _barbarous_, as has been generally imagined.


I call by this generic name, the languages spoken by those Indian
nations who inhabit the southern frontier of the United States and
the Spanish Province of Florida. They are the Creeks or Muskohgees,
Chickesaws, Choctaws, Pascagoulas, Cherokees or Cheerakees, and several
others. It is said that there once existed among them a powerful
nation called the Natchez, whose language was the mother tongue
of all those southern dialects. We are told also of an Apalachian
nation, who it is said lived in the western parts of Louisiana, and
were a part of the great nation of the Apalachians, who resided in
the mountains which bear their name, and whose branches were settled
under different denominations, in the vast extent of country situated
between Louisiana, Canada and New England.[138] In this great
_Apalachian_ nation we cannot help recognising our friends the Lenape,
or _Wapanachki_, whose name the French in the south have as easily
corrupted into _Apalaches_, as those in the north into _Abenakis_.
It was they who gave their name to the Apalachian mountains, once
so called, but which of late have resumed their former appellation
of Alligewi, or Allegheny. Mr. Vater thinks that the remains of
those Apalachians are still to be found in the Catawbas,[139] who
are sometimes named Chaktawas[140] and probably are the same who by
contraction are now called Choktaws.

Other writers speak to us of the Mobilians,[141] as the nation from
which the neighbouring tribes derived their origin, and whose language
was their mother tongue. The fact is, that we know very little about
these southern Indians, and on the subject of their languages we have
nothing to guide our enquiries, but a few words given us by Adair,
and some that have been collected from various sources by the late
Dr. Barton. We are not, however, without the means of obtaining full
and accurate information on this interesting subject, and I hope the
historical committee will be successful in the measures which they
are about to take to procure it. Mr. Meigs, the United States agent
with the Cherokees, Mr. Mitchell, agent to the Creeks, and the Rev.
John Gambold, who has long lived as a Missionary of the Society of
the United Brethren with the former of these nations, are well able
to satisfy their enquiries, and I have no doubt will be happy to give
their aid to the advancement of the literature of their country.

It is a fact worthy of remark, and much to be regretted, that the
French and English, who have been so long in possession of the immense
country extending from Labrador to the Mississippi, have written so
little respecting the Indian languages of this part of the American
continent. Among the English, Eliot alone, and among the French, Father
Sagard, can be said to have published anything on this subject that is
worth notice. Zeisberger was a German, and Mr. Edwards an American.
On the contrary, the Spaniards[142] have published a great number of
grammars and dictionaries of the Indian languages spoken within the
limits of their American possessions, and deserve much credit for
these exertions. It is not yet too late for the independent Americans
to retrieve the neglect of their forefathers; but no time should be
lost, as the Indian nations are fast disappearing from the face of our
country, and our posterity may have to regret hereafter that greater
pains were not taken to preserve the memory of their traditions,
customs, manners, and LANGUAGES.



It has been asserted by many persons that the languages of the
Indians are deficient in words, and that, in order to make themselves
understood, they are obliged to resort to motions and signs with
their hands. This is entirely a mistake. I do not know a nation of
whom foreigners do not say the same thing. The fact is, that in every
country, signs and motions with the hands more or less accompany
discourse, particularly when delivered with a certain degree of
earnestness and warmth. Foreigners, who are not very conversant with
a language, pay in general as much and sometimes more attention to
these motions than to the words of the speaker, in order the better to
be able to understand what falls from him. Hence, almost every nation
charges the others with too much gesticulation in speaking. For a
similar reason, a foreign language is generally thought to be spoken
quicker than our own, while the truth is, that it is our ear which is
slow in distinguishing the words, not the voice which speaks that is
too quick in uttering them.

The Indians do not gesticulate more when they speak than other nations
do. In their public speeches they will, like our preachers and lawyers,
enforce what they say by gestures and motions of the body and hands, in
order to give greater weight to their observations, or to represent the
subject they speak of in a more lively manner than can be done by words
alone; but in common conversation they make few of those motions, and
not more, I believe, than we do ourselves; even the women, who every
where speak more than the men, never want words to express themselves,
but rather seem to have too many, and they do not oftener employ
gestures in aid of their conversation than the vivacity of their sex
induces them to do every where else.

It is true that the Indians have a language of signs, by which they
communicate with each other on occasions when speaking is not prudent
or proper, as, for instance, when they are about to meet an enemy, and
by speaking they would run the risk of being discovered. By this means
they also make themselves understood to those nations of Indians whose
languages they are not acquainted with, for all the Indian nations
understand each other in this way. It is also, in many cases, a saving
of words, which the Indians are much intent on, believing that too much
talking disgraces a man. When, therefore, they will relate something
extraordinary in a few words, they make use of corresponding signs,
which is very entertaining to those who listen and attend to them, and
who are acquainted both with the language and the signs, being very
much as if somebody were to explain a picture set before them. But they
never make use of signs to supply any deficiency of language, as they
have words and phrases sufficient to express every thing.

I have frequently questioned Indians who had been educated at our
schools, and could understand, read, write, and speak both English and
German, whether they could express their ideas better in either of
those languages than in their own, and they have always and uniformly
answered that they could express themselves with far the greatest ease
in their own Indian, and that they never were at a loss for words or
phrases in which to clothe every idea that occurred to them, without
being in any case obliged to gesticulate or make motions with their
hands or otherwise. From the knowledge which I have acquired of their
language, I have reason to be satisfied that it is so. Indeed, how can
it be doubted, when we have the whole of the Bible and New Testament
translated into one of their dialects, and when we see our ministers,
when once familiar with the language of the nation with which they
reside, preach to them without the least difficulty on the most
abstruse subjects of the Christian faith? It is true, that ideas are
not always expressed in those languages in the same words, or under
the same grammatical forms as in our own; where we would use one part
of speech, we are obliged to employ another, and one single word with
them will not seldom serve a purpose for which we would have to employ
several; but still, the ideas are communicated, and pass with clearness
and precision from mind to mind. Thus the end of oral language is
completely obtained, and more, I think, cannot be required.

The Indians do not possess our art of writing, they have no alphabets,
or[143] any mode of representing to the eye the sounds of words spoken,
yet they have certain hieroglyphics, by which they describe facts in
so plain a manner, that those who are conversant with those marks can
understand them with the greatest ease, as easily, indeed, as we can
understand a piece of writing. For instance, on a piece of bark, or on
a large tree with the bark taken off for the purpose, by the side of
a path, they can and do give every necessary information to those who
come by the same way; they will in that manner let them know, that they
were a war party of so many men, from such a place, of such a nation
and such a tribe; how many of each tribe were in the party; to which
tribe the chief or captain belonged; in what direction they proceeded
to meet the enemy; how many days they were out and how many returning;
what number of the enemy they had killed, how many prisoners they had
brought; how many scalps they had taken; whether they had lost any of
their party, and how many; what enemies they had met with, and how
many they consisted of; of what nation or tribe their captain was,
&c.; all which, at a single glance, is perfectly well understood by
them. In the same manner they describe a chase: all Indian nations can
do this, although they have not all the same marks; yet I have seen
the Delawares read with ease the drawings of the Chippeways, Mingoes,
Shawanos, and Wyandots, on similar subjects.

While Indians are travelling to the place of their destination,
whether it be on a journey to their distant hunting grounds or on a
war excursion, some of the young men are sent out to hunt by the way,
who, when they have killed a deer, bear, or other animal, bring it to
the path, ready to be taken away by those who are coming along, (often
with horses) to the place of encampment, when they all meet at night.
Having hung up the meat by the side of the path, these young men make a
kind of sun-dial, in order to inform those who are coming of the time
of day it was at the time of their arrival and departure. A clear place
in the path is sought for, and if not readily found, one is made by the
side of it, and a circle or ring being drawn on the sand or earth, a
stick of about two or three feet in length is fixed in the centre, with
its upper end bent towards that spot in the horizon where the sun stood
at the time of their arrival or departure. If both are to be noted
down, two separate sticks are set; but generally one is sufficient,
namely, for the time of departure.

Hunters have particular marks, which they make on the trees, where
they strike off from the path to their hunting grounds or place of
encampment, which is often at the distance of many miles; yet the
women, who come from their towns to fetch meat from these camps, will
as readily find them as if they were conducted to the spot.

I shall conclude this chapter with an anecdote, which will at once
shew how expressive and energetic is this hieroglyphic writing of the
Indians. A white man in the Indian country, met[144] a Shawanos riding
a horse which he recognised for his own, and claimed it from him as his
property. The Indian calmly answered; “Friend! after a little while,
I will call on you at your house, when we shall talk of this matter.”
A few days[145] afterwards, the Indian came to the white man’s house,
who insisting on having his horse restored, the other then told him:
“Friend! the horse which you claim belonged to my uncle who lately
died; according to the Indian custom, I have become heir to all his
property.” The white man not being satisfied, and renewing his demand,
the Indian immediately took a coal from the fire-place, and made two
striking figures on the door of the house, the one representing the
white man taking the horse, and the other, himself, in the act of
scalping him; then he coolly asked the trembling claimant “whether he
could read this Indian writing?” The matter thus was settled at once,
and the Indian rode off.



The eloquence of the Indians is natural and simple; they speak what
their feelings dictate without art and without rule; their speeches
are forcible and impressive, their arguments few and pointed, and when
they mean to persuade as well as convince, they take the shortest way
to reach the heart. I know that their oratorical powers have been
strongly controverted, and this is not astonishing, when we consider
the prejudice that exists against their languages, which are in general
believed to be poor, and inadequate to the expression of any but the
most common ideas. Hence all the specimens that have been given to the
world of their oratory have been viewed with a suspicious eye; the
celebrated speech of Logan, authenticated as it is by the respectable
authority of Col. John Gibson, has been denied to be genuine even
in this country. For my part, I am convinced that it was delivered
precisely as it is related to us, with this only difference, that it
possessed a force and expression in the Indian language which it is
impossible to transmit into our own.

I hope the exertions and researches of the Historical Committee will
make the character and genius of the Indian languages better known than
they have hitherto been. The world will then be better able to judge of
their extent and powers, and to decide whether or not they are adequate
to the purposes of oratory. In the meantime, I shall content myself
with presenting another specimen of Indian eloquence; one which I did
not receive at second hand, but at the delivery of which I was present
in person. The translation which I offer will give but a faint idea
of the strength and spirit of the original; I vouch, however, for its
being as correct as it has been in my power to make it.

This speech was spoken at Detroit,[146] on the frontier of Canada, on
the 9th of December,[147] 1801, by Captain Pipe,[148] a chief of the
Delaware nation, and was addressed to the commanding officer of that
post, then in possession of the British. The Delawares, it will be
recollected, had been the steadfast friends of the French, in the war
of 1756. The peace which was concluded in 1763, between the two great
nations who then contended for the supremacy of this continent, was not
for several years regarded by the Indians, and they continued their
hostilities against the subjects and government of Great Britain. They
were obliged, however, to submit to superior force; not without hopes
that their father, the king of France, would soon send over a powerful
army to retake Canada. They were in this situation when the war of the
revolution broke out. It is well known that it was a part of the system
of the British administration to employ the savages to subdue those
whom they called their revolted subjects. The Delawares, in general, as
I have before related, having in vain endeavoured to remain neutral,
took part with the Americans. Captain Pipe, however, with a party of
the Wolf tribe, joined the English in the beginning of the war, and
soon after repented it. But it was too late. He was now reluctantly
compelled to go out against the Americans with the men under his
command. On his return from one of those expeditions, he went to make
his report to the British commandant at Detroit,[149] by whom he was
received in state at the council house, in the presence of a great
number of Indians, British officers and others. There were several
Missionaries present, among which I was. The chief was seated in front
of his Indians, facing the commandant. He held in his left hand an
human scalp tied to a short stick. After a pause of some minutes he
rose, and addressing the governor, delivered the following speech:

“FATHER!” (Here the orator stopped, and turning round to the audience,
with a face full of meaning, and a sarcastic look, which I should in
vain attempt to describe, he went on in a lower tone of voice, as
addressing himself to them;)--“I have said _father_, although, indeed,
I do not know why I am to call _him_ so, having never known any other
father than the French, and considering the English only as _brothers_.
But as this name is also _imposed_ upon us, I shall make use of it and
say: (Here he fixed his eyes on the commandant.)

“FATHER! Some time ago you put a war hatchet into my hands, saying:
Take this weapon and try it on the heads of my enemies the _long
knives_, and let me afterwards know if it was sharp and good.

“FATHER! At the time when you gave me this weapon, I had neither cause
nor inclination to go to war against a people who had done me no
injury; yet in obedience to you, who say you are my father and call
me your child, I received the hatchet; well knowing that if I did not
obey, you would withhold from me[150] the necessaries of life, without
which I could not subsist, and which are not elsewhere to be procured
but at the house of my father.

“FATHER! You may, perhaps, think me a fool, for risking my life at
your bidding, in a cause, too, by which I have no prospect of gaining
anything; for it is _your_ cause and not mine. It is _your_ concern
to fight the _long knives_; _you_ have raised a quarrel amongst
yourselves, and _you_ ought yourselves to fight it out. You should not
compel your children, the Indians, to expose themselves to danger for
_your sakes_.

“FATHER! Many lives have already been lost on _your_ account!--Nations
have suffered and been weakened!--Children have lost parents, brothers
and relatives!--Wives have lost husbands!--It is not known how many
more may perish before YOUR war will be at an end!

“FATHER! I have said that you may, perhaps, think me a fool, for thus
thoughtlessly rushing on _your_ enemy!--Do not believe this, Father!
Think not that I want sense to convince me, that although you _now_
pretend to keep up a perpetual enmity to the long knives, you may,
before long, conclude a peace with them.

“FATHER! You say you love your children, the Indians.--This you have
often told them; and indeed it is your interest to say so to them, that
you may have them at your service.

“But, FATHER! who of us can believe that you can love a people of a
different colour from your own, better than those who have a _white_
skin, like yourselves?

“FATHER! Pay attention to what I am going to say. While you, Father,
are setting me[151] on your enemy, much in the same manner as a hunter
sets his dog on the game; while I am in the act of rushing on that
enemy of yours, with the bloody destructive weapon you gave me, I may,
perchance, happen to look back to the place from whence you started
me, and what shall I see? Perhaps, I may see my father shaking hands
with the _long knives_; yes, with those very people he now calls his
enemies. I may, then, see him laugh at my folly for having obeyed his
orders; and yet I am now risking my life at his command! Father! keep
what I have said in remembrance.

“Now, FATHER! here is what has been done with the hatchet you gave me.”
(Handing the stick with the scalp on it.) “I have done with the hatchet
what you ordered me to do, and found it sharp. Nevertheless, I did not
do _all_ that I _might_ have done. No, I did not. My heart failed
within me. I felt compassion for _your_ enemy. _Innocence_[152] had no
part in your quarrels; therefore I distinguished--I spared. I took some
_live flesh_,[153] which, while I was bringing to you, I spied one of
your large canoes, on which I put it for you. In a few days you will
receive this _flesh_, and _find that the skin is of the same colour
with your own_.

“FATHER! I hope you will not destroy _what_[154] I have saved. You,
Father! have the means of preserving that which with me would perish
for want. The warrior is poor and his cabin is always empty; but your
house, father! is always full.”

Here we see boldness, frankness, dignity, and humanity happily blended
together and most eloquently displayed. I am much mistaken if the
component parts of this discourse are not put together much according
to the rules of oratory which are taught in the schools, and which
were certainly unknown to this savage. The peroration at the end is
short, but truly pathetic, and I would even say, sublime; and then the
admirable way in which it is prepared! I wish I could convey to the
reader’s mind only a small part of the impression which this speech
made on me and on all present when it was delivered.

It is but justice here to say, that Capt. Pipe was well acquainted with
the noble and generous character of the British officer to whom this
speech was addressed. He is still living in his own country, an honour
to the British name. He obeyed the orders of his superiors in employing
the Indians to fight against us, but he did it with reluctance and
softened as much as was in his power the horrors of that abominable
warfare. He esteemed Captain Pipe, and I have no doubt, was well
pleased with the humane conduct of this Indian chief, whose sagacity
in this instance is no less deserving of praise than his eloquence. It
is thus that great minds understand each other, and even in the most
difficult and trying situations, find the means of making the cause of
humanity triumph.



The Indians are fond of metaphors. They are to their discourse what
feathers and beads are to their persons, a gaudy but tasteless
ornament. Yet we must not judge them too severely on that account.
There are other nations besides the American Indians who admire this
mode of expression. Even in enlightened Europe, many centuries have not
elapsed since the best and most celebrated writers employed this figure
in a profuse manner, and thought it a great embellishment to their
poetical and prose compositions; the immortal Shakspeare, himself, did
not disdain it.

The following examples will be sufficient to give an idea of the
metaphorical language of the Indians.

1. “_The sky is overcast with dark blustering clouds._”--We shall have
troublesome times; we shall have war.

2. “_A black cloud has arisen yonder._”--War is threatened from that
quarter, or from that nation.

3. “_Two black clouds are drawing towards each other._”--Two powerful
enemies are in march against each other!

4. “_The path is already shut up!_”--Hostilities have commenced. The
war is begun.

5. “_The rivers run with blood!_”--War rages in the country.

6. “_To bury the hatchet._”--To make, or conclude a peace.

7. “_To lay down the hatchet, or to slip the hatchet under the
bedstead._”--To cease fighting for a while, during a truce; or, to
place the hatchet at hand, so that it may be taken up again at a
moment’s warning.

8. “_The hatchet you gave me to strike your enemies, proved to be very
dull, or not to be sharp; my arm was wearied to little purpose!_”--You
supplied me so scantily with the articles I stood in need of, that I
wanted strength to execute your orders. The presents you gave me were
not sufficient for the task you imposed upon me, therefore I did little!

9. “_The hatchet you gave me was very sharp!_”--As you have satisfied
me, I have done the same for you; I have killed many of your enemies.

10. “_You did not make me strong!_”--You gave me nothing, or but little.

11. “_Make me very strong!_”--Give me much, pay me well!

12. “_The stronger you make me, the more you will see!_”--The more you
give me, the more I will do for you!

13. “_I did as you bid me, but_ SEE _nothing_!”--I have performed my
part, but you have not rewarded me; or, I did my part for you, but you
have not kept your word!

14. “_You have spoken with your lips only, not from the heart!_”--You
endeavour to deceive me; you do not intend to do as you say!

15. “_You now speak from the heart!_”--Now you mean what you say!

16. “_You keep me in the dark!_”--You wish to deceive me; you conceal
your intentions from me; you keep me in ignorance!

17. “_You stopped my ears!_”--You kept the thing a secret from me; you
did not wish me to know it!

18. “_Now I believe you!_”--Done! agreed! It shall be so!

19. “_Your words have penetrated into my heart!_”--I consent! am
pleased with what you say!

20. “_You have spoken good words!_”--I am pleased, delighted with what
you have said!

21. “_You have spoken the truth!_”--I am satisfied with what you have

22. “_Singing birds!_”--Tale bearers--story tellers--liars.

23. “_Don’t listen to the singing of the birds which fly by!_”--Don’t
believe what stragglers tell you!

24. “_What bird was it that sung that song?_”--Who was it that told
that story, that lie?

25. (To a chief,) “_Have you heard the news?_”--Have you been
_officially_ informed?

26. “_I have not heard anything!_”--I have no _official_ information.

27. “_To kindle a council fire at such a place._”--To appoint a place
where the national business is to be transacted; to establish the seat
of government there.

28. “_To remove the council fire to another place._”--To establish
another place for the seat of government.

29. “_The council fire has been extinguished._”--Blood has been shed
by an enemy at the seat of government, which has put the fire out; the
place has been _polluted_.

30. “_Don’t look the other way!_”--Don’t lean to _that_ side; don’t
join with those!

31. “_Look this way!_”--Join us, join our party.

32. “_I have not room to spread my blanket!_”--I am too much crowded on.

33. “_Not to have room enough for an encampment._”--To be too much
confined to a small district; not to have sufficient range for the
cattle to feed on, or sufficient hunting ground.

34. “_I will place you under my wings!_”--(meaning under my arm pits)
I will protect you at all hazards! You shall be perfectly safe, nobody
shall molest you!

35. “_Suffer no grass to grow on the war path!_”--Carry on the war with

36. “_Never suffer grass to grow on this war path!_”--Be at perpetual
war with the nation this path leads to; never conclude a peace with

37. “_To open a path from one nation to another, by removing the logs,
brush and briars out of the way._”--To invite the nation to which the
path leads, to a friendly intercourse; to prepare the way to live on
friendly terms with them.

38. “_The path to that nation is again open!_”--We are again on
friendly terms; the path may again be travelled with safety.

39. “_I hear sighing and sobbing in yonder direction!_”--I think that a
chief of a neighbouring nation has died.

40. “_I draw the thorns out of your feet and legs, grease your
stiffened joints with oil, and wipe the sweat off your body!_”--I make
you feel comfortable after your fatiguing journey, that you may enjoy
yourself while with us.

41. “_I wipe the tears from your eyes, cleanse your ears, and place
your aching heart, which bears you down to one side, in its proper
position!_”--I condole with you; dispel all sorrow! prepare yourself
for business! (N. B. This is said when condoling with a nation on the
death of a chief.)

42. “_I have discovered the cause of your grief!_”--I have seen the
grave (where the chief was buried.)

43. “_I have covered yon spot with[155] fresh earth; I have raked
leaves, and planted trees thereon!_”--means literally, I have hidden
the grave from your eyes; and figuratively, “you must now be cheerful

44. “_I lift you up from this place, and set you down again at my
dwelling place!_”--I invite you to arise from hence, and come and live
where I live.

45. “_I am much too heavy to rise at this present time!_”--I have too
much property! (corn, vegetables, &c.)

46. “_I will pass one night yet at this place._”--I will stay one year
yet at this place.

47. “_We have concluded a peace, which is to last as long as the sun
shall shine, and the rivers flow with water!_”--The peace we have made
is to continue as long as the world stands, or to the end of time.

48. “_To bury the hatchet beneath the root of a tree!_”--To put it
quite out of sight.

49. “_To bury deep in the earth_,” (an injury done)--To consign it to



The proper names of Indians are in general given to them after animals
of various kinds, and even fishes and reptiles. Thus they are called
the _Beaver_, _Otter_, _Sun-fish_, _Black-fish_, _Rattle-snake_,
_Black-snake_, &c. They have also other descriptive names, from their
personal qualities or appearances, and sometimes from fancy or caprice;
but many of those are given them by the whites, such as _Pipe_,
_White-eyes_, _Kill-buck_, &c., which are not real Indian names. They
do not always preserve the names first given to them, but often assume
a new one after they have come to man’s estate.

Indians, who have particularly distinguished themselves by their
conduct, or by some meritorious act, or who have been the subjects of
some remarkable occurrence, have names given to them in allusion to
those circumstances. Thus, I have known a man whose name would signify
in our language _the beloved lover_, and one who was named _Met by
love_. Another, a great warrior, who had been impatiently waiting for
day-light to engage the enemy, was afterwards called _Cause day-light_,
or _Make day-light appear_. So, one who had come in with a heavy load
of turkies on his back, was called _The Carrier of Turkies_, and
another whose shoes were generally torn or patched, was called _Bad
Shoes_. All those names are generally expressed in one single word, in
compounding which the Indians are very ingenious. Thus, the name they
had for the place where Philadelphia now stands, and which they have
preserved notwithstanding the great change which has taken place, is
_Kúequenáku_,[156] which means, _The grove of the long pine trees_.

They have proper names, not only for all towns, villages, mountains,
valleys, rivers, and streams, but for all remarkable spots, as
for instance, those which are particularly infested with gnats or
musquitoes, where snakes have their dens, &c. Those names always
contain an allusion to such particular circumstance, so that
foreigners, even though acquainted with their language, will often be
at a loss to understand their discourse.

To strangers, white men for instance, they will give names derived from
some remarkable quality which they have observed in them, or from some
circumstance which remarkably strikes them. When they were told the
meaning of the name of William Penn, they translated it into their own
language by _Miquon_, which means a feather or quill. The Iroquois call
him _Onas_, which in their idiom means the same thing.

The first name given by the Indians to the Europeans who landed in
Virginia was _Wapsid Lenape_ (white people;) when, however, afterwards
they began to commit murders on the red men, whom they pierced with
swords, they gave to the Virginians the name _Mechanschican_, (long
knives,) to distinguish them from others of the same colour.

In New England, they at first endeavoured to imitate the sound of the
national name of the _English_, which they pronounced _Yengees_. They
also called them _Chauquaquock_, (men of knives) for having imported
those instruments into the country, which they gave in presents to
the natives.[157] They thought them better men than the Virginians;
but when they were afterwards cruelly treated by them, and their
men shipped off to sea, the Mohicans of that country called them
_Tschachgoos_; and when next the people of the middle colonies began to
murder them, and called on the Iroquois to insult them and assist in
depriving them of their lands, they then dropped that name, and called
the whites by way of derision, _Schwannack_, which signifies _salt
beings_, or _bitter beings_; for in their language the word _Schwan_,
is in general applied to things that have a salt, sharp, bitter, or
sour taste. The object of this name, as well as of that which the
Mohicans gave to the eastern people, was to express contempt as well as
hatred or dislike, and to hold out the white inhabitants of the country
as hateful and despicable beings. I have, however, in many instances
observed that the Indians are careful not to apply this opprobrious
name to any white person whom they know to be amicably disposed towards
them, and whom they are sure to be a good, honest, well-meaning man. I
have heard them charge their children not to call a particular white
man _Schwannack_, but _Friend_. This name was first introduced about
the year 1730. They never apply it to the _Quakers_, whom they greatly
love and respect since the first arrival of William Penn into the
country. They call them _Quœkels_, not having in their language the
sound expressed by our letter R. They say they have always found them
good, honest, affable and peaceable men, and never have had reason to
complain of them.

These were the names which the Indians gave to the whites, until
the middle of the Revolutionary war, when they were reduced to the
following three:

1. _Mechanschican_ or _Chanschican_ (long knives). This they no longer
applied to the Virginians exclusively, but also to those of the people
of the middle states, whom they considered as hostilely inclined
towards them, particularly those who wore swords, dirks, or knives at
their sides.

2. _Yengees._ This name they now exclusively applied to the people
of New England, who, indeed, appeared to have adopted it, and were,
as they still are, generally through the country called _Yankees_,
which is evidently the same name with a trifling alteration. They say
they know the _Yengees_, and can distinguish them by their dress and
personal appearance, and that they were considered as less cruel than
the Virginians or _long knives_. The proper English they[158] call

3. _Quœkels._ They do not now apply this name exclusively to the
members of the Society of Friends, but to all the white people whom
they love or respect, and whom they believe to have good intentions
towards them.

Not only the Delawares, but all the nations round them, make use of
these names, and with the same relative application. I have myself, in
1782, while at Detroit, witnessed the Chippeways, who on meeting an
American prisoner, who was walking about, called out _Messamochkemaan_
(long knife), though he had no knife, sword, or dirk at his side. I
was one day about the same time hailed in that manner as I was walking
up the river, and apprehending that I might be seized as a runaway
prisoner, I immediately answered: _Kau! Saggenash_; No! an Englishman;
and they passed on. I might with great propriety make this answer, as I
was born in England.

In the year 1808, while I was riding with a number of gentlemen through
Greentown[159] (an Indian town in the State of Ohio), I heard an Indian
in his house, who through a crevice saw us passing, say in his language
to his family: “See! what a number of people are coming along!--What!
and among all these not one _long knife_! _All Yengees!_” Then,
probably observing me, he said correcting himself, “No! one _Quækel_.”

Such are the observations which the Indians make on the white people,
and the names which they give to them. They may sometimes be in the
wrong; but, as they make it their particular study to become acquainted
with the actions, motions, deportment, and dress of the different
nations, they seldom commit mistakes, and in general, they apply their
different names precisely to those whom they are meant to designate or



It is a striking fact, that the Indians, in their uncivilised state,
should so behave towards each other as though they were a civilised
people! I have in numerous instances witnessed their meeting together,
their doing business and conversing with each other for hours, their
labouring together, and their hunting and fishing in bodies or parties;
I have seen them divide their game, venison, bear’s meat, fish, &c.,
among themselves, when they sometimes had many shares to make, and
cannot recollect a single instance of their falling into a dispute or
finding fault with the distribution, as being unequal, or otherwise
objectionable. On the contrary, on such occasions they even receive
what is allotted to them with thanks; they say “_anischi_” I am
thankful! as if it was a present given to them.

They certainly (I am here speaking of the men) show a reverence for
each other, which is visible on all occasions; they often meet for
the purpose of conversation, and their sociability appears to be
a recreation to them, a renewal of good fellowship. Their general
principle, that good and bad cannot mingle or dwell together in one
heart, and therefore must not come into contact, seems to be their
guide on all occasions. So, likewise, when travelling, whether they
are few, or many, they are cheerful, and resigned to the accidents
which may befal them; never impatient, quarrelsome, or charging any
one, or one another, with being in fault, or the occasion of what
had happened; even though one should lose his all by the neglect or
carelessness of the other, yet they will not fly into a passion, but
patiently bear with the loss, thinking within themselves that such a
one feels sorry enough already, and therefore it would be unreasonable
to add to his pain. They judge with calmness on all occasions, and
decide with precision, or endeavour so to do, between an accident and a
wilful act;--the _first_ (they say) they are all liable to commit, and
therefore it ought not to be noticed, or punished;--the _second_ being
a wilful or premeditated act, committed with a bad design, ought on the
contrary to receive due punishment.

To illustrate this subject, I shall relate a few of the cases of this
description which have come within my knowledge. One morning early, an
Indian came into the house of another who was yet abed, asking for the
loan of his gun for a morning hunt, his own being out of repair; the
owner readily consented, and said: “As my gun is not loaded, you will
have to take a few balls out of your[160] pouch!” In taking the gun
down, it, however, by some accident went off, and lodged the contents
in the owner’s head, who was still lying on the bed, and now expired.
The gun, it appeared, was loaded, though unknown to him, and the lock
left in such a condition that by a touch it went off. A cry was heard
from all sides in the house: O! the _accident_! for such it was always
considered to have been, and was treated as such.

A hunter went out to kill a bear, some of those animals having been
seen in the neighbourhood. In an obscure part of a wood, he saw at a
distance something black moving, which he took for a bear, the whole of
the animal not being visible to him; he fired, and found he had shot a
black horse. Having discovered the mistake, he informed the owner of
what had happened, expressing at the same time his regret that he was
not possessed of a single horse, with which he could replace the one
he had shot. What! replied the Indian whose horse had been killed, do
you think I would accept a horse from you, though you had one to give,
after you have satisfied me that you killed mine _by accident_? No,
indeed! for the same misfortune might also happen to me.

An aged Indian who had gone out to shoot a turkey, mistook a black hog
in the bushes for one of those birds, and shot him; finding out by
enquiry to whom the hog belonged, he informed the owner of the mistake
he had made, offering to pay for the hog; which the other, however,
not only would not accept of, but having brought the meat in, gave
him a leg of the animal, because he thought that the unfortunate man,
as well on account of his disappointment, in not feasting on turkey
as he expected soon to do when he shot the hog, as for his honesty in
informing of what he had done, was _entitled_ to a share of what he had

Two Indians with a large canoe, going down the Muskingum river to
a certain distance, were accosted by others going by land to the
same place, who requested them to take their heavy articles, as
kettles, axes, hoes, &c. into their canoe, which they freely did, but
unfortunately were shipwrecked at the rocks of White Eyes’s falls (as
the place is called,) where the whole cargo was lost, and the men saved
themselves by swimming to the shore. The question being put and fully
discussed, whether those men with the canoe, who had taken charge of
the property of the others, and by this neglect lost the whole, were
not liable to pay for the loss? it was decided in the negative, on the
following grounds:

1. That the canoe men had taken the articles on board, with the
pleasing hope that they thereby would oblige their fellow men, and did
not expect any recompense for that service.

2. That although they might have avoided the danger and the loss, by
unloading the canoe at the head of the fall, and carrying the cargo by
land below it, (which was but a short distance,) as was customary, when
the river was not in a proper state to run through, yet that, had those
who travelled by land been in the place of those in the canoe, they
might, like them, have attempted to have run through, as is sometimes
done with success, and been equally unfortunate.

3. That the canoe men having had all their own property on board, which
was all lost at the same time, and was equally valuable to them, it
was clear that they had expected to run safely through, and could not
have intentionally or designedly brought on themselves and others the
misfortune which had happened, and therefore the circumstance must be
ascribed entirely to _accident_.

Such is the disposition of the Indians with regard to those who
inadvertently meet with a disaster, whereby others are injured.
They are ready to overlook a fault, and more disposed in such cases
to commiserate, than to punish; but with those who wilfully and
intentionally commit aggressions and injure others, they think and act
quite differently; a malicious person is generally despised, and if he
intrudes himself into good company, they will, without saying a word,
steal off one by one, and leave him alone to suffer the mortification
which it is intended he should feel. For murderers and thieves they
have no compassion, and punish them according to the nature of their
crimes, if not publicly, still privately, for they are considered as
a nuisance, and a disgrace to the nation, and so much so were persons
of this description considered and despised in former times among the
Delawares, before the white people came, that it was a rare thing to
hear of any such being among them. This I have repeatedly been told,
between the years 1770 and 1780, by Indians of that nation; one of
whom, when a boy, resided on the spot where Philadelphia now stands,
when the first house was building there, and assisted in furnishing
the workmen with fish, and caught rabbits for them; the other, who was
still older, lived with his parents on the spot where afterwards was
built Perth Amboy in New Jersey: both were respectable men, highly
esteemed by all who knew them.

I do not believe that there exists a people more attentive to paying
common civilities to each other than the Indians are; but this, from
a want of understanding their language, as well as their customs and
manners, generally escapes the notice of travellers, although some of
them, better observers than the rest, have touched upon this subject.
In more than one hundred instances, I have with astonishment and
delight witnessed the attention paid to a person entering the house of
another, where, in the first instance, he is desired to seat himself,
with the words, “sit down, my friend!” if he is a stranger, or no
relation; but if a relation, the proper title is added. A person is
never left standing, there are seats for all; and if a dozen should
follow each other in succession, all are provided with seats, and the
stranger, if a white person, with the best. The tobacco pouch next is
handed round; it is the first treat, as with us a glass of wine or
brandy. Without a single word passing between the man and his wife,
she will go about preparing some victuals for the company, and having
served the visiters, will retire to a neighbour’s house, to inform the
family of the visit with which her husband is honoured, never grumbling
on account of their eating up the provisions, even if it were what she
had cooked for her own family, considering the friendly visit well
worth this small trouble and expense.

It is true, that among themselves, they expect the same attention and
hospitality paid to them in return; yet that is not their main object,
for I have seen a number of instances in which a return was out of the
question, where poverty would not admit of it, or distance of abode
put it out of the power of the visiter to return the same civilities
to his host: when white people are treated in this way, with the best
entertainment the house affords, they may be sure it is nothing else
than a mark of respect paid to them, and that the attentions they
receive do not proceed from any interested view.



In the management of their national affairs, the Indians display as
much skill and dexterity, perhaps, as any people upon earth. When a
political message is sent to them from a neighbouring nation,[161]
they generally contrive to send an answer so ambiguously worded, that
it is difficult to come at their real meaning; they conceive this to
be the best way of getting rid of a proposal which they do not like,
because those who sent them the message are for some time, at least, at
a loss to comprehend the meaning, and not knowing whether the answer is
favourable or unfavourable, their proceedings are necessarily suspended
until they can discover its true sense; in this manner have operations
been sometimes entirely prevented, and matters have remained in the
same situation that they were in before.

It may be supposed, perhaps, that such an artful manner of treating
each other might be thought provoking, and cause jealousies and
disputes among the different parties; such is not, however, the case,
as nothing insulting is ever contained in those messages; and as
offence is not meant, it is not taken. The Indians consider it on all
sides as a kind of diplomatic proceeding, an exercise which tends
to invigorate the mind, of which they are very fond. It gives them
opportunities to reflect and think deeply on matters of importance, and
of displaying their genius, when they have found or discovered the
secret of an answer sent to them, or hit upon the true meaning of an
ambiguous message.

At the time of the Revolutionary war I witnessed a curious scene of
diplomatic manœuvres between two great men of the Delaware nation, both
of whom had in their time signalised themselves as brave and courageous
men, and had acquired the character of two great war chiefs. The war
that I speak of, which had but lately begun, had made it necessary for
the Indians to consult their present and future safety. Captain White
Eyes, of the Turtle tribe, who was placed at the head of his nation,
had its welfare much at heart. He was in favour of their following
the advice given them by the American Congress, which was to remain
neutral, and not to meddle in the quarrel between the Americans and
the parent country. He advised his people, therefore, to remain in
friendship with both sides, and not to take up arms against either, as
it might bring them into trouble, and perhaps, in the end, effect their

On the other hand, Captain Pipe, of the Wolf tribe, who resided at
the distance of fifteen miles, where he had his council fire, was of
a different opinion, and leaned on the side of the British. He was an
artful, ambitious man, yet not deficient in greatness of mind, as I
have shewn in a preceding chapter. But his head at that time was full
of the wrongs which the Indians had suffered from the Americans, from
their first coming into the country; his soul panted for revenge, and
he was glad to seize the opportunity that now offered. He professed
his readiness to join in proper measures to save the nation, but not
such measures as his antagonist proposed; what his real object was
he did not openly declare, but privately endeavoured to counteract
all that was done and proposed by the other. White Eyes, however, was
a sensible upright man, and never was deficient in means to support
his own measures, and extricate himself from the snares with which he
was on all sides surrounded by Captain Pipe. Thus they went on for
upwards of two years, Pipe working clandestinely, and keeping his spies
continually on the watch upon the other, while White Eyes acted openly
and publicly, as though he knew nothing of what was machinating against

At last, a circumstance took place which apparently justified Captain
Pipe in the measures he wished to pursue. In March 1778, a number of
white people, of those whom we called _Tories_, among whom were M’Kee,
Eliott, Girty,[162] and several others, having escaped from Pittsburg,
told the Indians wherever they came, “that they must arm and be off
immediately, and kill all the Americans wherever they found them, for
they had determined to destroy all the Indians, and possess themselves
of their country.” White Eyes, not believing what these men said,
advised his people to remain quiet, for this report could not be true.
Pipe, on the contrary, called his men together, and in a speech which
he addressed to them, pronounced every man an enemy to his country who
endeavoured to dissuade them from going out against the Americans, and
said that all such ought to be put to death. Captain White Eyes was
not disconcerted; he immediately assembled his warriors, and told them
“that if they meant in earnest to go out, as he observed some of them
were preparing to do, they should not go without him. He had taken
peace measures in order to save the nation from utter destruction. But
if they believed that he was in the wrong, and gave more credit to
vagabond fugitives, whom he knew to be such, than to himself, who was
best acquainted with the real state of things; if they had determined
to follow their advice, and go out against the Americans, he would
go out with them; he would lead them on, place himself in the front,
and be the first who should fall. They only had to determine on what
they meant to do; for his own mind was fully made up not to survive
his nation, and he would not spend the remainder of a miserable life
in bewailing the total destruction of a brave people, who deserved a
better fate.”

This spirited, and at the same time pathetic, speech of Captain White
Eyes, made such an impression on the minds of the audience, that they
unanimously declared that they would obey his orders, and listen to
no person but himself, either white or of their own colour. Indeed,
there was too much force, too much majesty in this address to be
resisted; when this was reported to Pipe by his emissaries, he was
absolutely confounded, and knew not what to do. A few days afterwards,
the council of the Delaware nation received the most friendly and
flattering messages from the commandant and Indian agent at Pittsburg,
cautioning them, “not to listen to those worthless men who had ran off
from them in the night, and to be assured of the steady friendship of
the Government of the United States.” Pipe was so put to the blush,
and took this matter so much to heart, that he soon after threw off
the mask, permitted his men to go out and murder the Americans, and
afterwards went off with them to Sandusky, under the protection of the
British Government. We have seen in a former chapter that he afterwards
saw how impolitic his conduct had been, and probably wished to retrace
his steps, but it was too late. He had suffered himself to be misled
by his passions, excited by the remembrance of former wrongs, and thus
was betrayed into his injudicious conduct. Perhaps also his jealousy of
Captain White Eyes, whose superiority his proud mind could not bear,
did not in a small degree contribute to it. Pipe was certainly a great
man, but White Eyes was, in my opinion, the greatest of the two. I was
present when he made the speech which I have related, and never shall
forget the impression it made upon me.

Thus Indian politicians work and manage matters against each other
without newspaper wrangles, abuse of character, personal quarrels, or
open insults. Their ingenuity, when joined to a good cause, generally
makes them come off victorious. In a bad cause, on the contrary, they
sure[163] to meet with detection and defeat, as Captain Pipe, for his
misfortune, sadly experienced.



There are many persons who believe, from the labour that they see the
Indian women perform, that they are in a manner treated as slaves.
These labours, indeed, are hard, compared with the tasks that are
imposed upon females in civilised society; but they are no more than
their fair share, under every consideration and due allowance, of
the hardships attendant on savage life. Therefore they are not only
voluntarily, but cheerfully submitted to; and as women are not obliged
to live with their husbands any longer than suits their pleasure or
convenience, it cannot be supposed that they would submit to be loaded
with unjust or unequal burdens.

Marriages among the Indians are not, as with us, contracted for
life; it is understood on both sides that the parties are not to
live together any longer than they shall be pleased with each other.
The husband may put away his wife whenever he pleases, and the woman
may in like manner abandon her husband. Therefore the connexion is
not attended with any vows, promises, or ceremonies of any kind. An
Indian takes a wife as it were on trial, determined, however, in his
own mind not to forsake her if she behaves well, and particularly if
he has children by her. The woman, sensible of this, does on her part
every thing in her power to please her husband, particularly if he is
a good hunter or trapper, capable of maintaining her by his skill and
industry, and protecting her by his strength and courage.

When a marriage takes place, the duties and labours incumbent on each
party are well known to both. It is understood that the husband is to
build a house for them to dwell in, to find the necessary implements
of husbandry, as axes, hoes, &c., to provide a canoe, and also dishes,
bowls, and other necessary vessels for house-keeping. The woman
generally has a kettle or two, and some other articles of kitchen
furniture, which she brings with her. The husband, as master of the
family, considers himself bound to support it by his bodily exertions,
as hunting, trapping, &c.; the woman, as his _help-mate_, takes upon
herself the labours of the field, and is far from considering them as
more important than those to which her husband is subjected, being
well satisfied that with his gun and traps he can maintain a family in
any place where game is to be found; nor do they think it any hardship
imposed upon them; for they themselves say, that while their field
labour employs them at most six weeks in the year, that of the men
continues the whole year round.

When a couple is newly married, the husband (without saying a single
word upon the subject) takes considerable pains to please his wife, and
by repeated proofs of his skill and abilities in the art of hunting,
to make her sensible that she can be happy with him, and that she will
never want while they live together. At break of day he will be off
with his gun, and often by breakfast time return home with a deer,
turkey, or some other game. He endeavours to make it appear that it
is in his power to bring provisions home whenever he pleases, and his
wife, proud of having such a good hunter for her husband, does her
utmost to serve and make herself agreeable to him.

The work of the women is not hard or difficult. They are both able and
willing to do it, and always perform it with cheerfulness. Mothers
teach their daughters those duties which common sense would otherwise
point out to them when grown up. Within doors, their labour is very
trifling; there is seldom more than one pot or kettle to attend to.
There is no scrubbing of the house, and but little to wash, and that
not often. Their principal occupations are to cut and fetch in the
fire wood, till the ground, sow and reap the grain, and pound the corn
in mortars for their pottage, and to make bread which they bake in
the ashes. When going on a journey, or to hunting camps with their
husbands, if they have no horses, they carry a pack on their backs
which often appears heavier than it really is; it generally consists of
a blanket, a dressed deer skin for mocksens, a few articles of kitchen
furniture, as a kettle, bowl, or dish, with spoons, and some bread,
corn, salt, &c., for their nourishment. I have never known an Indian
woman complain of the hardship of carrying this burden, which serves
for their own comfort and support as well as of their husbands.

The tilling of the ground at home, getting of the fire wood, and
pounding of corn in mortars, is frequently done by female parties,
much in the manner of those husking, quilting, and other _frolics_
(as they are called), which are so common in some parts of the United
States, particularly to the eastward. The labour is thus quickly and
easily performed; when it is over, and sometimes in intervals, they sit
down to enjoy themselves by feasting on some good victuals, prepared
for them by the person or family for whom they work, and which the
man has taken care to provide before hand from the woods; for this is
considered a principal part of the business, as there are generally
more or less of the females assembled who have not, perhaps for a
long time, tasted a morsel of meat, being either widows, or orphans,
or otherwise in straitened circumstances. Even the chat which passes
during their joint labours is highly diverting to them, and so they
seek to be employed in this way as long as they can, by going round to
all those in the village who have ground to till.

When the harvest is in, which generally happens by the end of
September, the women have little else to do than to prepare the daily
victuals, and get fire wood, until the latter end of February or
beginning of March, as the season is more or less backward, when they
go to their sugar camps, where they extract sugar from the maple tree.
The men having built or repaired their temporary cabin, and made all
the troughs of various sizes, the women commence making sugar, while
the men are looking out for meat, at this time generally fat bears,
which are still in their winter quarters. When at home, they will
occasionally assist their wives in gathering the sap, and watch the
kettles in their absence, that the syrup may not boil over.

A man who wishes his wife to be with him while he is out hunting in the
woods, needs only tell her, that on such a day they will go to such a
place, where he will hunt for a length of time, and she will be sure
to have provisions and every thing else that is necessary in complete
readiness, and well packed up to carry to the spot; for the man, as
soon as he enters the woods, has to be looking out and about for game,
and therefore cannot be encumbered with any burden; after wounding
a deer, he may have to pursue it for several miles, often running
it fairly down. The woman, therefore, takes charge of the baggage,
brings it to the place of encampment, and there, immediately enters
on the duties of housekeeping, as if they were at home; she moreover
takes pains to dry as much meat as she can, that none may be lost; she
carefully puts the tallow up, assists in drying the skins, gathers
as much wild hemp as possible for the purpose of making strings,
carrying-bands, bags and other necessary articles, collects roots for
dyeing; in short, does every thing in her power to leave no care to her
husband but the important one of providing meat for the family.

After all, the fatigue of the women is by no means to be compared to
that of the men. Their hard and difficult employments are periodical
and of short duration, while their husband’s labours are constant and
severe in the extreme. Were a man to take upon himself a part of his
wife’s duty, in addition to his own, he must necessarily sink under the
load, and of course his family must suffer with him. On his exertions
as a hunter, their existence depends; in order to be able to follow
that rough employment with success, he must keep his limbs as supple
as he can, he must avoid hard labour as much as possible, that his
joints may not become stiffened, and that he may preserve the necessary
strength and agility of body to enable him to pursue the chase, and
bear the unavoidable hardships attendant on it; for the fatigues of
hunting wear out the body and constitution far more than manual labour.
Neither creeks nor rivers, whether shallow or deep, frozen or free from
ice, must be an obstacle to the hunter, when in pursuit of a wounded
deer, bear, or other animal, as is often the case. Nor has he then
leisure to think on the state of his body, and to consider whether his
blood is not too much heated to plunge without danger into the cold
stream, since the game he is in pursuit of is running off from him with
full speed. Many dangerous accidents often befal him, both as a hunter
and a warrior (for he is both), and are seldom unattended with painful
consequences, such as rheumatism, or consumption of the lungs, for
which the sweat-house, on which they so much depend, and to which they
often resort for relief, especially after a fatiguing hunt or warlike
excursion, is not always a sure preservative or an effectual remedy.

The husband generally leaves the skins and peltry which he has procured
by hunting to the care of his wife, who sells or barters them away to
the best advantage for such necessaries as are wanted in the family;
not forgetting to supply her husband with what he stands in need of,
who, when he receives it from her hands never fails to return her
thanks in the kindest manner. If debts had been previously contracted,
either by the woman, or by her and her husband jointly, or if a horse
should be wanted, as much is laid aside as will be sufficient to pay
the debts or purchase the horse.

When a woman has got in her harvest of corn, it is considered as
belonging to her husband, who, if he has suffering friends, may give
them as much of it as he pleases, without consulting his wife, or being
afraid of her being displeased; for she is in the firm belief that he
is able to procure that article whenever it is wanted. The sugar which
she makes out of the maple tree is also considered as belonging to her

There is nothing in an Indian’s house or family without its particular
owner. Every individual knows what belongs to him, from the horse or
cow down to the dog, cat, kitten and little chicken. Parents make
presents to their children, and they in return to their parents. A
father will sometimes ask his wife or one of his children for the loan
of his horse to go out a hunting. For a litter of kittens or brood
of chickens, there are often as many different owners as there are
individual animals. In purchasing a hen with her brood, one frequently
has to deal for it with several children. Thus, while the principle of
community of goods prevails in the state, the rights of property are
acknowledged among the members of a family. This is attended with a
very good effect; for by this means every living creature is properly
taken care of. It also promotes liberality among the children, which
becomes a habit with them by the time they are grown up.

An Indian loves to see his wife well clothed, which is a proof that
he is fond of her; at least, it is so considered. While his wife is
bartering the skins and peltry he has taken in his hunt, he will seat
himself at some distance, to observe her choice, and how she and the
traders agree together. When she finds an article which she thinks will
suit or please her husband, she never fails to purchase it for him; she
tells him that it is _her_ choice, and he is never dissatisfied.

The more a man does for his wife the more he is esteemed, particularly
by the women, who will say: “This man surely loves his wife.” Some men
at their leisure hours make bowls and ladles, which, when finished, are
at their wives’ disposal.

If a sick or pregnant woman longs for any article of food, be it what
it may, and however difficult to be procured, the husband immediately
sets out to endeavour to get it. I have known a man to go forty or
fifty miles for a mess of cranberries to satisfy his wife’s longing. In
the year 1762 I was witness to a remarkable instance of the disposition
of Indians to indulge their wives. There was a famine in the land, and
a sick Indian woman expressed a great desire for a mess of Indian corn.
Her husband having heard that a trader at Lower Sandusky had a little,
set off on horseback for that place, one hundred miles distant, and
returned with as much corn as filled the crown of his hat, for which he
gave his horse in exchange, and came home on foot, bringing his saddle
back with him. Squirrels, ducks, and other like delicacies, when most
difficult to be obtained, are what women in the first stage of their
pregnancy generally long for. The husband in every such case will go
out and spare no pains nor trouble until he has procured what is wanted.

In other cases, the men and their wives do not in general trouble
themselves with each other’s business; but the wife, knowing that the
father is very fond of his children, is always prepared to tell him
some diverting anecdote of one or the other of them, especially if he
has been absent for some time.

It very seldom happens that a man condescends to quarrel with his wife,
or abuse her, though she has given him just cause. In such a case the
man, without replying, or saying a single word, will take his gun and
go into the woods, and remain there a week or perhaps a fortnight,
living on the meat he has killed, before he returns home again; well
knowing that he cannot inflict a greater punishment on his wife for
her conduct to him than by absenting himself for a while; for she is
not only kept in suspense, uncertain whether he will return again,
but is soon reported as a bad and quarrelsome woman; for, as on those
occasions, the man does not tell his wife on what day or at what time
he will be back again, which he otherwise, when they are on good terms,
never neglects to do, she is at once put to shame by her neighbours,
who soon suspecting something, do not fail to put such questions to
her, as she either cannot, or is ashamed to answer. When he at length
does return, she endeavours to let him see by her attentions, that she
has repented, though neither speak to each other a single word on the
subject of what has passed. And as his children, if he has any, will on
his return hang about him and soothe him with their caresses, he is, on
their account, ready to forgive, or at least to say nothing unpleasant
to their mother. She has, however, received by this a solemn warning,
and must take care how she behaves in future, lest the next time her
husband should stay away altogether and take another wife. It is very
probable, that if at this time they had had no children, he would have
left her, but then he would have taken his property with him at the
same time.

On the return of an Indian from a journey, or long absence, he will,
on entering the house, say, “I am returned!” to which his wife will
reply,[164] “I rejoice!” and having cast his eyes around, he will
enquire, whether all the children are well, when being answered in the
affirmative, he replies, “I am glad!” which for the present is all the
conversation that passes between them; nor does he relate anything at
this present time that occurred on his journey, but holds himself in
readiness to partake of the nourishment which his wife is preparing for
him. After a while, when the men of the village have assembled at his
house, his wife, with the rest, hears his story at full length.

_Marriages_ are proposed and concluded in different ways. The parents
on both sides, having observed an attachment between two young persons,
negotiate for them. This generally commences from the house where
the bridegroom lives, whose mother is the negotiatrix for him, and
begins her duties by taking a good leg of venison, or bear’s meat, or
something else of the same kind, to the house where the bride dwells,
not forgetting to mention, that her son has killed it: in return for
this the mother of the bride, if she otherwise approves of the match,
which she well understands by the presents to be intended, will prepare
a good dish of victuals, the produce of the labour of _woman_, such as
beans, Indian corn, or the like, and then taking it to the house where
the bridegroom lives, will say, “This is the produce of my daughter’s
field; and she also prepared it.” If afterwards the mothers of the
parties are enabled to tell the good news to each other, that the
young people have pronounced that which was sent them _very good_, the
bargain is struck. It is as much as if the young man had said to the
girl, “I am able to provide you at all times with meat to eat!” and
she had replied, “and such good victuals from the field, you shall
have from me!” From this time not only presents of this kind are
continued on both sides, but articles of clothing are presented to the
parents by each party, by way of return for what they have received,
of which the young people always have a share. The friendship between
the two families daily increasing, they do their domestic and field
work jointly, and when the young people have agreed to live together,
the parents supply them with necessaries, such as a kettle, dishes or
bowls, and also what is required for the kitchen, and with axes, hoes,
&c. to work in the field.

The men who have no parents to negotiate for them, or otherwise choose
to manage the matter for themselves, have two simple ways of attaining
their object. The first is: by stepping up to the woman whom they wish
to marry, saying: “If you are willing I will take you as wife!” when
if she answer in the affirmative, she either goes with him immediately,
or meets him at an appointed time and place.

The other mode of celebrating marriage will appear from the following

An aged Indian, who for many years had spent much of his time among
the white people, both in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, one day about
the year 1770 observed, that the Indians had not only a much easier
way of getting a wife than the whites, but were also more certain of
getting a _good_ one; “For,” (said he in his broken English,) “White
man court,--court,--may be one whole year!--may be two year before he
marry!--well!--may be then got _very good_ wife--but may be _not_!--may
be _very_ cross!--Well now, suppose cross! scold so soon as get awake
in the morning! scold all day! scold until sleep!--all one; he must
keep _him_![165] White people have law forbidding throwing away wife,
be _he_ ever so cross! must keep _him_ always! Well! how does Indian
do?--Indian when he see industrious Squaw, which he like, he go to
_him_, place his two forefingers close aside each other, make two look
like one--look Squaw in the face--see _him_ smile--which is all one
_he_ say, _Yes_! so he take _him_ home--no danger _he_ be cross! no!
no! Squaw know too well what Indian do if _he_ cross!--throw _him_ away
and take another! Squaw love to eat meat! no husband! no meat! Squaw
do every thing to please husband! he do the same to please Squaw! live



There is no nation in the world who pay greater respect to old age than
the American Indians. From their infancy they are taught to be kind and
attentive to aged persons, and never to let them suffer for want of
necessaries or comforts. The parents spare no pains to impress upon the
minds of their children the conviction that they would draw down upon
themselves the anger of the Great Spirit, were they to neglect those
whom, in his goodness, he had permitted to attain such an advanced age,
whom he had protected with his almighty power through all the perils
and dangers of life, while so many had perished by wars, accidents, and
sickness in various forms, by the incantations of the wizard, or the
stroke of the murderer, and not a few by the consequences of their own
imprudent conduct.

It is a sacred principle among the Indians, and one of those moral
and religious truths which they have always before their eyes, that
the Great Spirit who created them, and provided them so abundantly
with the means of subsistence, made it the duty of parents to maintain
and take care of their children until they should be able to provide
for themselves, and that having while weak and helpless received the
benefits of maintenance, education, and protection, they are bound
to repay them by a similar care of those who are labouring under the
infirmities of old age, and are no longer able to supply their own

Thus, a strong feeling of gratitude towards their elders, inculcated
and cherished from their earliest infancy, is the solid foundation
on which rests that respect for old age for which Indians are so
remarkable, and it is further supported by the well-founded hope
of receiving the like succours and attentions in their turn, when
the heavy hand of time shall have reduced them to the same helpless
situation which they now commiserate in others, and seek by every
means in their power to render more tolerable. Hence, they do not
confine themselves to acts of absolute necessity; it is not enough for
them that the old are not suffered to starve with hunger, or perish
with cold, but they must be made as much as possible to share in the
pleasures and comforts of life. It is, indeed, a moving spectacle to
see the tender and delicate attentions which, on every occasion, they
lavish upon aged and decrepid persons. When going out a hunting, they
will put them on a horse or in a canoe, and take them into the woods to
their hunting ground, in order to revive their spirits by making them
enjoy the sight of a sport in which they can no longer participate.
They place them in particular situations, where they are sure that the
game they are in pursuit of will pass by, taking proper measures at the
same time to prevent its escape, so that their aged parents and friends
may, at least, as our sportsmen call it, _be in at the death_. Nor is
this all; the hoary veterans must also enjoy the honours of the chase;
when the animal, thus surrounded, is come within reach of their guns,
when every possibility of escape is precluded, by the woods all around
being set on fire, they all, young and old, fire together, so that it
is difficult to decide[166] whose ball it was that brought the animal
to the ground. But they never are at a loss to decide, and always give
it in favour of the oldest man[167] in the party. So, when the young
people have discovered a place where the bears have their haunts, or
have resorted to for the winter, they frequently take with them to the
spot, such of the old men as are yet able to walk or ride, where they
not only have an opportunity of witnessing the sport, but receive their
full share of the meat and oil.

At home the old are as well treated and taken care of as if they were
favourite children. They are cherished and even caressed; indulged
in health and nursed in sickness; and all their wishes and wants are
anticipated. Their company is sought by the young, to whom their
conversation is considered an honour. Their advice is asked on all
occasions, their words are listened to as oracles, and their occasional
garrulity, nay, even the second childhood often attendant on extreme
old age, is never with Indians a subject of ridicule, or laughter.
Respect, gratitude, and love are too predominant in their minds to
permit any degrading idea to mix itself with these truly honourable and
generous feelings.

On every occasion, and in every situation through life, age takes the
lead among the Indians. Even little boys, when going on parties of
pleasure, were it only to catch butterflies, strictly adhere to this
rule, and submit to the direction of the oldest in their company, who
is their chief, leader and spokesman; if they are accosted on the way
by any person, and asked whither they are going, or any other question,
no one will presume to answer but their _speaker_. The same rule is
observed when they are grown up, and in no case whatever will one of a
party, club or meeting, attempt to assume authority over the leader,
or even to set him right if he should mistake the road or take a wrong
course; much less will any one contradict what he says, unless his
opinion should be particularly asked, in which case, and no other, he
will give his advice, but with great modesty and diffidence.

And yet there have been travellers who have ventured to assert that old
people among the Indians are not only neglected and suffered to perish
for want, but that they are even, when no longer able to take care of
themselves, _put out of the way of all trouble_. I am free to declare,
that among all the Indian nations that I have become acquainted with,
if any one should kill an old man or woman for no other cause than
that of having become useless or burdensome to society, it would be
considered as an unpardonable crime, the general indignation would be
excited, and the murderer instantly put to death. I cannot conceive any
act that would produce such an universal horror and detestation, such
is the veneration which is everywhere felt for old age.

Indeed, I have had sufficient reason to be convinced that this
principle, excellent as it is in itself, is[168] even carried too far
by the Indians, and that not a little inconvenience is occasioned
by it. A few instances will make this better understood than any
explanations that I could give.

In the year 1765, the great body of Christian Indians, after having
remained sixteen months at and near Philadelphia, were permitted
to return to their own country, peace having been concluded with
the Indian nations, who still continued at war, notwithstanding the
pacification between the European powers. They resolved to open a path
through the wilderness from the frontier settlements beyond the Blue
Mountains, directly to Wyoming on the Susquehannah. This path they laid
off and cut as they proceeded, two, three or four miles at a time,
according to the nature of the ground and the convenience of water,
bringing up their baggage by making two or more trips, as they had
no horses to carry it. Having arrived at the great Pine Swamp, then
supposed to be about fourteen miles wide, it was found very difficult
to cut a passage on account of the thickets and of the great number
of fallen trees which incumbered it; they were, besides, unacquainted
with that part of the country. An old Indian,[169] however, took the
lead, and undertook to be their guide. After a tedious march of near
two weeks, attended with much labour, he brought them across the
Swamp, to the large creek which borders upon it on the opposite side.
There they found a very steep mountain, through which no passage could
be found either above or below. Discouraged at the prospect before
them, they now saw no alternative but to return the same way they had
come, and take the route by Fort Allen[170] to Nescopeck, and so up
the Susquehannah to Wyoming, a distance of nearly one hundred miles
round. In this difficulty, it fortunately struck their Missionary,
Mr. Zeisberger, that a certain Indian named David, who was one of
their party and had followed them all the way, was acquainted with
that part of the country, and might, perhaps, be able to point out
to them some better and shorter road. He soon found that he was not
mistaken. David was perfectly acquainted with the country, and knew a
good road, through which the party might easily pass, but not having
been questioned on the subject, had hitherto kept silence, and followed
with the rest, though he knew all the while they were going wrong. A
dialogue then took place between him and the Missionary.

ZEISB.--David! You are, I believe, acquainted with this country;
perhaps you know a better road[171] and a shorter one than that which
we are going to take.

DAVID.--Yes, I do; there is such a road,[171] which we may easily get
through, and have a much shorter distance to travel than by that which
is proposed; I am sure of it.

ZEISB.--What; David! we were all going wrong, and yet you are with us?

DAVID.--Yes, ’tis so.

ZEISB.--And yet you said nothing, and followed with the rest as if all
had been right!

DAVID.--Yes; the guides are somewhat older than myself; they took the
lead, and never asked me whether I had any knowledge of the country. If
they had enquired, I would have told them.

ZEISB.--Will you _now_ tell them?

DAVID.--No, indeed; unless they ask me. It does not become an Indian to
instruct his elders.

The question was then asked him at the instigation of Mr. Zeisberger,
when he immediately told them that they must all return to a certain
spot, six miles back, and then direct their course more to the
north-east, which would bring them to a gap in the mountain, where they
could pass through with great ease. They did so, and he followed them,
and being now desired to take the lead, he did it, and brought them to
the very spot he had described, and from thence led them all the way to
Wyoming. This difficult part of the road, in the swamp, has been since
called _David’s path_, and the state road now passes through it.[172]

This anecdote was told me by Mr. Zeisberger himself, whom I have never
known to say anything that was not strictly true. I therefore give
it full credit; the more so, as I have myself witnessed two similar
instances, with the relation of which I shall conclude this chapter.

The first happened in the year 1791. I had parted by accident from the
company I was with, and lost my way in the woods. I had with me an
Indian lad about twelve or thirteen years of age, and wished him to
take the lead, to which, however, he would not consent. We were at last
found by our party, who had gone in search of us. I complained to them
of the boy, for not doing what I had bidden him; but they answered,
“that he had done right, and that it did not become a _boy_ to walk
before a _man_ and be his leader.”

The second occurrence of the like kind, took place in the year 1798.
I was on a journey with two young Indians, from Upper Canada to the
Muskingum, round the head of Lake Erie.[173] Neither of these Indians
having ever been in the country we were going to, they received their
instructions from others before their departure. The leader, however,
whose name was Leonhard, having once mistaken a path, we travelled
several miles in a wrong direction, until, at last, I discovered the
mistake, by our having the Owl creek to our left, when we ought to have
had it to our right. I observed this to Christian, the young Indian
in the rear, who coinciding with me in opinion, I desired him to run
forward to Leonhard, who was far ahead of us, and to bring him back;
but the lad answered that he _could not do it_. I asked him the reason.
“It is,” said he, “because I am younger than he is.” “Will you then,”
replied I, “take _my_ message to him, and tell him that _I_ desire him
to return to this place, where I will wait for him?” The young man
immediately consented, went forward to Leonhard, and brought him back,
on which we took an eastward course through the wood to the Owl creek,
and, after crossing it, fell into our right path.



The Indians are proud but not vain; they consider vanity as degrading
and unworthy the character of a man. The hunter never boasts of his
skill or strength, nor the warrior of his prowess. It is not right,
they say, that one should value himself too much for an action which
another may perform as well as himself, and when a man extols his own
deeds, it seems as if he doubted his own capability to do the like
again when he pleased. Therefore, they prefer in all cases to let their
actions speak for themselves. The skins and peltry which the hunter
brings home, the deer’s horns on the roof of his cabin, the horses,
furniture and other property that he possesses, his apparel and that of
his family, the visits with which he is honored by the first and best
men among his nation; all these things show what he is and what he has
done, and with this he rests satisfied.

So with the warrior; it is enough for him that he is known to be a man
of spirit and courage by the scalps and prisoners that he brings home;
he never is seen going about boasting of his warlike exploits, and when
questioned on the subject, he makes his answer as short as possible.
Even when he is entering a town with his prisoners and scalps, he does
not stare about to see whether the people are looking at him, but walks
his usual steady pace and marches straight forward without appearing to
see any body. When at some of their particular festivals, every warrior
is called upon to relate his feats of arms, they make it a point to be
as brief as possible, leaving it to those who have done but little,
to swell their actions into importance, and give themselves credit for
what they have done. I cannot illustrate this subject better than by a
few anecdotes.

In the year 1779, two war chiefs, the one a young man of the Shawano
tribe, and the other an old warrior of the Wyandots, living near
Detroit, much celebrated for his great actions, but who during the
whole of the Revolutionary war, could not be persuaded to take the
field against the Americans, met accidentally at my house on Muskingum,
where they had separately come to pay me a friendly visit. The Shawano
(whose nation, by the bye, are noted for much talk,) entered upon
the subject of war, and with much earnestness in words and gestures,
related the actions he had been engaged in, showing at the same time on
his arm the mark of a bullet wound. During all this time, the Wyandot,
smoking his pipe, listened with great attention and apparent surprise;
and having afterwards to answer, according to custom, by relating
what he had done, he laid down his pipe, and deliberately drawing off
his clothes, except the breech-cloth, rose up and said: “I have been
in upwards of twenty engagements with the enemy and fought with the
French against the English; I have warred against the southern nations,
and my body shows that I have been struck and wounded by nine balls.
These two wounds I received at the same moment, from two Cherokees,
who, seeing me fall, rested their guns against a tree, and ran up
with their tomahawks to dispatch me, and take off my scalp. With the
aid of the Great Spirit I jumped up, just at the moment when they
were about to give me the stroke. I struck them and they both fell
at my feet. I took their scalps and returned home.” Thus this grave
and respectable veteran gave a lesson to the young Shawano, which,
if he well understood, he, no doubt, ever after remembered; for in a
few words, and in less than five minutes, he showed him at once the
contrast between great actions briefly and modestly told, and every
day occurrences related and dwelt on with pompous minuteness. This
contrast, indeed, was particularly striking, the more so as the modest
warrior did not seem to enjoy his triumph, nor to be even conscious
of the accession to his fame which must result from the publicity of
the account which he had given. As both parties spoke the Shawano
language, I well understood every thing they said, and I paid the
most particular attention to their discourse, which was of itself
sufficiently interesting.

This passion of the Indians, which I have called _pride_, but which
might, perhaps, be better denominated _high-mindedness_, is generally
combined with a great sense of honour, and not seldom produces actions
of the most heroic kind. I am now going to relate an instance of this
honourable pride, which I have also witnessed. An Indian of the Lenape
nation, who was considered as a very dangerous person, and was much
dreaded on that account, had publicly declared that as soon as another
Indian, who was then gone to Sandusky, should return from thence, he
would certainly kill him. This dangerous Indian called in one day at my
house on the Muskingum to ask me for some tobacco. While this unwelcome
guest was smoking his pipe by my fire, behold! the other Indian whom he
had threatened to kill, and who at that moment had just arrived, also
entered the house. I was much frightened, as I feared the bad Indian
would take that opportunity to carry his threat into execution, and
that my house would be made the scene of a horrid murder. I walked to
the door, in order not to witness a crime that I could not prevent,
when to my great astonishment I heard the Indian whom I thought in
danger, address the other in these words: “Uncle, you have threatened
to kill me--you have declared that you would do it the first time we
should meet. Now I am here, and we are together. Am I to take it for
granted that you are in earnest, and that you are really determined
to take my life as you have declared? Am I now to consider you as my
avowed enemy, and in order to secure my own life against your murderous
designs, to be the first to strike you and embrue my hands in your
blood?--I will not, I cannot do it. Your heart is bad, it is true, but
still you appear to be a generous foe, for you gave me notice of what
you intended to do; you have put me on my guard, and did not attempt
to assassinate me by surprise; I, therefore, will spare you until you
lift up your arm to strike, and then, uncle, it will be seen which of
us shall fall!” The murderer was thunderstruck, and without replying a
word, slunk off and left the house.

The anecdote with which I am going to conclude this chapter, will
display an act of heroism produced by this elevation of mind which I
have called _pride_, which, perhaps, may have been equalled, but, I
dare say, was hardly ever surpassed. In the spring of the year 1782,
the war chief of the Wyandots of Lower Sandusky sent a white prisoner
(a young man whom he had taken at Fort M’Intosh) as a present to
another chief, who was called the _Half-king_ of Upper Sandusky,[174]
for the purpose of being adopted into his family, in the place of one
of his sons, who had been killed the preceding year, while at war with
the people on the Ohio. The prisoner arrived, and was presented to the
Half-king’s wife, but she refused to receive him, which, according to
the Indian rule, was, in fact, a sentence of death. The young man was,
therefore, taken away, for the purpose of being tortured and burnt on
the pile. While the dreadful preparations were making near the village,
the unhappy victim being already tied to the stake, and the Indians
arriving from all quarters to join in the cruel act or to witness it,
two English traders, Messrs. _Arundel_ and _Robbins_ (I delight in
making this honourable mention of their names), shocked at the idea of
the cruelties which were about to be perpetrated, and moved by feelings
of pity and humanity, resolved to unite their exertions to endeavour to
save the prisoner’s life by offering a ransom to the war chief, which
he, however refused, because, said he, it was an established rule among
them, that when a prisoner who had been given as a present, was refused
adoption, he was irrevocably doomed to the stake, and it was not in
the power of any one to save his life. Besides, added he, the numerous
war captains who were on the spot, had it in charge to see the
sentence carried into execution. The two generous Englishmen, however,
were not discouraged, and determined to try a last effort. They well
knew what effects the high-minded pride of an Indian was capable of
producing, and to this strong and noble passion they directed their
attacks: “But,” said they, in reply to the answer which the chief had
made them, “among all those chiefs whom you have mentioned, there is
none who equals you in greatness; you are considered not only as the
greatest and bravest, but as the best man in the nation.” “Do you
really believe what you say?” said at once the Indian, looking them
full in the face. “Indeed, we do.” Then, without saying another word,
he blackened himself, and taking his knife and tomahawk in his hand,
made his way through the crowd to the unhappy victim, crying out with
a loud voice: “What have you to do with _my_ prisoner?” and at once
cutting the cords with which he was tied, took him to his house which
was near Mr. Arundel’s, whence he was forthwith secured and carried off
by safe hands to Detroit, where[175] the commandant, being informed
of the transaction, sent him by water to Niagara, where he was soon
afterwards liberated. The Indians who witnessed this act, said that it
was truly heroic; they were so confounded by the unexpected conduct of
this chief, and by his manly and resolute appearance, that they had not
time to reflect upon what they should do, and before their astonishment
was well over, the prisoner was out of their reach.



It is a fixed principle with the Indians, that evil cannot come out
of good, that no friend will injure a friend, and, therefore, that
whoever wrongs or does harm to another, is his ENEMY. As it is with
individuals, so it is with nations, tribes, and other independent
associations of men. If they commit murder on another people, encroach
on their lands, by making it a practice to come within their bounds and
take the game from them, if they rob or steal from their hunting camps,
or, in short, are guilty of any act of unjust aggression, they cannot
be considered otherwise than as ENEMIES; they are declared to be such,
and the aggrieved nation think themselves justifiable in punishing
them. If murder has been perpetrated, revenge is taken in the same way.
If a lesser injury has been done, a message is sent to the chief of
the nation to which the wrong-doers belong, to enquire whether the act
complained of was authorised, if not to give them warning not to permit
the like thing to be done again. If theft or some other like offence
has been committed, restitution is at the same time demanded, or such
reparation as the case admits of, and the chiefs are desired to forbid
their “young people” to do so any more, or that they will have to abide
by the consequence.

There are tribes among the Indians, who claim the exclusive right of
hunting within certain bounds, and will not suffer others to intrude
and take _their_ game from them, as they call it; and there have
been instances, when such intruders, being found trespassing after a
fair warning, have had their ears and noses cut off, and have been
sent home to tell their chiefs that the next time they came again,
they should be sent home _without their scalps_. While the Christian
Indians of the Lenape nation were settled for a few years on the
land of the Chippeways beyond Detroit, where they had taken refuge
and were permitted to remain for their safety; though the Chippeways
professed reverence for them, and called them _Grandfather_, yet they
were continually complaining of their killing their game. They had no
objection to their tilling the ground, but every deer, raccoon, or
other animal which they killed or took, was a cause of displeasure to
their hosts; and in consequence of that, they pressed them so often to
remove from their lands, that they at last went off.

When the Indians have determined to take revenge for a murder committed
by another nation, they generally endeavour to make at once a bold
stroke, so as to strike their enemies with terror; for which purpose,
they penetrate into the hostile country as far as they can without
being discovered, and when they have made their stroke, they leave a
war club near the body of the person murdered, and make off as quick
as possible. This war club is purposely left that the enemy may know
to what nation the act is to be ascribed, and that they may not wreak
their vengeance on an innocent tribe. It is meant also to let them know
that unless they take measures to discover and punish the author of the
original aggression, this instrument will be the means of revenging the
injury, or, in other words, war will be forthwith declared against them.

If the supposed enemy is peaceably inclined, he will in such case send
a deputation to the aggrieved nation, with a suitable apology. In
general the chief sends word, that the act complained of was committed
without his knowledge, by some of “his foolish young men;” that it was
altogether unauthorised and unwarranted; that it was highly reprobated
by himself and his council, and that he would be sorry that on that
account a breach should be made between the two nations, but, on the
contrary, wishes for peace; that he is willing to make reparation for
the offence by condoling with the relations of the person slain and
otherwise satisfying them. Such an offer is generally accepted, and in
this manner all differences are adjusted between the parties, and they
are friends again as they were before. But should the offending nation
refuse to apologise and sue for peace, war is then immediately declared
and is carried on with the greatest vigour.



Courage, art, and circumspection are the essential and indispensable
qualifications of an Indian warrior. When war is once begun, each
one strives to excel in displaying them, by stealing upon his enemy
unawares, and deceiving and surprising him in various ways. On drawing
near to an enemy’s country, they endeavour as much as possible to
conceal their tracks; sometimes they scatter themselves, marching at
proper distances from each other for a whole day and more, meeting,
however, again at night, when they keep a watch; at other times they
march in what is called _Indian file_, one man behind the other,
treading carefully in each other’s steps, so that their number may not
be ascertained by the prints of their feet. The nearer they suppose
themselves to be to the enemy, the more attentive they are to choosing
hard, stony, and rocky ground, on which human footsteps leave no
impression; soft, marshy and grassy soils are particularly avoided, as
in the former the prints of the feet would be easily discovered, and in
the latter the appearance of the grass having been trodden upon might
lead to detection; for if the grass or weeds are only bent, and have
the least mark of having been walked upon, it will be almost certainly
perceived, in which the sharpness and quickness of the Indians’ sight
is truly astonishing.

In some instances they deceive their enemies by imitating the cries
or calls of some animal, such as the fawn, or turkey. They do this so
admirably well, that they even draw the dam of the one and the mate
of the other to the spot to which they want to come. In this manner
they often succeed in decoying the enemies to the place where they
are lying in ambush, or get an opportunity of surrounding them. Such
stratagems, however, cannot be resorted to in all seasons; with the
turkey, it only answers in the spring, and with the fawn’s dam until
about midsummer. In the same manner, when scattered about in the woods,
they easily find each other by imitating the song of some birds, such
as the quail and the rook, and at evening and morning, and particularly
in the night, the cry of the owl. By this means they all join each
other, though not at the same time, as they are not, perhaps, all
within hearing; but the cry of the owl is repeated from time to time
until they are all assembled.

It is certain that the Indians, by the prints of the feet and by
other marks and signs perceivable only to themselves, can readily
discover, not only that men have passed through a particular path or
line of march, but they can discriminate to what particular nation
those men belong, and whether they are their friends or their enemies.
They also sometimes make discoveries by examining obscure places,
and by that means get informed of an enemy’s design. Nay, there are
those among them who pretend to be able to discriminate among various
marks of human footsteps the different nations of those to whom they
respectively belong. I shall not undertake to assert thus far, but I
shall relate an anecdote, the truth of which I firmly believe, in proof
of their extraordinary sagacity in this respect.

In the beginning of the summer of the year 1755, a most atrocious and
shocking murder was unexpectedly committed by a party of Indians,
on fourteen white settlers within five miles of Shamokin.[176] The
surviving whites, in their rage, determined to take their revenge by
murdering a Delaware Indian who happened to be in those parts and was
far from thinking himself in any danger. He was a great friend to the
whites, was loved and esteemed by them, and in testimony of their
regard, had received from them the name of _Duke Holland_,[177] by
which he was generally known. This Indian, satisfied that his nation
was incapable of committing such a foul murder in a time of profound
peace, told the enraged settlers, that he was sure that the Delawares
were not in any manner concerned in it, and that it was the act of
some wicked Mingoes or Iroquois, whose custom it was to involve other
nations in wars with each other, by clandestinely committing murders,
so that they might be laid to the charge of others than themselves. But
all his representations were vain; he could not convince exasperated
men whose minds were fully bent upon revenge. At last, he offered that
if they would give him a party to accompany him, he would go with them
in quest of the murderers, and was sure he could discover them by the
prints of their feet and other marks well known to him, by which he
would convince them that the real perpetrators of the crime belonged
to the Six Nations. His proposal was accepted, he marched at the head
of a party of whites and led them into the tracks. They soon found
themselves in the most rocky parts of a mountain, where not one of
those who accompanied him was able to discover a single track, nor
would they believe that man had ever trodden upon this ground, as
they had to jump over a number of crevices between the rocks, and in
some instances to crawl over them. Now they began to believe that the
Indian had led them across those rugged mountains in order to give
the enemy time to escape, and threatened him with instant death the
moment they should be fully convinced of the fraud. The Indian, true
to his promise, would take pains to make them perceive that an enemy
had passed along the places through which he was leading them; here
he would shew them that the moss on the rock had been trodden down by
the weight of an human foot, there that it had been torn and dragged
forward from its place: further he would point out to them that pebbles
or small stones on the rocks had been removed from their beds by the
foot hitting against them, that dry sticks by being trodden upon were
broken, and even that in a particular place, an Indian’s blanket had
dragged over the rocks, and removed or loosened the leaves lying there,
so that they lay no more flat, as in other places; all which the
Indian could perceive as he walked along, without even stopping. At
last arriving at the foot of the mountain on soft ground, where the
tracks were deep, he found out that the enemy were eight in number,
and from the freshness of the footprints, he concluded that they must
be encamped at no great distance. This proved to be the exact truth,
for, after gaining the eminence on the other side of the valley, the
Indians were seen encamped, some having already laid down to sleep,
while others were drawing off their _leggings_[178] for the same
purpose, and the scalps they had taken were hanging up to dry. “See!”
said Duke Holland to his astonished companions, “there is the enemy!
not of my nation, but Mingoes, as I truly told you. They are in our
power; in less than half an hour they will all be fast asleep. We need
not fire a gun, but go up and tomahawk them. We are nearly two to one
and need apprehend no danger. Come on, and you will now have your full
revenge!” But the whites, overcome with fear, did not choose to follow
the Indian’s advice, and urged him to take them back by the nearest and
best way, which he did, and when they arrived at home late at night,
they reported the number of the Iroquois to have been so great, that
they durst not venture to attack them.

This account is faithfully given as I received it from _Duke Holland_
himself, and took it down in writing at the time. I had been acquainted
with this Indian for upwards of twenty years, and knew him to be
honest, intelligent and a lover of truth. Therefore I gave full credit
to what he told me, and as yet have had no reason to disbelieve or even
to doubt it. I once employed him to save the life of a respectable
gentleman, now residing at Pittsburg, who was in imminent danger of
being killed by a war party. Duke Holland conducted him safely through
the woods, from the Muskingum to the Ohio settlement. He once found a
watch of mine, which had been sent to me from Pittsburg by a man who
had got drunk, and lost it in the woods about fifty miles from the
place where I lived. Duke Holland went in search of it, and having
discovered the tracks of the man to whom it had been entrusted, he
pursued them until he found the lost article, which he delivered to me.



While the American Indians remained in the free and undisturbed
possession of the land which God gave to them, and even for a long time
after the Europeans had settled themselves in their territory, there
was no people upon earth who paid a more religious respect than they
did to the sacred character of the ambassadors, or (as they call them)
_Messengers of peace_. It is too well known that since about the middle
of the last century a great change has taken place, the cause of which,
I am sorry to say, the Indians lay entirely to our charge.

The inviolability of the person of an ambassador is one of those
sacred fundamental principles of the law of nature which the Almighty
Creator has imprinted upon the heart of every living man. History
teaches us that the most barbarous and savage nations have at all times
admitted and carried it into practice. It is a lamentable truth that
all the violations of it that stand upon record, are to be ascribed to
civilised man or to his contagious example.

It is certain that among our Indians the person of an ambassador was
formerly held most sacred and inviolable. All the nations and tribes
were agreed upon this point, that a messenger, though sent by the most
hostile people, was entitled not only to respect but to protection. To
have, I will not say murdered, but knowingly ill treated a person of
this description, was with them an unpardonable crime. War parties were
always instructed, if they should find a messenger on his way from one
nation to another, not only to give him protection but hospitality,
and see him safely conducted to the people to whom he was sent.

In the same manner, when a messenger was sent to them by a nation with
whom they were at war or at variance, though they might be ever so much
exasperated against them, and even though they had firmly determined
_not to listen_, that is to say, not to consent to their propositions,
whatever they might be, still they would grant their protection to the
man of peace, and tell him in their expressive language “that they had
taken him under their wings, or placed him under their arm pits, where
he was perfectly safe.” It was with them a point of religious belief,
that pacific messengers were under the special protection of the Great
Spirit, that it was unlawful to molest them, and that the nation which
should be guilty of so enormous a crime would surely be punished by
being unsuccessful in war, and perhaps, by suffering a total defeat.
Therefore, frequent instances happened of such messengers being
sent back with the most threatening messages, such as, that it was
determined to wage a war of blood and destruction, and that no quarter
would be given, yet the ambassadors themselves did not meet with the
least insult or disrespect; they were protected during all the time
that they remained in the hostile country, and were safely conducted
to their own nation, or at least, so far on their way as to be out of
danger from the enemy’s warriors, leaving them a sufficient time to
reach their houses, before a fresh stroke was made, to give notice
that the truce was at an end or that the war was begun. I have heard
of messengers being sent back with a message to this effect: “I return
to your bosom, safe and unmolested, the messengers you sent me. The
answer to the speech they brought me from you, you will learn from my
young warriors, who are gone to _see_ you.” The nature of the _visit_
thus announced may be easily guessed at. The message was in fact a
declaration of war, with a fair notice that an invasion of the enemy’s
country was immediately to take place.

Such were the principles, such was the manly conduct of the Indians
in former times. How different it is at present I need not say. We
yet remember the unhappy fate of Messrs. _Trueman_, _Freeman_, and
_Hardin_. These three respectable American gentlemen, were in the year
1792, sent to the Indians with flags of truce and peace proposals, and
were all wantonly murdered.[179] To whom is this horrid state of things
to be attributed? I will not pretend to judge, but let us hear what the
Indians say.

The principal reasons which they assign as having brought about this
great change, are comprised under the following general heads.

I. That the white people have intermeddled with their national
concerns, by dictating to one nation how they should treat another, and
even how they should speak and what they should say to them, and by
this means have entirely destroyed their national independence. That
they have even encouraged and supported one Indian nation in not only
affecting but actually exercising dominion and supremacy over all the

II. That the whites have treated the Indians as a contemptible race and
paid no regard themselves to the sacred character of messengers, but
murdered them as well as their chiefs in numerous instances without
distinction. That they even polluted what among them is esteemed most
holy and inviolable, their _council fires_, extinguishing them (as they
express themselves) with streams of the best blood of their nation, in
violation of their professions and most solemn promises! That their
whole conduct in short has appeared as if they would say to them: “We
do not care for you; we despise you--all we want is your lands, and
those we will have.”

Nor are they at a loss when called upon to specify the particular
injuries of which they complain. Amidst a long list of similar
grievances, I shall select a few of the most prominent.

1. The protection given against them to the Iroquois, encouraging that
nation to insult them, to treat them as women made such by conquest,
and to exercise a tyrannical superiority over them.

2. The murder of the Conestogo Indians, at the very place where a
_council fire_ was burning at the time; where treaties had been held
with them in early times, and where even a treaty had been concluded
in 1762, the year preceding the murder; and that too in the country of
their brother _Miquon_, in the _Quaker_ country, in Pennsylvania.

3. The horrid murder committed between the years 1776 and 1779, on the
great and much valued Shawano chief _Cornstalk_, at Kanhawa, where it
was known that he was on a friendly and interesting errand.[180]

4. The firing upon and severely wounding a noted Shawano in the year
1774, while on his return from Pittsburgh, to which place he had,
out of friendship and humanity, conducted several white traders and
protected them against an enraged body of Indians, on whose relations
the white people had committed most horrid murders.

5. The attacking the peaceable encampment of the Delaware chiefs on the
island at Pittsburgh, where one _Messenger_ and several others were

6. The murder of the Christian Indians on Muskingum, by Williamson’s
party, together with the chief from _Achsinning_, (the standing stone,)
although the persons thus murdered were known to be friends to the

The Indians relate many more outrages committed on _messengers_,
_visiters_, and other _friendly_ Indians, of which I shall spare the
painful recital to my readers. From this series of unjust and cruel
acts, the Indian nations, have at last come to the conclusion that the
Americans are in their hearts inimical to them, and that when they send
them messengers of peace, they only mean to lull them into a fancied
security, that they may the easier fall upon and destroy them. It was
in consequence of this conviction that the three respectable gentlemen
whom I have already mentioned, met with their unhappy fate.



In early times, when Indian nations, after long and bloody wars, met
together, for the purpose of adjusting their differences, or concluding
a peace with each other, it was their laudable custom, as a token of
their sincerity, to remove out of the place where the peacemakers
were sitting, all warlike weapons and instruments of destruction, of
whatever form or shape. “For,” said they, “when we are engaged in a
good work, nothing that is bad must be visible. We are met together to
forgive and forget, to _bury_ the destructive weapon, and put it quite
out of sight; we cast away from us the fatal instrument that has caused
so much grief to our wives and children, and has been the source of
so many tears. It is our earnest hope and wish that it may never be
dug up again.” So particular were they on this point, that if a single
weapon had been in sight, while a treaty was negotiating, it would
have disturbed their minds by recalling the memory of past events, and
instead, (as they say) of gladdening their hearts, by the prospect of a
speedy peace, would, on the contrary, have filled them with sorrow.

Nor would they even permit any warlike weapons to remain within the
limits of their _council fire_, when assembled together about the
ordinary business of government. It might, they said, have a bad
effect, and defeat the object for which they had met. It might be a
check on some of the persons assembled, and perhaps, prevent those who
had a just complaint or representation to make, from speaking their
minds freely. William Penn, said they, when he treated with them,
adopted this ancient mode of their ancestors, and convened them under
a grove of shady trees, where the little birds on their boughs were
warbling their sweet notes. In commemoration of these conferences
(which are always to Indians a subject of pleasing remembrance) they
frequently assembled together in the woods, in some shady spot as
nearly as possible similar to those where they used to meet their
brother _Miquon_, and there lay all his “_words_” or speeches, with
those of his descendants, on a blanket or clean piece of bark, and with
great satisfaction go successively over the whole. This practice (which
I have repeatedly witnessed) continued until the year 1780, when the
disturbances which then took place put an end to it, probably for ever.

These pleasing remembrances, these sacred usages are no more. “When we
treat with the white people,” do the Indians now say, “we have not the
choice of the spot where the messengers are to meet. When we are called
upon to conclude a peace, (and what a peace?) the meeting no longer
takes place in the shady grove, where the innocent little birds with
their cheerful songs, seem as if they wished to soothe and enliven our
minds, tune them to amity and concord and take a part in the good work
for which we are met. Neither is it at the sacred council house, that
we are invited to assemble. No!--It is at some of those horrid places,
surrounded with mounds and ditches, where the most destructive of all
weapons, where _great guns_ are gaping at us with their wide mouths,
as if ready to devour us; and thus we are prevented from speaking our
minds freely as brothers ought to do!”

How then, say they, can there be any sincerity in such councils? how
can a treaty of this kind be binding on men thus forced to agree to
what is dictated to them in a strong prison and at the cannon’s mouth;
where all the stipulations are on one side, where all is concession
on the one part and no friendship appears on the other? From these
considerations, which they urge and constantly dwell upon, the treaties
which they make with the white men have lost all their force, and they
think themselves no longer bound by them than they are compelled by
superior power. Are they right in this or are they wrong? The impartial
reader must decide.



The Indians believe that the Whites were made by the same Great Spirit
who created them, and that he assigned to each different race of men
a particular employment in this world, but not the same to all. To
the whites the great Mannitto gave it in charge to till the ground
and raise by cultivation the fruits of the earth; to the Indians he
assigned the nobler employment of hunting, and the supreme dominion
over all the rest of the animal creation.

They will not admit that the whites are superior beings. They say
that the hair of their heads, their features, the various colours of
their eyes, evince that they are not like themselves _Lenni Lenape_,
an ORIGINAL PEOPLE, a race of men that has existed unchanged from
the beginning of time; but they are a _mixed_ race, and therefore a
_troublesome_ one; wherever they may be, the Great Spirit, knowing the
wickedness of their disposition, found it necessary to give them a
great Book,[181] and taught them how to read it, that they might know
and observe what he wished them to do and to abstain from. But they,
the Indians, have no need of any such book to let them know the will of
their Maker; they find it engraved on their own hearts; they have had
sufficient discernment given to them to distinguish good from evil, and
by following that guide, they are sure not to err.

It is true, they confess, that when they first saw the whites, they
took them for beings of a superior kind. They did not know but that
they had been sent to them from the abode of the Great Spirit for some
great and important purpose. They therefore, welcomed them, hoping to
be made happier by their company. It was not long, however, before they
discovered their mistake, having found them an ungrateful, insatiable
people, who, though the Indians had given them as much land as was
necessary to raise provisions for themselves and their families, and
pasture for their cattle, wanted still to have more, and at last would
not be contented with less than the _whole country_. “And yet,” say
those injured people, “these white men would always be telling us of
their great Book which God had given to them, they would persuade us
that every man was good who believed in what the Book said, and every
man was bad who did not believe in it. They told us a great many
things, which they said were written in the good Book, and wanted us
to believe it all. We would probably have done so, if we had seen them
practise what they pretended to believe, and act according to the _good
words_ which they told us. But no! while they held their big Book in
one hand, in the other they had murderous weapons, guns and swords,
wherewith to kill us, poor Indians! Ah! and they did so too, they
killed those who believed in their Book, as well as those who did not.
They made no distinction!”

They, nevertheless, are sensible that they have many friends among the
white people, and only regret that from their being scattered and at
a distance, they cannot be useful to them and to each other. Of those
whom they know to be their friends, they always speak with warmth and
affection. They also speak of the _Gentellemaan_ (gentlemen) as a
particular class among the whites which deserves to be distinguished;
but they never apply that descriptive title to a person whom they know
to be their enemy, or believe to be ill disposed towards them.

The Indians have a keen eye; by looking at a person, they think that
they can judge of his friendly or unfriendly disposition to their race;
and, indeed, it has been allowed by many whites who have lived among
them, that they are, in general, pretty good physiognomists. They are
very quick among themselves in giving a name to a stranger or person
of note that comes to them, and that name is always significant or
descriptive of something remarkable which they have observed about his
person, which serves them to remember him as a friend or otherwise,
as the case may be; when they believe a person to be their friend,
they will do everything in their power to oblige him, it being their
principle that “good ought always to be rewarded with good.” They
prefer a plain man, simple in his manners and who treats them with
frankness and familiarity. Such a man, they say, loves them. From a
proud haughty man they do not expect friendship; whatever may be his
professions, they think him incapable of loving anybody but himself, or
perhaps, at most, his equal, and that, they think, an Indian can, in
his opinion, never be.

They sometimes amuse themselves by passing in review those customs of
the white people which appear to them most striking. They observe,
amongst other things, that when the whites meet together, many of them,
and sometimes all, speak at the same time, and they wonder how they
can thus hear and understand each other. “Among us,” they say “only
one person speaks at a time, and the others listen to him until he has
done, after which, and not before, another begins to speak.” They say
also that the whites speak too much, and that much talk disgraces a
man and is fit only for women. On this subject they shrewdly observe,
that it is well for the whites that they have the art of writing, and
can write down their words and speeches; for had they, like themselves,
to transmit them to posterity by means of strings and belts of wampum,
they would want for their own use all the wampum that could be made,
and none would be left for the Indians.

They wonder that the white people are striving so much to get rich, and
to heap up treasures in this world which they cannot carry with them to
the next. They ascribe this to pride and to the desire of being called
rich and great. They say that there is enough in this world to live
upon, without laying anything by, and as to the next world, it contains
plenty of everything, and they will find all their wants satisfied
when they arrive there. They, therefore, do not lay up any stores, but
merely take with them when they die as much as is necessary for their
journey to the world of spirits.

They believe, or, at least, pretend to believe, that the white people
have weak eyes, or are near-sighted. “For,” say they, “when we Indians
come among them, they crowd quite close up to us, stare at us, and
almost tread upon our heels to get nearer. We, on the contrary, though,
perhaps, not less curious than they are, to see a new people or a
new object, keep at a reasonable distance, and yet see what we wish
to see.” They also remark, that when the white people meet together,
they speak very loud, although near to each other, from whence they
conclude that they must be hard of hearing. “As to us,” they say, “we
never speak loud when we come together, and yet we understand each
other distinctly; we only speak in a high tone of voice before a public
audience, in council, at the head of our warriors, or when we are met
together for some important purpose.”

The Indians also observe, that the white people must have a great many
thieves among them, since they put locks to their doors, which shews
great apprehension that their property otherwise would not be safe:
“As to us,” say they, “we entertain no such fears; thieves are very
rare among us, and we have no instance of any person breaking into a
house. Our Indian lock is, when we go out, to set the corn pounder or a
billet of wood against the door, so that it may be seen that no body is
within, and there is no danger that any Indian would presume to enter
a house thus secured.” Let me be permitted to illustrate this by an

In the year 1771, while I was residing on the Big Beaver, I passed
by the door of an Indian, who was a trader, and had consequently
a quantity of goods in his house. He was going with his wife to
Pittsburg, and they were shutting up the house, as no person remained
in it during their absence. This shutting up was nothing else than
putting a large hominy pounding-block, with a few sticks of wood
outside against the door, so as to keep it closed. As I was looking
at this man with attention while he was so employed, he addressed
me in these words: “See my friend, this is an Indian lock that I am
putting to my door.” I answered, “Well enough; but I see you leave much
property in the house, are you not afraid that those articles will be
stolen while you are gone?”--“Stolen! by whom?”--“Why, by Indians, to
be sure.”--“No, no,” replied he, “no Indian would do such a thing, and
unless a white man or white people should happen to come this way, I
shall find all safe on my return.”

The Indians say, that when the white people encamp in the woods they
are sure to lose something; that when they are gone, something or
another is always found which they have lost, such as a knife, flints,
bullets, and sometimes even money. They also observe that the whites
are not so attentive as they are to choosing an open dry spot for their
encampment; that they will at once set themselves down in any dirty
and wet place, provided they are under large trees; that they never
look about to see which way the wind blows, so as to be able to lay the
wood for their fires in such a position that the smoke may not blow
on them; neither do they look up the trees to see whether there are
not dead limbs that may fall on them while they are asleep; that any
wood will do for them to lay on their fires, whether it be dry or wet,
and half rotten, so that they are involved during the whole night in
a cloud of smoke; or they take such wood as young green oak, walnut,
cherry, chestnut, &c, which throws sparks out to a great distance, so
that their blankets and clothes get holes burned in them, and sometimes
their whole camp takes fire. They also remark that the whites hang
their kettles and pots over a fire just kindled, and before the great
body of smoke has passed away.

They, however, acknowledge that the whites are ingenious, that they
make axes, guns, knives, hoes, shovels, pots and kettles, blankets,
shirts, and other very convenient articles, to which they have now
become accustomed, and which they can no longer do without. “Yet,”
say they, “our forefathers did without all these things, and we have
never heard, nor has any tradition informed us that they were at a loss
for the want of them; therefore we must conclude that they also were
ingenious; and, indeed, we know that they were; for they made axes of
stone to cut with, and bows and arrows to kill the game: they made
knives and arrows’ points with sharp flint stones and bones, hoes and
shovels from the shoulder blade of the elk and buffaloe; they made
pots of clay, garments of skins, and ornaments with the feathers of
the turkey, goose and other birds. They were not in want of anything,
the game was plenty and tame, the dart shot from our arrows did not
frighten them as the report of the gun now does; we had therefore
everything that we could reasonably require; we lived happy!”

Finally, they think, that the white people have learned much of them in
the art of war; for when they first began to fight the Indians, they
stood all together in a cluster, and suffered themselves to be shot
down like turkies. They also make a distinction between a _warrior_ and
a _murderer_, which, as they explain it, is not much to our advantage.
“It is not,” say they, “the number of scalps alone which a man brings
with him that prove him to be a brave warrior. Cowards have been known
to return, and bring scalps home, which they had taken where they knew
there was no danger, where no attack was expected and no opposition
made. Such was the case with those who killed the Conestogoes at and
near Lancaster, the Christian Indians on the Muskingum, the friendly
Indians near Pittsburg, and a great number of scattered, peaceable men
of our nation, who were all murdered by _cowards_. It was not thus that
the _Black Snake_,[182] the great General Wayne acted; he was a true
warrior and a brave man; he was equal to any of the chiefs that we
have, equal to any that we ever had.”

Thus, the Indians, while they deeply resent the wrongs and injuries
which they have suffered, yet pay due homage to worth, bravery, and
military skill, even in an enemy. Strong as their feelings are, they do
not extinguish their sense of justice, and they are still generously
disposed to allow that there are great and good individuals among a
race of men, who, they believe, have doomed them to utter destruction.



The principal food of the Indians consists of the game which they
take or kill in the woods, the fish out of the waters, and the
maize, potatoes, beans, pumpkins, squashes, cucumbers, melons, and
occasionally cabbages and turnips, which they raise in their fields;
they make use also of various roots of plants, fruits, nuts, and
berries out of the woods, by way of relish or as a seasoning to their
victuals, sometimes also from necessity.

They commonly make two meals every day, which, they say, is enough.
If any one should feel hungry between meal-times, there is generally
something in the house ready for him.

The hunter prefers going out with his gun on an empty stomach; he says,
that hunger stimulates him to exertion by reminding him continually
of his wants, whereas a full stomach makes a hunter easy, careless,
and lazy, ever thinking of his home and losing his time to no purpose.
With all their industry, nevertheless, and notwithstanding this strong
stimulant, many a day passes over their heads that they have not met
with any kind of game, nor consequently tasted a morsel of victuals;
still they go on with their chase, in hopes of being able to carry some
provisions home, and do not give up the pursuit until it is so dark
that they can see no longer.

The morning and evening, they say, are the precious hours for the
hunter. They lose nothing by sleeping in the middle of the day, that is
to say, between ten o’clock in the morning and four in the afternoon,
except in dark, cloudy, and rainy weather, when the whole day is nearly
equally good for hunting. Therefore the hunter, who happens to have no
meat in the house, will be off and in the woods before daylight, and
strive to be in again for breakfast with a deer, turkey, goose, bear,
or raccoon, or some other game then in season. Meanwhile, his wife
has pounded her corn, now boiling on the fire, and baked her bread,
which gives them a good breakfast. If, however, the husband is not
returned by ten o’clock in the forenoon, the family take their meal by
themselves, and his share is put aside for him when he comes home.

The Indians have a number of manners of preparing their corn. They
make an excellent pottage of it, by boiling it with fresh or dried
meat (the latter pounded), dried pumpkins, dry beans, and chestnuts.
They sometimes sweeten it with sugar or molasses from the sugar-maple
tree. Another very good dish is prepared by boiling with their corn or
maize, the washed kernels of the shell-bark or hickory nut. They pound
the nuts in a block or mortar, pouring a little warm water on them,
and gradually a little more as they become dry, until, at last, there
is a sufficient quantity of water, so that by stirring up the pounded
nuts the broken shells separate from the liquor, which from the pounded
kernels assumes the appearance of milk. This being put into the kettle
and mixed with the pottage gives it a rich and agreeable flavour. If
the broken shells do not all freely separate by swimming on the top or
sinking to the bottom, the liquor is strained through a clean cloth,
before it is put into the kettle.

They also prepare a variety of dishes from the pumpkin, the squash, and
the green French or kidney beans; they are very particular in their
choice of pumpkins and squashes, and in their manner of cooking them.
The women say that the less water is put to them, the better dish they
make, and that it would be still better if they were stewed without any
water, merely in the steam of the sap which they contain. They cover up
the pots in which they cook them with large leaves of the pumpkin vine,
cabbages, or other leaves of the larger kind. They make an excellent
preserve from the cranberry and crab-apple, to which, after it has been
well stewed, they add a proper quantity of sugar or molasses.

Their bread is of two kinds; one made up of green corn while in the
milk, and another of the same grain when fully ripe and quite dry.
This last is pounded as fine as possible, then sifted and kneaded into
dough, and afterwards made up into cakes of six inches in diameter and
about an inch in thickness, rounded off on the edge. In baking these
cakes, they are extremely particular; the ashes must be clean and hot,
and if possible come out of good dry oak barks, which they say gives
a brisk and durable heat. In the dough of this kind of bread, they
frequently mix boiled pumpkins, green or dried, dry beans, or well
pared chestnuts, boiled in the same manner, dried venison well pounded,
whortleberries, green or dry, but not boiled, sugar and other palatable
ingredients. For the other kind of bread, the green corn is either
pounded or mashed, is put in broad green corn blades, generally filled
in with a ladle, well wrapped up, and baked in the ashes, like the
other. They consider this as a very delicate morsel, but to me it is
too sweet.

Their _Psindamócan_ or _Tassmanánc_, as they call it, is the most
nourishing and durable food made out of the Indian corn. The blue
sweetish kind is the grain which they prefer for that purpose. They
parch it in clean hot ashes, until it bursts, it is then sifted and
cleaned, and pounded in a mortar into a kind of flour, and when they
wish to make it very good, they mix some sugar with it. When wanted for
use, they take about a table spoonful of this flour in their mouths,
then stooping to the river or brook, drink water to it. If, however,
they have a cup or other small vessel at hand, they put the flour in
it and mix it with water, in the proportion of one table spoonful to a
pint. At their camps they will put a small quantity in a kettle with
water and let it boil down, and they will have a thick pottage. With
this food, the traveller and warrior will set out on long journeys and
expeditions, and as a little of it will serve them for a day, they have
not a heavy load of provisions to carry. Persons who are unacquainted
with this diet ought to be careful not to take too much at a time, and
not to suffer themselves to be tempted too far by its flavour; more
than one or two spoonfuls at most at any one time or at one meal is
dangerous; for it is apt to swell in the stomach or bowels, as when
heated over a fire.

Their meat they either boil, roast, or broil. Their roasting is done by
running a wooden spit through the meat, sharpened at each end, which
they place near the fire, and occasionally turn. They broil on clean
coals, drawn off from the fire for that purpose. They often laugh at
the white hunters, for baking their bread in dirty ashes, and being
alike careless of cleanliness when they broil their meat. They are fond
of dried venison, pounded in a mortar and dipped in bear’s oil. The
Delawares, Mohicans, and Shawanos are very particular in their choice
of meats, and nothing short of the most pressing hunger can induce them
to eat of certain animals, such as the horse, dog, wild cat, panther,
fox, muskrat, wolf, &c., all which I have several times seen the
Chippeways feast upon with a seemingly good appetite. The Iroquois are
said to have been formerly very dirty in their eating. They dried the
entrails of animals without cleaning, or even emptying them of their
contents; then cut them into pieces and put them into their pottage,
by way of seasoning.[183] The late Mr. Zeisberger has often related to
me how he once mistook for black pepper or some other kind of spice, a
certain unpleasant ingredient which he found floating in small grains
on the surface of their broth.

Far different in this respect are the Lenape and their kindred tribes,
particularly the three which I have named above. They are not only
cleanly in their eating, but even delicate, and they will sometimes
resist the pressing calls of hunger rather than eat the flesh of those
animals which they consider as not being proper food for man. Of this I
shall give an instance in the following anecdote.

I was travelling in the spring of 1773, from Muskingum to the Big
Beaver, with more than twenty Indians, five of whom were old men
and the rest women and children, all (except our guide) strangers
to the country, having come but the year before from Wyalusing on
the Susquehannah. Having been at one time confined two days by the
overflowing of two large creeks, between which we were, we found our
provisions at an end. Every man who had a gun was called upon to turn
out into the woods, and try to kill something. Their endeavours,
however, were to no purpose; the day passed away, and they all, except
the well-known _Popunhank_[184] who had lost himself, returned to camp
at night without bringing any thing of the meat kind but a wild cat,
which our guide had shot. The Indians never despair, not even in the
worst of times and under the severest trials; when placed in difficult
situations they never use discouraging language, but always endeavour
to raise their spirits and prevent them from sinking, under the
hardships or dangers to which they are exposed. True to this national
character, one of our old Indians immediately pronounced this wild cat
to be “good, very good eating,” and it was immediately ordered to be
put on the spit and roasted for our supper. While this was performing,
the old Indian endeavoured to divert the company by extolling in a
jocular manner the country they had now got into, and where such good
things were to be had; to which some one or other of the old men would
reply; “all very true.” At length, about nine o’clock at night, the
call was given by the old cook (for so I now call him) that the meat
was done and we might come in to eat. I, who had heard so much in
praise of this repast, being greatly pinched with hunger, had kept
myself in readiness for this expected call; but seeing nobody rise,
and observing much merriment through the camp, I began to suspect that
something was the matter, and therefore kept my seat. The night was
spent without any body attempting to eat of the wild cat, and in the
morning a different call was given by one of the old men, signifying
that a large kettle of tea had been made by some of the good women,
who invited all to come and take their share of it. Every one obeyed
this call, and I went with the rest, the jovial old cook taking the
roasted wild cat with him to the mess. The scene was not only very
diverting, but brought on an interesting discussion between the men on
the propriety or impropriety of eating the flesh of all animals without
restriction, some contending that they were all by the will of the
great Creator ordained for some use, and therefore put in the power of
man; and how were we to know which were intended for our nourishment
and which not? The old cook had himself taken that position, adding
that the hog and the bear fed on dirty things, and yet we ate their
meat with a good appetite. The cat, however, notwithstanding all the
arguments in its favour, remained untouched, and was taken back by the
old hunter and cook to its former place at his fire.

But now, Popunhank, whom we believed to be lost, and our guide, who
once more had gone out, and exerted himself in vain to kill a deer,
came in together. The guide had been desired as he pursued his hunt to
look for our lost companion, and had the good luck to find him at the
distance of five or six miles, with a fine deer that he had killed. He
lost no time in bringing him back to our camp.

The sight of these two men dragging a large deer along was truly
joyful to us, as well on account of the recovery of our lost friend,
as of the meat that he brought. All felt the cravings of hunger, all
were delighted with the certain prospect of immediate relief, yet no
boisterous or extraordinary rejoicing took place, but all called out
with one voice: _Anischi! Anischi!_ we are thankful. The wild cat,
which yet remained untouched, was thrown out of the camp, and dismissed
by the old cook with these words: “Go, cat, we do not want you this

The woods and waters, at certain times and seasons, furnish to the
Indians an abundant supply of wholesome nourishing food, which, if
carefully gathered, cured and stored up, would serve them for the
whole year, so that none need perish or even suffer from hunger; but
they are not accustomed to laying in stores of provisions, except
some Indian corn, dry beans and a few other articles. Hence they
are sometimes reduced to great straits, and not seldom in absolute
want of the necessaries of life, especially in the time of war. Yet,
notwithstanding the numerous famines they have been visited with, they
have among their traditions but one instance on record in which an
human life was taken for the support of others, although they relate
many cases in which numbers of them were actually starved to death. The
case I allude to was so singular a circumstance, that it seems the
cruel act to which it gave rise was almost unavoidable. I shall relate
it here as I have received it from the most unquestionable authority.

In the winter of 1739-40, ever since remembered as the hard winter,
when the ground was covered with a very deep snow, a woman with three
children, was coming from beyond the Allegheny mountains on a visit
to her friends or relations residing at the great island on the west
branch of the Susquehannah. After she had reached that river somewhere
about _Achtschingi Clammui_, which the whites have corrupted into
_Chingleclamoose_,[185] the snow fell in earlier than had been before
known, to such a depth, that she could not proceed any farther. She
began with putting herself and her children on short allowance, in
hopes that the weather might become more moderate, or the snow so hard
that they could walk over it. She strove to make her little store
of provisions last as long as she could, by using the grass which
grew on the river’s edge, and certain barks as substitutes, which
she boiled to make them digestible; but more snow falling, until at
last it rose to the height of a fathom or six feet, she was deprived
even of that wretched food, and the wolves hovering about day and
night, often attempting to rush into her little encampment, her whole
time was taken up with procuring wood and making fires to prevent
herself and her children from being frozen to death, and keeping those
voracious animals at a distance by throwing out fire-brands to them.
Her situation, at last, became intolerable. Having no alternative but
that of sacrificing one of her children, she resolved on destroying the
youngest, in order to preserve the others and herself from the most
dreadful death. After much hesitation, she turned away her eyes and
with a trembling hand gave the fatal stroke, filling at the same time
the air with her loud lamentations.--She now thought she had obtained
a temporary relief, and that she might be able to support herself and
her surviving children until a change in the weather should take place,
so that they could be able to proceed on their journey; but the wolves
getting the scent of the slaughtered child, became more furious than
before, her danger every moment became more imminent. She now filled
the air with her cries and supplications to the Great Spirit that he
would look down with compassion on their awful condition, and save them
by his almighty power.--But still the danger increased, the horrid food
was almost exhausted, and no relief came. Already she contemplated
sacrificing another child; she looked at each of them again and
again with a mother’s eye, now resolving on killing the one, then
changing her mind, and endeavouring to determine on the destruction
of the other; she hesitated, wept, despaired, and the children, well
understanding what she meant, prayed that they might all die together.
While in this situation, her hand already lifted to strike the fatal
stroke, the yell of two approaching Indians strikes her ear, and the
murderous weapon falls from her hand. The men with rackets to their
feet now appear and the dreadful scene is at once closed. They had
provisions with them. They made a pair of rackets for the woman to walk
on, and brought her and her children along in safety to the Big Island,
where my informants resided at the time. I cannot remember whether they
told me that they had gone to that spot in consequence of a dream, or
of some strong presentiment that they should find human creatures in
distress; certain I am, however, that it was owing to one or other of
these causes.

The place where this awful event took place was since called _Enda
Mohátink_, which means “where human flesh was eaten.” This name has
been very familiar to the Indians who resided in that part of the

There is a spot of land at the edge of the great Pine or Beech Swamp,
precisely where it is crossed by the road leading to Wyoming, which
is called _the Hermit’s Field_, and of which the following account is
given. A short time before the white people came into Pennsylvania,
a woman from some cause or other had separated herself from society,
and with her young son, had taken her abode in this swamp, where she
remained undiscovered until the boy grew up to manhood, procuring a
livelihood by the use of the bow and arrow, in killing deer, turkeys
and other animals, planting corn and vegetables, and gathering and
curing nuts and berries of various kinds. When after her long seclusion
she again saw Indians, she was much astonished to find them dressed
in European apparel. She had become so attached to her place of
abode, that she again[186] returned thither and remained there for
several years. I was shewn by the Indians in the year 1765, and often
afterwards, the corn hills that she had made; the ground, being a stiff
clay, was not wasted or worn down, but was covered with bushes, and the
traces of the labour of the female hermit were plainly discoverable.

Thus the Indians will support themselves in the midst of the greatest
difficulties, never despairing of their fate, but trusting to their
exertions, and to the protection of the Almighty Being who created



In ancient times, the dress of the Indians was made of the skins of
animals and feathers. This clothing, they say, was not only warmer, but
lasted much longer than any woollen goods they have since purchased of
the white people. They can dress any skin, even that of the buffaloe,
so that it becomes quite soft and supple, and a good buffaloe or bear
skin blanket will serve them many years without wearing out. Beaver
and raccoon skin blankets are also pliant, warm and durable; they sew
together as many of those skins as is necessary, carefully setting
the hair or fur all the same way, so that the blanket or covering be
smooth, and the rain do not penetrate, but run off. In wearing these
fur blankets they are regulated by the weather; if it is cold and dry
the fur is placed next the body, but in warm and wet weather, they
have it outside. Some made themselves long frocks of fine fur, and
the women’s petticoats in the winter season were also made of them,
otherwise of dressed deer skins, the same as their shirts, leggings and
shoes. They say that shoes made of dressed bear skins, with the hair on
and turned inside, are very warm, and in dry weather, durable. With the
large rib bones of the elk and buffaloe they shaved the hair off the
skins they dressed, and even now, they say that they can clean a skin
as well with a well prepared rib-bone as with a knife.

The blankets made from feathers were also warm and durable. They were
the work of the women, particularly of the old, who delight in such
work, and indeed, in any work which shews that they are able to do
their parts and be useful to society. It requires great patience, being
the most tedious kind of work I have ever seen them perform, yet they
do it in a most ingenious manner. The feathers, generally those of the
turkey and goose, are so curiously arranged and interwoven together
with thread or twine, which they prepare from the rind or bark of
the wild hemp and nettle, that ingenuity and skill cannot be denied
them. They show the same talent and much forethought in making their
_Happis_, the bands with which they carry their bags and other burdens;
they make these very strong and lasting.

The present dress of the Indians is well known to consist in blankets,
plain or ruffled shirts and leggings for the men, and petticoats for
the women, made of cloth, generally red, blue, or black. The wealthy
adorn themselves besides with ribands or gartering of various colours,
beads and silver broaches. These ornaments are arranged by the women,
who, as well as the men, know how to dress themselves in style. Those
of the men principally consist in the painting of themselves, their
head and face principally, shaving or good clean garments, silver arm
spangles and breast plates, and a belt or two of wampum hanging to
their necks. The women, at the expense of their husbands or lovers,
line their petticoat and blue or scarlet cloth blanket or covering with
choice ribands of various colours, or with gartering, on which they fix
a number of silver broaches, or small round buckles. They adorn their
leggings in the same manner; their mocksens, (properly _Maxen_, or
according to the English pronunciation _Moxen_), are embroidered in the
neatest manner, with coloured porcupine quills, and are besides, almost
entirely covered with various trinkets; they have, moreover, a number
of little bells and brass thimbles fixed round their ancles, which,
when they walk, make a tinkling noise, which is heard at some distance;
this is intended to draw the attention of those who pass by, that they
may look at and admire them.

The women make use of vermilion in painting themselves for dances, but
they are very careful and circumspect in applying the paint, so that it
does not offend or create suspicion in their husbands; there is a mode
of painting which is left entirely to loose women and prostitutes.

As I was once resting in my travels at the house of a trader who lived
at some distance from an Indian town, I went in the morning to visit an
Indian acquaintance and friend of mine. I found him engaged in plucking
out his beard, preparatory to painting himself for a dance which was to
take place the ensuing evening. Having finished his head dress, about
an hour before sunset, he came up, as he said, to see me, but I and my
companions judged that he came _to be seen_. To my utter astonishment,
I saw three different paintings or figures on one and the same face.
He had, by his great ingenuity and judgment in laying on and shading
the different colours, made his nose appear, when we stood directly in
front of him, as if it were very long and narrow, with a round knob
at the end, much like the upper part of a pair of tongs. On one cheek
there was a red round spot, about the size of an apple, and the other
was done in the same manner with black. The eye-lids, both the upper
and lower ones, were reversed in the colouring. When we viewed him in
profile on one side, his nose represented the beak of an eagle, with
the bill rounded and brought to a point, precisely as those birds have
it, though the mouth was somewhat open. The eye was astonishingly well
done, and the head, upon the whole, appeared tolerably well, shewing
a great deal of fierceness. When we turned round to the other side,
the same nose now resembled the snout of a pike, with the mouth so
open, that the teeth could be seen. He seemed much pleased with his
execution, and having his looking-glass with him, he contemplated his
work, seemingly with great pride and exultation. He asked me how I
liked it? I answered that if he had done the work on a piece of board,
bark, or anything else, I should like it very well and often look at
it. But, asked he, why not so as it is? Because I cannot see the face
that is hidden under these colours, so as to know who it is. Well, he
replied, I must go now, and as you cannot know me to-day, I will call
to-morrow morning before you leave this place. He did so, and when he
came back he was washed clean again.

Thus, for a single night’s _frolic_, a whole day is spent in what they
call dressing, in which each strives to outdo the other.

When the men paint their thighs, legs and breast, they, generally,
after laying on a thin shading coat of a darkish colour, and sometimes
of a whitish clay, dip their fingers’ ends in black or red paint, and
drawing it on with their outspread fingers, bring the streaks to a
serpentine form. The garments of some of their principal actors are
singular, and decorated with such a number of gewgaws and trinkets,
that it is impossible to give a precise description of them. Neither
are they all alike in taste, every one dressing himself according to
his fancy, or the custom of the tribe to which he belongs. While the
women, as I have already said, have thimbles and little bells rattling
at their ancles, the men have deers’ claws fixed to their braced
garters or knee bands, and also to their shoes, for the same purpose;
for they consider jingling and rattling as indispensably necessary to
their performances in the way of dancing.

The notion formerly entertained that the Indians are beardless by
nature and have no hair on their bodies, appears now to be exploded
and entirely laid aside. I cannot conceive how it is possible for any
person to pass three weeks only among those people, without seeing
them pluck out their beards, with tweezers made expressly for that
purpose. Before the Europeans came into the country, their apparatus
for performing this work, consisted of a pair of muscle shells,
sharpened on a gritty stone, which answered very well, being somewhat
like pincers; but since they can obtain wire, of which that of brass is
preferred, they make themselves tweezers, which they always carry with
them in their tobacco-pouch, wherever they go, and when at leisure,
they pluck out their beards or the hair above their foreheads. This
they do in a very quick manner, much like the plucking of a fowl, and
the oftener they pluck out their hair, the finer it grows afterwards,
so that at last there appears hardly any, the whole having been rooted
out. The principal reasons which they give for thus plucking out their
beards and the hair next to their foreheads, are that they may have a
clean skin to lay the paint on, when they dress for their festivals or
dances, and to facilitate the _tattooing_ themselves, a custom formerly
much in use among them, especially with those who had distinguished
themselves by their valour, and acquired celebrity. They say that
either painting or tattooing on a hairy face or body would have a
disgusting appearance.

As late as the year 1762, when I resided at Tuscorawas on the
Muskingum, tattooing was still practised by some Indians; a valiant
chief of that village, named _Wawundochwalend_, desirous of having
another name given him, had the figure of a water-lizard engraved
or tattooed on his face, above the chin, when he received the name
_Twakachshawsu_, the water-lizard. The process of tattooing, which I
once saw performed, is quickly done, and does not seem to give much
pain. They have poplar bark in readiness burnt and reduced to a powder,
the figures that are to be tattooed are marked or designed on the skin;
the operator with a small stick, rather larger than a common match,
to the end of which some sharp needles are fastened, quickly pricks
over the whole so that blood is drawn, then a coat of this powder is
laid and left on to dry. Before the whites came into this country,
they scarified themselves for this purpose with sharp flint stones, or
pricked themselves with the sharp teeth of a fish.

In the year 1742, a veteran warrior of the Lenape nation and Monsey
tribe, renowned among his own people for his bravery and prowess, and
equally dreaded by their enemies, joined the Christian Indians who
then resided at this place.[187] This man, who was then at an advanced
age, had a most striking appearance, and could not be viewed without
astonishment. Besides that his body was full of scars, where he had
been struck and pierced by the arrows of the enemy, there was not a
spot to be seen, on that part of it which was exposed to view, but what
was tattooed over with some drawing relative to his achievements, so
that the whole together struck the beholder with amazement and terror.
On his whole face, neck, shoulders, arms, thighs and legs, as well as
on his breast and back, were represented scenes of the various actions
and engagements he had been in; in short, the whole of his history
was there deposited, which was well known to those of his nation, and
was such that all who heard it thought it could never be surpassed by
man.[188] Far from, murdering those who were defenceless or unarmed,
his generosity, as well as his courage and skill in the art of war,
was acknowledged by all. When, after his conversion, he was questioned
about his warlike feats, he frankly and modestly answered, “That being
now taken captive by _Jesus Christ_, it did not become him to relate
the deeds he had done while in the service of the evil spirit; but
that he was willing to give an account in the manner in which he had
been _conquered_.” At his baptism, on the 23d of December 1742, he
received the name of _Michael_, which he preserved until his death,
which happened on the 23rd of July 1756. He led the life of a true
Christian, and was always ready and willing to relate the history of
his conversion, which I heard myself from his own mouth. His age, when
he died, was supposed to be about eighty years.

The cutting of the ears, which formerly was practised among the
Indians, is now no longer so common with them. Their reasons for laying
this custom aside, are that the operation is painful, not only when
performed, but until the ears are perfectly healed, which takes a
long time, and that they often lose that part of their ears which is
separated from the solid part, by its being torn off by the bushes, or
falling off when frost-bitten. I once heard of a gay Indian setting
off on a severe cold morning for a neighbouring village not more than
three miles distant, whose ears had been touched by the frost, and
dropped off before he arrived at the place to which he was going. He
had not even felt that he had lost them, and when told of it, he was
so chagrined that he was going to destroy himself. I have seen a great
many Indians with torn ears; but now the custom of cutting them is
nearly if not entirely disused.



The dances of the Indians vary according to the purposes for which
they are intended. We have seen, in the second chapter of this work,
that when the Dutch first landed on New York island, the inhabitants
who believed them to be celestial beings, began a solemn dance, in
order to propitiate them. It is not uncommon for men who are deprived
of the light of revealed religion, to believe that the divinity will
be pleased with the same things from which they themselves receive

It is a pleasing spectacle to see the Indian dances, when intended
merely for social diversion and innocent amusement. I acknowledge I
would prefer being present at them for a full hour, than a few minutes
only at such dances as I have witnessed in our country taverns among
the white people. Their songs are by no means unharmonious. They sing
in chorus; first the men and then the women. At times the women join
in the general song, or repeat the strain which the men have just
finished. It seems like two parties singing in questions and answers,
and is upon the whole very agreeable and enlivening. After thus
singing for about a quarter of an hour, they conclude each song with
a loud yell, which I must confess is not in concord with the rest of
the music; it is not unlike the cat-bird which closes its pretty song
with mewing like a cat. I do not admire this _finale_. The singing
always begins by one person only, but others soon fall in successively
until the general chorus begins, the drum beating all the while to
mark the time. The voices of the women are clear and full, and their
intonations generally correct.

Their war dances have nothing engaging; their object, on the contrary,
is to strike terror in the beholders. They are dressed and painted, or
rather bedaubed with paint, in a manner suitable to the occasion. They
hold the murderous weapon in their hand, and imitate in their dance
all the warlike attitudes, motions and actions which are usual in an
engagement with the enemy, and strive to excel each other by their
terrific looks and gestures. They generally perform round a painted
post set up for that purpose, in a large room or place enclosed or
surrounded with posts, and roofed with the bark of trees; sometimes
also this dance is executed in the open air. There every man presents
himself in warrior’s array, contemptuously looking upon the painted
post, as if it was the enemy whom he was about to engage; as he passes
by it he strikes, stabs, grasps, pretends to scalp, to cut, to run
through; in short, endeavours to shew what he would do to a real enemy,
if he had him in his power.

It was an ancient custom among the Indians to perform this dance round
a prisoner, and as they danced, to make him undergo every kind of
torture, previous to putting him to death. The prisoner appeared to
partake in the merriment, contemptuously scoffing at his executioner,
as being unskilled in the art of inflicting torments: strange as this
conduct may appear, it was not without a sufficient motive. The object
of the unfortunate sufferer was to rouse his relentless tormentors to
such a pitch of fury, that some of them might, at an unguarded moment,
give him the finishing stroke and put him out of his pain.

Previous to going out on a warlike campaign, the war-dance is always
performed round the painted post. It is the Indian mode of recruiting.
Whoever joins in the dance is considered as having enlisted for the
campaign, and is obliged to go out with the party.

After returning from a successful expedition, a dance of _thanksgiving_
is always performed, which partakes of the character of a religious
ceremony. It is accompanied with singing and choruses, in which the
women join. But they take no part in the rest of the performance. At
the end of every song, the _scalp-yell_ is shouted as many times as
there have been scalps taken from the enemy.

The Indians also meet occasionally for the purpose of recounting
their warlike exploits, which is done in a kind of half-singing or
_recitative_. The oldest warrior recites first, then they go on in
rotation and in order of seniority, the drum beating all the time, as
it were to give to the relation the greater appearance of reality.
After each has made a short recital in his turn, they begin again
in the same order, and so continue going the rounds, in a kind of
alternate chanting, until every one has concluded. On these occasions,
great care must be taken not to give offence by affecting superiority
over the others, for every warrior feels his own consequence, and is
ready, if insulted, to shew by his actions, what he has performed in
war and is still able to do. I well remember an instance of the kind,
when an insulted warrior stepped out of the circle in which he was
dancing, and struck dead the impudent boaster who had offended him.

Their songs are in general of the warlike or of the tender and pathetic
kind. They are sung in short sentences, not without some kind of
measure, harmonious to an Indian ear. The music is well adapted to the
words, and to me is not unpleasing. I would not attempt to give an idea
of it by means of our musical notes, as has been done by other writers,
lest I should be as unsuccessful as those who have tried in the same
manner to describe the melodies of the ancient Greeks. It would be well
if I could describe at one and the same time the whole combination of
effects which acted upon my ear, but it is vain to endeavour to do it
partially. It is, indeed, much the same with their poetry; yet I cannot
resist the temptation of translating as well as I can, the words of
the Lenape’s song, when they go out to war. They sing it, as I give
it here, in short lines or sentences, not always the whole at one
time, but most generally in detached parts, as time permits and as the
occasion or their feelings prompt them. Their accent is very pathetic,
and the whole, in their language, produces considerable effect.


    “O poor me!
    Whom am going out to fight the enemy,
    And know not whether I shall return again,
    To enjoy the embraces of my children
    And my wife.
    O poor creature!
    Whose life is not in his own hands,
    Who has no power over his own body,
    But tries to do his duty
    For the welfare of his nation.
    O! thou Great Spirit above!
    Take pity on my children
    And on my wife!
    Prevent their mourning on my account!
    Grant that I may be successful in this attempt--
    That I may slay my enemy,
    And bring home the trophies of war
    To my dear family and friends,
    That we may rejoice together.
    O! take pity on me!
    Give me strength and courage to meet my enemy,
    Suffer me to return again to my children,
    To my wife
    And to my relations!
    Take pity on me and preserve my life
    And I will make to thee a sacrifice.”

The song of the Wyandot warriors, as translated to me by an Indian
trader, would read thus: “Now I am going on an errand of pleasure--O!
God, take pity on me, and throw good fortune in my way--grant that I
may be successful.”

Thus their Almighty Creator is always before their eyes on all
important occasions. They feel and acknowledge his supreme power. They
also endeavour to propitiate him by outward worship, or _sacrifices_.

These are religious solemnities, intended to make themselves acceptable
to the Great Spirit, to find favor in his sight, and obtain his
forgiveness for past errors or offences. It is not, as some white
persons would lead us to believe, that knowing the Great Spirit to be
good, they are under no apprehensions from his wrath, and that they
make sacrifices to the evil spirit, believing him alone to be capable
of doing them hurt. This cannot be true of a people, who, as I have
already said in another part, hold it as a fixed principle “that good
and evil cannot and must not be united,” who declare and acknowledge
the great and good Spirit to be “all powerful,” and the evil one to
be “weak and limited in power;” who rely alone on the goodness of the
author of their existence, and who, before every thing, seek by all the
means in their power to obtain his favour and protection. For, they
are convinced, that the evil spirit has no power over them, as long as
they are in favour with the good one, and to him alone, acknowledging
his continued goodness to them and their forefathers, they look for
protection against the _Devil_, and his inferior spirits.

It is a part of their religious belief, that there are inferior
_Mannittos_, to whom the great and good Being has given the rule
and command over the elements; that being so great, he, like their
chiefs, must have his attendants to execute his supreme behests; these
subordinate spirits (something in their nature between God and man) see
and report to him what is doing upon earth; they look down particularly
upon the Indians, to see whether they are in need of assistance, and
are ready at their call to assist and protect them against danger.

Thus I have frequently witnessed Indians, on the approach of a storm
or thunder-gust, address the Mannitto of the air, to avert all danger
from them; I have also seen the Chippeways, on the Lakes of Canada,
pray to the Mannitto of the waters, that he might prevent the swells
from rising too high, while they were passing over them. In both
these instances, they expressed their acknowledgment, or shewed their
willingness to be grateful, by throwing tobacco in the air, or strewing
it on the waters.

There are even some animals, which though they are not considered
as invested with power over them, yet are believed to be placed as
guardians over their lives; and of course entitled to some notice and
to some tokens of gratitude. Thus, when in the night, an owl is heard
sounding its note, or calling to its mate, some person in the camp will
rise, and taking some _Glicanican_, or Indian tobacco, will strew it on
the fire, thinking that the ascending smoke will reach the bird, and
that he will see that they are not unmindful of his services, and of
his kindness to them and their ancestors. This custom originated from
the following incident, which tradition has handed down to them.

It happened at one time, when they were engaged in a war with a distant
and powerful nation, that a body of their warriors was in the camp,
fast asleep, no kind of danger at that moment being apprehended.
Suddenly, the great “Sentinel” over mankind, the _owl_, sounded the
alarm; all the birds of the species were alert at their posts, all at
once calling out, as if saying: “Up! up! Danger! Danger!” Obedient to
their call, every man jumped up in an instant; when, to their surprise,
they found that their enemy was in the very act of surrounding them,
and they would all have been killed in their sleep, if the owl had not
given them this timely warning.

But, amidst all these superstitious notions, the supreme Mannitto, the
creator and preserver of heaven and earth, is the great object of their
adoration. On him they rest their hopes, to him they address their
prayers and make their solemn sacrifices. These religious ceremonies
are not always performed in the same manner. I had intended to have
given some details upon this subject, but I find that it has been
almost exhausted by other writers,[189] although I will not pretend
to say that they are correct on every point. But I do not wish to
repeat things which have already been told to the world over and over.
Therefore, if on some subjects, relating to the manners and customs of
the Indians, I should be thought to have passed over too quickly, and
not to have sufficiently entered into particulars, let it be understood
that I have done so to avoid the repetition of what others have said,
although I am afraid I have been inadvertently guilty of it in more
than one instance. I would not presume to communicate my little stock
of knowledge, if I did not think that it will add something to what is
already known.

I do not recollect that it has already been mentioned, that previous
to entering upon the solemnity of their sacrifices, the Indians
prepare themselves by vomiting, fasting, and drinking decoctions from
certain prescribed plants. This they do to expel the evil which is
within them, and that they may with a pure conscience attend to the
_sacred performance_, for such they consider it. Nor is the object
of those sacrifices always the same; there are sacrifices of prayer
and sacrifices of thanksgiving, some for all the favours received by
them and their ancestors from the great Being, others for special or
particular benefits. After a successful war, they never fail to offer
up a sacrifice to the great Being, to return him thanks for having
given them courage and strength to destroy or conquer their enemies.



Scalping is a practice which the Indians say has obtained with their
nations for ages. I need not describe the manner in which the operation
is performed, it has been sufficiently done by others.[190] Indian
warriors think it necessary to bring home the scalps of those they have
killed or disabled, as visible proofs of their valour; otherwise they
are afraid that their relations of the combat and the account they give
of their individual prowess might be doubted or disbelieved. Those
scalps are dried up, painted and preserved as trophies, and a warrior
is esteemed in proportion to the number of them that he can shew.

It is a well known fact that the Indians pluck out all their hair
except one tuft on the crown of their heads, but the reason of this
exception is not, perhaps, so well understood, which is no other than
to enable themselves to take off each other’s scalps in war with
greater facility. “When we go to fight an enemy,” say they, “we meet
on equal ground; and we take off each other’s scalps, if we can. The
conqueror, whoever he may be, is entitled to have something to shew
to prove his bravery and his triumph, and it would be _ungenerous_ in
a warrior to deprive an enemy of the means of acquiring that glory
of which he himself is in pursuit. A warrior’s conduct ought to be
_manly_, else he is _no man_.” As this custom prevails among all the
Indian nations, it would seem, as far as I have known, to be the result
of a tacit agreement among them, to leave the usual trophies of
victory accessible to the contending warriors on all sides; fearing,
perhaps, that if a different custom should be adopted by one nation
from motives of personal safety, or to destroy the warlike reputation
of their rivals or enemies, it might be easily imitated on the other
side, and there would be an end to Indian valour and heroism. Indeed,
it is certain, that all the weapons which the Indians make use of in
war are intended for _offence_, they have no breast-plates, helmets,
nor any arms or accoutrements of the defensive kind, and it is not
the least remarkable trait in their warlike character, that they make
it even a point of honour to offer a hold of their persons to their
enemy, by which if he should be possessed of greater skill or courage
than themselves, he may not only the more easily destroy them, but is
enabled to carry home their bloody spoils as trophies of his victory.

I once remarked to an Indian that if such was their reason for letting
a tuft of hair grow on the top of their heads, they might as well
suffer the whole to remain, and I could not perceive why they were
so careful in plucking it out. To this observation he answered: “My
friend! a human being has but one head, and one scalp from that head is
sufficient to shew that it has been in my power. Were we to preserve a
whole head of hair as the white people do, _several_ scalps might be
made out of it, which would be _unfair_. Besides, the coward might thus
without danger share in the trophies of the brave warrior, and dispute
with him the honour of victory.”

When the Indians relate their victories, they do not say that they have
taken so many “_scalps_,” but so many “_heads_,” in which they include
as well those whom they have scalped, but left alive (which is very
often[191] the case), and their prisoners, as those whom they have
killed. Nor does it follow, when they reckon or number the heads of
their prisoners, that they have been or are to be put to death.

It is an awful spectacle to see the Indian warriors return home from
a successful expedition with their prisoners and the scalps taken in
battle. It is not unlike the return of a victorious army from the
field, with the prisoners and _colours_, taken from the enemy, but
the appearance is far more frightful and terrific. The scalps are
carried in front, fixed on the end of a thin pole, about five or six
inches[192] in length; the prisoners follow, and the warriors advance
shouting the dreadful _scalp-yell_, which has been called by some the
_death-halloo_, but improperly, for the reasons which I have already
mentioned. For every _head_ taken, dead or alive, a separate shout is
given. In this yell or whoop, there is a mixture of triumph and terror;
its elements, if I may so speak, seem to be _glory_ and _fear_, so as
to express at once the feelings of the shouting warriors, and those
with which they have inspired their enemies.

Different from this yell is the _alarm-whoop_, which is never sounded
but when danger is at hand. It is performed in quick succession, much
as with us the repeated cry of _Fire! Fire!_ when the alarm is very
great and lives are known or believed to be in danger. Both this and
the scalp-yell consist of the sounds _aw_ and _oh_, successively
uttered, the last more accented, and sounded higher than the first;
but in the _scalp-yell_, this last sound is drawn out at great
length, as long indeed as the breath will hold, and is raised about
an octave higher than the former; while in the _alarm-whoop_, it is
rapidly struck on as it were, and only a few notes above the other.
These yells or whoops are dreadful indeed, and well calculated to
strike with terror, those whom long habit has not accustomed to them.
It is difficult to describe the impression which the _scalp-yell_,
particularly, makes on a person who hears it for the first time.

I am now come to a painful part of my subject; the manner in which
the Indians treat the prisoners whom they take in war. It must not
be expected that I shall describe here the long protracted tortures
which are inflicted on those who are doomed to the fatal pile, nor the
constancy and firmness which the sufferers display, singing their death
songs and scoffing all the while at their tormentors. Enough of other
writers have painted these scenes, with all their disgusting horrors;
nor shall I, a Christian, endeavour to excuse or palliate them. But
I may be permitted to say, that those dreadful executions are by no
means so frequent as is commonly imagined. The prisoners are generally
adopted by the families of their conquerors in the place of lost or
deceased relations or friends, where they soon become domesticated,
and are so kindly treated that they never wish themselves away again.
I have seen even white men, who, after such adoption, were given up by
the Indians in compliance with the stipulations of treaties, take the
first opportunity to escape from their own country and return with all
possible speed to their Indian homes; I have seen the Indians, while
about delivering them up, put them at night in the stocks, to prevent
their escaping and running back to them.

It is but seldom that prisoners are put to death by burning and
torturing. It hardly ever takes place except when a nation has suffered
great losses in war, and it is thought necessary to revenge the death
of their warriors slain in battle, or when wilful and deliberate
murders have been committed by an enemy of[193] their innocent women
and children, in which case the first prisoners taken are almost sure
of being sacrificed by way of retaliation. But when a war has been
successful, or unattended with remarkable acts of treachery, or cruelty
on the part of the enemy, the prisoners receive a milder treatment, and
are incorporated with the nation of their conquerors.

Much has been said on the subject of the preliminary cruelties
inflicted on prisoners when they enter an Indian village with the
conquering warriors. It is certain that this treatment is very severe
when a particular revenge is to be exercised, but otherwise, I can say
with truth, that in many instances, it is rather a scene of amusement,
than a punishment. Much depends on the courage and presence of mind of
the prisoner. On entering the village, he is shewn a painted post at
the distance of from twenty to forty yards, and told to run to it and
catch hold of it as quickly as he can. On each side of him stand men,
women and children, with axes, sticks, and other offensive weapons,
ready to strike him as he runs, in the same manner as is done in the
European armies when soldiers, as it is called, run the gauntlet. If
he should be so unlucky as to fall in the way, he will probably be
immediately despatched by some person, longing to avenge the death of
some relation or friend slain in battle; but the moment he reaches the
goal, he is safe and protected from further insult until his fate is

If a prisoner in such a situation shews a determined courage, and when
bid to run for the painted post, starts at once with all his might
and exerts all his strength and agility until he reaches it, he will
most commonly escape without much harm, and sometimes without any
injury whatever, and on reaching the desired point, he will have the
satisfaction to hear his courage and bravery applauded. But woe to the
coward who hesitates, or shews any symptoms of fear! He is treated
without much mercy, and is happy, at last, if he escapes with his life.

In the month of April 1782, when I was myself a prisoner at Lower
Sandusky, waiting for an opportunity to proceed with a trader
to Detroit, I witnessed a scene of this description which fully
exemplified what I have above stated. Three American prisoners were one
day brought in by fourteen warriors from the garrison of Fort M’Intosh.
As soon as they had crossed the Sandusky river, to which the village
lay adjacent, they were told by the Captain of the party to run as hard
as they could to a painted post which was shewn to them. The youngest
of the three, without a moment’s hesitation, immediately started for
it, and reached it fortunately without receiving a single blow; the
second hesitated for a moment, but recollecting himself, he also ran as
fast as he could and likewise reached the post unhurt; but the third,
frightened at seeing so many men, women and children with weapons in
their hands, ready to strike him, kept begging the Captain to spare
his life, saying he was a mason, and he would build him a fine large
stone house, or do any work for him that he should please. “Run for
your life,” cried the chief to him, “and don’t talk now of building
houses!” But the poor fellow still insisted, begging and praying to
the Captain, who, at last finding his exhortations vain, and fearing
the consequences, turned his back upon him, and would not hear him any
longer. Our mason now began to run, but received many a hard blow, one
of which nearly brought him to the ground, which, if he had fallen,
would at once have decided his fate. He, however, reached the goal, not
without being sadly bruised, and he was besides bitterly reproached and
scoffed at all round as a vile coward, while the others were hailed as
brave men, and received tokens of universal approbation.



The Indians are in general a strong race of men. It is very common to
see a hunter come in with a whole deer on his back, fastened with a
_Happis_, a kind of band with which they carry loads; it rests against
the breast, that which the women use rests against the forehead. In
this manner they will carry a load which many a white man would not
have strength enough to raise from the ground. An Indian, named Samuel,
once took the flour which was ground out of a bushel of wheat upon his
back at sun-rise within two miles from Nazareth, and arrived with it in
the evening of the same day at his camp at Wyoming. When the Indians
build houses, they carry large logs on their shoulders from the place
where the tree is cut down to where they are building.

Nevertheless, when put to agricultural or other manual labour, the
Indians do not appear so strong as the whites; at least, they cannot
endure it so long. Many reasons may be given for this, besides their
not being accustomed to that kind of work. It is probably in part to
be ascribed to their want of substantial food, and their intemperate
manner of living; eating, when they have it, to excess, and at other
times being days and weeks in a state of want. Those who have been
brought up to regular labour, like ourselves, become robust and strong
and enjoy good health. Such was the case with the Christian Indians in
the Moravian settlements.

So late as about the middle of the last century, the Indians were yet
a hardy and healthy people, and many very aged men and women were seen
among them, some of whom thought they had lived about one hundred
years. They frequently told me and others that when they were young
men, their people did not marry so early as they did since, that even
at twenty they were called boys and durst not wear a breech-cloth, as
the men did at that time, but had only a small bit of a skin hanging
before them. Neither, did they say, were they subject to so many
disorders as in later times, and many of them calculated on dying of
old age. But since that time a great change has taken place in the
constitution of those Indians who live nearest to the whites. By the
introduction of ardent spirits among them, they have been led into
vices which have brought on disorders which they say were unknown
before; their blood became corrupted by a shameful complaint, which
the Europeans pretend to have received from the original inhabitants
of America, while these say they had never known or heard of it until
the Europeans came among them. Now the Indians are infected with it to
a great degree; children frequently inherit it from their parents, and
after lingering for a few years at last die victims to this poison.

Those Indians who have not adopted the vices of the white people live
to a good age, from 70 to 90. Few arrive at the age of one hundred
years. The women, in general, live longer than the men.

The Indians do not appear to be more or less exempt than the whites
from the common infirmities of old age. I have known old men among them
who had lost their memory, their sight, and their teeth. I have also
seen them at eighty in their second childhood and not able to help

The Indian women are not in general so prolific as those of the white
race. I imagine this defect is owing to the vicious and dissolute life
they lead since the introduction of spirituous liquors. Among our
Christian Indians, we have had a couple who had been converted for
thirty years and had always led a regular life, and who had thirteen
children. Others had from six to nine. In general, however, the Indians
seldom have more than four or five children.

The Indian children, generally, continue two years at the breast, and
there are instances of their sucking during four years. Mothers are
very apt to indulge their last child; children in this respect enjoy
the same privilege alike.

I have never heard of any nation or tribe of Indians who destroyed
their children, when distorted or deformed, whether they were so
born or came to be so afterwards. I have on the contrary seen very
particular care taken of such children. Nor have I ever been acquainted
with any Indians that made use of artificial means to compress or alter
the natural shape of the heads of their children, as some travellers
have, I believe, pretended.

The disorders to which the Indians are most commonly subjected are
pulmonary consumptions, fluxes, fevers and severe rheumatisms, all
proceeding probably from the kind of life they lead, the hardships they
undergo, and the nature of the food that they take. Intermitting and
bilious fevers set in among them regularly in the autumn, when their
towns are situated near marshy grounds or ponds of stagnant water, and
many die in consequence of them. I have observed that these fevers
generally make their first appearance in the season of the wild plum, a
fruit that the Indians are particularly fond of. Sometimes also after
a famine or long suffering for want of food, when they generally make
too free an use of green maize, squashes and other watery vegetables.
They are also subject to a disease which they call the _yellow vomit_,
which, at times, carries off many of them. They generally die of this
disease on the second or third day after the first attack.

Their old men are very subject to rheumatisms in the back and knees;
I have known them at the age of 50 or 60 to be laid up for weeks and
months at a time on this account, and I have seen boys 10 and 12 years
of age, who through colds or fits of sickness had become so contracted
that they never afterwards recovered the use of their limbs.

Worms are a very common disorder among Indian children, and great
numbers of them die from that cause. They eat a great deal of green
corn when in the milk, with beans, squashes, melons, and the like;
their bellies become remarkably large, and it is probably in that
manner that the worms are generated. I rather think that Indian
children suffer less in teething than the whites.

The gout, gravel, and scrofula or king’s evil, are not known among the
Indians. Nor have I ever known any one that had the disorder called the
_Rickets_. Consumptions are very frequent among them since they have
become fond of spirituous liquors, and their young men in great numbers
fall victims to that complaint. A person who resides among them may
easily observe the frightful decrease of their numbers from one period
of ten years to another. Our vices have destroyed them more than our



The _Materia Medica_ of the Indians consists of various roots and
plants known to themselves, the properties of which they are not fond
of disclosing to strangers. They make considerable use of the barks
of trees, such as the white and black oak, the white walnut, of which
they make pills, the cherry, dogwood, maple, birch, and several others.
They prepare and compound these medicines in different ways, which they
keep a profound secret. Those preparations are frequently mixed with
superstitious practices, calculated to guard against the powers of
witchcraft, in which, unfortunately, they have a strong fixed belief.
Indeed, they are too apt to attribute the most natural deaths to the
arts and incantations of sorcerers, and their medicine is, in most
cases, as much directed against those as against the disease itself.
There are, however, practitioners among them who are free from these
prejudices, or at least do not introduce them into their practice of
the medical art. Still there is a superstitious notion, in which all
their physicians participate, which is, that when an emetic is to be
administered, the water in which the potion is mixed must be drawn up a
stream, and if for a cathartic downwards. This is, at least, innocent,
and not more whimsical perhaps, nor more calculated to excite a smile,
than some theories of grave and learned men in civilised countries.

In fevers the Indians usually administer emetics which are made up and
compounded in various ways. I saw an emetic once given to a man who had
poisoned himself with the root of the May Apple.[194] It consisted of
a piece of raccoon skin burned with the hair on and finely powdered,
pounded dry beans and gunpowder. These three ingredients were mixed
with water and poured down the patient’s throat. This brought on a
severe vomiting, the poisonous root was entirely discharged and the man

In other complaints, particularly in those which proceed from rheumatic
affections, bleeding and sweating are always the first remedies
applied. The sweat oven is the first thing that an Indian has recourse
to when he feels the least indisposed; it is the place to which the
wearied traveller, hunter, or warrior looks for relief from the
fatigues he has endured, the cold he has caught, or the restoration of
his lost appetite.

This oven is made of different sizes, so as to accommodate from two
to six persons at a time, or according to the number of men in the
village, so that they may be all successively served. It is generally
built on a bank or slope, one half of it within and the other above
ground. It is well covered on the top with split plank and earth, and
has a door in front, where the ground is level to go or rather to
creep in. Here, on the outside, stones, generally of about the size
of a large turnip, are heated by one or more men appointed each day
for that purpose. While the oven is heating, decoctions from roots
or plants are prepared either by the person himself who intends to
sweat, or by one of the men of the village, who boils a large kettleful
for the general use, so that when the public cryer going his rounds,
calls out _Pimook!_ “go to sweat!” every one brings his small kettle,
which is filled for him with the potion, which at the same time serves
him as a medicine, promotes a profuse perspiration, and quenches his
thirst. As soon as a sufficient number have come to the oven, a number
of the hot stones are rolled into the middle of it, and the sweaters
go in, seating themselves or rather squatting round those stones, and
there they remain until the sweat ceases to flow; then they come out,
throwing a blanket or two about them that they may not catch cold; in
the mean while, fresh heated stones are thrown in for those who follow
them. While they are in the oven, water is now and then poured on the
hot stones to produce a steam, which they say, increases the heat, and
gives suppleness to their limbs and joints. In rheumatic complaints,
the steam is produced by a decoction of boiled roots, and the patient
during the operation is well wrapped up in blankets, to keep the cold
air from him, and promote perspiration at the same time.

Those sweat ovens are generally at some distance from an Indian
village, where wood and water are always at hand. The best order is
preserved at those places. The women have their separate oven in a
different direction from that of the men, and subjected to the same
rules. The men generally sweat themselves once and sometimes twice a
week; the women have no fixed day for this exercise, nor do they use it
as often as the men.

In the year 1784,[195] a gentleman whom I had been acquainted with
at Detroit, and who had been for a long time in an infirm state of
health, came from thence to the village of the Christian Indians on the
Huron river, in order to have the benefit of the sweat oven. It being
in the middle of winter, when there was a deep snow on the ground,
and the weather was excessively cold, I advised him to postpone his
sweating to a warmer season; but he persisting in his resolution, I
advised him by no means to remain in the oven longer than fifteen or
at most twenty minutes. But when he once was in it, feeling himself
comfortable, he remained a full hour, at the end of which he fainted,
and was brought by two strong Indians to my house, in very great pain
and not able to walk. He remained with me until the next day, when we
took him down in his sleigh to his family at Detroit. His situation
was truly deplorable; his physicians at that place gave up all hopes
of his recovery, and he frequently expressed his regret that he had
not followed my advice. Suddenly, however, a change took place for the
better, and he not only recovered his perfect health, but became a
stout corpulent man, so that he would often say, that his going into
the sweat oven was the best thing he had ever done in his life for the
benefit of his health. He said so to me fifteen years afterwards when I
saw him in the year 1798. He had not had the least indisposition since
that time. He died about the year 1814, at an advanced age.



By these names I mean to distinguish the good and honest practitioners
who are in the habit of curing and healing diseases and wounds, by
the simple application of natural remedies, without any mixture of
superstition in the manner of preparing or administering them. They are
very different from the doctors or jugglers, of whom I shall speak in
the next chapter. In one point, only, they seem to participate in their
ridiculous notions, that is, in the different manner, which I have
already noticed, of drawing water up or down the current of a stream,
as it is to be respectively employed as a vehicle for an emetic or a
cathartic. This singular idea prevails generally among the Indians of
all classes. They think that as the one remedy is to work upwards and
the other downwards, care should be taken in the preparation to follow
the course of nature, so that no confusion should take place in the
stomach or bowels of the patient.

With this only exception the Indian physicians are perhaps more free
from fanciful theories than those of any other nation upon earth.
Their science is entirely founded on observation, experience and the
well tried efficacy of remedies. There are physicians of both sexes,
who take considerable pains to acquire a correct knowledge of the
properties and medical virtues of plants, roots and barks, for the
benefit of their fellow-men. They are very careful to have at all
times a full assortment of their medicines on hand, which they gather
and collect at the proper seasons, sometimes fetching them from the
distance of several days’ journey from their homes, then they cure
or dry them properly, tie them up in small bundles, and preserve them
for use. It were to be wished that they were better skilled in the
quantity of the medicines which they administer. But they are too apt,
in general, to give excessive doses, on the mistaken principle that
“_much_ of a _good_ thing must necessarily do _much good_.”

Nevertheless, I must say, that their practice in general succeeds
pretty well. I have myself been benefited and cured by taking their
emetics and their medicines in fevers, and by being sweated after
their manner while labouring under a stubborn rheumatism. I have also
known many, both whites and Indians, who have with the same success
resorted to Indian physicians while labouring under diseases. The wives
of Missionaries, in every instance in which they had to apply to the
female physicians, for the cure of complaints peculiar to their sex,
experienced good results from their abilities. They are also well
skilled in curing wounds and bruises. I once for two days and two
nights, suffered the most excruciating pain from a felon or whitlow on
one of my fingers, which deprived me entirely of sleep. I had recourse
to an Indian woman, who in less than half an hour relieved me entirely
by the simple application of a poultice made of the root of the common
blue violet.

Indeed, it is in the cure of external wounds that they particularly
excel. Not only their professional men and women, but every warrior
is more or less acquainted with the healing properties of roots and
plants, which is, in a manner, indispensable to them, as they are
so often in danger of being wounded in their engagements with the
enemy. Hence this branch of knowledge is carried to a great degree of
perfection among them. I firmly believe that there is no wound, unless
it should be absolutely mortal, or beyond the skill of our own good
practitioners, which an Indian surgeon (I mean the best of them) will
not succeed in healing. I once knew a noted Shawano, who having, out of
friendship, conducted several white traders in safety to Pittsburgh,
while they were sought for by other Indians who wanted to revenge on
them the murders committed by white men of some of their people, was on
his return fired at by some white villains, who had waylaid him for
that purpose, and shot in the breast. This man, when I saw him, had
already travelled eighty miles, with a wound from which blood and a
kind of watery froth issued every time he breathed. Yet he told me he
was sure of being cured, if he could only reach _Waketemeki_, a place
fifty miles distant, where there were several eminent Indian surgeons.
To me and others who examined the wound, it appeared incurable;
nevertheless, he reached the place and was perfectly cured. I saw him
at Detroit ten years afterwards; he was in sound health and grown to
be a corpulent man. Nine years after this I dined with him at the same



I call these men _Doctors_, because it is the name given them by their
countrymen who have borrowed it from our language,[196] and they
are themselves very fond of this pompous title. They are a set of
professional impostors, who, availing themselves of the superstitious
prejudices of the people, acquire the name and reputation of men of
superior knowledge, and possessed of supernatural powers. As the
Indians in general believe in witchcraft, and ascribe, as I have
already said, to the arts of sorcerers many of the disorders with which
they are afflicted in the regular course of nature, this class of men
has risen among them, who pretend to be skilled in a certain occult
science, by means of which they are able not only to cure natural
diseases, but to counteract or destroy the enchantments of wizards or
witches, and expel evil spirits.

These men are physicians, like the others of whom I have spoken, and
like them are acquainted with the properties and virtues of plants,
barks, roots, and other remedies. They differ from them only by
their pretensions to a superior knowledge, and by the impudence with
which they impose upon the credulous. I am sorry that truth obliges
me to confess, that in their profession they rank above the honest
practitioners. They pretend that there are disorders which cannot be
cured by the ordinary remedies, and to the treatment of which the
talents of common physicians are inadequate. They say that when a
complaint has been brought on by witchcraft, more powerful remedies
must be applied, and measures must be taken to defeat the designs of
the person who bewitched the unfortunate patient. This can only be done
by removing or destroying the deleterious or deadening substance which
has been conveyed into them, or, if it is an evil spirit, to confine or
expel him, or banish him to a distant region from whence he may never

When the juggler has succeeded in persuading his patient that his
disorder is such that no common physician has it in his power to
relieve, he will next endeavour to convince him of the necessity of
making him _very strong_, which means, giving him a _large fee_, which
he will say, is justly due to a man who, like himself, is able to
perform such difficult things. If the patient who applies, is rich, the
_Doctor_ will never fail, whatever the complaint may be, to ascribe it
to the powers of witchcraft, and recommend himself as the only person
capable of giving relief in such a hard and complicated case. The poor
patient, therefore, if he will have the benefit of the great man’s
advice and assistance, must immediately give him his _honorarium_,
which is commonly either a fine horse, or a good rifle-gun, a
considerable quantity of wampum, or goods to a handsome amount. When
this fee is well secured, and not before, the Doctor prepares for the
hard task that he has undertaken, with as much apparent labour as if
he was about to remove a mountain. He casts his eyes all round him to
attract notice, puts on grave and important looks, appears wrapt in
thought and meditation and enjoys for a while the admiration of the
spectators. At last he begins his operation. Attired in a frightful
dress, he approaches his patient, with a variety of contortions and
gestures, and performs by his side and over him all the antic tricks
that his imagination can suggest. He breathes on him, blows in his
mouth, and squirts some medicines which he has prepared in his face,
mouth and nose; he rattles his gourd filled with dry beans or pebbles,
pulls out and handles about a variety of sticks and bundles in which he
appears to be seeking for the proper remedy, all which is accompanied
with the most horrid gesticulations, by which he endeavours, as he
says, to frighten the spirit or the disorder away, and continues in
this manner until he is quite exhausted and out of breath, when he
retires to wait the issue.

The visits of the juggler are, if the patient requires it, repeated
from time to time; not, however, without his giving a fresh fee
previous to each visit. This continues until the property of the
patient is entirely exhausted, or until he resolves upon calling in
another doctor, with whom feeing must begin anew in the same manner
that it did with his predecessor.

When at length the art of the juggling tribe has after repeated trials
proved ineffectual, the patient is declared _incurable_. The doctors
will say, that he applied to them too late, that he did not exactly
follow their prescriptions, or sometimes, that he was bewitched by one
of the greatest masters of the science, and that unless a professor can
be found possessed of superior knowledge, he is doomed to die or linger
in pain beyond the power of relief.

Thus these jugglers carry on their deceit, and enrich themselves at the
expense of the credulous and foolish. I have known instances in which
they declared a patient perfectly cured and out of all danger, who
nevertheless died of his disorder a very few days afterwards, although
his doctors affirmed that the evil spirit or the effects of witchcraft
were entirely removed from him; on the other hand, I have seen cases
in which the patient recovered after being pronounced incurable and
condemned to die. In those cases, however, he had had the good sense to
apply to some of the honest physicians of one or the other sex, who had
relieved him by a successful application of their medicines.

The jugglers’ dress, when in the exercise of their functions, exhibits
a most frightful sight. I had no idea of the importance of these men,
until by accident I met with one, habited in his full costume. As I
was once walking through the street of a large Indian village on the
Muskingum, with the chief _Gelelemend_,[197] whom we call _Kill-buck_,
one of those monsters suddenly came out of the house next to me, at
whose sight I was so frightened, that I flew immediately to the other
side of the chief, who observing my agitation and the quick strides
I made, asked me what was the matter, and what I thought it was that
I saw before me. “By its outward appearance,” answered I, “I would
think it a bear, or some such ferocious animal, what is _inside_ I
do not know, but rather judge it to be the _Evil Spirit_.” My friend
Kill-buck smiled, and replied, “O! no, no; don’t believe that! it is a
man you well know, it is our _Doctor_.” “A Doctor!” said I, “what! a
human being to transform himself so as to be taken for a bear walking
on his hind legs, and with horns on his head? You will not, surely,
deceive me; if it is not a bear, it must be some other ferocious animal
that I have never seen before.” The juggler within the dress hearing
what passed between us, began to act over some of his curious pranks,
probably intending to divert me, as he saw I was looking at him with
great amazement, not unmixed with fear; but the more he went on with
his performance, the more I was at a loss to decide, whether he was
a human being or a bear; for he imitated that animal in the greatest
perfection, walking upright on his hind legs as I had often seen it do.
At last I renewed my questions to the chief, and begged him seriously
to tell me what that figure was, and he assured me that although
outside it had the appearance of a bear, yet inside there was a man,
and that it was our doctor going to visit one of his patients who was
bewitched. A dialogue then ensued between us, which I shall relate, as
well as I can recollect it, in its very words:

HECKEW. But why does he go dressed in that manner? Won’t his patient
be frightened to death on seeing him enter the house?

KILLB. No! indeed, no; it is the disorder, the evil spirit, that will
be frightened away; as to the sick man, he well knows that unless the
doctor has recourse to the most powerful means, he cannot be relieved,
but must fall a sacrifice to the wicked will of some evil person. And,
pray, don’t your doctors in obstinate and dubious cases, also recur to
powerful means in order to relieve their patients?

HECKEW. To my knowledge, there are no cases where witchcraft is
assigned as the cause of a disorder, of course our doctors have nothing
to do with that; and though they may sometimes have occasion to apply
powerful remedies in obstinate diseases, yet it is not done by dressing
themselves like wild beasts, to frighten, as you say, the disorder
away. Were our doctors to adopt this mode, they would soon be left
without patients and without bread; they would starve.

KILLB. Our doctors are the richest people among us, they have
everything they want; fine horses to ride, fine clothes to wear, plenty
of strings and belts of wampum, and silver arm and breast plates in

HECKEW. And _our_ doctors have very fine horses and carriages, fine
houses, fine clothes, plenty of good provisions and wines, and plenty
of money besides! They are looked upon as gentlemen, and would not
suffer your doctor, dressed as he is, to come into their company.

KILLB. You must, my friend! consider that the cases are very different.
Had the white people sorcerers among them as the Indians have, they
would find it necessary to adopt our practice and apply our remedies in
the same manner that our doctors do. They would find it necessary to
take strong measures to counteract and destroy the dreadful effects of

HECKEW. The sorcerers that you speak of exist only in your imagination;
rid yourselves of this, and you will hear no more of them.

The dress this juggler had on, consisted of an entire garment or
outside covering, made of one or more bear skins, as black as jet, so
well fitted and sewed together, that the man was not in any place
to be perceived. The whole head of the bear, including the mouth,
nose, teeth, ears, &c., appeared the same as when the animal was
living; so did the legs with long claws; to this were added a huge
pair of horns on the head, and behind a large bushy tail, moving as he
walked, as though it were on springs; but for these accompaniments,
the man, walking on all fours, might have been taken for a bear of an
extraordinary size. Underneath, where his hands were, holes had been
cut, though not visible to the eye, being covered with the long hair,
through which he held and managed his implements, and he saw through
two holes set with glass. The whole was a great curiosity, but not to
be looked at by everybody.

There are jugglers of another kind, in general old men and women, who
although not classed among doctors or physicians, yet get their living
by pretending to supernatural knowledge. Some pretend that they can
bring down rain in dry weather when wanted, others prepare ingredients,
which they sell to bad hunters, that they may have good luck, and
others make philters or love potions for such married persons as either
do not, or think they cannot love each other.

When one of these jugglers is applied to to bring down rain in a dry
season, he must in the first instance receive a fee. This fee is made
up by the women, who, as cultivators of the land are supposed to be
most interested, but the men will slily slip something in their hands
in aid of their collection, which consists of wampum beads, tobacco,
silver broaches, and a dressed deer skin to make shoes of. If the
juggler does not succeed in his experiment, he never is in want of an
excuse; either the winds are in opposition to one another, the dry wind
or air is too powerful for the moist or south wind, or he has not been
made _strong enough_, (that is sufficiently paid,) to compel the north
to give way to the south from whence the rain is to come, or lastly,
he wants time to invoke the great Spirit to aid him on the important

In the summer of the year 1799, a most uncommon drouth happened in the
Muskingum country, so that every thing growing, even the grass and the
leaves of the trees, appeared perishing; an old man named _Chenos_,
who was born on the river Delaware, was applied to by the women to
bring down rain, and was well feed for the purpose. Having failed in
his first attempt, he was feed a second time, and it happened that one
morning, when my business obliged me to pass by the place where he
was at work, as I knew him very well, I asked him at once what he was
doing? “I am hired,” said he, “to do a very hard day’s work.”

Q. And, pray, what work?

A. Why, to bring down rain from the sky.

Q. Who hired you to do that?

A. The women of the village; don’t you see how much rain is wanted, and
that the corn and every thing else is perishing?

Q. But can you make it rain?

A. I can, and you shall be convinced of it this very day.

He had, by this time, encompassed a square of about five feet each
way, with stakes and barks so that it might resemble a pig pen of
about three feet in height, and now, with his face uplifted and turned
towards the north, he muttered something, then closely shutting up
with bark the opening which had been left on the north side, he turned
in the same manner, still muttering some words, towards the south, as
if invoking some superior being, and having cut through the bark on
the southwest corner, so as to make an opening of two feet, he said:
“now we shall have rain enough!” Hearing down the river the sound of
setting poles striking against a canoe, he enquired of me what it was?
I told him it was our Indians going up the river to make a bush net for
fishing. “Send them home again!” said he, “tell them that this will not
be a fit day for fishing!” I told him to let them come on and speak to
them himself, if he pleased. He did so, and as soon as they came near
him, he told them that they must by no means think of fishing that day,
for there should come a heavy rain which would wet them all through.
“No matter, Father!” answered they in a jocular manner, “give us only
rain and we will cheerfully bear the soaking.” They then passed on, and
I proceeded to _Goschachking_, the village to which I was going.[198]
I mentioned the circumstance to the chief of the place, and told him
that I thought it impossible that we should have rain while the sky
was so clear as it then was and had been for near five weeks together,
without its being previously announced by some signs or change in the
atmosphere. But the chief answered: “_Chenos_ knows very well what he
is about; he can at any time predict what the weather will be; he takes
his observations morning and evening from the river or something in
it.” On my return from this place after three o’clock in the afternoon,
the sky still continued the same until about four o’clock, when all at
once the horizon became overcast, and without any thunder or wind it
began to rain, and continued so for several hours together, until the
ground became thoroughly soaked.

I am of the opinion that this man, like others whom I have known, was
a strict observer of the weather, and that his prediction that day was
made in consequence of his having observed some signs in the sky or in
the water, which his experience had taught him to be the forerunners
of rain; yet the credulous multitude did not fail to ascribe it to his
supernatural power.

The ingredients for a bad hunter, to make him have good luck, are
tied up in a bit of cloth, and must be worn near his skin while he is
hunting. The preparations intended to create love between man and wife,
are to be slily conveyed to the frigid party by means of his victuals
or drink.



Great and powerful as the Indian conceives himself to be, firm and
undaunted as he really is, braving all seasons and weathers, careless
of dangers, patient of hunger, thirst and cold, and fond of displaying
the native energy of his character even in the midst of tortures, at
the very thought of which our own puny nature revolts and shudders;
this Lord of the Creation, whose life is spent in a state of constant
warfare against the wild beasts of the forest and the savages of the
wilderness, who, proud of his independent existence, strikes his breast
with exultation and exclaims “_I am a man!_”--the American Indian has
one weak side, which sinks him down to the level of the most fearful
and timid being, a childish apprehension of an occult and unknown
power, which, unless he can summon sufficient fortitude to conquer it,
changes at once the hero into a coward. It is incredible to what a
degree the Indians’ superstitious belief in witchcraft operates upon
their minds; the moment that their imagination is struck with the idea
that they are bewitched, they are no longer themselves; their fancy is
constantly at work in creating the most horrid and distressing images.
They see themselves falling a sacrifice to the wicked arts of a vile
unknown hand, of one who would not have dared to face them in fair
combat; dying a miserable, ignominious death; a death, to which they
would a thousand times prefer the stake with all its horrors. No tale,
no tradition, no memorial of their courage or heroic fortitude will
go down with it to posterity; it will be thought that they were not
deserving of a better fate. And, (O! dreadful thought to an Indian
mind!) that death is to remain forever unrevenged;--their friends,
their relations, the men of their own tribe, will seek the murderer in
vain; they will seek him while, perhaps, he is in the midst of them,
unnoticed and unknown, smiling at their impotent rage, and calmly
selecting some new victim to his infernal art.

Of this extraordinary power of their conjurers, of the causes which
produce it, and the manner in which it is acquired, the Indians as
may well be supposed, have not a very definite idea. All they can
say is that the sorcerer makes use of a “deadening substance,” which
he discharges and conveys to the person that he means to “_strike_,”
through the air, by means of the wind or of his own breath, or throws
at him in a manner which they can neither understand nor describe. The
person thus “_stricken_,” is immediately seized with an unaccountable
terror, his spirits sink, his appetite fails, he is disturbed in his
sleep, he pines and wastes away, or a fit of sickness seizes him,
and he dies at last a miserable victim to the workings of his own

Such are their ideas and the melancholy effects of the dread they feel
of that supernatural power which they vainly fancy to exist among them.
That they can destroy one another by means of poisonous roots and
plants, is certainly true, but in this there is no witchcraft. This
prejudice that they labour under can be ascribed to no other cause than
their excessive ignorance and credulity. I was once acquainted with a
white man, a shrewd and correct observer, who had lived long among the
Indians, and being himself related to an Indian family, had the best
opportunities of obtaining accurate information on this subject. He
told me that he had found the means of getting into the confidence of
one of their most noted sorcerers, who had frankly confessed to him,
that his secret consisted in exciting fear and suspicion, and creating
in the multitude a strong belief in his magical powers, “For,” said he,
“such is the credulity of many, that if I only pick a little wool from
my blanket, and roll it between my fingers into a small round ball, not
larger than a bean, I am by that alone believed to be deeply skilled
in the magic art, and it is immediately supposed that I am preparing
the deadly substance with which I mean to strike some person or other,
although I hardly know myself at the time what my fingers are doing;
and if, at that moment, I happen to cast my eyes on a particular man,
or even throw a side glance at him, it is enough to make him consider
himself as the intended victim; he is from that instant effectually
_struck_, and if he is not possessed of great fortitude, so as to be
able to repel the thought, and divert his mind from it, or to persuade
himself that it is nothing but the work of a disturbed imagination, he
will sink under the terror thus created, and at last perish a victim,
not indeed, to witchcraft, but to his own credulity and folly.”

But men of such strong minds are not often to be found; so deeply
rooted is the belief of the Indians in those fancied supernatural
powers. It is vain to endeavour to convince them by argument that
they are entirely founded in delusion and have no real existence. The
attempt has been frequently made by sensible white men, but always
without success. The following anecdote will shew how little hope there
is of ever bringing them to a more rational way of thinking.

Sometime about the year 1776, a Quaker trader of the name of John
Anderson, who among the Indians was called _the honest Quaker trader_,
after vainly endeavouring to convince those people by argument that
there was no such thing as witchcraft, took the bold, and I might say
the rash, solution to put their sorcerers to the test, and defy the
utmost exertions of their pretended supernatural powers. He desired
that two of those magicians might be brought successively before him
on different days, who should be at liberty to try their art on his
person, and do him all the harm that they could by magical means,
in the presence of the chiefs and principal men of the village. The
Indians tried at first to dissuade him from so dangerous an experiment;
but he persisted, and at last they acceded to his demand; a conjurer
was brought to him, who professed himself fully competent to the task
for which he was called, but he could not be persuaded to make the
attempt. He declared that Anderson was so good and so honest a man, so
much his friend and the friend of all the Indians, that he could not
think of doing him an injury. He never practised his art but on bad
men and on those who had injured him; the great Mannitto forbid that he
should use it for such a wicked purpose as that for which he was now
called upon.

The Indians found this excuse perfectly good, and retired more
convinced than ever of the abilities of their conjurer, whom they now
revered for his conscientious scruples.

The one who was brought on the next day was of a different stamp. He
was an arch sorcerer, whose fame was extended far and wide, and was
much dreaded by the Indians, not only on account of his great powers,
but of the wicked disposition of his mind. Every effort was made to
dissuade Mr. Anderson from exposing himself to what was considered
as certain destruction; but he stood firm to his purpose, and only
stipulated that the magician should sit at the distance of about twelve
feet from him; that he should not be armed with any weapon, nor carry
any poison or any thing else of a known destructive nature, and that
he should not even rise from his seat, nor advance towards him during
the operation. All this was agreed to, the conjurer boasting that he
could effect his purpose even at the distance of one hundred miles. The
promised reward was brought and placed in full view, and both parties
now prepared for the experiment.

The spectators being all assembled, the sorcerer took his seat, arrayed
in the most frightful manner that he could devise. Anderson stood firm
and composed before him at the stipulated distance. All were silent
and attentive while the wizard began his terrible operation. He began
with working with his fingers on his blanket, plucking now and then
a little wool and breathing on it, then rolling it together in small
rolls of the size of a bean, and went through all the antic tricks to
which the power of bewitching is generally ascribed. But all this had
no effect. Anderson remained cool and composed, now and then calling
to his antagonist not to be sparing of his exertions. The conjurer now
began to make the most horrid gesticulations, and used all the means
in his power to frighten the honest Quaker, who, aware of his purpose,
still remained unmoved. At last, while the eyes of all the spectators
were fixed on this brave man, to observe the effects of the sorcerer’s
craft upon him, this terrible conjurer, finding that all his efforts
were in vain, found himself obliged to give up the point, and alleged
for his excuse “that the Americans[199] eat too much salt provisions;
that salt had a repulsive effect, which made the powerful invisible
substance that he employed recoil upon him; that the Indians, who eat
but little salt, had often felt the effects of this substance, but that
the great quantity of it which the white men used effectually protected
them against it.”

The imposition in this instance was perfectly clear and visible,
and nothing was so easy as to see through this sorcerer’s miserable
pretence, and be convinced that his boasted art was entirely a
deception; but it was not so with the Indians, who firmly believed
that the salt which the Americans[199] used was the only cause of his
failure in this instance, and that if it had not been for the salted
meat which Mr. Anderson fed upon, he would have fallen a victim as well
as others to the incantations of this impostor.

I have received this story from the mouth of Mr. Anderson himself,
who was a most respectable gentleman, and also from several credible
Indians who were present at the time. After this bold and unsuccessful
experiment, it is impossible to expect that the superstitious notions
of the Indians on the subject of witchcraft can ever by any means be
rooted out of their minds.[200]



I do not know how to give a better name to a superstitious practice
which is very common among the Indians, and, indeed, is universal among
those nations that I have become acquainted with. By certain methods
which I shall presently describe, they put the mind of a boy in a state
of perturbation, so as to excite dreams and visions; by means of which
they pretend that the boy receives instructions from certain spirits or
unknown agents as to his conduct in life, that he is informed of his
future destination and of the wonders he is to perform in his future
career through the world.

When a boy is to be thus _initiated_, he is put under an alternate
course of physic and fasting, either taking no food whatever, or
swallowing the most powerful and nauseous medicines, and occasionally
he is made to drink decoctions of an intoxicating nature, until his
mind becomes sufficiently bewildered, so that he sees or fancies that
he sees visions, and has extraordinary dreams, for which, of course, he
has been prepared beforehand. He will fancy himself flying through the
air, walking under ground, stepping from one ridge or hill to the other
across the valley beneath, fighting and conquering giants and monsters,
and defeating whole hosts by his single arm. Then he has interviews
with the Mannitto or with spirits, who inform him of what he was before
he was born and what he will be after his death. His fate in this life
is laid entirely open before him, the spirit tells him what is to be
his future employment, whether he will be a valiant warrior, a mighty
hunter, a doctor, a conjurer, or a prophet. There are even those who
learn or pretend to learn in this way the time and manner of their

When a boy has been thus initiated, a name is given to him analogous to
the visions that he has seen, and to the destiny that is supposed to
be prepared for him. The boy, imagining all that happened to him while
under perturbation, to have been real, sets out in the world with lofty
notions of himself, and animated with courage for the most desperate

The belief in the truth of those visions is universal among the
Indians. I have spoken with several of their old men, who had been
highly distinguished for their valour, and asked them whether they
ascribed their achievements to natural or supernatural causes, and they
uniformly answered, that as they knew beforehand what they could do,
they did it of course. When I carried my questions farther, and asked
them how they knew what they could do? they never failed to refer to
the dreams and visions which they had while under perturbation, in the
manner I have above mentioned.

I always found it vain to attempt to undeceive them on this subject.
They never were at a loss for examples to shew that the dreams they
had had were not the work of a heated imagination, but that they came
to them through the agency of a mannitto. They could always cite
numerous instances of valiant men, who, in former times, in consequence
of such dreams, had boldly attacked their enemy with nothing but the
_Tamahican_[201] in their hand, had not looked about to survey the
number of their opponents, but had gone straight forward, striking all
down before them; some, they said, in the French wars, had entered
houses of the English filled with people, who, before they had time to
look about, were all killed and laid in a heap. Such was the strength,
the power and the courage conveyed to them in their supernatural
dreams, and which nothing could resist.

If they stopped here in their relations, I might, perhaps, consider
this practice of putting boys under perturbation, as a kind of military
school or exercise, intended to create in them a more than ordinary
courage, and make them undaunted warriors. It certainly has this effect
on some, who fancying themselves under the immediate protection of
the celestial powers, despise all dangers, and really perform acts of
astonishing bravery. But it must be observed, that all that are thus
initiated are not designed for a military life, and that several learn
by their dreams that they are to be physicians, sorcerers, or that
their lives are to be devoted to some other civil employment. And it is
astonishing what a number of superstitious notions are infused into the
minds of the unsuspecting youth, by means of those dreams, which are
useless, at least, for making good warriors or hunters. There are even
some who by that means are taught to believe in the transmigration of

I once took great pains to dissuade from these notions a very sensible
Indian, much esteemed by all who knew him, even among the whites. All
that I could say or urge was not able to convince him that at the
time of his _initiation_ (as I call it) his mind was in a state of
temporary derangement. He declared that he had a clear recollection of
the dreams and visions that had occurred to him at the time, and was
sure that they came from the agency of celestial spirits. He asserted
very strange things, of his own supernatural knowledge, which he had
obtained not only at the time of his initiation, but at other times,
even before he was born. He said he knew he had lived through two
generations; that he had died twice and was born a third time, to live
out the then present race, after which he was to die and never more
to come to this country again. He well remembered what the women had
predicted while he was yet in his mother’s womb; some had foretold
that he would be a boy, and others a girl; he had distinctly overheard
their discourses, and could repeat correctly every thing that they had
said. It would be too long to relate all the wild stories of the same
kind which this otherwise intelligent Indian said of himself, with a
tone and manner which indicated the most intimate conviction, and left
no doubt in my mind that he did not mean to deceive others, but was
himself deceived.

I have known several other Indians who firmly believed that they knew,
by means of these visions, what was to become of them when they should
die, how their souls were to retire from their bodies and take their
abodes into those of infants yet unborn; in short, there is nothing so
wild and so extraordinary that they will not imagine and to which, when
once it has taken hold of their imagination, they will not give full
credit. In this they are not a little aided by certain superstitious
notions which form a part of their traditionary belief, and of which I
shall take notice in the next chapter.



The Indians consider the earth as their universal mother. They believe
that they were created within its bosom, where for a long time they had
their abode, before they came to live on its surface. They say that the
great, good, and all powerful Spirit, when he created them, undoubtedly
meant at a proper time to put them in the enjoyment of all the good
things which he had prepared for them upon the earth, but he wisely
ordained that their first stage of existence should be within it, as
the infant is formed and takes its first growth in the womb of its
natural mother. This fabulous account of the creation of man needs only
to be ascribed to the ancient Egyptians or to the Brahmins of India,
to be admired and extolled for the curious analogy which it observes
between the general and individual creation; but as it comes from the
American savage, I doubt whether it will even receive the humble praise
of ingenuity, to which, however, it appears to me to be justly entitled.

The Indian Mythologists are not agreed as to the form under which
they existed while in the bowels of the earth. Some assert that they
lived there in the human shape, while others, with greater consistency
contend that their existence was in the form of certain terrestrial
animals, such as the ground-hog, the rabbit, and the tortoise. This was
their state of preparation, until they were permitted to come out and
take their station on this island[202] as the Lords of the rest of the

Among the Delawares, those of the _Minsi_, or Wolf tribe, say that
in the beginning, they dwelt in the earth under a lake, and were
fortunately extricated from this unpleasant abode by the discovery
which one of their men made of a hole, through which he ascended to
the surface; on which, as he was walking, he found a deer, which he
carried back with him into his subterraneous habitation; that there the
deer was killed,[203] and he and his companions found the meat so good,
that they unanimously determined to leave their dark abode, and remove
to a place where they could enjoy the light of heaven and have such
excellent game in abundance.

The other two tribes, the _Unamis_ or Tortoise, and the _Unalachtigos_
or Turkey, have much similar notions, but reject the story of the lake,
which seems peculiar to the Minsi tribe.

These notions must be very far extended among the Indians of North
America generally, since we find that they prevail also among the
Iroquois, a nation so opposed to the Delawares, as has been shewn in
the former parts of this work, and whose language is so different from
theirs, that not two words, perhaps, similar or even analogous of
signification may be found alike in both. On this subject I beg leave
to present an extract from the manuscript notes of the late Reverend
Christopher Pyrlæus, whom I am always fond of quoting with respect,
as he was a man of great truth, and besides well acquainted with the
Six Nations and their idioms.[204] The account that he here gives of
the traditions of that people concerning their original existence, was
taken down by him in January 1743, from the mouth of a respectable
Mohawk chief named _Sganarady_, who resided on the Mohawk river.


“_Traditio._--That they had dwelt in the earth where it was dark and
where no sun did shine. That though they followed hunting, they ate
mice, which they caught with their hands. That _Ganawagahha_ (one of
them) having accidentally found a hole to get out of the earth at, he
went out, and that in walking about on the earth he found a deer, which
he took back with him, and that both on account of the meat tasting
so very good, and the favourable description he had given them of the
country above and on the earth, their mother, concluded it best for
them all to come out; that accordingly they did so, and immediately set
about planting corn, &c. That, however, the _Nocharauorsul_, that is,
the _ground-hog_, would not come out, but had remained in the ground as

       *       *       *       *       *

So far Mr. Pyrlæus. From these traditions of the Iroquois, and those
of the Delawares and Mohicans, it seems to follow that they must have
considered their numbers very small, when they dwelt in the earth;
perhaps, no more than one family of each tribe, and that the custom of
giving to their tribes the names of particular animals, must have been
very ancient. The _ground-hog_, say the Mohawks, would not come out.
But who was this hog? Might it not formerly have been the name of one
of their tribes, who was made the subject of this fable?

However ridiculous these stories are, the belief of the Indians in them
is not to be shaken. When I was a boy between twelve and fifteen years
of age, I had often heard of white people conversant with the Indians,
who at that time would continually come to this place, (Bethlehem) in
great numbers, even by hundreds, that the Indians did not eat rabbits,
because they thought them infected with the venereal disease, and that
whoever ate of their flesh, was sure to take that disorder. Being then
myself fond of catching those animals in traps, I asked questions on
this subject of several Mohican Indians, who spoke the German language;
but though they said nothing about the disease that rabbits were
said to be infected with, yet they advised me by no means to eat of
their flesh. They gave me no reason whatever to induce me to abstain
from this food; but afterwards, in the year 1762, when I resided at
Tuscorawas on the Muskingum, I was told by some of them, that there
were some animals which Indians did not eat, and among them were the
_rabbit_ and the _ground-hog_; for, said they, they did not know but
that they might be _related_ to them!

I found also that the Indians, for a similar reason, paid great respect
to the rattle-snake, whom they called their _grandfather_, and would
on no account destroy him. One day, as I was walking with an elderly
Indian on the banks of the Muskingum, I saw a large rattle-snake lying
across the path, which I was going to kill. The Indian immediately
forbade my doing so; “for,” said he, “the rattle-snake is grandfather
to the Indians, and is placed here on purpose to guard us, and to give
us notice of impending danger by his rattle, which is the same as if
he were to tell us ‘look about!’ Now,” added he, “if we were to kill
one of those, the others would soon know it, and the whole race would
rise upon us and bite us.” I observed to him that the white people were
not afraid of this; for they killed all the rattle-snakes that they
met with. On this he enquired whether any white man had been bitten by
these animals, and of course I answered in the affirmative. “No wonder,
then!” replied he, “you have to blame yourselves for that! you did as
much as declaring war against them, and you will find them in _your_
country, where they will not fail to make frequent incursions. They are
a very dangerous enemy; take care you do not irritate them in _our_
country; they and their grandchildren are on good terms, and neither
will hurt the other.”

These ancient notions have, however in a great measure died away with
the last generation, and the Indians at present kill their grandfather
the rattle-snake without ceremony, whenever they meet with him.

That the Indians, from the earliest times, considered themselves in a
manner connected with certain animals, is evident from various customs
still preserved among them, and from the names of those animals which
they have collectively, as well as individually, assumed. It might,
indeed, be supposed that those animals’ names which they have given
to their several tribes were mere badges of distinction, or “coats of
arms” as Pyrlæus calls them; but if we pay attention to the reasons
which they give for those denominations, the idea of a supposed family
connexion is easily discernible. The Tortoise, or as it is commonly
called, the _Turtle_ tribe, among the Lenape, claims a superiority
and ascendency over the others, because their _relation_, the great
Tortoise, a fabled monster, the Atlas of their mythology, bears
according to their traditions this great _island_ on his back, and also
because he is amphibious, and can live both on land and in the water,
which neither of the heads of the other tribes can do. The merits of
the _Turkey_, which gives its name to the second tribe, are that he is
stationary, and always remains with or about them. As to the _Wolf_,
after whom the third tribe is named, he is a rambler by nature, running
from one place to another in quest of his prey; yet they consider him
as their benefactor, as it was by his means that the Indians got out
of the interior of the earth. It was he, they believe, who by the
appointment of the Great Spirit, killed the deer whom the Monsey found
who first discovered the way to the surface of the earth, and which
allured them to come out of their damp and dark residence. For that
reason, the wolf is to be honoured, and his name preserved for ever
among them. Such are their traditions, as they were related to me by an
old man of this tribe more than fifty years ago.

These animals’ names, it is true, they all use as national badges, in
order to distinguish their tribes from each other at home and abroad.
In this point of view Mr. Pyrlæus was right in considering them as
“coats of arms.” The Turtle warrior draws either with a coal or paint
here and there on the trees along the war path, the whole animal
carrying a gun with the muzzle projecting forward, and if he leaves a
mark at the place where he has made a stroke on his enemy, it will be
the picture of a tortoise. Those of the Turkey tribe paint only one
foot of a turkey, and the Wolf tribe, sometimes a wolf at large with
one leg and foot raised up to serve as a hand, in which the animal also
carries a gun with the muzzle forward. They, however, do not generally
use the word “wolf,” when speaking of their tribe, but call themselves
_Pauk-sit_[205] which means _round-foot_, that animal having a round
foot like a dog.

The Indians, in their hours of leisure, paint their different marks or
badges on the doors of their respective houses, that those who pass by
may know to which tribe the inhabitants belong. Those marks also serve
them for signatures to treaties and other documents. They are as proud
of their origin from the tortoise, the turkey, and the wolf, as the
nobles of Europe are of their descent from the feudal barons of ancient
times, and when children spring from intermarriages between different
tribes, their genealogy is carefully preserved by tradition in the
family, that they may know to which tribe they belong.

I have often reflected on the curious connexion which appears to
subsist in the mind of an Indian between man and the brute creation,
and found much matter in it for curious observation. Although they
consider themselves superior to all other animals and are very proud of
that superiority; although they believe that the beasts of the forest,
the birds of the air, and the fishes of the waters, were created by
the Almighty Being for the use of man; yet it seems as if they ascribe
the difference between themselves and the brute kind, and the dominion
which they have over them, more to their superior bodily strength and
dexterity than to their immortal souls. All beings endowed by the
Creator with the power of volition and self-motion, they view in a
manner as a great society of which they are the head, whom they are
appointed, indeed, to govern, but between whom and themselves intimate
ties of connexion and relationship may exist, or at least did exist in
the beginning of time. They are, in fact, according to their opinions,
only the first among equals, the legitimate hereditary sovereigns of
the whole animated race, of which they are themselves a constituent
part. Hence, in their languages, these inflections of their nouns which
we call _genders_, are not, as with us, descriptive of the _masculine_
and _feminine_ species, but of the _animate_ and _inanimate_ kinds.
Indeed, they go so far as to include trees, and plants within the first
of these descriptions. All animated nature, in whatever degree, is in
their eyes a great whole, from which they have not yet ventured to
separate themselves. They do not exclude other animals from their world
of spirits, the place to which they expect to go after death.

I find it difficult to express myself clearly on this abstruse subject,
which, perhaps, the Indians themselves do not very well understand, as
they have no metaphysicians among them to analyse their vague notions,
and perhaps confuse them still more. But I can illustrate what I have
said by some characteristic anecdotes, with which I shall conclude this

I have already observed[206] that the Indian includes all savage beasts
within the number of his _enemies_. This is by no means a metaphorical
or figurative expression, but is used in a literal sense, as will
appear from what I am going to relate.

A Delaware hunter once shot a huge bear and broke its back-bone. The
animal fell and set up a most plaintive cry, something like that of the
panther when he is hungry. The hunter instead of giving him another
shot, stood up close to him, and addressed him in these words: “Hark
ye! bear; you are a coward, and no warrior as you pretend to be. Were
you a warrior, you would shew it by your firmness and not cry and
whimper like an old woman. You know, bear, that our tribes are at war
with each other, and that yours was the aggressor.[207] You have found
the Indians too powerful for you, and you have gone sneaking about in
the woods, stealing their hogs; perhaps at this time you have hog’s
flesh in your belly. Had you conquered me, I would have borne it with
courage and died like a brave warrior; but you, bear, sit here and cry,
and disgrace your tribe by your cowardly conduct.” I was present at
the delivery of this curious invective; when the hunter had despatched
the bear, I asked him how he thought that poor animal could understand
what he said to it? “Oh!” said he in answer, “the bear understood me
very well; did you not observe how _ashamed_ he looked while I was
upbraiding him?”

Another time I witnessed a similar scene between the falls of the Ohio
and the river Wabash. A young white man, named _William Wells_,[208]
who had been when a boy taken prisoner by a tribe of the Wabash
Indians, by whom he was brought up, and had imbibed all their notions,
had so wounded a large bear that he could not move from the spot,
and the animal cried piteously like the one I have just mentioned.
The young man went up to him, and with seemingly great earnestness,
addressed him in the Wabash language, now and then giving him a slight
stroke on the nose with his ram-rod. I asked him, when he had done,
what he had been saying to this bear? “I have,” said he, “upbraided him
for acting the part of a coward; I told him that he knew the fortune of
war, that one or the other of us must have fallen; that it was his fate
to be conquered, and he ought to die like a man, like a hero, and not
like an old woman; that if the case had been reversed, and I had fallen
into the power of _my enemy_, I would not have disgraced my nation as
he did, but would have died with firmness and courage, as becomes a
true warrior.”

I leave the reader to reflect upon these anecdotes, which, I think,
convey more real information than any further attempts that I could
make to explain the strange notions which gave them rise.



Insanity is not common among the Indians; yet I have known several
who were afflicted with mental derangement. Men in this situation are
always considered as objects of pity. Every one, young and old, feels
compassion for their misfortune; to laugh or scoff at them would be
considered as a crime, much more so to insult or molest them. The
nation or colour of the unfortunate object makes no difference; the
charity of the Indians extends to all, and no discrimination is made in
such a lamentable case.

About the commencement of the Indian war in 1763, a trading Jew, named
Chapman, who was going up the Detroit river with a batteau-load of
goods which he had brought from Albany, was taken by some Indians of
the Chippeway nation, and destined to be put to death. A Frenchman,
impelled by motives of friendship and humanity, found means to steal
the prisoner, and kept him so concealed for some time, that although
the most diligent search was made, the place of his confinement could
not be discovered. At last, however, the unfortunate man was betrayed
by some false friend, and again fell into the power of the Indians, who
took him across the river to be burned and tortured. Tied to the stake
and the fire burning by his side, his thirst, from the great heat,
became intolerable, and he begged that some drink might be given to
him. It is a custom with the Indians, previous to a prisoner being put
to death, to give him what they call his last meal; a bowl of pottage
or broth was therefore brought to him for that purpose. Eager to quench
his thirst, he put the bowl immediately to his lips, and the liquor
being very hot, he was dreadfully scalded. Being a man of a very quick
temper, the moment he felt his mouth burned, he threw the bowl with its
contents full in the face of the man who had handed it to him. “He is
mad! He is mad!” resounded from all quarters. The bystanders considered
his conduct as an act of insanity, and immediately untied the cords
with which he was bound, and let him go where he pleased.

This fact was well known to all the inhabitants of Detroit, from whom
I first heard it, and it was afterwards confirmed to me by Mr. Chapman
himself, who was established as a merchant at that place.

SUICIDE is not considered by the Indians either as an act of heroism
or of cowardice, nor is it with them a subject of praise or blame.
They view this desperate act as the consequence of mental derangement,
and the person who destroys himself is to them an object of pity. Such
cases do not frequently occur. Between the years 1771 and 1780, four
Indians of my acquaintance took the root of the may-apple, which is
commonly used on such occasions, in order to poison themselves, in
which they all succeeded, except one. Two of them were young men, who
had been disappointed in love, the girls on whom they had fixed their
choice, and to whom they were engaged, having changed their minds and
married other lovers. They both put an end to their existence. The two
others were married men. Their stories, as pictures of Indian manners,
will not, perhaps, be thought uninteresting.

One of those unfortunate men was a person of an excellent character,
respected and esteemed by all who knew him. He had a wife whom he was
very fond of and two children, and they lived very happily together at
the distance of about half a mile from the place where I resided. He
often came to visit me, and as he was of a most amiable disposition,
I was pleased with his visits, and always gave him a hearty welcome.
When I thought he was too long about coming, I went myself to the
delightful spot which he had judiciously selected for his dwelling.
Here I always found the family cheerful, sociable and happy, until
some time before the fatal catastrophe happened, when I observed that
my friend’s countenance bore the marks of deep melancholy, of which
I afterwards learned the cause. His wife had received the visits of
another man; he foresaw that he would soon be obliged to separate from
her, and he shuddered when he thought that he must also part from his
two lovely children; for it is the custom of the Indians, that when a
divorce takes place between husband and wife, the children remain with
their mother, until they are of a proper age to choose for themselves.
One hope, however, still remained. The sugar-making season was at
hand, and they were shortly to remove to their sugar-camp, where he
flattered himself his wife would not be followed by the disturber of
his peace, whose residence was about ten miles from thence. But this
hope was of short duration. They had hardly been a fortnight in their
new habitation, when, as he returned one day from a morning’s hunt, he
found the unwelcome visitor at his home, in close conversation with his
faithless wife. This last stroke was more than he could bear; without
saying a single word, he took off a large cake of his sugar, and with
it came to my house, which was at the distance of eight miles from his
temporary residence. It was on a Sunday, at about ten o’clock in the
forenoon, that he entered my door, with sorrow strongly depicted on
his manly countenance. As he came in he presented me with his cake of
sugar, saying, “My friend! you have many a time served me with a good
pipe of tobacco, and I have not yet done anything to please you. Take
this as a reward for your goodness, and as an acknowledgment from me as
your friend.” He said no more, but giving me with both his hands a warm
farewell squeeze, he departed and returned to the camp. At about two
o’clock in the afternoon, a runner from thence passing through the town
to notify his death at the village two miles farther, informed us of
the shocking event. He had immediately on his return, remained a short
time in his house, indulging in the last caresses to his dear innocent
children; then retiring to some distance, had eaten the fatal root, and
before relief could be administered by some persons who had observed
him staggering from the other side of the river, he was on the point of
expiring, and all succours were vain.

The last whom I have to mention was also a married man, but had no
children. He had lived happy with his wife, until one day that she fell
into a passion and made use to him of such abusive language as he could
not endure. Too highminded to quarrel with a woman, he resolved to
punish her by putting an end to his existence. Fortunately he was seen
in the first stage of his fits, and was brought into a house, where a
strong emetic diluted in lukewarm water, the composition of which I
have already described,[209] was forcibly poured down his throat. He
recovered after some time, but never was again the strong healthy man
he had been before; his wife however took warning from this desperate
act, and behaved better ever after.



In treating of this subject, I cannot resist the impression of a
melancholy feeling, arising from the comparison which forces itself
upon my mind of what the Indians were before the Europeans came into
this country, and what they have become since, by a participation in
our vices. By their intercourse with us, they have lost much of that
original character by which they were once distinguished, and which
it is the object of this work to delineate, and the change which has
taken place is by no means for the better. I am not one of those wild
enthusiasts who would endeavour to persuade mankind that savage life
is preferable to a state of civilisation; but I leave it to every
impartial person to decide, whether the condition of the healthy
sober Indian, pursuing his game through forests and plains, is not
far superior to that of the gangrened drunken white man, rioting in
debauchery and vice?

I have already before taken notice[210] of the assertion which our
aborigines do not hesitate to make, that before the Europeans landed
in those parts of the American continent, they were unacquainted
with that shameful disorder which attacks generation in its sources.
I am well aware that this complaint is generally believed to have
been communicated by the new world to the old. I do not know upon
what proofs this opinion rests, but I am disposed to give credit to
the uniform assertion of our northern Indians, that this contagion
was first introduced among them by emigrants from Europe. However
it may be, it is a lamentable fact that they are now very generally
infected with it, and that their population cannot long resist its
destructive operation upon their once strong and healthy constitutions,
particularly as it is associated with the abuse of strong liquors, now
so prevalent among them.

Of the manner in which they have acquired this latter vice, I presume
there can be no doubt. They charge us in the most positive manner
with being the first who made them acquainted with ardent spirits,
and what is worse, with having exerted all the means in our power to
induce them to drink to excess. It is very certain that the processes
of distillation and fermentation are entirely unknown to the Indians,
and that they have among them no intoxicating liquors but such as they
receive from us. The Mexicans have their _Pulque_, and other indigenous
beverages of an inebriating nature, but the North American Indians,
before their intercourse with us commenced, had absolutely nothing of
the kind. The smoke of the American weed, tobacco, was the only means
that they at that time had in use to produce a temporary exhilaration
of their spirits.

I have related in a former chapter,[211] the curious account given by
the Delawares and Mohicans of the scene which took place when they
were first made to taste spirituous liquors by the Dutch who landed on
New York Island. I have no doubt that this tradition is substantially
founded on fact. Indeed, it is strongly corroborated by the name which,
in consequence of this adventure, those people gave at the time to
that island, and which it has retained to this day. They called it
_Manahachtanienk_, which in the Delaware language, means “_the island
where we all became intoxicated_.” We have corrupted this name into
_Manhattan_, but not so as to destroy its meaning, or conceal its
origin. The last syllable which we have left out is only a termination,
implying locality, and in this word signifies as much as _where we_.
There are few Indian traditions so well supported as this.

How far from that time the dreadful vice of intoxication has increased
among those poor Indians, is well known to many Christian people among
us. We may safely calculate on thousands who have perished by the
baneful effect of spirituous liquors. The dreadful war which took place
in 1774 between the Shawanese, some of the Mingoes, and the people
of Virginia, in which so many lives were lost, was brought on by the
consequences of drunkenness. It produced murders, which were followed
by private revenge, and ended in a most cruel and destructive war.

The general prevalence of this vice among the Indians is in a great
degree owing to unprincipled white traders, who persuade them to become
intoxicated that they may cheat them the more easily, and obtain their
lands or[212] peltries for a mere trifle. Within the last fifty years,
some instances have even come to my knowledge of white men having
enticed Indians to drink, and when drunk, murdered them. The effects
which intoxication produces upon the Indians are dreadful. It has been
the cause of an infinite number of murders among them, besides biting
off noses and otherwise disfiguring each other, which are the least
consequences of the quarrels which inebriation produces between them.
I cannot say how many have died of colds and other disorders, which
they have caught by lying upon the cold ground, and remaining exposed
to the elements when drunk; others have lingered out their lives, in
excruciating rheumatic pains and in wasting consumptions, until death
came to relieve them from their sufferings.

Reflecting Indians have keenly remarked, “that it was strange that
a people who professed themselves believers in a religion revealed
to them by the great Spirit himself; who say that they have in their
houses the WORD of God, and his laws and commandments textually
written, could think of making a _beson_,[213] calculated to bewitch
people and make them destroy one another.” I once asked an Indian at
Pittsburgh, whom I had not before seen, who he was? He answered in
broken English: “My name is _Black-fish_; when at home with my nation,
I am a clever fellow, and when here, a _hog_.” He meant that by means
of the liquor which the white people gave him, he was sunk down to the
level of that beast.

An Indian who had been born and brought up at Minisink, near the
Delaware Water Gap, and to whom the German inhabitants of that
neighbourhood had given the name of _Cornelius Rosenbaum_, told me near
fifty years ago, that he had once, when under the influence of strong
liquor, killed the best Indian friend he had, fancying him to be his
worst avowed enemy. He said that the deception was complete, and that
while intoxicated, the face of his friend presented to his eyes all
the features of the man with whom he was in a state of hostility. It
is impossible to express the horror with which he was struck when he
awoke from that delusion; he was so shocked, that he from that moment
resolved never more to taste of the maddening poison, of which he was
convinced that the devil was the inventor; for it could only be the
evil spirit who made him see his enemy when his friend was before him,
and produced so strong a delusion on his bewildered senses, that he
actually killed him. From that time until his death, which happened
thirty years afterwards, he never drank a drop of ardent spirits, which
he always called “the Devil’s blood,” and was firmly persuaded that the
Devil, or some of his inferior spirits had a hand in preparing it.

Once in my travels, I fell in with an Indian and his son; the former,
though not addicted to drinking, had this time drank some liquor with
one of his acquaintances, of which he now felt the effects. As he was
walking before me, along the path, he at once flew back and aside,
calling out, “O! what a monstrous snake!” On my asking him where the
snake lay, he pointed to something and said, “Why, there, across the
path!” “A snake!” said I, “it is nothing but a black-burnt sapling,
which has fallen on the ground.” He however would not be persuaded; he
insisted that it was a snake, and could be nothing else; therefore, to
avoid it, he went round the path, and entered it again at some distance
further. After we had travelled together for about two hours, during
which time he spoke but little, we encamped for the night. Awaking
about midnight, I saw him sitting up smoking his pipe, and appearing
to be in deep thought. I asked him why he did not lay down and sleep?
To which he replied, “O! my friend! many things have crowded on my
mind; I am quite lost in thought!”

HECKEW. “And what are you thinking about?”

INDIAN. “Did you say it was not a snake of which I was afraid, and
which lay across the path?”

HECKEW. “I did say so; and, indeed, it was nothing else but a sapling
burnt black by the firing of the woods.”

INDIAN. “Are you sure it was that?”

HECKEW. “Yes; and I called to you at the time to look, how I was
standing on it; and if you have yet a doubt, ask your son, and the two
Indians with me, and they will tell you the same.”

INDIAN. “O strange! and I took it for an uncommonly large snake, moving
as if it intended to bite me!--I cannot get over my surprise, that the
liquor I drank, and, indeed, that was not much, should have so deceived
me! but I think I have now discovered how it happens that Indians so
often kill one another when drunk, almost without knowing what they
are doing; and when afterwards they are told of what they have done,
they ascribe it to the liquor which was in them at the time, and say
the liquor did it. I thought that as I saw this time a living snake
in a dead piece of wood, so I might, at another time, take a human
being, perhaps one of my own family, for a bear or some other ferocious
beast and kill him. Can you, my friend, tell me what is in the _beson_
that confuses one so, and transforms things in that manner? Is it an
invisible spirit? It must be something alive; or have the white people
sorcerers among them, who put something in the liquor to deceive those
who drink it? Do the white people drink of the same liquor that they
give to the Indians? Do they also, when drunk, kill people, and bite
noses off, as the Indians do? Who taught the white people to make so
pernicious a _beson_?”

I answered all these questions, and several others that he put to
me, in the best manner that I could, to which he replied, and our
conversation continued as follows:

INDIAN. “Well, if, as you say, the bad spirit cannot be the inventor
of this liquor; if, in some cases it is moderately used among you as a
medicine, and if your doctors can prepare from it, or with the help of
a little of it, some salutary _besons_, still, I must believe that when
it operates as you have seen, the bad spirit must have some hand in it,
either by putting some bad thing into it, unknown to those who prepare
it, or you have conjurers who understand how to bewitch it.--Perhaps
they only do so to that which is for the Indians; for the devil is not
the Indians’ friend, because they will not worship him, as they do
the good spirit, and therefore I believe he puts something into the
_beson_, for the purpose of destroying them.”

HECKEW. “What the devil may do with the liquor, I cannot tell; but I
believe that he has a hand in everything that is bad. When the Indians
kill one another, bite off each other’s noses, or commit such wicked
acts, he is undoubtedly well satisfied; for, as God himself has said,
he is a destroyer and a murderer.”

INDIAN. “Well, now, we think alike, and henceforth he shall never again
deceive me, or entice me to drink his _beson_!”

It is a common saying with those white traders who find it their
interest to make the Indians drunk, in order to obtain their peltry
at a cheaper rate, that they _will_ have strong liquors, and will not
enter upon a bargain unless they are sure of getting it. I acknowledge
that I have seen some such cases; but I could also state many from my
own knowledge, where the Indians not only refused liquor, but resisted
during several days all the attempts that were made to induce them even
to taste it, being well aware, as well as those who offered it to them,
that if they once should put it to their lips, such was their weakness
on that score, that intoxication would inevitably follow.

I can, perhaps, offer a plausible reason why the Indians are so fond of
spirituous drinks. The cause is, I believe, to be found in their living
almost entirely upon fresh meats and green vegetables, such as corn,
pumpkins, squashes, potatoes, cucumbers, melons, beans, &c., which
causes a longing in their stomachs for some seasoning, particularly
(as is often the case) when they have been a long time without salt.
They are, on those occasions, equally eager for any acid substances;
vinegar, if they can get it, they will drink in considerable
quantities, and think nothing of going thirty or forty miles in search
of cranberries whether in season or not. They also gather crab-apples,
wild-grapes, and other acid, and even bitter-tasted fruits, as
substitutes for salt, and in the spring they will peel such trees as
have a sourish sap, which they lick with great avidity. When for a long
time they have been without salt, and are fortunate enough to get some,
they will swallow at a time a table-spoonful of that mineral substance,
for which they say that they and their horses are equally hungry.

The Indians are very sensible of the state of degradation to which they
have been brought by the abuse of strong liquors, and whenever they
speak of it, never fail to reproach the whites, for having enticed them
into that vicious habit. I could easily prove how guilty the whites
are in this respect, if I were to relate a number of anecdotes, which
I rather wish to consign to oblivion. The following will be sufficient
to confute those disingenuous traders, who would endeavour to shift the
blame from themselves, in order to fix it upon the poor deluded Indians.

In the year 1769, an Indian from Susquehannah having come to Bethlehem
with his sons to dispose of his peltry, was accosted by a trader from
a neighbouring town, who addressed him thus: “Well! Thomas, I really
believe you have turned Moravian.” “Moravian!” answered the Indian,
“what makes you think so?” “Because,” replied the other, “you used to
come to us to sell your skins and peltry, and now you trade them away
to the Moravians.” “So!” rejoined the Indian, “now I understand you
well, and I know what you mean to say. Now hear me. See! my friend!
when I come to this place with my skins and peltry to trade, the people
are kind, they give me plenty of good victuals to eat, and pay me in
money or whatever I want, and no one says a word to me about drinking
rum--neither do I ask for it! When I come to your place with my peltry,
all call to me: ‘Come, Thomas! here’s rum, drink heartily, drink! it
will not hurt you.’ All this is done for the purpose of cheating me.
When you have obtained from me all you want, you call me a drunken dog,
and kick me out of the room. See! this is the manner in which you cheat
the Indians when they come to trade with you. So now you know when you
see me coming to your town again, you may say to one another: ‘Ah!
there is Thomas coming again! he is no longer a Moravian, for he is
coming to us to be made drunk--to be cheated--to be kicked out of the
house, and be called a _drunken dog_!’”



I believe that no sufficiently detailed account has yet been given of
the manner in which the North American Indians conduct the funerals
of their dead. Captain Carver tells us that the Naudowessies, among
whom he was, kept those ceremonies a secret, and would not give him
an opportunity of witnessing them. Loskiel, although he drew his
information from the journals of our Missionaries, has treated this
subject rather superficially. I therefore run little risk of repetition
in describing what I have myself seen, and I hope that the particulars
which I am going to relate will not be thought uninteresting.

It is well known that the Indians pay great respect to the memory
of the dead, and commit their remains to the ground with becoming
ceremonies. Those ceremonies, however, are not the same in all cases,
but vary according to circumstances, and the condition of the deceased;
for rank and wealth receive distinctions even after death, as well
among savages as among civilised nations. This, perhaps, may be easily
accounted for. When a great chief dies, his death is considered as a
national loss; of course all must join in a public demonstration of
their sorrow. The rich man, on the other hand, had many friends during
his life, who cannot decently abandon him the moment the breath is
out of his body; besides, his fortune supplies the means of a rich
entertainment at the funeral, of which many, as may well be supposed,
are anxious to partake. Thus social distinctions are found even in
the state of nature, where perfect equality, if it exists any where,
might with the greatest probability be supposed to be found. Though
the earth and its fruits are common to all the Indians, yet every
man is permitted to enjoy the earnings of his industry, and that
produces riches; and though there is no hereditary or even elective
rank in their social organization, yet as power follows courage and
talents, those who are generally acknowledged to be possessed of those
qualities, assume their station above the rest, and the distinction
of rank is thus established. Politicians and philosophers may reason
on these facts as they please; the descriptions that I give are from
nature, and I leave it to abler men than myself to draw the proper
inferences from them.

On the death of a principal chief, the village resounds from one end
to the other with the loud lamentations of the women, among whom those
who sit by the corpse distinguish themselves by the shrillness of
their cries and the frantic expression of their sorrow. This scene of
mourning over the dead body continues by day and by night until it is
interred, the mourners being relieved from time to time by other women.

These honours of “mourning over the corpse” are paid to all; the poor
and humble, as well as the rich, great, and powerful; the difference
consists only in the number of mourners, the undistinguished Indian
having few besides his immediate relations and friends, and sometimes
only those. Women (notwithstanding all that has been said of their
supposed inferior station and of their being reduced to the rank of
slaves) are not treated after their death with less respect than the
men, and the greatest honours are paid to the remains of the wives
of renowned warriors or veteran chiefs, particularly if they were
descended themselves of a high family, which, however strange it may
appear, is not an indifferent thing among the Indians, who love to
honour the merit of their great men in their relatives. I was present
in the year 1762, at the funeral of a woman of the highest rank and
respectability, the wife of the valiant Delaware chief _Shingask_;[214]
as all the honours were paid to her at her interment that are usual on
such occasions, I trust a particular description of the ceremony will
not be unacceptable.

At the moment that she died, her death was announced through the
village by women specially appointed for that purpose, who went through
the streets crying, “_She is no more! she is no more!_” The place on a
sudden exhibited a scene of universal mourning; cries and lamentations
were heard from all quarters; it was truly the expression of the
general feeling for a general loss.

The day passed in this manner amidst sorrow and desolation. The next
morning, between nine and ten o’clock, two counsellors came to announce
to Mr. Thomas Calhoon, the Indian trader, and myself, that we were
desired to attend and assist at the funeral which was soon to take
place. We, in consequence, proceeded to the house of the deceased,
where we found her corpse lying in a coffin, (which had been made
by Mr. Calhoon’s carpenter) dressed and painted in the most superb
Indian style. Her garments, all new, were set off with rows of silver
broaches,[215] one row joining the other. Over the sleeves of her new
ruffled shirt were broad silver arm-spangles from her shoulder down
to her wrist, on which were bands, forming a kind of mittens, worked
together of wampum, in the same manner as the belts which they use
when they deliver speeches. Her long plaited hair was confined by
broad bands of silver, one band joining the other, yet not of the same
size, but tapering from the head downwards and running at the lower
end to a point. On the neck were hanging five broad belts of wampum
tied together at the ends, each of a size smaller than the other, the
largest of which reached below her breast, the next largest reaching to
a few inches of it, and so on, the uppermost one being the smallest.
Her scarlet leggings were decorated with different coloured ribands
sewed on, the outer edges being finished off with small beads also of
various colours. Her mocksens were ornamented with the most striking
figures, wrought on the leather with coloured porcupine quills, on the
borders of which, round the ankles, were fastened a number of small
round silver bells, of about the size of a musket ball. All these
things, together with the vermilion paint, judiciously laid on, so as
to set her off in the highest style, decorated her person in such a
manner, that perhaps nothing of the kind could exceed it.

The spectators having retired, a number of articles were brought out
of the house and placed in the coffin, wherever there was room to put
them in, among which were a new shirt, a dressed deer skin for shoes,
a pair of scissors, needles, thread, a knife, pewter basin and spoon,
pint-cup, and other similar things, with a number of trinkets and other
small articles which she was fond of while living. The lid was then
fastened on the coffin with three straps, and three handsome round
poles, five or six feet long, were laid across it, near each other, and
one in the middle, which were also fastened with straps cut up from a
tanned elk hide; and a small bag of vermilion paint, with some flannel
to lay it on, was then thrust into the coffin through the hole cut out
at the head of it. This hole, the Indians say, is for the spirit of the
deceased to go in and out at pleasure, until it has found the place of
its future residence.

Everything being in order, the bearers of the corpse were desired to
take their places. Mr. Calhoon and myself were placed at the foremost
pole, two women at the middle, and two men at the pole in the rear.
Several women from a house about thirty yards off, now started off,
carrying large kettles, dishes, spoons, and dried elk meat in baskets,
for the burial place, and the signal being given for us to move with
the body, the women who acted as chief mourners made the air resound
with their shrill cries. The order of the procession was as follows;
first a leader or guide, from the spot where we were to the place of
interment. Next followed the corpse, and close to it _Shingask_, the
husband of the deceased. He was followed by the principal war-chiefs
and counsellors of the nation, after whom came men of all ranks and
descriptions. Then followed the women and children, and lastly two
stout men carrying loads of European manufactured goods upon their
backs. The chief mourners on the women’s side, not having joined the
ranks, took their own course to the right, at the distance of about
fifteen or twenty yards from us, but always opposite to the corpse.
As the corpse had to be carried by the strength of our arms to the
distance of about two hundred yards, and hung low between the bearers,
we had to rest several times by the way, and whenever we stopped,
everybody halted until we moved on again.

Being arrived at the grave, we were told to halt, then the lid of the
coffin was again taken off, and the body exposed to view. Now the
whole train formed themselves into a kind of semi-lunar circle on the
south side of the grave, and seated themselves on the ground. Within
this circle, at the distance of about fifteen yards from the grave, a
common seat was made for Mr. Calhoon and myself to sit on, while the
disconsolate _Shingask_ retired by himself to a spot at some distance,
where he was seen weeping, with his head bowed to the ground. The
female mourners seated themselves promiscuously near to each other,
among some low bushes that were at the distance of from twelve to
fifteen yards east of the grave.

In this situation we remained for the space of more than two hours; not
a sound was heard from any quarter, though the numbers that attended
were very great; nor did any person move from his seat to view the
body, which had been lightly covered over with a clean white sheet. All
appeared to be in profound reflection and solemn mourning. Sighs and
sobs were now and then heard from the female mourners, so uttered as
not to disturb the assembly; it seemed rather as if intended to keep
the feeling of sorrow alive in a manner becoming the occasion. Such was
the impression made on us by this long silence.

At length, at about one o’clock in the afternoon, six men stepped
forward to put the lid upon the coffin, and let down the body into
the grave, when suddenly three of the women mourners rushed from
their seats, and forcing themselves between these men and the corpse,
loudly called out to the deceased to “arise and go with them and not
to forsake them.” They even took hold of her arms and legs; at first
it seemed as if they were caressing her, afterwards they appeared to
pull with more violence, as if they intended to run away with the
body, crying out all the while, “Arise, arise! Come with us! Don’t
leave us! Don’t abandon us!” At last they retired, plucking at their
garments, pulling their hair, and uttering loud cries and lamentations,
with all the appearance of frantic despair. After they were seated
on the ground, they continued in the same manner crying and sobbing
and pulling at the grass and shrubs, as if their minds were totally
bewildered and they did not know what they were doing.

As soon as these women had gone through their part of the ceremony,
which took up about fifteen minutes, the six men whom they had
interrupted and who had remained at the distance of about five feet
from the corpse, again stepped forward and did their duty. They let
down the coffin into the earth, and laid two thin poles of about four
inches diameter, from which the bark had been taken off, lengthways
and close together over the grave, after which they retired. Then the
husband of the deceased advanced with a very slow pace, and when he
came to the grave, walked over it on these poles, and proceeded forward
in the same manner into an extensive adjoining prairie, which commenced
at this spot.

When the widowed chief had advanced so far that he could not hear what
was doing at the grave, a painted post, on which were drawn various
figures, emblematic of the deceased’s situation in life and of her
having been the wife of a valiant warrior, was brought by two men and
delivered to a third, a man of note, who placed it in such a manner
that it rested on the coffin at the head of the grave, and took great
care that a certain part of the drawings should be exposed to the East,
or rising of the sun; then, while he held the post erect and properly
situated, some women filled up the grave with hoes, and having placed
dry leaves and pieces of bark over it, so that none of the fresh
ground was visible, they retired, and some men, with timbers fitted
beforehand for the purpose, enclosed the grave about breast-high, so as
to secure it from the approach of wild beasts.

The whole work being finished, which took up about an hour’s time, Mr.
Calhoon and myself expected that we might be permitted to go home, as
we wished to do, particularly as we saw a thundergust from the west
fast approaching; but the Indians, suspecting our design, soon came
forward with poles and blankets, and in a few minutes erected a shelter
for us.

The storm, though of short duration, was tremendous; the water produced
by the rain, flowing in streams; yet all had found means to secure
themselves during its continuance, and being on prairie ground, we were
out of all danger of trees being torn up or blown down upon us. Our
encampment now appeared like a village, or rather like a military camp,
such was the number of places of shelter that had been erected.

Fortunately, the husband of the deceased had reached the camp in good
time, and now the gust being over, every one was served with victuals
that had been cooked at some distance from the spot. After the repast
was over, the articles of merchandise which had been brought by the two
men in the rear, having been made up in parcels, were distributed among
all present. No one, from the oldest to the youngest, was excepted,
and every one partook of the liberal donation. This difference only
was made, that those who had rendered the greatest services received
the most valuable presents, and we were much pleased to see the female
mourners well rewarded, as they had, indeed, a very hard task to
perform. Articles of little value, such as gartering, tape, needles,
beads, and the like, were given to the smaller girls; the older ones
received a pair of scissors, needles and thread, and a yard or two
of riband. The boys had a knife, jews-harp, awl-blades, or something
of similar value. Some of the grown persons received a new suit of
clothes, consisting of a blanket, shirt, breech-cloth and leggings, of
the value in the whole of about eight dollars; and the women, (I mean
those who had rendered essential services) a blanket, ruffled shirts,
stroud and leggings, the whole worth from ten to twelve dollars. Mr.
Calhoon and myself were each presented with a silk cravat and a pair
of leggings. The goods distributed on this occasion, were estimated by
Mr. Calhoon at two hundred dollars; the greatest part of them had, the
same morning, been taken out of his store.

After we had thus remained, in a manner, under confinement, for more
than six hours, the procession ended, and Mr. Calhoon and myself
retired with the rest to our homes. At dusk a kettle of victuals was
carried to the grave and placed upon it, and the same was done every
evening for the space of three weeks, at the end of which it was
supposed that the traveller had found her place of residence. During
that time the lamentations of the women mourners were heard on the
evenings of each day, though not so loud nor so violent as before.

I have thus described, from minutes which I took at the time, the
ceremonies which take place among the Delaware Indians on the death of
a person of high rank and consideration among them. The funerals of
persons of an inferior station are conducted with less pomp and with
less expense. When the heirs of the deceased cannot afford to hire
female mourners, the duty is performed by their own immediate relations
and friends. But “mourning over the corpse” is a ceremony that cannot
be dispensed with.

It is always customary, when an Indian dies, of whatever rank or
condition he may be, to put a number of the articles which belonged to
the deceased in the coffin or grave, that he may have them when wanted.
I have seen a bottle of rum or whiskey placed at the coffin head, and
the reason given for it was, that the deceased was fond of liquor while
living, and he would be glad of a dram when he should feel fatigued on
his journey to the world of spirits.

When an Indian dies at a distance from his home, great care is taken
that the grave be well fortified with posts and logs laid upon it, that
the wolves may be prevented from getting at the corpse; when time and
circumstances do not permit this, as, for instance, when the Indians
are travelling, the body is enclosed in the bark of trees and thus laid
in the grave. When a death takes place at their hunting camps, they
make a kind of coffin as well as they can, or put a cover over the
body, so that the earth may not sink on it, and then enclose the grave
with a fence of poles.

Warriors that are slain in battle, are, if possible, drawn aside and
buried, so that the enemy may not get their scalps, and also that he
may not know the number of the slain. In such cases they will turn an
old log out of its bed, and dig a grave so deep, that the log, when
replaced, may not press too hard upon the body. If any of the fresh
earth be seen, they cover it with rotten wood, brush or leaves, that
its place may not be found. If they have not sufficient time for this,
or the number of their dead is too great, they throw the bodies on the
top of each other between large logs, and place any kind of rotten wood
or other rubbish upon them. They never, when they can help it, leave
their dead to be devoured by wild beasts.

When the Indians have to speak of a deceased person, they never mention
him or her by name, lest they should renew the grief of the family
or friends. They say, “He who was our counsellor or chief,” “She who
was the wife of our friend;” or they will allude to some particular
circumstance, as that of the deceased having been with them at a
particular time or place, or having done some particular act or spoken
particular words which they all remember, so that every body knows who
is meant. I have often observed with emotion this remarkable delicacy,
which certainly does honour to their hearts, and shews that they are
naturally accessible to the tenderest feelings of humanity.



Those who believe that no faith is to be placed in the friendship of
an Indian are egregiously mistaken, and know very little of the true
character of those men of nature. They are, it is true, revengeful to
their enemies, to those who wilfully do them an injury, who insult,
abuse, or treat them with contempt. It may be said, indeed, that the
passion of revenge is so strong in them that it knows no bounds. This
does not, however, proceed from a bad or malicious disposition, but
from the violence of natural feelings unchecked by social institutions,
and unsubdued by the force of revealed religion. The tender and
generous passions operate no less powerfully on them than those of
an opposite character, and they are as warm and sincere in their
friendship, as vindictive in their enmities. Nay, I will venture to
assert that there are those among them who on an emergency would lay
down their lives for a friend: I could fill many pages with examples
of Indian friendship and fidelity, not only to each other, but to men
of other nations and of a different colour than themselves. How often,
when wars were impending between them and the whites, have they not
forewarned those among our frontier settlers whom they thought well
disposed towards them, that dangerous times were at hand, and advised
them to provide for their own safety, regardless of the jealousy which
such conduct might excite among their own people? How often did they
not even guard and escort them through the most dangerous places until
they had reached a secure spot? How often did they not find means to
keep an enemy from striking a stroke, as they call it, that is to say
from proceeding to the sudden indiscriminate murder of the frontier
whites, until their friends or those whom they considered as such were
out of all danger?

These facts are all familiar to every one who has lived among Indians
or in their neighbourhood, and I believe it will be difficult to find
a single case in which they betrayed a real friend or abandoned him in
the hour of danger, when it was in their power to extricate or relieve
him. The word “Friend” to the ear of an Indian does not convey the
same vague and almost indefinite meaning that it does with us; it is
not a mere complimentary or social expression, but implies a resolute
determination to stand by the person so distinguished on all occasions,
and a threat to those who might attempt to molest him; the mere looking
at two persons who are known or declared friends, is sufficient to
deter any one from offering insult to either. When an Indian believes
that he has reason to suspect a man of evil designs against his friend,
he has only to say emphatically: “This is _my friend_, and if any one
tries to hurt him, I will do to him _what is in my mind_.” It is as
much as to say that he will stand in his defence at the hazard of his
own life. This language is well understood by the Indians, who know
that they would have to combat with a spirited warrior, were they to
attempt any thing against his friend. By this means much bloodshed is
prevented; for it is sufficiently known that an Indian never proffers
his friendship in vain. Many white men, and myself among others,
have experienced the benefit of their powerful as well as generous

When in the spring of the year 1774, a war broke out between the
Virginians and the Shawanese and Mingoes, on account of murders
committed by the former on the latter people, and the exasperated
friends of those who had suffered had determined to kill every white
man in their country, the Shawano chief _Silverheels_,[216] taking
another Indian with him, undertook out of friendship to escort several
white traders from thence to Albany,[217] a distance of near two
hundred miles; well knowing at the time that he was running the risk
of his own life, from exasperated Indians and vagabond whites, if he
should meet with such on the road, as he did in fact on his return. I
have already said how he was rewarded for this noble act of friendship
and self-devotion.

In the year 1779, the noted Girty with his murdering party of Mingoes,
nine in number, fell in with the Missionary Zeisberger, on the path
leading from Goschacking to Gnadenhütten; their design was to take that
worthy man prisoner; and if they could not seize him alive, to murder
him and take his scalp to Detroit. They were on the point of laying
hold of him, when two young spirited Delawares providentially entered
the path at that critical moment and in an instant presented themselves
to defend the good Missionary at the risk of their lives. Their
determined conduct had the desired success, and his life was saved. His
deliverers afterwards declared that they had no other motive for thus
exposing themselves for his sake than that he was a friend to their
nation, and was considered by them as a good man.

But why should I speak of others when I have myself so often
experienced the benefits of Indian protection and friendship. Let me
be permitted to corroborate my assertions on this subject by my own
personal testimony.

In the year 1777, while the Revolutionary war was raging, and several
Indian tribes had enlisted on the British side, and were spreading
murder and devastation along our unprotected frontier, I rather rashly
determined to take a journey into the country on a visit to my friends.
Captain White Eyes, the Indian hero, whose character I have already
described,[218] resided at that time at the distance of seventeen
miles from the place where I lived. Hearing of my determination, he
immediately hurried up to me, with his friend Captain Wingenund (whom
I shall presently have occasion further to mention), and some of his
young men, for the purpose of escorting me to Pittsburg, saying,
“that he would not suffer me to go, while the Sandusky warriors were
out on war excursions, without a proper escort and _himself_ at my
side.” He insisted on accompanying me and we set out together. One
day, as we were proceeding along, our spies discovered a suspicious
track. White Eyes, who was riding before me, enquired whether I
felt afraid? I answered that while he was with me, I entertained no
fear. On this he immediately replied, “You are right; for until I
am laid prostrate at your feet, no one shall hurt you.” “And even
not then,” added Wingenund, who was riding behind me; “before this
happens, I must be also overcome, and lay by the side of our friend
_Koguethagechton_.”[219] I believed them, and I believe at this day
that these great men were sincere, and that if they had been put to the
test, they would have shewn it, as did another Indian friend by whom my
life was saved in the spring of the year 1781. From behind a log in the
bushes where he was concealed, he espied a hostile Indian at the very
moment he was levelling his piece at me. Quick as lightning he jumped
between us, and exposed his person to the musket shot just about to be
fired, when fortunately the aggressor desisted, from fear of hitting
the Indian whose body thus effectually protected me, at the imminent
risk of his own life. Captain White Eyes, in the year 1774, saved in
the same manner the life of David Duncan, the peace-messenger, whom he
was escorting. He rushed, regardless of his own life, up to an inimical
Shawanese, who was aiming at our ambassador from behind a bush, and
forced him to desist.

I could enumerate many other similar acts, but I think I have shewn
enough for my purpose. Mr. Zeisberger fully agreed with me in the
opinion, that it is impossible to deny to the Indians the praise of
firm attachment and sincere friendship. It is not meant to say, that
all will carry that feeling to the same pitch of heroism; but it is
certain that there are many among them, whose strong attachments and
a manly pride will induce to risk their lives in the defence of their
friends. And, indeed, there is no Indian, who would not blush at being
reproached that after boasting that a particular person was his friend,
he had acted the coward when his friendship was put to the test, and
had shrunk from venturing his own life, when there was even a chance of
saving that of the man whom he professed to love.

It is not true, as some have supposed, that an Indian’s friendship
must be purchased by presents, and that it lasts only so long as gifts
continue to be lavished upon them. Their attachments, on the contrary,
are perfectly disinterested. I admit that they receive with pleasure a
present from a friend’s hand. They consider presents as marks of the
giver’s good disposition towards them. They cannot, in their opinion,
proceed from an enemy, and he who befriends them, they think must love
them. Obligations to them are not burdensome, they love to acknowledge
them, and whatever may be their faults, ingratitude is not among the

Indeed, the friendship of an Indian is easily acquired, provided it is
sought in good faith. But whoever chooses to obtain it must be sure to
treat them on a footing of perfect equality. They are very jealous of
the whites, who they think affect to consider themselves as beings of a
superior nature and too often treat them with rude undeserved contempt.
This they seldom forgive, while on the other hand, they feel flattered
when a white man does not disdain to treat them as children of the same
Creator. Both reason and humanity concur in teaching us this conduct,
but I am sorry to say that reason and humanity are in such cases too
little attended to. I hope I may be permitted to expatiate a little
on this subject; perhaps it may be beneficial to some white persons

The Indians are, as I have already observed before,[220] excellent
physiognomists. If they are accosted by or engaged in business with a
number of whites, though they may not understand the language that is
spoken, they will pretty accurately distinguish by the countenance,
those who despise their colour from those who are under the influence
of a more generous feeling, and in this they are seldom mistaken.
They fix their eyes on the whole party round, and read as it were in
the souls of the individuals who compose it. They mark those whom
they consider as their friends, and those whom they think to be their
enemies, and are sure to remember them ever after. But what must those
expect, if a war or some other circumstance should put them into the
power of the Indians, who, relying on their supposed ignorance of
our idiom, do not scruple even in their presence to apply to them the
epithets of _dogs_, _black d--ls_, and the like? Will not these poor
people be in some degree justifiable in considering those persons as
decidedly hostile to their race? Such cases have unfortunately too
frequently happened, and the savages have been blamed for treating as
enemies those who had so cruelly wounded their most delicate feelings!
Many white men have been thus put to death, who had brought their
fate on themselves by their own imprudence. On the other hand, the
Indians have not failed to mark those who at the time reprobated such
indecent behaviour and reproached their companions for using such
improper language. In the midst of war these benevolent Christians have
been treated as friends, when, perhaps, they had forgotten the humane
conduct to which they were indebted for this kind usage.

Their reasoning in such cases is simple, but to them always conclusive.
They merely apply their constant maxim, which I believe I have already
noticed, that “good can never proceed from evil or evil from good, and
that good and evil, like heterogeneous substances, can never combine
or coalesce together.” How far this maxim is founded in a profound
knowledge of human nature, it is not my business to determine; what is
certain is that they adhere to it in almost every occasion. If a person
treats them ill, they ascribe it invariably to his bad heart; it is the
bad spirit within him that operates; he is, therefore, a bad man. If on
the contrary one shews them kindness, they say he is prompted so to act
by “the good spirit within him,” and that he has a _good heart_; for
if he had not, he would not do good. It is impossible to draw them out
of this circle of reasoning, and to persuade them that the friendship
shewn to them may be dissembled and proceed from motives of interest;
so convinced are they of the truth of their general principle, “that
good cannot proceed from an evil source.”

The conduct of the Europeans towards them, particularly within the last
fifty or sixty years, has, however, sufficiently convinced them that
men may dissemble, and that kind speeches and even acts of apparent
friendship do not always proceed from friendly motives, but that the
bad spirit will sometimes lurk under the appearance of the good.
Hence, when they speak of the whites in general, they do not scruple to
designate them as a false, deceitful race; but it is nevertheless true
that with individuals, they frequently forget this general impression,
and revert to their own honest principle; and if a white man only
behaves to them with common humanity, it is still easy to get access to
their simple hearts. Such are those brutes, those savages, from whom,
according to some men, no faith is to be expected, and with whom no
faith is to be kept; such are those _barbarous_ nations, as they are
called, whom God, nevertheless, made the lawful owners and masters of
this beautiful country; but who, at no very remote time, will probably
live, partially live, only in its history.

My object in this chapter is to prove that those men are susceptible
of the noblest and finest feelings of genuine friendship. It is not
enough that by a long residence among them, I have acquired the most
complete conviction of this truth; facts and not opinions, I know,
are expected from me. Perhaps I might rest satisfied with the proofs
that I have already given, but I have only shewn the strength and have
yet to display the _constancy_ of their attachments; and although in
the story which I am going to relate, a friend was forced to see his
friend perish miserably without having it in his power to save him from
the most terrible death that vengeance and cruelty could inflict, we
shall not be the less astonished to see him persevere in his friendly
sentiments, under circumstances of all others the most calculated,
(particularly to an Indian) not only to have entirely extinguished, but
converted those sentiments into feelings of hatred and revenge.

I am sorry to be so often obliged to revert to the circumstance of the
cruel murder of the Christian Indians on the Sandusky[221] river[222]
in the year 1782, by a gang of banditti, under the command of one
Williamson. Not satisfied with this horrid outrage, the same band not
long afterwards marched to Sandusky,[223] where it seems they had
been informed that the remainder of that unfortunate congregation
had fled, in order to perpetrate upon them the same indiscriminate
murder. But Providence had so ordered it that they had before left
that place, where they had found that they could not remain in safety,
their ministers having been taken from them and carried to Detroit by
order of the British government, so that they had been left entirely
unprotected. The murderers, on their arrival, were much disappointed
in finding nothing but empty huts. They then shaped their course
towards the hostile Indian villages, where being, contrary to their
expectations, furiously attacked, Williamson and his band took the
advantage of a dark night and ran off, and the whole party escaped,
except one Colonel Crawford and another, who being taken by the
Indians were carried in triumph to their village, where the former was
condemned to death by torture, and the punishment was inflicted with
all the cruelty that rage could invent. The latter was demanded by the
Shawanese and sent to them for punishment.

While preparations were making for the execution of this dreadful
sentence, the unfortunate Crawford recollected that the Delaware chief
Wingenund,[224] of whom I have spoken in the beginning of this chapter,
had been his friend in happier times; he had several times entertained
him at his house, and shewed him those marks of attention which are so
grateful to the poor despised Indians. A ray of hope darted through
his soul, and he requested that Wingenund, who lived at some distance
from the village, might be sent for. His request was granted, and a
messenger was despatched for the chief, who, reluctantly, indeed, but
without hesitation, obeyed the summons, and immediately came to the
fatal spot.

This great and good man was not only one of the bravest and most
celebrated warriors, but one of the most amiable men of the Delaware
nation. To a firm undaunted mind, he joined humanity, kindness and
universal benevolence; the excellent qualities of his heart had
obtained for him the name of _Wingenund_, which in the Lenape language
signifies _the well beloved_. He had kept away from the tragical scene
about to be acted, to mourn in silence and solitude over the fate
of his guilty friend, which he well knew it was not in his power to
prevent. He was now called upon to act a painful as well as difficult
part; the eyes of his enraged countrymen were fixed upon him; he
was an Indian and a Delaware; he was a leader of that nation, whose
defenceless members had been so cruelly murdered without distinction of
age or sex, and whose innocent blood called aloud for the most signal
revenge. Could he take the part of a chief of the base murderers? Could
he forget altogether the feelings of ancient fellowship and give way
exclusively to those of the Indian and the patriot? Fully sensible that
in the situation in which he was placed the latter must, in appearance,
at least, predominate, he summoned to his aid the firmness and dignity
of an Indian warrior, approached Colonel Crawford and waited in silence
for the communications he had to make. The following dialogue now took
place between them.

CRAWF. Do you recollect me, Wingenund?

WINGEN. I believe I do; are you not Colonel Crawford?

CRAWF. I am. How do you do? I am glad to see you, Captain.

WINGEN. (embarrassed) So! yes, indeed.

CRAWF. Do you recollect the friendship that always existed between us,
and that we were always glad to see each other?

WINGEN. I recollect all this. I remember that we have drunk many a bowl
of punch together. I remember also other acts of kindness that you have
done me.

CRAWF. Then I hope the same friendship still subsists between us.

WINGEN. It would, of course, be the same, were you in your proper place
and not here.

CRAWF. And why not here, Captain? I hope you would not desert a friend
in time of need. Now is the time for you to exert yourself in my
behalf, as I should do for you, were you in my place.

WINGEN. Colonel Crawford! you have placed yourself in a situation
which puts it out of my power and that of others of your friends to do
anything for you.

CRAWF. How so, Captain Wingenund?

WINGEN. By joining yourself to that execrable man, Williamson and his
party; the man who, but the other day, murdered such a number of the
Moravian Indians, knowing them to be friends; knowing that he ran no
risk in murdering a people who would not fight, and whose only business
was praying.

CRAWF. Wingenund, I assure you, that had I been with him at the time,
this would not have happened; not I alone but all your friends and all
good men, wherever they are, reprobate acts of this kind.

WINGEN. That may be; yet these friends, these good men did not prevent
him from going out again, to kill the remainder of those inoffensive,
yet _foolish_ Moravian Indians! I say _foolish_, because they believed
the whites in preference to us. We had often told them that they would
be one day so treated by those people who called themselves their
friends! We told them that there was no faith to be placed in what the
white men said; that their fair promises were only intended to allure
us, that they might the more easily kill us, as they have done many
Indians before they killed these Moravians.

CRAWF. I am sorry to hear you speak thus; as to Williamson’s going out
again, when it was known that he was determined on it, I went out with
him to prevent him from committing fresh murders.

WINGEN. This, Colonel, the Indians would not believe, were even I to
tell them so.

CRAWF. And why would they not believe it?

WINGEN. Because it would have been out of your power to prevent his
doing what he pleased.

CRAWF. Out of my power! Have any Moravian Indians been killed or hurt
since we came out?

WINGEN. None; but you went first to their town, and finding it empty
and deserted you turned on the path towards us? If you had been in
search of warriors only, you would not have gone thither. Our spies
watched you closely. They saw you while you were embodying yourselves
on the other side of the Ohio; they saw you cross that river; they saw
where you encamped at night; they saw you turn off from the path to the
deserted Moravian town; they knew you were going out of your way; your
steps were constantly watched, and you were suffered quietly to proceed
until you reached the spot where you were attacked.

CRAWF. What do they intend to do with me? Can you tell me?

WINGEN. I tell you with grief, Colonel. As Williamson and his whole
cowardly host, ran off in the night at the whistling of our warrior’s
balls, being satisfied that now he had no Moravians to deal with, but
men who could fight, and with such he did not wish to have anything
to do; I say, as he escaped, and they have taken you, they will take
revenge on you in his stead.

CRAWF. And is there no possibility of preventing this? Can you devise
no way to get me off? You shall, my friend, be well rewarded if you are
instrumental in saving my life.

WINGEN. Had Williamson been taken with you, I and some friends, by
making use of what you have told me, might perhaps, have succeeded to
save you, but as the matter now stands, no man would dare to interfere
in your behalf. The king of England himself, were he to come to this
spot, with all his wealth and treasures could not effect this purpose.
The blood of the innocent Moravians, more than half of them women and
children, cruelly and wantonly murdered calls aloud for _revenge_. The
relatives of the slain, who are among us, cry out and stand ready for
_revenge_. The nation to which they belonged will have _revenge_. The
Shawanese, our grandchildren, have asked for your fellow-prisoner; on
him they will take _revenge_. All the nations connected with us cry out
_Revenge! revenge!_ The Moravians whom you went to destroy having fled,
instead of avenging their brethren, the offence is become national, and
the nation itself is bound to take REVENGE!

CRAWF. Then it seems my fate is decided, and I must prepare to meet
death in its worst form?

WINGEN. Yes, Colonel!--I am sorry for it; but cannot do anything for
you. Had you attended to the Indian principle, that as good and evil
cannot dwell together in the same heart, so a good man ought not to go
into evil company; you would not be in this lamentable situation. You
see now, when it is too late, after Williamson has deserted you, what a
bad man he must be! Nothing now remains for you but to meet your fate
like a brave man. Farewell, Colonel Crawford! they are coming;[225] I
will retire to a solitary spot.

I have been assured by respectable Indians that at the close of this
conversation, which was related to me by Wingenund himself as well as
by others, both he and Crawford burst into a flood of tears; they then
took an affectionate leave of each other, and the chief immediately
_hid himself in the bushes_, as the Indians express it, or in his own
language, retired to a solitary spot. He never, afterwards, spoke
of the fate of his unfortunate friend without strong emotions of
grief, which I have several times witnessed. Once, it was the first
time that he came into Detroit after Crawford’s sufferings, I heard
him censured in his own presence by some gentlemen who were standing
together for not having saved the life of so valuable a man, who was
also his particular friend, as he had often told them. He listened
calmly to their censure, and first turning to me, said in his own
language: “These men talk like fools,” then turning to them, he
replied in English: “If king George himself, if your king had been
on the spot with all his ships laden with goods and treasures, he
could not have ransomed my friend, nor saved his life from the rage
of a _justly_ exasperated multitude.” He made no further allusion to
the act that had been the cause of Crawford’s death, and it was easy
to perceive that on this melancholy subject, grief was the feeling
that predominated in his mind. He felt much hurt, however, at this
unjust accusation, from men who, perhaps, he might think, would have
acted very differently in his place. For, let us consider in what a
situation he found himself, at that trying and critical moment. He
was a Delaware Indian, and a highly distinguished character among his
nation. The offence was national, and of the most atrocious kind, as it
was wanton and altogether unprovoked. He might have been expected to
partake with all the rest of his countrymen in the strong desire which
they felt for _revenge_. He had been Crawford’s friend, it is true,
and various acts of sociability and friendship had been interchanged
between them. But, no doubt, at that time, he believed him, at least,
not to be an enemy to his nation and colour, and if he was an enemy,
he might have expected him to be, like himself, a fair, open, generous
foe. But when he finds him enlisted with those who are waging a war of
extermination against the Indian race, murdering in cold blood, and
without distinction of age or sex, even those who had united their fate
to that of the whites, and had said to the Christians: “Your people
shall be _our_ people, and your God _our_ God,”[226] was there not
enough here to make him disbelieve all the former professions of such
a man, and to turn his abused friendship into the most violent enmity
and the bitterest rage? Instead of this we see him persevering to the
last in his attachment to a person who, to say the least, had ceased to
be deserving of it; we see him in the face of his enraged countrymen
avow that friendship, careless of the jealousy that he might excite; we
see him not only abstain from participating in the national revenge,
but deserting his post, as it were, seek a solitary spot to bewail
the death of him, whom, in spite of all, he still loved, and felt not
ashamed to call his _friend_.

It is impossible for friendship to be put to a severer test, and the
example of Wingenund proves how deep a root this sentiment can take
in the mind of an Indian, when even such circumstances as those under
which the chief found himself, fail to extinguish it.



There was a time when the preachers and prophets of the Indians,
by properly exerting the unbounded influence which the popular
superstitions gave them, might have excited among those nations such
a spirit of general resistance against the encroachments of the
Europeans, as would have enabled them, at least, to make a noble
stand against their invaders, and perhaps to recover the undisturbed
possession of their country. Instead of following the obvious course
which reason and nature pointed out; instead of uniting as one nation
in defence of their natural rights, they gave ear to the artful
insinuations of their enemies, who too well understood the art of
sowing unnatural divisions among them. It was not until Canada, after
repeated struggles, was finally conquered from the French by the united
arms of Great Britain and her colonies, that they began to be sensible
of their desperate situation--this whole northern continent being now
in the possession of one great and powerful nation, against whom it
was vain to attempt resistance. Yet it was at this moment that their
prophets, impelled by ambitious motives, began to endeavour by their
eloquence to bring them back to independent feelings, and create among
them a genuine national spirit; but it was too late. The only rational
resource that remained for them to prevent their total annihilation
was to adopt the religion and manners of their conquerors, and abandon
savage life for the comforts of civilised society; but of this but a
few of them were sensible; in vain Missionaries were sent among them,
who, through the greatest hardships and dangers exerted themselves to
soften their misfortunes by the consolations of the Christian faith,
and to point out to them the way of salvation in this world and the
next; the banner of Christ was comparatively followed but by small
numbers, and these were persecuted by their friends, or, at least,
those who ought to have been such, as well as by their enemies. Among
the obstacles which the Missionaries encountered, the strong opposition
which was made to them by the prophets of the Indian nations was by no
means the least.

I have known several of these preachers and prophets during my
residence in the Indian country, and have had sufficient opportunities
to observe the means which they took to operate on the minds of their
hearers. I shall content myself with taking notice here of a few of the
most remarkable among them.

In the year 1762, there was a famous preacher of the Delaware nation,
who resided at _Cayahaga_, near Lake Erie, and travelled about the
country, among the Indians, endeavouring to persuade them that he had
been appointed by the great Spirit to instruct them in those things
that were agreeable to him and to point out to them the offences by
which they had drawn his displeasure on themselves, and the means by
which they might recover his favour for the future. He had drawn, as
he pretended, by the direction of the great Spirit, a kind of map on a
piece of deer skin, somewhat dressed like parchment, which he called
“the great Book or Writing.” This, he said, he had been ordered to shew
to the Indians, that they might see the situation in which the Mannitto
had originally placed them, the misery which they had brought upon
themselves by neglecting their duty, and the only way that was now left
them to regain what they had lost. This map he held before him while
preaching, frequently pointing to particular marks and spots upon it,
and giving explanations as he went along.

The size of this map was about fifteen inches square, or, perhaps,
something more. An inside square was formed by lines drawn within it,
of about eight inches each way, two of those lines, however, were not
closed by about half an inch at the corners. Across these inside lines,
others of about an inch in length were drawn with sundry other lines
and marks, all which was intended to represent a strong inaccessible
barrier, to prevent those without from entering the space within,
otherwise than at the place appointed for that purpose. When the map
was held as he directed, the corners which were not closed lay at the
left hand side, directly opposite to each other, the one being at the
south-east by south, and the nearest at the north-east by north. In
explaining or describing the particular points on this map, with his
fingers always pointing to the place he was describing, he called the
space within the inside lines “the heavenly regions,” or the place
destined by the great Spirit for the habitation of the Indians in
future life; the space left open at the south-east corner, he called
the “avenue,” which had been intended for the Indians to enter into
this heaven, but which was now in the possession of the white people,
wherefore the great Spirit had since caused another “avenue” to be
made on the opposite side, at which, however, it was both difficult
and dangerous for them to enter, there being many impediments in their
way, besides a large ditch leading to a gulf below, over which they
had to leap; but the evil spirit kept at this very spot a continual
watch for Indians, and whoever he laid hold of, never could get away
from him again, but was carried to his regions, where there was nothing
but extreme poverty; where the ground was parched up by the heat for
want of rain, no fruit came to perfection, the game was almost starved
for want of pasture, and where the evil spirit, at his pleasure,
transformed men into horses and dogs, to be ridden by him and follow
him in his hunts and wherever he went.

The space on the outside of this interior square, was intended to
represent the country given to the Indians to hunt, fish, and dwell
in while in this world; the east side of it was called the ocean or
“great salt water Lake.” Then the preacher drawing the attention of
his hearers particularly to the south-east avenue, would say to them:
“Look here! See what we have lost by neglect and disobedience; by being
remiss in the expression of our gratitude to the great Spirit, for
what he has bestowed upon us; by neglecting to make to him sufficient
sacrifices; by looking upon a people of a different colour from our
own, who had come across a great lake, as if they were a part of
ourselves; by suffering them to sit down by our side, and looking at
them with indifference, while they were not only taking our country
from us, but this (pointing to the spot), this, our own avenue, leading
into those beautiful regions which were destined for us. Such is the
sad condition to which we are reduced. What is now to be done, and what
remedy is to be applied? I will tell you, my friends. Hear what the
great Spirit has ordered me to tell you! You are to make sacrifices,
in the manner that I shall direct; to put off entirely from yourselves
the customs which you have adopted since the white people came among
us; you are to return to that former happy state, in which we lived
in peace and plenty, before these strangers came to disturb us, and
above all, you must abstain from drinking their deadly _beson_, which
they have forced upon us, for the sake of increasing their gains and
diminishing our numbers. Then will the great Spirit give success to our
arms; then he will give us strength to conquer our enemies, to drive
them from hence, and recover the passage to the heavenly regions which
they have taken from us.”

Such was in general the substance of his discourses. After having
dilated more or less on the various topics which I have mentioned, he
commonly concluded in this manner: “And now, my friends, in order that
what I have told you may remain firmly impressed on your minds, and to
refresh your memories from time to time, I advise you to preserve, in
every family, at least, such a book or writing as this, which I will
finish off for you, provided you bring me the price, which is only
one buckskin or two doe-skins a piece.”[227] The price was of course
bought,[228] and the book purchased. In some of those maps, the figure
of a deer or turkey, or both, was placed in the heavenly regions, and
also in the dreary region of the evil spirit; the former, however,
appeared fat and plump, while the latter seemed to have nothing but
skin and bones.

I was also well acquainted with another noted preacher, named
_Wangomend_, who was of the Monsey tribe. He began to preach in the
year 1766, much in the same manner as the one I have just mentioned.
When Mr. Zeisberger first came to _Goschgoschink_ town[229] on the
Allegheny river, this Indian prophet became one of his hearers, but
finding that the Missionary’s doctrine did not agree with his own, he
became his enemy. This man also pretended that his call as a preacher
was not of his own choice, but that he had been moved to it by the
great and good Spirit, in order to teach his countrymen, who were on
the way to perdition, how they could become reconciled to their God. He
would make his followers believe that he had once been taken so near
to heaven, that he could distinctly hear the crowing of the cocks,
and that at another time he had been borne by unseen hands to where
he had been permitted to take a peep into the heavens, of which there
were three, one for the Indians, one for the negroes, and another for
the white people. That of the Indians he observed to be the happiest
of the three, and that of the whites the unhappiest; for they were
under chastisement for their ill treatment of the Indians, and for
possessing themselves of the land which God had given to them. They
were also punished for making beasts of the negroes, by selling them as
the Indians do their horses and dogs, and beating them unmercifully,
although God had created them as well as the rest of mankind.

The novelty of these visions procured him hearers for a time; he found,
however, at last, that the Indians became indifferent to his doctrines,
particularly as he frequently warned them not to drink the _poison_
brought to them by the white people, of which his congregation were
very fond. Then he bethought himself of a more popular and interesting
subject, and began to preach against witchcraft and those who dealt
in the black art. Here he had all the passions and prejudices of the
poor Indians on his side, and he did not fail to meet with the general
approbation, when he declared to them that wizards were getting the
upper hand, and would destroy the nation, if they were not checked in
their career. He travelled in 1775, to _Goschachking_, at the forks
of the Muskingum, to lay this business before the great council of
the Delawares, and take their opinion upon it. The first report which
the Missionaries on the Muskingum heard on this subject, was that the
chiefs had at first united in having every conjurer and witch in the
nation brought to an account and punished with death, that, however, on
a more mature consideration, they had thought proper in the first place
to ascertain the number and names not only of those who were known, but
even of those who were suspected of dealing in sorcery, and Wangomend
was appointed to cause the enumeration to be made. He accordingly
hastily set off for his home; and on his arrival immediately entered
on the duties of his mission; when behold! it was discovered that the
number of offenders was much greater than had been at first imagined,
and he found himself in danger of having his own name inserted in the
black list. His zeal, in consequence, became considerably cooled,
and by the time when he returned the chiefs were no longer disposed
to meddle with this dangerous subject, justly fearing that it could
not but terminate in the ruin of their nation. Wangomend, therefore,
returned to his former mode of preaching, recommending to his hearers
to purge themselves from sin by taking certain prescribed medicines,
and making frequent sacrifices to the great Spirit.

The last whom I shall take notice of is the Prophet-warrior _Tecumseh_,
lately so celebrated among us, and who lost his life in the last war at
the battle of the Thames, on the 30th of September, 1813, at the age,
it is said, of 43 years. The details of his military life have been
made sufficiently known through the medium of journals and newspapers,
and his famous speech to the British general Proctor delivered at
Amhertsburg, a short time before the battle which decided his fate,
is in every body’s hands.[230] But his character as a prophet and the
means that he took to raise himself to power and fame are not so well
nor so particularly understood, although it is, in general, admitted
that he was admirably skilled in the art of governing Indians through
the medium of their passions. The sketch which I am going to draw will
sufficiently prove how well this opinion is founded.

From the best information that I was able to obtain of this man, he
was by nation a Shawanese, and began his career as a preacher much in
the manner that others had done before him. He endeavoured to impress
upon the minds of his Indian hearers, that they were a distinct people
from the whites, that they had been created and placed on this soil for
peculiar purposes, and that it had been ordered by the supreme being
that they should live unconnected with people of a different colour
from their own. He painted in vivid colours, the misery that they had
brought upon themselves by permitting the whites to reside among them,
and urged them to unite and expel those lawless intruders from their
country. But he soon discovered that these once popular topics no
longer produced any effect on the minds of the dispirited Indians, and
that it was impossible to persuade them to resort to strong measures,
to oppose the progress of the whites, much less to endeavour to drive
them beyond the great lake. He had long observed that whenever he
touched on the subject of witchcraft, his discourses were always
acceptable to his hearers, whose belief in those supernatural powers,
instead of diminishing, seemed constantly to gain ground. He knew
that his predecessor, Wangomend, had failed in his endeavour to gain
influence and power by availing himself of these popular opinions.
But his ill success did not deter him from making the same attempts.
He did not, however, like him, seek the assistance of the national
councils, but boldly determined to try what his talents and courage
could do without any other aid. There is a saying among the Indians,
“That God ordained man to live until all his teeth are worn out, his
eyesight dim and his hair grey.” Of this he artfully availed himself to
persuade those ignorant people, that the early deaths which constantly
took place could not be attributed to any natural cause, since it was
the will of God that every man should live to an advanced old age.
When he found that he had thus obtained a fast hold on the minds of
his hearers, by raising their fears of the powers of witchcraft to
the highest pitch, he thought it was time to work on their hopes, and
after gradually feeling the pulses of those he had to deal with, after
successively throwing out a great number of hints and insinuations,
the effects of which he had carefully observed, he at last did what no
preacher before him had ventured to do, by declaring that the great
Mannitto had endowed him with supernatural powers, to foretel future
events, and to discover present secrets, and that he could point out
with certainty, not only those, whether men or women, who were in the
full possession of the art of witchcraft, but those who had even a
tincture of it, however small. His bold assertions met with implicit
belief, and he obtained by that means such an unlimited command over a
credulous multitude, that at last, he had only to speak the word, or
even to nod, and the pile was quickly prepared by willing executioners
to put to death whomsoever he thought proper to devote. Here was a
wide field opened for the gratification of the worst passions. Whoever
thought himself injured, denounced his enemy as a wizard; the least
real or pretended cause of resentment, nay, even a paltry bribe, would
bring the most innocent man to the pile or tomahawk, and no one availed
himself more of this frantic delusion of the populace, than the great
prophet himself. Having his spies out in every direction, he well
knew who were his friends and who his enemies, and we to all who were
reported to him or even suspected by him to be of the latter class! The
tyrant had only to will their deaths, and his commands no one durst
contradict, but all were ready to execute.

Among the number of his victims was the venerable Wyandot Chief
Sha-te-ya-ron-yah, called by the whites _Leather-lips_. He was one of
those who in August, 1795, signed the treaty of Greenville on behalf
of the Huron tribe. His only crime was honesty, and the honourable
character which he had acquired. In a fit of jealousy Tecumseh ordered
him to be put to death, and his commands were but too readily obeyed.
I cannot conclude this chapter better than by an account of his
death, which was transmitted to me at the time (in August, 1810) by a
respectable and philanthropic gentleman in the state of Ohio.

The relation which I here transcribe was accompanied with the following

    “DEAR SIR--I here enclose an imperfect sketch of the execution
    of an unfortunate Indian. From your benevolent exertions, for
    many years, to ameliorate their condition, and the confidence
    reposed in you by them, I trust you may have it in your power
    successfully to oppose the wasteful influence of this prophet
    over these too credulous people. It is the office of humanity
    and worthy of the attention of the Society of the United
    Brethren. I may be incorrect in the recital of some of the
    circumstances; it was given to me from respectable sources;
    sources, in my opinion, entitled to credit.

  “I am, &c.”


“This unfortunate Chief of the Seneca[231] tribe, who had attained the
sixty-third year of his age, had pitched his camp a few miles west of
the town of Worthington in the county of Franklinton. From his constant
attachment to the principles of honesty and integrity, he had obtained
a certificate from an officer of the government as a testimonial of
the propriety of his deportment. This aged Chief was suspected by the
_Prophet_, a man of a restless, turbulent spirit, who by his exceeding
address, has obtained an unbounded influence over many of the northern
and western tribes of Indians, by impressing upon their minds a belief
that he is endowed with supernatural knowledge, and can foretel events
yet to come. This is the same prophet who gathered the Indians at
Greenville a few years ago, from which meeting so much was apprehended.
In order that he should no longer have anything to apprehend from
him (this Indian) he issued orders for his immediate death. These
orders were given to _Crane_,[232] a chief of the Sandusky tribes, who
immediately sat out with four other Indians, in quest of the old chief.
About three weeks ago they found out his camp, and immediately sent
his brother to him (who was one of their party) with a piece of bark,
on which they had painted a tomahawk, as a token of his death! On the
same day, Crane and his party spoke publicly in the settlements of the
whites of their intention to kill him. When they sat out for his camp
they were accompanied by five white men, amongst whom was a _justice of
the peace_, no doubt to gratify their curiosity. Upon their arrival at
the camp, they informed him of the object of their mission, and that he
must prepare to meet his fate! In vain did he remonstrate against the
cruelty of the sentence; he told them that he was an old man, and must
soon die; that if they would spare him they might have his camp, and
that he would go far beyond the Mississippi, where he would never again
be heard of. He also alleged that he was a man of honesty, and had done
nothing to incur so hard a fate! One of the white men also made an
offer of his horse, to save the old man from the impending storm. Those
offers all proved ineffectual. All hopes of a reconciliation now gone,
he prepared to meet his fate with becoming dignity. While the Indians
were digging his grave, he dressed himself with his best clothes in the
war style, and then got his venison and refreshed himself. As soon as
the grave was finished, he went to it and knelt down and prayed most
fervently! He then took an affectionate leave of the Indians, and of
the white men present, and when he came to the one who had offered
his horse to redeem him, penetrated with gratitude, he burst into a
flood of tears, and told him that _his God would reward him_. This was
the only instance in which the least change could be perceived in his
countenance. He was then attended to the grave by Crane--they knelt
down, while Crane offered up to the great Spirit his prayers in his
behalf. The fatal period had now arrived; they arose from their knees,
and proceeded a few paces, and seated themselves on the ground. The
old chief inclined forward, resting his face upon his hand, his hand
upon his knees; while thus seated, one of the young Indians came up
and struck him twice with the tomahawk. For some time he lay senseless
on the ground. The only evidence of life that yet remained, was a
faint respiration. The Indians all stood around in solemn silence;
finding him to respire longer than they expected, they called upon the
whites to take notice how hard he died, and pronounced him a witch--no
good--they struck him again and terminated his existence. He was then
borne to the grave, where the last sad office was soon performed.”



The name of TAMANEND is held in the highest veneration among the
Indians. Of all the chiefs and great men which the Lenape nation ever
had, he stands foremost on the list. But although many fabulous stories
are circulated about him among the whites, but little of his real
history is known. The misfortunes which have befallen some of the most
beloved and esteemed personages among the Indians since the Europeans
came among them, prevent the survivors from indulging in the pleasure
of recalling to mind the memory of their virtues. No white man who
regards their feelings, will introduce such subjects in conversation
with them.

All we know, therefore, of Tamanend is, that he was an ancient Delaware
chief, who never had his equal.[233] He was in the highest degree
endowed with wisdom, virtue, prudence, charity, affability, meekness,
hospitality, in short with every good and noble qualification that a
human being may possess. He was supposed to have had an intercourse
with the great and good Spirit; for he was a stranger to everything
that is bad.

When Colonel George Morgan, of Princeton in New Jersey, was, about
the year 1776, sent by Congress as an agent to the western Indians,
the Delawares conferred on him the name of Tamanend in honour and
remembrance of their ancient chief, and as the greatest mark of respect
which they could shew to that gentleman, who, they said, had the
same address, affability and meekness as their honoured chief, and
therefore, ought to be named after him.

The fame of this great man extended even among the whites, who
fabricated numerous legends respecting him, which I never heard,
however, from the mouth of an Indian, and therefore believe to be
fabulous. In the Revolutionary war, his enthusiastic admirers dubbed
him a saint, and he was established under the name of _St. Tammany_,
the Patron Saint of America. His name was inserted in some calendars,
and his festival celebrated on the first day of May in every year.
On that day a numerous society of his votaries walked together in
procession through the streets of Philadelphia, their hats decorated
with bucks’ tails, and proceeded to a handsome rural place out of town
which they called the _Wigwam_, where, after a _long talk_ or Indian
speech had been delivered, and the _Calumet_ of peace and friendship
had been duly smoked, they spent the day in festivity and mirth. After
dinner, Indian dances were performed on the green in front of the
wigwam, the calumet was again smoked, and the company separated. This
association lasted until some years after the peace, when the public
spirited owner of the wigwam, who generously had lent it every year for
the honour of his favourite saint, having fallen under misfortune, his
property was sold to satisfy his creditors, and this truly American
festival ceased to be observed. Since that time, other societies have
been formed in Philadelphia, New York, and I believe in other towns
in the Union, under the name of Tammany; but the principal object of
these associations being party-politics, they have lost much of the
charm which was attached to the original society of St. Tammany, which
appeared to be established only for pleasure and innocent diversion.
These political societies, however, affect to preserve Indian forms
in their organisation and meetings. They are presided over by a Grand
Sachem, and their other officers are designated by Indian titles. They
meet at their “wigwam,” at the “going down of the sun,” in the months
of snows, plants, flowers, &c. Their distinguishing appellation is
always “The _Tammany_ Society.”

TADEUSKUND, or _Tedeuskung_, was the last Delaware chief in these
parts east of the Allegheny mountains. His name makes a conspicuous
figure in the history of Pennsylvania previous to the revolution, and
particularly towards the commencement of the war of 1756. Before he was
raised to the station of a chief, he had signalised himself as an able
counsellor in his nation. In the year 1749, he joined the Christian
Indian congregation, and the following year, at his earnest desire, was
christened by the name of _Gideon_.[234] He had been known before under
that of _Honest John_. It was not until the year 1754, that his nation
called upon him to assume a military command. The French were then
stirring up the Indians, particularly the Delawares, to aid them in
fighting the English, telling them that if they suffered them to go on
as they before had done, they would very soon not have a foot of land
to live on. The Susquehannah and Fork Indians (Delawares) were then in
want of a leading character to advise and govern them, their great,
good, beloved and peaceable chief _Tademe_, (commonly called _Tattemi_)
having some time before been murdered in the Forks settlement by a
foolish young white man.[235] They, therefore, called upon Tadeuskund
to take upon himself the station of a chief, which, having accepted, he
repaired to Wyoming, whither many of the Fork Indians followed him.

Whatever might have been Tadeuskund’s disposition towards the English
at that time, it is certain that it was a difficult task for him, and
would have been such for any other chief, to govern an exasperated
people, entirely devoted to the opposite interest. This may account
for his not having always succeeded in gratifying our government
to the extent of its wishes. Yet he did much towards lessening the
cruelties of the enemy, by keeping up an intercourse with the governor
of Pennsylvania, and occasionally drawing many from the theatre of war
and murder, to meet the colonial authorities at Easton or Philadelphia
for the negotiation of treaties, by which means fewer cruelties were
committed than would otherwise have been.

His frequent visits to the governor and to the people called Quakers
(to whom he was much attached, because they were known to be friendly
to the Indians) excited much jealousy among some of his nation,
especially the Monseys, who believed that he was carrying on some
underhand work at Philadelphia detrimental to the nation at large; on
which account, and as they wished the continuation of the war, they
became his enemies.

From the precarious situation Tadeuskund was placed in, it was easy to
foresee that he would come to an untimely end. Perhaps no Indian chief
before him ever found himself so delicately situated; mistrusted and
blamed by our government and the English people generally, because he
did not use his whole endeavours to keep his nation at peace, or compel
them to lay down the hatchet; and accused by his own people of having
taken a bribe from the English, or entered into some secret agreement
with them that would be of benefit to himself alone, as he would not
suffer them to inflict just punishment on that nation for the wrongs
they had done them, but was constantly calling upon them to make peace.
The Five Nations, on the other hand, (the enemies of the Delawares
and in alliance with England,) blamed him for doing too much for the
cause which they themselves supported, for making himself too busy, and
assuming an authority, which did not belong to him the leader of a band
of _women_, but to them, the Five Nations alone.

To do justice to this injured chief, the true secret of his apparently
contradictory conduct must be here disclosed. It is said by those
Indians who knew him best, and who at that time had the welfare of
their own nation much at heart, that his great and sole object was to
recover for the _Lenni Lenape_ that dignity which the Iroquois had
treacherously wrested from them; thence flowed the bitterness of the
latter against him, though he seemed to be promoting the same interest
which they themselves supported. He had long hoped that by shewing
friendship and attachment to the English, he would be able to convince
them of the justice of his nation’s cause, who were yet powerful
enough to make their alliance an object to the British government; but
here he was greatly mistaken. No one would examine into the grounds
of the controversy between the Delawares and the Five Nations; the
latter, on the contrary, were supported in their unjust pretensions
as theretofore, and even called upon to aid in compelling the Lenape
to make peace. This unjust and at the same time impolitic conduct, of
which I have before taken sufficient notice,[236] irritated to the
utmost the spirited nation of the Delawares, they felt themselves
insulted and degraded, and were less disposed than ever from complying
with the wishes of a government which sported in this manner with their
national feelings, and called in question even their right to exist as
an independent people.

Surrounded as he was with enemies, Tadeuskund could not escape the fate
that had long been intended for him. In the spring of 1763, when the
European nations had made peace, but the Indians were still at war,
he was burnt up, together with his house, as he was lying in his bed
asleep. It was supposed and believed by many who were present, that
this dreadful event was not accidental, but had been maturely resolved
on by his enemies, whoever they were, and that the liquor which was
brought to Wyoming at the time, was intended by them for the purpose
of enticing him to drink, that they might the more easily effect their
purpose. A number of Indians were witnesses to the fact that the house
was set on fire from the outside. Suspicion fell principally upon
the Mingoes, who were known to be jealous of him, and fearful of his
resentment, if he should succeed in insinuating himself into the favour
of the English and making good terms with them for his nation. It is
said that those Indians were concerned in bringing the fatal liquor
which is believed to have been instrumental to the execution of the

While Tadeuskund was at the head of his nation, he was frequently
distinguished by the title of “King of the Delawares.” While passing
and repassing to and from the enemy with messages, many people called
him the “War Trumpet.” In his person he was a portly well-looking man,
endowed with good natural sense, quick of comprehension, and very ready
in answering the questions put to him. He was rather ambitious, thought
much of his rank and abilities, liked to be considered as the king of
his country, and was fond of having a retinue with him when he went to
Philadelphia on business with the government. His greatest weakness
was a fondness for strong drinks, the temptation of which he could not
easily resist, and would sometimes drink to excess. This unfortunate
propensity is supposed to have been the cause of his cruel and untimely



The Indians do not reckon as we do, by days, but by nights. They say:
“It is so many nights’ travelling to such a place;” “I shall return
home in so many nights,” &c. Sometimes pointing to the heavens they
say: “You will see me again when the sun stands there.”

Their year is, like ours, divided into four parts: spring, summer,
autumn, and winter. It begins with the spring, which, they say, is
the youth of the year, the time when the spirits of man begin to
revive, and the plants and flowers again put forth. These seasons are
again subdivided into months or moons, each of which has a particular
name, yet not the same among all the Indian tribes or nations; these
denominations being generally suited to the climate under which they
respectively live, and the advantages or benefits which they enjoy at
the time. Thus the Lenape, while they inhabited the country bordering
on the Atlantic, called the month which we call March, “the _shad_
moon,” because this fish at that time begins to pass from the sea into
the fresh water rivers, where they lay their spawn; but as there is
no such fish in the country into which they afterwards removed, they
changed the name of that month, and called it “the running of the
_sap_” or “the _sugar_-making month,” because it is at that time that
the sap of the maple tree, from which sugar is made, begins to run;
April, they call “the _spring_ month,” May, the _planting_ month, June,
the _fawn_ month, or the month in which the deer bring forth their
young, or, again, the month in which the hair of the deer changes to
a reddish colour. They call July the _summer_ month; August, the month
of _roasting ears_, that is to say, in which the ears of corn are fit
to be roasted and eaten. September, they call the _autumnal_ month,
October, the gathering or _harvest_ month; December, the _hunting_
month, it being the time when the stags have all dropped their antlers
or horns. January is called the _mouse_ or _squirrel_ month, for now
those animals come out of their holes, and lastly, they call February
the _frog_ month, because on a warm day the frogs then begin to croak.

Some nations call the month of January by a name which denotes “the
sun’s return to them,” probably because in that month the days begin to
lengthen again. As I have said before, they do not call all the months
by the same name; even the Monseys, a tribe of the Delawares, differ
among themselves in the denominations which they give to them.

The Indians say that when the leaf of the white oak, which puts forth
in the spring, is of the size of the ear of a mouse, it is time to
plant corn; they observe that now the whippoorwill has arrived, and is
continually hovering over them, calling out his Indian name “_Wekolis_”
in order to remind them of the planting time, as if he said to them
“_Hackiheck!_ go to planting corn!”

They calculate their ages by some remarkable event which has taken
place within their remembrance, as, for instance, an uncommonly severe
winter, a very deep snow, an extraordinary freshet, a general war,
the building of a new town or city by the white people, &c. Thus I
have heard old Indians say more than fifty years ago, that when their
brother Miquon spoke to their forefathers, they were of such an age
or size, they could catch butterflies, or hit a bird with the bow and
arrow. I have heard others say (alluding to the hard winter of 1739-40)
that they were born at that time, or that they were then so tall, could
do certain particular things, or had already some gray hair on their
heads. When they could not refer precisely to some of those remarkable
epochs, they would say “so many winters after.”

The geographical knowledge of the Indians is really astonishing. I do
not mean the knowledge of maps, for they have nothing of the kind to
aid them; but their practical acquaintance with the country that they
inhabit. They can steer directly through the woods in cloudy weather as
well as in sunshine to the place they wish to go to, at the distance
of two hundred miles and more. When the white people express their
astonishment, or enquire how they can hit a distant point with so much
ease and exactness, they smile and answer: “How can we go wrong when
we know where we are to go to?” There are many who conjecture that
they regulate their course by certain signs or marks on the trees, as
for instance, that those that have the thickest bark are exposed to
the north, and other similar observations, but those who think so are
mistaken. The fact is, that the Indians have an accurate knowledge of
all the streams of consequence and the courses which they run; they
can tell directly while travelling along a stream, whether large or
small, into what larger stream it empties itself. They know how to take
the advantage of dividing ridges, where the smaller streams have their
heads, or from whence they take their source, and in travelling on the
mountains, they have a full view of the country round, and can perceive
the point to which their march is directed.

Their knowledge of astronomy is very limited. They have names for a few
of the stars and take notice of their movements. The polar star points
out to them by night the course which they are to take in the morning.
They distinguish the phases of the moon by particular names; they say
the “new moon,” the “round moon” (when it is full), and when in its
decline, they say it is “half round.”

They ascribe earthquakes to the moving of the great tortoise, which
bears the _Island_ (Continent) on its back. They say he shakes himself
or changes his position. They are at a loss how to account for a solar
or lunar eclipse; some say the sun or moon is in a swoon, others that
it is involved in a very thick cloud.

A constant application of the mind to observing the scenes and
accidents which occur in the woods, together with an ardent desire to
acquire an intimate knowledge of the various objects which surround
them, gives them, in many respects, an advantage over the white people,
which will appear from the following anecdote.

A white man had, at his camp in a dark night, shot an Indian dog,
mistaking it for a wolf which had the night before entered the
encampment and eaten up all the meat. The dog mortally wounded, having
returned to the Indian camp at the distance of a mile, caused much
grief and uneasiness to the owner, the more so as he suspected the act
had been committed from malice towards the Indians. He was ordered to
enquire into the matter, and the white man being brought before him,
candidly confessed that he had killed the dog, believing it to be a
wolf. The Indian asked him whether he could not discern the difference
between the “steps” or trampling of a wolf and that of a dog, let the
night be ever so dark? The white man answered in the negative, and said
he believed no man alive could do that; on which the whole company
burst out into laughter at the ignorance of the whites and their want
of skill in so plain and common a matter, and the delinquent was freely



I hope I shall be excused for bringing here together into one view a
few observations and anecdotes which either could not well find their
places under any of the preceding divisions of my subject, or escaped
my recollection at the proper time. These additional traits will
contribute something to forming a correct idea of the Indian character
and manners.

I have observed a great similarity in the customs, usages, and opinions
of the different nations that I have seen, however distant from each
other, and even though their languages differ so much that no traces
of a common origin can be found in their etymology. The uniformity
which exists in the manners of the Christian nations of Europe is
attributed to their common religion, and to their having once been
connected together as parts of the Roman Empire. But no such bond of
union appears to have subsisted between the Iroquois, for instance, and
the Delawares, and yet, the language excepted, they resemble each other
considerably more than the inhabitants of some European countries. I
shall not endeavour to account for this remarkable fact, but I think it
my duty to state it.

I have shown in a former chapter[237] that the mythological notions of
the Delaware Indians prevailed in the same manner among the Wabash; it
is not in that alone that those nations resemble each other, though
living at a great distance. It is the custom among the Delawares that
if a hunter shoots down a deer when another person is present, or
even accidentally comes by before the skin is taken off, he presents
it to him, saying, “Friend, skin your deer,” and immediately walks
off. William Wells, whom I have before spoken of, once paid me this
compliment, and when I asked him the reason, he answered that it was
the custom among the Indians on the Wabash.

In the year 1792, I travelled with a number of Indian chiefs of various
tribes from Post Vincennes to Marietta, and I found in most instances
that their usages and customs were the same that I had observed among
the Delawares.[238]

The Indians in general, although they understand and speak our
language, yet prefer speaking to a white man through an interpreter.
For this they give various reasons. With some it is a matter of pride;
as their chiefs deliver their public speeches through interpreters,
they think that they appear with more dignity when they do the same.
Others imagine that their words will have greater weight and effect
when expressed in proper grammatical language, while some are afraid
of committing mistakes when speaking in an idiom not their own.
Particularly when they have a joke to pass, a hint to give, or a shrewd
remark to make, they wish it to have all the advantages of a good
translation, and that their wit may not be spoiled by a foreign accent,
improper expression, or awkward delivery.

Though the Indian is naturally serious, he does not dislike a jest on
proper occasions, and will, sometimes, even descend to a pun. Once at a
dinner given at Marietta by the late Colonel Sproat,[239] to a number
of gentlemen and Indian chiefs of various tribes, a Delaware chief,
named George Washington, asked me what the name of our good friend,
the Colonel, meant in the Lenape language? It should be observed that
Colonel Sproat was remarkably tall. I told him that _Sprout_ (for so
the name is pronounced) meant in English a shoot, or twig of a tree.
“No, no,” replied the Indian, “no shoot or twig, but the _tree_ itself.”

I have spoken before[240] of the wit of the Indians, and the shrewd and
pointed remarks which they occasionally make, but passed rather lightly
on the subject. A few characteristic anecdotes will best supply this

An Indian who spoke good English, came one day to a house where I was
on business, and desired me to ask a man who was there and who owed him
some money, to give an order in writing for him to get a little salt at
the store, which he would take in part payment of his debt. The man,
after reproving the Indian for speaking through an interpreter when he
could speak such good English, told him that he must call again in an
hour’s time, for he was then too much engaged. The Indian went out and
returned at the appointed time, when he was put off again for another
hour, and when he came the third time, the other told him he was still
engaged, and he must come again in half an hour. My Indian friend’s
patience was now exhausted, he turned to me and addressed me thus in
his own language: “Tell this man,” said he, “that while I have been
waiting for his convenience to give me an order for a little salt, I
have had time to think a great deal. I _thought_ that when we Indians
want any thing of one another, we serve each other on the spot, or if
we cannot, we say so at once, but we never say to any one ‘call again!
call again! call again! three times call again!’ Therefore when this
man put me off in this manner, I _thought_ that, to be sure, the white
people were very ingenious, and probably he was able to do what no body
else could. I _thought_ that as it was afternoon when I first came,
and he knew I had seven miles to walk to reach my camp, he had it in
his power to stop the sun in its course, until it suited him to give
me the order that I wanted for a little salt. So _thought_ I, I shall
still have day light enough, I shall reach my camp before night, and
shall not be obliged to walk in the dark, at the risk of falling and
hurting myself by the way. But when I saw that the sun did not wait
for him, and I had at least to walk seven miles in an obscure night,
I _thought_ then, that it would be better if the white people were to
learn something of the Indians.”

I once asked an old Indian acquaintance of mine, who had come with
his wife to pay me a visit, where he had been, that I had not seen
him for a great while? “Don’t you know,” he answered, “that the
white people some time ago summoned us to a treaty, to buy land of
them?”[241]--“That is true,” replied I, “I had indeed forgotten it; I
thought you was just returned from your fall hunt.”--“No, no,” replied
the Indian, “my fall hunt has been lost to me this season; I had to go
and get my share of the purchase money for the land we sold.”--“Well
then,” said I, “I suppose you got enough to satisfy you?”

INDIAN. “I can shew you all that I got. I have received such and such
articles, (naming them and the quantity of each), do you think that is

HECKEW. “That I cannot know, unless you tell me how much of the land
which was sold came to your share.”

INDIAN. (after considering a little), “Well, you, my friend! know who
I am, you know I am a kind of chief. I am, indeed, one, though none of
the greatest. Neither am I one of the lowest grade, but I stand about
in the middle rank. Now, as such, I think I was entitled to as much
land in the tract we sold as would lie within a day’s walk from this
spot to a point due north, then a day’s walk from that point to another
due west, from thence another day’s walk due south, then a day’s walk
to where we now are. Now you can tell me if what I have shewn you is
enough for all the land lying between these four marks?”

HECKEW. “If you have made your bargain so with the white people, it is
all right, and you probably have received your share.”

INDIAN. “Ah! but the white people made the bargain by themselves,
without consulting us. They told us that they would give us so much,
and no more.”

HECKEW. “Well, and you consented thereto?”

INDIAN. “What could we do, when they told us that they must have the
land, and for such a price? Was it not better to take something than
nothing? for they would have the land, and so we took what they gave

HECKEW. “Perhaps the goods they gave you came high in price. The goods
which come over the great salt water lake sometimes vary in their

INDIAN. “The traders sell their goods for just the same prices that
they did before, so that I rather think it is the _land_ that has
_fallen_ in value. We, Indians, do not understand selling lands to the
white people; for when we sell, the price of land is always low; land
is then cheap, but when the white people sell it out among themselves,
it is always dear, and they are sure to get a high price for it. I had
done much better if I had stayed at home and minded my fall hunt. You
know I am a pretty good hunter and might have killed a great many deer,
sixty, eighty, perhaps a hundred, and besides caught many raccoons,
beavers, otters, wild cats, and other animals, while I was at this
treaty. I have often killed five, six, and seven deer in one day. Now I
have lost nine of the best hunting weeks in the season by going to get
what you see! We were told the precise time when we must meet. We came
at the very day, but the great white men did not do so, and without
them nothing could be done. When after some weeks they at last came, we
traded, we sold our lands and received goods in payment, and when that
was over, I went to my hunting grounds, but the best time, the rutting
time, being over, I killed but a few. Now, help me to count up what I
have lost by going to the treaty. Put down eighty deer; say twenty of
them were bucks, each buckskin one dollar; then sixty does and young
bucks at two skins for a dollar; thirty dollars, and twenty for the old
bucks, make fifty dollars lost to me in deer skins. Add, then, twenty
dollars more to this for raccoon, beaver, wild cat, black fox, and
otter skins, and what does the whole amount to?”

HECKEW. “Seventy dollars.”

INDIAN. “Well, let it be only seventy dollars, but how much might I
have bought of the traders for this money! How well we might have
lived, I and my family in the woods during that time! How much meat
would my wife have dried! how much tallow saved and sold or exchanged
for salt, flour, tea and chocolate! All this is now lost to us; and
had I not such a good wife (stroking her under the chin) who planted
so much corn, and so many beans, pumpkins, squashes, and potatoes last
summer, my family would now live most wretchedly. I have learned to be
wise by going to treaties, I shall never go there again to sell my land
and lose my time.”

I shall conclude this desultory chapter with another anecdote which is
strongly characteristic of the good sense of the Indians and shews how
much their minds are capable of thought and reflection.

Seating myself once upon a log, by the side of an Indian, who was
resting himself there, being at that time actively employed in fencing
in his corn-field, I observed to him that he must be very fond of
working, as I never saw him idling away his time, as is so common with
the Indians. The answer which he returned made considerable impression
on my mind; I have remembered it ever since, and I shall try to relate
it as nearly in his own words as possible.

“My friend!” said he, “the fishes in the water and the birds in the air
and on the earth have taught me to work; by their examples I have been
convinced of the necessity of labour and industry. When I was a young
man I loitered a great deal about, doing nothing, just like the other
Indians, who say that working is only for the whites and the negroes,
and that the Indians have been ordained for other purposes, to hunt
the deer, and catch the beaver, otter, raccoon and such other animals.
But it one day so happened, that while a hunting, I came to the bank
of the Susquehannah, where I sat down near the water’s edge to rest a
little, and casting my eye on the water, I was forcibly struck when
I observed with what industry the _Meechgalingus_[242] heaped small
stones together, to make secure places for their spawn, and all this
labour they did with their mouths and bodies without hands! Astonished
as well as diverted, I lighted my pipe, sat a while smoking and looking
on, when presently a little bird not far from me raised a song which
enticed me to look that way; while I was trying to distinguish who
the songster was, and catch it with my eyes, its mate, with as much
grass as with its bill it could hold, passed close by me and flew into
a bush, where I perceived them together busy building their nest and
singing as they went along. I entirely forgot that I was a hunting, in
order to contemplate the objects I had before me. I saw the birds of
the air and the fishes in the water working diligently and cheerfully,
and all this without hands! I thought it was strange, and became lost
in contemplation! I looked at myself, I saw two long arms, provided
with hands and fingers besides, with joints that might be opened and
shut at pleasure. I could, when I pleased, take up anything with these
hands, hold it fast or let it loose, and carry it along with me as I
walked. I observed moreover that I had a strong body capable of bearing
fatigue, and supported by two stout legs, with which I could climb
to the top of the highest mountains and descend at pleasure into the
valleys. And is it possible, said I, that a being so formed as I am,
was created to live in idleness, while the birds who have no hands, and
nothing but their little bills to help them, work with cheerfulness and
without being told to do so? Has then the great Creator of man and of
all living creatures given me all these limbs for no purpose? It cannot
be; I will try to go to work. I did so, and went away from the village
to a spot of good land, built a cabin, enclosed ground, planted corn,
and raised cattle. Ever since that time I have enjoyed a good appetite
and sound sleep; while the others spend their nights in dancing and are
suffering with hunger, I live in plenty; I keep horses, cows, hogs and
fowls; I am happy. See! my friend; the birds and fishes have brought me
to reflection and taught me to work!”



Nothing is so common as the indiscriminate charge laid upon travellers
of relating strange and wonderful things for the mere purpose of
exciting admiration and raising themselves into consequence. I believe
for my part that this accusation is in general unjust as well as
unfair, and that travellers seldom impose upon others except when
they have been imposed upon themselves. The discredit which they have
fallen into is more owing to their errors and mistakes than to wilful
imposition and falsehood. It is therefore rendering them and the
world an essential service to point out the means of avoiding those
deceptions, which if not sufficiently guarded against, will at last
destroy all belief in the accounts given by travellers of distant
nations and of manners and customs different from our own.

The first and most important thing for a traveller is a competent
knowledge of the language of the people among whom he is. Without
this knowledge it is impossible that he can acquire a correct notion
of their manners and customs and of the opinions which prevail among
them. There is little faith to be placed in those numerous vocabularies
of the languages of distant nations which are to be found in almost
every book of voyages or travels; they are generally full of the most
ridiculous mistakes; at least (for I must speak only of what I know)
those which relate to the Indian languages of North America. I was
some years ago shewn a vocabulary[243] of the idiom of the Indians who
inhabited the banks of the Delaware, while Pennsylvania was under the
dominion of the Swedes, which idiom was no other than the pure Unami
dialect of the Lenape, and I could hardly refrain from laughing at the
numerous errors that I observed in it; for instance, the Indian word
given for _hand_ in fact means _finger_. This is enough to shew how
carelessly those vocabularies are made, and how little their authors
are acquainted with the languages that they pretend to teach.

The cause of these mistakes may be easily accounted for. When
pointing to a particular object you ask an Indian how it is called,
he never will give you the name of the _genus_, but always that of
the _species_. Thus, if you point to a tree, and ask for its name,
the answer will be oak, beech, chestnut, maple, &c., as the case may
be. Thus the Swedish author of the vocabulary that I have mentioned,
probably happened to point to a _finger_, when he asked what was the
Indian word for _hand_, and on receiving the answer, without further
enquiry enriched his work with this notable specimen of Indian learning.

When I first went to reside among the Indians, I took great care to
learn by heart the words _Kœcu k’delloundamen yun?_ which means _What
do you call this?_ Whenever I found the Indians disposed to attend
to my enquiries, I would point to particular objects and repeat my
formulary, and the answers that they gave I immediately wrote down in
a book which I kept for the purpose; at last, when I had written about
half a dozen sheets, I found that I had more than a dozen names for
“_tree_” as many for “_fish_,” and so on with other things, and yet I
had not a single generic name. What was still worse, when I pointed to
something, repeating the name or one of the names by which I had been
taught to call it, I was sure to excite a laugh; and when, in order
to be set right, I put the question _Kœcu_, &c., I would receive for
answer a new word or name which I had never heard before. This began to
make me believe that everything was not as it should be, and that I was
not in the right way to learn the Indian language.

It was not only in substantives or the proper names of things that I
found myself almost always mistaken. Those who are not acquainted with
the copiousness of the Indian languages, can hardly form an idea of
the various shades and combinations of ideas that they can express.
For instance, the infinitive _Mitzin_ signifies _to eat_, and so
does _Mohoan_. Now although the first of these words is sufficiently
expressive of the act of eating something, be it what it may, yet the
Indians are very attentive to expressing in one word what and how they
have eaten, that is to say whether they have been eating something
which needed no chewing, as pottage, mush or the like, or something
that required the use of the teeth. In the latter case the proper word
is _mohoan_, and in the former _guntammen_. If an Indian is asked
_k’dapi mitzi?_ have you eaten? he will answer _n’dapi guntammen_, or
_n’dapi mohoa_, according as what he has eaten did or did not require
the aid of chewing. If he has eaten of both kinds of provisions at his
meal, he will then use the generic word, and say, _n’dapi mitzi_, which
means generally, _I have eaten_.

These niceties of course escaped me, and what was worse, few of the
words I had taken down were correctly written. Essential letters or
syllables, which in the rapidity of pronunciation had escaped my ear,
were almost everywhere omitted. When I tried to make use of the words
which I had so carefully collected, I found I was not understood, and I
was at a loss to discover the cause to which I might attribute my want
of success in the earnest endeavours that I was making to acquire the
Indian tongue.

At last there came an Indian, who was conversant with the English
and German, and was much my friend. I hastened to lay before him my
learned collection of Indian words, and was very much astonished when
he advised me immediately to burn the whole, and write no more. “The
first thing,” said he, “that you are to do to learn our language is to
get an Indian _ear_; when that is obtained, no sound, no syllable will
ever escape your hearing it, and you will at the same time learn the
true pronunciation and how to accent your words properly; the rest will
come of itself.” I found he was right. By listening to the natives,
and repeating the words to myself as they spoke them, it was not many
months before I ventured to converse with them, and finally understood
every word they said. The Indians are very proud of a white man’s
endeavouring to learn their language; they help him in everything that
they can, and it is not their fault if he does not succeed.

The language, then, is the first thing that a traveller ought to
endeavour to acquire, at least, so as to be able to make himself
understood and to understand others. Without this indispensable
requisite he may write about the soil, earth and stones, describe trees
and plants that grow on the surface of the land, the birds that fly in
the air and the fishes that swim in the waters, but he should by no
means attempt to speak of the disposition and characters of the human
beings who inhabit the country, and even of their customs and manners,
which it is impossible for him to be sufficiently acquainted with. And
indeed, even with the advantage of the language, this knowledge is not
to be acquired in a short time, so different is the impression which
new objects make upon us at first sight, and that which they produce on
a nearer view. I could speak the Delaware language very fluently, but I
was yet far from being well acquainted with the character and manners
of the Lenape.

The Indians are very ready to answer the enquiries that are made
respecting the usages of their country. But they are very much
disgusted with the manner which they say some white people have of
asking them questions on questions, without allowing them time to give
a proper answer to any one of them. They, on the contrary, never ask a
second question until they have received a full answer to the first.
They say of those who do otherwise, that they seem as if they wished to
know a thing, yet cared not whether they knew it correctly or properly.
There are some men who before the Indians have well understood the
question put to them, begin to write down their answers; of these
they have no good opinion, thinking that they are writing something
unfavourable of them.

There are men who will relate incredible stories of the Indians, and
think themselves sufficiently warranted because they have Indian
authority for it. But these men ought to know that all an Indian says
is not to be relied upon as truth. I do not mean to say that they are
addicted to telling falsehoods, for nothing is farther from their
character; but they are fond of the marvellous, and when they find a
white man inclined to listen to their tales of wonder, or credulous
enough to believe their superstitious notions, there are always some
among them ready to entertain him with tales of that description, as
it gives them an opportunity of diverting themselves in their leisure
hours, by relating such fabulous stories, while they laugh at the same
time at their being able to deceive a people who think themselves so
superior to them in wisdom and knowledge. They are fond of trying white
men who come among them, in order to see whether they can act upon them
in this way with success. Travellers who cannot speak their language,
and are not acquainted with their character, manners and usages,
should be more particularly careful not to ask them questions that
touch in any manner upon their superstitious notions, or, as they are
often considered even by themselves “fabulous amusements.” Nor should
a stranger ever display an anxiety to witness scenes of this kind,
but rather appear indifferent about them. In this manner he cannot
be misled by interested persons or those who have formed a malicious
design to deceive him. Whenever such a disposition appears (and it
is not difficult to be discovered), questions of this kind should be
reserved for another time, and asked in a proper manner before other
persons, or of those who would be candid and perhaps let the enquirer
into the secret.

I have been led to consider Carver, who otherwise is deserving of
credit for the greatest part of what he has written on the character of
the Indians, to have been imposed upon in the story which he relates
of having learned by means of a conjurer (the chief priest of the
Killistenoes, as he calls him) who pretended to have had a conversation
with the great Spirit, the precise time when a canoe should come, and
certain traders who had been long expected should arrive.[244] Had
Carver resided a longer time among the Indians, so as to have acquired
a more intimate acquaintance with their customs,[245] he would have
known that they have one in particular (which I understand is universal
among all the tribes), which would have easily explained to him what he
thought so mysterious. Whenever they go out on a journey, whether far
or near, and even sometimes when they go out on hunting parties, they
always fix a day, on which they either will return, or their friends
at home shall hear from them. They are so particular and punctual in
“making their word true,” as they call it, that when they find that at
the rate they are travelling, they would probably be at home a day or
so sooner than the time appointed, they will rather lay by for that
time than that their word should not be precisely made good. I have
known instances when they might have arrived in very good time the
day preceding that which they had appointed, but they rather chose to
encamp for the night, though but a few miles distant from their home.
They urge a variety of reasons for this conduct. In the first place,
they are anxious not to occasion disappointment in any case when
they can avoid it. They consider punctuality as an essential virtue,
because, they say, much often depends upon it, particularly when they
are engaged in wars. Besides, when the day of their return is certainly
known, everything is prepared for their reception, and the family are
ready with the best that they can provide to set before them on their
arrival. If, however, unforeseen circumstances should prevent them from
coming all on the same day, one, at least, or more of them, will be
sure to arrive, from whom those at home will learn all that they wish
to know.

On all important occasions, in which a tribe or body of Indians are
concerned or interested, whether they are looking out for the return of
an embassy sent to a distant nation, for messengers with an answer on
some matter of consequence, for runners despatched by their spies who
are watching an enemy’s motions, or for traders who at stated periods
every year are sure to meet them at certain places, they always take
proper and efficacious measures to prevent being surprised.

The case which appears to have excited so much astonishment in Captain
Carver, I believe to have been simply this. The Indians[246] had at the
season that he speaks of failed to arrive at the trading place at the
time appointed. The Indians who had assembled there for the purpose of
meeting them could not be ignorant of the cause of their delay, as
they had, no doubt, learned it by the return of some of their runners
sent out for that purpose, who, as is their custom, probably informed
them that another set of runners would be in the next day with further
advices. The priest must have known all this, and the precise spot
where those fresh runners were to encamp the night preceding their
arrival, which is always well known and understood by means of the
regular chain of communication that is kept up. These runners say to
each other, pointing to the heavens: “When the sun stands there, I will
be here or at such a particular spot,” which they clearly designate.
The information thus given is sure to reach in time the chiefs of the

The manner in which this priest spoke to Captain Carver of his
pretended intercourse with the great Spirit, clearly shews the
deception that he was practising upon him. “The great Spirit,” said
he, “has not indeed told me when the persons we expect will be here,
but to-morrow, soon after the sun has reached his highest point in the
heavens, a canoe will arrive, and the people in that will inform us
when the traders will come.” The question, then, which he had put to
the great Spirit, “when the traders would come?” was not answered, and
there was no need of asking the Mannitto when the _canoes_ should come,
for that must have been known already, and that the people in it would
tell them where the traders were, and when they might be expected to

As in or about the year 1774, I was travelling with some Christian
Indians, two Indians of the same nation, but strangers to us, fell in
with us just as we were going to encamp, and joined us for the night.
One of them was an aged grave-looking man, whom I was pleased to see
in our company, and I flattered myself with obtaining some information
from him, as, according to the Indian custom, age always takes the lead
in conversation. I soon, however, perceived, to my great mortification,
that he dwelt on subjects which I had neither a taste for nor an ear
to hear; for his topic was the supernatural performances of Indians
through the agency of an unseen Mannitto. I did not pay any attention
to what he said, nor did any of our Christian Indians shew marks of
admiration or astonishment at the stories he was telling, but sat in
silence smoking their pipes. The speaker having, after an hour’s time,
finished his relations, the oldest Indian in my company addressed
himself to me and said: “Now you have heard what some Indians can
perform. Have you ever heard the like before, and do you believe all
you have heard?” “There are,” I answered, “many things that I have
heard of the Indians, and which I believe to be true, and such things
I like to hear; but there are also things which they relate which I do
not believe, and therefore do not wish to know them. While our friend
here was just now telling us stories of this kind, which I cannot
believe, I was wishing all the time that he might soon have finished
and tell us something better.” The Indian, taking the hint in good
part, asked me then what things I should like to hear? On which I made
this reply: “As you are a man already in years, and much older than
myself, you must have seen many things that I have not seen, and heard
much that I have not heard. Now I should like to hear the history of
your life; where you was born, at what age you shot your first deer,
what things you heard of your father and your grandfather relative
to old times; where they supposed the Indians to have come from, and
what traditions they had respecting them. I should like also to know
how many children you have had; how far you have travelled in your
lifetime, and what you have seen and heard in your travels. See!” added
I, “these are the things that I should like to hear of the Indians;
anything of the kind from you will give me pleasure.” The Indian
then, highly pleased with my candour, readily complied, and having
related everything remarkable that had come within his observation and
knowledge, I thanked him, saying that I should never forget him nor
what he had now related to me, but that I would try to forget what he
had related in the beginning. The Indians who were with me, following
the thread of the conversation, continued to entertain us with rational
stories, and the evening was spent very agreeably. In the morning,
when we parted, the strange Indian whom I had thus rebuked, shook me
cordially by the hand, saying: “Friend! you shall never be forgotten by
me. Indeed I call you my _friend_.”

I would take the liberty to recommend to those who may hereafter
travel among the Indians, in any part of America, to be particular in
their enquiries respecting the connexion of the different nations or
tribes with each other, especially when the analogy of their respective
languages leads to infer such _relationship_, as the Indians call it.
I beg leave to suggest a few questions, which, I think, ought always
to be asked. They may lead to much useful information respecting the
various migrations and the original places of residence of the Indian
nations, and perhaps produce more important discoveries.

1. What is the name of your tribe? Is it its original name; if not, how
was it formerly called?

2. Have you a tradition of your lineal descent as a nation or tribe?

3. To what tribes are you related by blood, and where do they reside?

4. What is your character or rank in the national family?

5. Which among the tribes connected with you is that which you call

6. Where is the great council fire of all the nations or tribes
connected with yours?

7. How do you address the chiefs and council of such a nation or tribe?

8. What is the badge of your tribe?

From these and other similar questions, much valuable information will
probably result. The nation whom another tribe calls _grandfather_, is
certainly the head of the family to which they both belong. At his door
burns the “great national council fire,” or, in other words, at the
place where he resides with his counsellors, as the great or supreme
chief of the national family, the heads of the tribes in the connexion
occasionally assemble to deliberate on their common interests; any
tribe may have a council fire of its own, but cannot dictate to the
other tribes, nor compel any of them to take up the hatchet against
an enemy; neither can they conclude a peace for the whole; this power
entirely rests with the great national chief, who presides at the
council fire of their _grandfather_.

Indian nations or tribes connected with each other are not always
connected by blood or descended from the same original stock. Some
are admitted into the connexion by adoption. Such are the Tuscaroras
among the Six Nations; such the Cherokees among the Lenni Lenape.
Thus, in the year 1779, a deputation of fourteen men came from the
Cherokee nation to the council fire of the Delawares, to condole with
their _grandfather_ on the loss of their head chief.[247] There are
tribes, on the other hand, who have wandered far from the habitations
of those connected with them by blood or relationship. It is certain
that they can no longer be benefited by the general council fire.
They, therefore, become a people by themselves, and pass with us
for a separate nation, if they only have a name; nevertheless, (if
I am rightly informed) they well know to what stock or nation they
originally belonged, and if questioned on that subject, will give
correct answers. It is therefore very important to make these enquiries
of any tribe or nation that a traveller may find himself among. The
analogy of languages is the best and most unequivocal sign of connexion
between Indian tribes; yet the absence of that indication should not
always be relied upon.

It may not be improper also to mention in this place that the purity
or correctness with which a language is spoken, will greatly help to
discover who is the head of the national family. For no where is the
language so much cultivated as in the vicinity of the great national
council fire, where the orators have the best opportunity of displaying
their talents. Thus the purest and most elegant dialect of the Lenape
language, is that of the Unami or Turtle tribe.



If lions had painters! This proverbial saying applies with equal force
to the American Indians. They have no historians among them, no books,
no newspapers, no convenient means of making their grievances known to
a sympathising world. Why, then, should not a white man, a Christian,
who has spent among them the greatest part of his life, and was treated
by them at all times with hospitality and kindness, plead their honest
cause, and defend them as they would defend themselves, if they had
but the means of bringing their facts and their arguments before an
impartial public?

Those who have never taken the pains to enquire into the real character
and disposition of the American Indians, naturally suppose, that a
people who have no code of laws for their government, but where every
man is at liberty to do what he pleases, where men never forget or
forgive injuries, and take revenge in their own way, often in the most
cruel manner, and are never satisfied until they have been revenged,
must of course be _barbarians_ and _savages_; by which undefined
words is understood whatever is bad, wicked, and disgraceful to human
nature. Imagination is immediately at work to paint them as a species
of monsters, to whom cruelty is an appetite; a sort of human-shaped
tigers and panthers, strangers to the finer feelings, and who commit
acts of barbarity without any excitement but that of their depraved
inclination, and without even suspecting that there are such things in
nature as virtue on the one hand and crime on the other.

But nothing is so false as this picture of the Indians. The worst
that can be said of them is, that the passion of revenge is so strong
in their minds, that it carries them beyond all bounds. But set this
aside, and their character is noble and great. They have no written
laws, but they have usages founded on the most strict principles of
equity and justice. Murder with them is punished with death. It is
true, that as was the case not many centuries ago among the most
civilised nations of Europe, the death of a man may be compounded for
with his surviving relations; if, however, they do not choose to accept
of the terms offered, any one of them may become the executioner of the

Thieves are compelled to restore what they have stolen, or to make
satisfactory amends to the injured party; in their default, their
nearest relations are obliged to make up the loss. If the thief, after
sufficient warning, continues his bad practices, he is disowned by
his nation, and any one may put him to death the next time that he is
caught in the act of stealing, or that it can be clearly proved to have
been committed by him. I have given two instances of the kind in a
former chapter,[248] and I recollect another which will put what I have
said in the strongest light. I once knew an Indian chief, who had a son
of a vicious disposition, addicted to stealing, and who would take no
advice. His father, tired and unable to satisfy all the demands which
were made upon him for the restitution of articles stolen by his son,
at last issued his orders for shooting him the next time he should be
guilty of a similar act.

As to crimes and offences of an inferior nature to murder and theft,
they are left to the injured party to punish in such manner as he
thinks proper. Such are personal insults and threats, which among
those people are not considered as slight matters. If the will and
intention of the aggressor appear to be _bad_; if the insult offered
is considered as the forerunner of something worse; or, as the Indians
express themselves, if the “_murdering spirit_” is “_alive_” within
him who offers or threatens violence to another, they think themselves
justified in preventing the act meditated against them; in such a case,
they consider the killing the aggressor as an act of necessity and
self defence. Yet it is very rarely, indeed, that such punishments are
inflicted.[249] The Indians, in general, avoid giving offence as much
as possible. They firmly believe that bad thoughts and actions proceed
from the evil spirit, and carefully avoid every thing that is _bad_.

Every person who is well acquainted with the true character of the
Indians will admit that they are peaceable, sociable, obliging,
charitable, and hospitable among themselves, and that those virtues
are, as it were, a part of their nature. In their ordinary intercourse,
they are studious to oblige each other. They neither wrangle nor fight;
they live, I believe, as peaceably together as any people on earth, and
treat one another with the greatest respect. That they are not devoid
of tender feelings has been sufficiently shewn in the course of this
work. I do not mean to speak of those whose manners have been corrupted
by a long intercourse with the worst class of white men; they are a
degenerate race, very different from the true genuine Indians whom I
have attempted to describe.

If any one should be disposed to think that I have exaggerated in the
picture which I have drawn of these _original people_, as they call
themselves, I appeal to the numerous impartial writers who have given
the same testimony respecting them. What says Christopher Columbus
himself of the American Indians in his letters to his sovereign?
“There are not,” says he, “a better people in the world than these;
more affectionate, affable, or mild. _They love their neighbours as

Similar encomiums were passed on them by some of the first Englishmen
who came to settle in this country. The Reverend Mr. Cushman, in a
sermon preached at Plymouth in 1620, says: “The Indians are said to be
the most cruel and treacherous people in all those parts, even like
lions; but to us they have been like lambs, so kind, so submissive and
trusty, as a man may truly say, many Christians are not so kind and

The learned Dr. Elias Boudinot, of Burlington, in New Jersey (a man
well remembered as one of the most eminent leaders of the American
Revolution),[250] in a work[251] which, whatever opinion may be
entertained of the hypothesis that he contends for, well deserves
to be read, for the spirit which it breathes and the facts that it
contains, has brought together in one view, the above and many other
authorities of eminent men in favour of the American Indians, and in
proof that their character is such as I have described. I shall not
repeat after him what Las Casas, William Penn, Bryan Edwards, the Abbé
Clavigero, Father Charlevoix and others, have said on the same subject;
those numerous and weighty testimonies may be found in the work to
which I have referred.[252] But I cannot refrain from transcribing the
opinion of the venerable author himself, to which his high character,
his learning, and independence, affix a more than common degree of

“It is a matter of fact,” says Dr. Boudinot, “proved by most historical
accounts, that the Indians, at our first acquaintance with them,
generally manifested themselves kind, hospitable and generous to the
Europeans, so long as they were treated with justice and humanity. But
when they were, from a thirst of gain, over-reached on many occasions,
their friends and relations treacherously entrapped and carried away
to be sold for slaves, themselves injuriously oppressed, deceived
and driven from their lawful and native possessions; what ought to
have been expected, but inveterate enmity, hereditary animosity,
and a spirit of perpetual revenge? To whom should be attributed the
evil passions, cruel practices and vicious habits to which they are
now changed, but to those who first set them the example, laid the
foundation and then furnished the continual means for propagating and
supporting the evil?”[253]

Such was the original character of the Indians, stamped, as it were,
upon them by nature; but fifty or sixty years back, whole communities
of them bore the stamp of this character, difficult now to be found
within the precincts of any part of their territory bordering on the
settlements of the white people!

What! will it be asked, can this be a true picture of the character of
the Indians; of those brutes, barbarians, savages, men without religion
or laws, who commit indiscriminate murders, without distinction of age
or sex? Have they not in numberless instances desolated our frontiers,
and butchered our people? Have they not violated treaties and deceived
the confidence that we placed in them? No, no; they are beasts of prey
in the human form; they are men with whom no faith is to be kept, and
who ought to be cut off from the face of the earth!

Stop, my friends! hard names and broad assertions are neither reasons
nor positive facts. I am not prepared to enter into a discussion with
you on the comparative merits or demerits of the Indians and whites;
for I am unskilled in argument, and profess only to be a plain _matter
of fact_ man. To facts therefore I will appeal. I admit that the
Indians have sometimes revenged, cruelly revenged, the accumulated
wrongs which they have suffered from unprincipled white men; the
love of revenge is a strong passion which their imperfect religious
notions have not taught them to subdue. But how often have they been
the aggressors in the unequal contests which they have had to sustain
with the invaders of their country? In how many various shapes have
they not been excited and their passions roused to the utmost fury by
acts of cruelty and injustice on the part of the whites, who have made
afterwards the country ring with their complaints against the lawless
savages, who had not the means of being heard in their defence? I shall
not pursue these questions any farther, but let the facts that I am
going to relate speak for themselves.

In the summer of the year 1763, some friendly Indians from a distant
place, came to Bethlehem to dispose of their peltry for manufactured
goods and necessary implements of husbandry. Returning home well
satisfied, they put up the first night at a tavern, eight miles
distant from this place.[254] The landlord not being at home, his wife
took the liberty of encouraging the people who frequented her house for
the sake of drinking to abuse those Indians, adding, “That she would
freely give a gallon of rum to any one of them that should kill one of
these black d----ls.” Other white people from the neighbourhood came in
during the night, who also drank freely, made a great deal of noise,
and increased the fears of those poor Indians, who, for the greatest
part, understanding English, could not but suspect that something bad
was intended against their persons. They were not, however, otherwise
disturbed: but in the morning, when, after a restless night, they were
preparing to set off, they found themselves robbed of some of the
most valuable articles they had purchased, and on mentioning this to
a man who appeared to be the bar-keeper, they were ordered to leave
the house. Not being willing to lose so much property, they retired
to some distance into the woods, where, some of them remaining with
what was left them, the others returned to Bethlehem and lodged their
complaint with a justice of the peace. The magistrate gave them a
letter to the landlord, pressing him without delay to restore to the
Indians the goods that had been taken from them. But behold! when they
delivered that letter to the people at the inn, they were told in
answer: “that if they set any value on their lives, they must make off
with themselves immediately.” They well understood that they had no
other alternative, and prudently departed without having received back
any of their goods.[255] Arrived at Nescopeck[256] on the Susquehannah,
they fell in with some other Delawares, who had been treated much in
the same manner, one of them having had his rifle stolen from him. Here
the two parties agreed to take revenge in their own way, for those
insults and robberies for which they could obtain no redress; and that
they determined to do as soon as war should be again declared by their
nation against the English.

Scarcely had these Indians retired, when in another place, about
fourteen miles distant from the former, one man, two women and a child,
all quiet Indians, were murdered in a most wicked and barbarous manner,
by drunken militia officers and their men, for the purpose of getting
their horse and the goods they had just purchased.[257] One of the
women, falling on her knees, begged in vain for the life of herself
and her child, while the other woman, seeing what was doing, made her
escape to the barn, where she endeavoured to hide herself on the top of
the grain. She however was discovered, and inhumanly thrown down on the
threshing floor with such force that her brains flew out.[258]

Here, then, were insults, robberies and murders, all committed within
the short space of three months, unatoned for and unrevenged. There was
no prospect of obtaining redress; the survivors were therefore obliged
to seek some other means to obtain revenge. They did so; the Indians,
already exasperated against the English in consequence of repeated
outrages, and considering the nation as responsible for the injuries
which it did neither prevent nor punish, and for which it did not even
offer to make any kind of reparation, at last declared war, and then
the injured parties were at liberty to redress themselves for the
wrongs they had suffered. They immediately started against the objects
of their hatred, and finding their way, unseen and undiscovered, to
the inn which had been the scene of the first outrage, they attacked
it at daybreak, fired into it on the people within, who were lying in
their beds. Strange to relate! the murderers of the man, two women,
and child, were among them. They were mortally wounded, and died of
their wounds shortly afterwards. The Indians, after leaving this
house, murdered by accident an innocent family, having mistaken the
house that they meant to attack, after which they returned to their

Now a violent hue and cry was raised against the Indians--no language
was too bad, no crimes too black to brand them with. No faith was to
be placed in those savages; treaties with them were of no effect; they
ought to be cut off from the face of the earth! Such was the language
at that time in everybody’s mouth; the newspapers were filled with
accounts of the cruelties of the Indians, a variety of false reports
were circulated in order to rouse the people against them, while they,
the really injured party, having no printing presses among them, could
not make known the story of their grievances.

“No faith can be placed in what the Indians promise at treaties; for
scarcely is a treaty concluded than they are again murdering us.” Such
is our complaint against these unfortunate people; but they will tell
you that it is the white men in whom no faith is to placed. They will
tell you, that there is not a single instance in which the whites have
not violated the engagements that they had made at treaties. They say
that when they had ceded lands to the white people, and boundary lines
had been established--“firmly established!” beyond which no whites
were to settle; scarcely was the treaty signed, when white intruders
again were settling and hunting on their lands! It is true that when
they preferred their complaints to the government, the government gave
them many fair promises, and assured them that men would be sent to
remove the intruders by force from the usurped lands. The men, indeed,
came, but with chain and compass in their hands, taking surveys of the
tracts of good land, which the intruders, from their knowledge of the
country, had pointed out to them!

What was then to be done, when those intruders would not go off from
the land, but, on the contrary, increased in numbers? “Oh!” said
those people, (and I have myself frequently heard this language in
the Western country,) “a new treaty will soon give us all this land;
nothing is now wanting but a pretence to pick a quarrel with them!”
Well, but in what manner is this quarrel to be brought about? A _David
Owen_, a _Walker_, and many others might, if they were alive, easily
answer this question. A precedent, however, may be found, on perusing
Mr. Jefferson’s Appendix to his Notes on Virginia. On all occasions,
when the object is to murder Indians, strong liquor is the main article
required; for when you have them dead drunk, you may do to them as you
please, without running the risk of losing your life. And should you
find that the laws of your country may reach you where you are, you
have only to escape or conceal yourself for a while, until the storm
has blown over! I well recollect the time when thieves and murderers of
Indians fled from impending punishment across the Susquehannah, where
they considered themselves safe; on which account this river had the
name given to it of “_the rogue’s river_.” I have heard other rivers
called by similar names.

In the year 1742, the Reverend Mr. Whitefield offered the Nazareth
Manor (as it was then called) for sale to the United Brethren.[260] He
had already begun to build upon it a spacious stone house, intended as
a school house for the education of negro children. The Indians, in the
meanwhile, loudly exclaimed against the white people for settling in
this part of the country, which had not yet been legally purchased of
them, but, as they said, had been obtained by fraud.[261] The Brethren
declined purchasing any lands on which the Indian title had not been
properly extinguished, wishing to live in peace with all the Indians
around them. Count Zinzendorff happened at that time to arrive in the
country; he found that the agents of the proprietors would not pay to
the Indians the price which they asked for that tract of land; he paid
them out of his private purse the whole of the demand which they made
in the height of their ill temper, and moreover gave them permission to
abide on the land, at their village, (where, by the by, they had a fine
large peach orchard,) as long as they should think proper. But among
those white men, who afterwards came and settled in the neighbourhood
of their tract, there were some who were enemies to the Indians, and
a young Irishman, without cause or provocation, murdered their good
and highly respected chief _Tademi_,[262] a man of such an easy and
friendly address, that he could not but be loved by all who knew him.
This, together with the threats of other persons, ill disposed towards
them, was the cause of their leaving their settlement on this manor,
and removing to places of greater safety.

It is true, that when flagrant cases of this description occurred,
the government, before the Revolution, issued proclamations offering
rewards for apprehending the offenders, and in later times, since the
country has become more thickly settled, those who had been guilty of
such offences were brought before the tribunals to take their trials.
But these formalities have proved of little avail. In the first case,
the criminals were seldom, if ever, apprehended; in the second, no jury
could be found to convict them; for it was no uncommon saying among
many of the men of whom juries in the frontier countries were commonly
composed, that no man should be put to death for killing an Indian; for
it was the same thing as killing a wild beast!

But what shall I say of the conduct of the British agents, or deputy
agents, or by whatsoever other name they may be called, who, at the
commencement of the American Revolution, openly excited the Indians
to kill and destroy all the rebels without distinction? “Kill all the
rebels,” they would say, “put them all to death, and spare none.”
A veteran chief of the Wyandot nation, who resided near Detroit,
observed to one of them that surely it was meant that they should kill
men only, and not women and children. “No, no,” was the answer, “kill
all, destroy all; _nits breed lice_!” The brave veteran[263] was so
disgusted with this reply, that he refused to go out at all; wishing
however to see and converse with his old brother soldiers of the
Delaware nation, with whom he had fought against the English in the
French war, he took the command of a body of ninety chosen men, and
being arrived at the seat of the government of the Delawares, on the
Muskingum, he freely communicated to his old comrades (among whom was
Glikhican, whom I shall presently have occasion further to mention)
what had taken place, and what he had resolved on; saying that he never
would be guilty of killing women and children; that this was the first
and would be the last of his going out this war; that in ten days they
should see him come back with one prisoner only, no scalp to a pole,
and no life lost. He kept his word. The sixteen chiefs under him, from
respect and principle, agreed to all his proposals and wishes.

How different the conduct of the Indians from that of their inhuman
employers! I have already related the noble speech of Captain Pipe
to the British Commandant at Detroit, and I have done justice to the
character of that brave officer, who surely ought not to be confounded
with those Indian agents that I have spoken of. But what said Pipe
to him? “Innocence had no part in your quarrels; and therefore I
distinguished--I spared. Father! I hope you will not destroy what
I have saved!”[264] I have also told the conduct of the two young
spirited Delawares[265] who saved the life of the venerable Missionary
Zeisberger, at the risk of their own. But it is not only against their
own people that Indians have afforded their protection to white men,
but against the whites themselves.

In the course of the Revolutionary war, in which (as in all civil
commotions) brother was seen fighting against brother, and friend
against friend, a party of Indian warriors, with whom one of those
white men, who, under colour of attachment to their king, indulged
in every sort of crimes, was going out against the settlers on the
Ohio, to kill and destroy as they had been ordered. The chief of the
expedition had given strict orders not to molest any of the white men
who lived with their friends the Christian Indians; yet as they passed
near a settlement of these converts, the white man, unmindful of the
orders he had received, attempted to shoot two of the Missionaries who
were planting potatoes in their field, and though the captain warned
him to desist, he still obstinately persisted in his attempt. The
chief, in anger, immediately took his gun from him, and kept him under
guard until they had reached a considerable distance from the place. I
have received this account from the chief himself, who on his return
sent word to the Missionaries that they would do well not to go far
from home, as they were in too great danger from the _white people_.

Another white man of the same description, whom I well knew, related
with a kind of barbarous exultation, on his return to Detroit from
a war excursion with the Indians in which he had been engaged, that
the party with which he was, having taken a woman prisoner who had a
sucking babe at her breast, he tried to persuade the Indians to kill
the child, lest its cries should discover the place where they were;
the Indians were unwilling to commit the deed, on which the white man
at once jumped up, tore the child from its mother’s arms and taking it
by the legs dashed its head against a tree, so that the brains flew out
all around. The monster in relating this story said, “The little dog
all the time was making _wee!_” He added, that if he were sure that his
old father, who some time before had died in Old Virginia, would, if
he had lived longer, have turned rebel, he would go all the way into
Virginia, raise the body, and take off his scalp!

Let us now contrast with this the conduct of the Indians. Carver tells
us in his travels with what moderation, humanity and delicacy they
treat female prisoners, and particularly pregnant women.[266] I refer
the reader to the following fact, as an instance of their conduct
in such cases. If his admiration is excited by the behaviour of the
Indians, I doubt not that his indignation will be raised in an equal
degree by that of a white man who unfortunately acts a part in the

A party of Delawares, in one of their excursions during the
Revolutionary war, took a white female prisoner. The Indian chief,
after a march of several days, observed that she was ailing, and was
soon convinced (for she was far advanced in her pregnancy) that the
time of her delivery was near. He immediately made a halt on the bank
of a stream, where at a proper distance from the encampment, he built
for her a close hut of peeled barks, gathered dry grass and fern to
make her a bed, and placed a blanket at the opening of the dwelling
as a substitute for a door. He then kindled a fire, placed a pile of
wood near it to feed it occasionally, and placed a kettle of water at
hand where she might easily use it. He then took her into her little
infirmary, gave her Indian medicines, with directions how to use them,
and told her to rest easy and she might be sure that nothing should
disturb her. Having done this, he returned to his men, forbade them
from making any noise, or disturbing the sick woman in any manner, and
told them that he himself should guard her during the night. He did
so, and the whole night kept watch before her door, walking backward
and forward, to be ready at her call at any moment, in case of extreme
necessity. The night passed quietly, but in the morning, as he was
walking by on the bank of the stream, seeing him through the crevices,
she called to him and presented her babe. The good chief, with tears
in his eyes, rejoiced at her safe delivery; he told her not to be
uneasy, that he should lay by for a few days and would soon bring her
some nourishing food, and some medicines to take. Then going to his
encampment, he ordered all his men to go out a hunting, and remained
himself to guard the camp.

Now for the reverse of the picture. Among the men whom this chief
had under his command, was one of those white vagabonds whom I have
before described. The captain was much afraid of him, knowing him to
be a bad man; and as he had expressed a great desire to go a hunting
with the rest, he believed him gone, and entertained no fears for the
woman’s safety. But it was not long before he was undeceived. While
he was gone to a small distance to dig roots for his poor patient, he
heard her cries, and running with speed to her hut, he was informed by
her that the white man had threatened to take her life if she did not
immediately throw her child into the river. The Captain, enraged at the
cruelty of this man, and the liberty he had taken with his prisoner,
hailed him as he was running off, and told him, “That the moment he
should miss the child, the tomahawk should be in his head.” After a few
days this humane chief placed the woman carefully on a horse, and they
went together to the place of their destination, the mother and child
doing well. I have heard him relate this story, to which he added, that
whenever he should go out on an excursion, he never would suffer a
white man to be of his party.

Yet I must acknowledge that I have known an Indian chief who had been
guilty of the crime of killing the child of a female prisoner. It was
Glikhican,[267] of whom I have before spoken, as one of the friends of
the brave Wyandot who expressed so much horror at the order given to
him by the Indian agents to murder women and children.[268] In the year
1770, he joined the congregation of the Christian Indians; the details
of his conversion are related at large by Loskiel in his History of the
Missions.[269] Before that time he had been conspicuous as a warrior
and a counsellor, and in oratory it is said he never was surpassed.
This man, having joined the French, in the year 1754, or 1755, in their
war against the English, and being at that time out with a party of
Frenchmen, took, among other prisoners, a young woman named _Rachel
Abbott_, from the Conegocheague settlement,[270] who had at her breast
a sucking babe. The incessant cries of the child, the hurry to get off,
but above all, the persuasions of his _white_ companions, induced him,
much against his inclination, to kill the innocent creature; while the
mother, in an agony of grief, and her face suffused with tears, begged
that its life might be spared. The woman, however, was brought safe
to the Ohio, where she was kindly treated and adopted, and some years
afterwards was married to a Delaware chief of respectability, by whom
she had several children, who are now living with the Christian Indians
in Upper Canada.

Glikhican never forgave himself for having committed this crime,
although many times, and long before his becoming a Christian, he had
begged the woman’s pardon with tears in his eyes, and received her
free and full forgiveness. In vain she pointed out to him all the
circumstances that he could have alleged to excuse the deed; in vain
she reminded him of his unwillingness at the time, and his having been
in a manner compelled to it by his French associates; nothing that
she did say could assuage his sorrow or quiet the perturbation of his
mind; he called himself a wretch, a monster, a _coward_ (the proud
feelings of an Indian must be well understood to judge of the force of
this self-accusation), and to the moment of his death the remembrance
of this fatal act preyed like a canker worm upon his spirits. I ought
to add, that from the time of his conversion, he lived the life of a
Christian, and died as such.

The Indians are cruel to their enemies! In some cases they are, but
perhaps not more so than white men have sometimes shewn themselves.
There have been instances of white men flaying or taking off the skin
of Indians who had fallen into their hands, then tanning those skins,
or cutting them in pieces, making them up into razor-straps, and
exposing those for sale, as was done at or near Pittsburg sometime
during the Revolutionary war. Those things are abominations in the eyes
of the Indians, who, indeed, when strongly excited, inflict torments
on their prisoners and put them to death by cruel tortures, but never
are guilty of acts of barbarity in cold blood. Neither do the Delawares
and some other Indian nations, ever on any account disturb the ashes of
the dead.

The custom of torturing prisoners is of ancient date, and was first
introduced as a trial of courage. I have been told, however, that among
some tribes it has never been in use; but it must be added that those
tribes gave no quarter. The Delawares accuse the Iroquois of having
been the inventors of this piece of cruelty, and charge them further
with eating the flesh of their prisoners after the torture was over. Be
this as it may, there are now but few instances of prisoners being put
to death in this manner.

Rare as these barbarous executions now are, I have reason to believe
that they would be still less frequent, if proper pains were taken to
turn the Indians away from this heathenish custom. Instead of this, it
is but too true that they have been excited to cruelty by unprincipled
white men, who have joined in their war-feasts, and even added to the
barbarity of the scene. Can there be a more brutal act than, after
furnishing those savages, as they are called, with implements of war
and destruction, to give them an ox to kill and to roast whole, to
dance the war dance with them round the slaughtered animal, strike at
him, stab him, telling the Indians at the same time: “Strike, stab!
Thus you must do to your enemy!” Then taking a piece of the meat, and
tearing it with their teeth: “So you must eat his flesh!” and sucking
up the juices: “Thus you must drink his blood!” and at last devour the
whole as wolves do a carcass. This is what is known to have been done
by some of those Indian agents that I have mentioned.

“Is this possible?” the reader will naturally exclaim. Yes, it is
possible, and every Indian warrior will tell you that it is true. It
has come to me from so many credible sources, that I am forced to
believe it. How can the Indians now be reproached with acts of cruelty
to which they have been excited by those who pretended to be Christians
and civilised men, but who were worse savages than those whom, no
doubt, they were ready to brand with that name?

When hostile governments give directions to employ the Indians against
their enemies, they surely do not know that such is the manner in
which their orders are to be executed; but let me tell them and every
government who will descend to employing these auxiliaries, that this
is the only way in which their subaltern agents will and can proceed
to make their aid effectual. The Indians are not fond of interfering
in quarrels not their own, and will not fight with spirit for the mere
sake of a livelihood which they can obtain in a more agreeable manner
by hunting and their other ordinary occupations. Their passions must
be excited, and that is not easily done when they themselves have not
received any injury from those against whom they are desired to fight.
Behold, then, the abominable course which must unavoidably be resorted
to--to induce them to do what?--to lay waste the dwelling of the
peaceable cultivator of the land, and to murder his innocent wife and
his helpless children! I cannot pursue this subject farther, although
I am far from having exhausted it. I have said enough to enable the
impartial reader to decide which of the two classes of men, the Indians
and the whites, are most justly entitled to the epithets of brutes,
barbarians, and savages. It is not for me to anticipate his decision.

But if the Indians, after all, are really those horrid monsters which
they are alleged to be, two solemn, serious questions have often
occurred to my mind, to which I wish the partisans of that doctrine
would give equally serious answers.

1. Can civilised nations, can nations which profess Christianity,
be justified in employing people of that description to aid them
in fighting their battles against their enemies, Christians like

2. When such nations offer up their prayers to the throne of the most
High, supplicating the Divine Majesty to grant success to their arms,
can they, ought they to expect that those prayers will be heard?

I have done. Let me only be permitted, in conclusion, to express
my firm belief, the result of much attentive observation and long
experience while living among the Indians, that if we would only
observe towards them the first and most important precept of our holy
religion, “to do to others as we would be done to;” if, instead of
employing them to fight our battles, we encouraged them to remain at
peace with us and with each other, they might easily be brought to a
state of civilisation, and become CHRISTIANS.

I still indulge the hope that this work will be accomplished by a wise
and benevolent government. Thus we shall demonstrate the falsity of the
prediction of the Indian prophets, who say: “That when the whites shall
have ceased killing the red men, and got all their lands from them, the
great tortoise which bears this island upon his back, shall dive down
into the deep and drown them all, as he once did before, a great many
years ago; and that when he again rises, the Indians shall once more be
put in possession of the whole country.”


I have thus finished the work which was required of me by the
Historical Committee of the American Philosophical Society. On reading
over the printed sheets which have been kindly sent to me from
Philadelphia, as they issued from the press, I have noticed several
errors, some of which may be ascribed to me, others to the transcriber
of the manuscript, and very few to the printer. I regret that there are
among them some mistakes in dates and names of places; they are all
rectified in the errata.

I am very sensible of the many defects of this little work in point
of method, arrangement, composition and style. I am not an author
by profession; the greatest part of my life was spent among savage
nations, and I have now reached the age of seventy-five, at which
period of life little improvement can be expected. It is not,
therefore, as an author that I wish to be judged, but as a sincere
relator of facts that have fallen within my observation and knowledge.
I declare that I have said nothing but what I certainly know or verily
believe. In matters of mere opinion, I may be contradicted; but in
points of fact I have been even scrupulous, and purposely omitted
several anecdotes for which I could not sufficiently vouch. In my
descriptions of character, I may have been an unskilful painter, and
ill chosen expressions may imperfectly have sketched out the images
that are imprinted on my mind; but the fault is in the writer, not in
the man.

It is with pleasure that I inform the reader that the parts of Mr.
Zeisberger’s Iroquois Dictionary which I have mentioned above, (pages
97, 118,) as being irretrievably lost, have most fortunately been
found since this work is in the press. The book has been neatly bound
in seven quarto volumes, and will remain a monument of the richness
and comprehensiveness of the languages of the Indian nations. Several
valuable grammatical works on the same language, by the same author and
Mr. Pyrlæus, have been recovered at the same time, by means of which,
the idiom of the Six Nations may now be scientifically studied.

When I spoke (p. 136) of the impression made by Captain Pipe’s speech
“on all present,” I meant only on those who understood the language;
for there were many who did not, and M. Baby, the Canadian interpreter,
did not explain to the bystanders the most striking passages, but went
now and then to the Commandant and whispered in his ear. Captain Pipe,
while he spoke, was exceedingly animated, and twice advanced so near
to the Commandant, that M. Baby ordered him to fall back to his place.
All who were present must have at least suspected that his speech was
not one of the ordinary kind, and that everything was not as they might
suppose it ought to be.

I promised in my introduction (p. xxvi.) to subjoin an explanatory list
of the Indian nations which I have mentioned in the course of this
work, but I find that I have been so full on the subject that such a
list is unnecessary.

I have classed the Florida Indians together in respect of language, on
the supposition that they all speak dialects of the same mother tongue;
the fact, however, may be otherwise, though it will be extraordinary
that there should be several languages entirely different from each
other in the narrow strip of land between the Carolinas and the
Mississippi, when there are but two principal ones in the rest of
the United States. It is to be expected that the researches of the
Historical Committee will throw light upon this subject.


  PAGE 26, LINE  5--Between the words “_if_” and “_what_” insert “_we
                      can credit_.”
       30,     15--For “_declaring at the same time_” read “_and
                     declared afterwards_.”
       31,      8--For “_Mohicans_” read “_Lenape_.”
       67,     14--For “_1742_” read “_and November 1756_.”
       72,     12--Dele “_in which_.”
       77,     11--For “_Delawares_” read “_Mohicans_.”
       80,     18--For “_1787_” read “_1781_.”
       81,      5--For “_us_” read “_them_.”
       84,     12--For “_Mouseys_” read “_Monseys_.”
               23--Beginning a paragraph, for “_1768, about six_” read
                     “_1772, a few_.”
       85,     29--Of third note, for “_Shawanachau_” read
       90,     13--For “_Shawanos_” read “_Nanticokes_.”
       91,     13--For “_schschequon_” read “_shechschequon_.”
       92,     29 and 30--For “_Tawachguáno_” read “_Tayachguáno_.”
      110,     12--For “_once_” read “_sometimes_.”
      111,      8--For “_should_” read “_deserved to_.”
               10--For “_to_” read “_out at_.”
               12--Dele “_outside of the door and_.”
      118,     15--For “_Thornhallesen_” read “_Thorhallesen_.”
      122,     10--Of the first note, for  “_p. 3_” read  “_p. 5_.”
      130,      8--For “_or_” read “_nor_.”
      131,     22--For “_met_” read “_saw_.”
               25--For “_days_” read “_hours_.”
      133,      5--For “_December_” read “_November_.”
      140,     10--Of No. 43, for “_with_” read “_of_.”
      143,     34--For “_they_” read “_the Chippeways and some other
      146,     17--For “_your_” read “_yon_.”
      150,      4--After the word “_nation_” insert “_which they do not
                     approve of_.”
      153,     31--For “_they sure_” read “_they are sure_.”
      160,     32--For “_reply_” read “_answer_.”
      164,     26--For “_decide_” read “_say_.”
               28--For “_man_” read “_men_.”
      166,      2--Between “_is_” and “_even_” insert “_sometimes_.”
               22--For “_an old Indian_” read “_several old men_.”
      167,     11 and 13--For “_road_” read “_course_.”
      174,     18--For “_where_” read “_whence_.”
      178,     33--For “_Duke Holland_” read “_Luke Holland_;” the same
                     where the name again occurs.
      201,      5--Dele “_again_.”
      216,     29--For “_very often_” read “_sometimes_.”
      217,      2--For “_inches_” read “_feet_.”
      218,     14--For “_of_” read “_on_.”
      243,      3--For “_Americans_” read “_white men_.”
      250,      9--For “_killed_” read “_eaten_.”
      253,     37--For “_Pauk-sit_” read “_P’duk-sit_.”
      263,     14--Dele “_lands or_.”
      278,     35--For “_Albany_” read “_Pittsburgh_.”
      283,     31--For “_Sandusky_” read “_Muskingum_.”
      293,     26--For “_bought_” read “_brought_.”
      313,     23--For “_them_” read “_us_.”











Languages of the American Indians.

    The following Correspondence between Mr. Heckewelder and Peter
    S. Du Ponceau, Esq., Corresponding Secretary of the Historical
    and Literary Committee of the American Philosophical Society,
    and subsequently, till his death in 1844, President of that
    Society, is appended as a fitting sequel to the preceding

[Illustration: INTRODUCTION]

The Historical and Literary Committee of the American Philosophical
Society, desirous of taking the most effectual means to promote the
objects of their institution, directed their corresponding secretary
to address letters in their name to such persons in the United States
as had turned their attention to similar objects, and solicit their

Among other well-informed individuals, the Reverend Mr. Heckewelder
of Bethlehem was pointed out by the late Dr. Caspar Wistar, President
of the Society, and one of the most active and useful members of the
Committee, as a gentleman whose intimate knowledge of the American
Indians, their usages, manners and languages, enabled him to afford
much important aid to their labours. In consequence of this suggestion,
the secretary wrote to Mr. Heckewelder the letter No. 1, and Dr.
Wistar seconded his application by the letter No. 2. The languages
of the Indians were not at that time particularly in the view of the
Committee; the manners and customs of those nations were the principal
subjects on which they wished and expected to receive information. But
Mr. Heckewelder having with his letter No. 4, sent them the MS. of Mr.
Zeisberger’s Grammar of the Delaware Language, that communication had
the effect of directing their attention to this interesting subject.

This MS. being written in German, was not intelligible to the greatest
number of the members. Two of them, the Reverend Dr. Nicholas Collin,
and the corresponding secretary, were particularly anxious to be
honoured with the task of translating it; but the secretary having
claimed this labour as part of his official duty, it was adjudged
to him. While he was translating that work, he was struck with the
beauty of the grammatical forms of the Lenape idiom, which led him to
ask through Dr. Wistar some questions of Mr. Heckewelder,[271] which
occurred to him as he was pursuing his labours, and produced the
correspondence now published, which was carried on by the direction and
under the sanction of the Committee.

The letters which passed at the beginning between Dr. Wistar and Mr.
Zeisberger,[272] and are here published in their regular order, do
not, it is true, form a necessary part of this collection; but it will
be perceived, that to the two letters of Dr. Wistar, Nos. 2 and 6, we
are indebted for the valuable Historical Account of the Indians, which
forms the first number of this volume. It is just that he should have
the credit due to his active and zealous exertions.

It was intended that Mr. Zeisberger’s Grammar should have immediately
followed this Correspondence, which was considered as introductory to
it. But it being now evident that it would increase too much the size
of the volume, its publication is for the present postponed.





  PHILADELPHIA, 9th January, 1816.

SIR.--As corresponding secretary to the Historical Committee of the
American Philosophical Society, it is my duty to solicit the aid of
men of learning and information, by the help of whose knowledge light
may be thrown on the yet obscure history of the early times of the
colonization of this country, and particularly of this State. Our
much-respected President and common friend, Dr. Wistar, has often
spoken to me of the great knowledge which you possess respecting
the Indians who once inhabited these parts, and of your intimate
acquaintance with their languages, habits and history. He had promised
me, when you was last here, to do me the favour of introducing me to
you, but the bad state of his health and other circumstances prevented
it, which has been and still is to me the cause of much regret. Permit
me, sir, on the strength of his recommendation, and the assurance he
has given me that I might rely on your zeal and patriotic feelings,
to request, in the name of the Historical Committee, that you will be
so good as to aid their labours by occasional communications on the
various subjects that are familiar to you and which relate to the early
history of this country. Accounts of the various nations of Indians
which have at different times inhabited Pennsylvania, their numbers,
origin, migrations, connexions with each other, the parts which they
took in the English and French wars and in the Revolutionary war, their
manners, customs, languages, and religion, will be very acceptable, as
well as every thing which you may conceive interesting, on a subject
which at no distant period will be involved in obscurity and doubt,
for want of the proper information having been given in time by those
cotemporaries who now possess the requisite knowledge and are still
able to communicate it. I hope, sir, that you will be able to find some
moments of leisure to comply, at least in part, with this request,
which you may do in any form that you may think proper. If that of
occasional letters to Dr. Wistar or myself should be the most agreeable
or convenient to you, you may adopt it, or any other mode that you may
prefer. I beg you will favour me with an answer as soon as possible,
that I may be able to inform the Committee of what they may expect
from you. You may be assured that all your communications will be
respectfully and thankfully received.

  I am, very respectfully, Sir,
  Your most obedient humble servant,
  Corresponding Secretary.



  PHILADELPHIA, 9th January, 1816.

MY DEAR SIR.--Inclosed is a letter from the corresponding secretary
of the Historical Committee of our Society, which will inform you
of our wishes to preserve from oblivion, and to make public, all
the interesting information we can procure respecting the history
of our country and its original inhabitants. I believe there is no
other person now living who knows so much respecting the Indians who
inhabited this part of America, as you do, and there is no one whose
relations will be received with more confidence.

I hope you will approve of this method of favouring the public with
your information, and we will endeavour to give you no trouble in
publishing after you have favoured us with the communications. It will
be particularly agreeable to the society to receive from you an account
of the Lenni Lenape, as they were at the time when the settlement of
Pennsylvania commenced, and of their history and misfortunes since that
time; as these subjects are so intimately connected with the history
of our State. The history of the Shawanese, and of the Six Nations
will be very interesting to us for the same reason. But every thing
which throws light upon the nature of the Indians, their manners and
customs; their opinions upon all interesting subjects, especially
religion and government; their agriculture and modes of procuring
subsistence; their treatment of their wives and children; their social
intercourse with each other; and in short, every thing relating to them
which is interesting to you, will be very instructing to the Society.
A fair view of the mind and natural disposition of the savage, and
its difference from that of the civilised man, would be an acceptable
present to the world.

You have long been a member of the Society; may we ask of you to
communicate to us what you know and think ought to be published,
respecting the wild animals, or the native plants of our country. The
original object of our association was to bring together gentlemen like
yourself, who have a great deal of information in which the public
take an interest, that they might publish it together; and while an
intercourse with you will give us all great pleasure, it will perhaps
be a very easy way for you to oblige the world with your knowledge,
as we will take the whole care of the publication. The information
respecting our country which has been obtained by the very respectable
Brethren of Bethlehem, and is contained in their archives, will, I
believe, be more perfectly offered to the world by you at present,
than probably it ever will afterwards by others; I therefore feel very
desirous that you should engage in it.

The facts which Mr. Pyrlæus recorded there, relative to the
confederation of the Six Nations, are so interesting that they ought to
be made public.

In a few days after my return to Philadelphia, last autumn, I presented
in your name to the Society the several books with which you favoured
me. They were much gratified, for they considered them as truly
valuable, and the secretary was requested to acknowledge the receipt of
them, and to thank you in the name of the Society. I have constantly
regretted the attack of influenza which deprived me of the pleasure of
seeing more of you while you were last in Philadelphia. But I hope we
shall meet again before a great while, and I shall be sincerely pleased
if I can execute any of your commissions here, or serve you in any way;
my brother joins me in assuring you of our best wishes, and of the
pleasure we derived from your society.

  With these I remain, your sincere friend,




  BETHLEHEM, 24th March, 1816.

MY DEAR SIR.--Last evening I was favoured with a letter from you,
covering one from the corresponding secretary of the Historical
Committee of the American Philosophical Society, dated 9th January,
and a book, for which I return my best thanks. If an apology for not
having written to you since I left Philadelphia can be admitted, it
must be that of my having been engaged in all my leisure hours, in
completing my narrative of the Mission, a work of which, even if it
is never published, I wished for good reasons, to leave a manuscript
copy. I have now got through with the principal part, but have to copy
the whole text, and in part to write the notes, remarks, and anecdotes
which are intended for the appendix. While writing, it has sometimes
struck me, that there might probably be some interesting passages in
the work, as the speeches of Indians on various occasions; their artful
and cunning ways of doing at times business; I had almost said their
diplomatic manœuvres as politicians; their addresses on different
occasions to the Great Spirit, &c., which are here noticed in their
proper places. I think much of the true character of the Indian may be
met with in perusing this work, and I will endeavour to forward the
narrative to you and your brother for perusal, after a little while.

Were I still in the possession of all the manuscripts which I gave to
my friend the late Dr. Barton, it would be an easy matter for me to
gratify you and the Philosophical Society in their wishes, but having
retained scarcely any, or but very few copies of what I sent him, I
am not so able to do what I otherwise would with pleasure; I shall,
however, make it my study to do what I can yet, though I am aware that
I shall in some points, differ from what others have said and written.
I never was one of those hasty believers and writers, who take the
shadow for the substance: what I wished to know, I always wished to
know correctly.

I approve of the mode proposed by the secretary of the Historical
Committee, to make communications in the form of letters, which is for
me the easiest and quickest mode. In the same way Dr. Barton received
much interesting matter from me within the last 20 or 30 years. He
often told me that he would publish a book, and make proper use of my
communications. Had he not told me this so repeatedly, I should long
since have tried to correct many gross errors, written and published,
respecting the character and customs of the Indians. The Lenni Lenape,
improperly called the Delawares, I shall, according to their tradition,
trace across the Mississippi into this country, set forth what people
they were, what parts of the country they inhabited, and how they were
brought down to such a low state: perhaps, never did man take the pains
that I did for years, to learn the true causes of the decline of that
great and powerful nation.

The Grammar of the language of the Lenni Lenape, written by David
Zeisberger, is still in my hands. By his will it is to be deposited in
the Brethren’s Archives in Bethlehem, but he has not prohibited taking
a copy of it. Will it be of any service to the Society that it should
be sent down for a few months for perusal, or if thought necessary, to
take a copy? If so, please to let me know, and I shall send it with
pleasure. It is, however, German and Indian, and without a translation
will be understood but by few. I may perhaps find other documents
interesting to the Society, as for example, copies of letters on Indian
business and treaties, of which many are in the possession of Joseph
Horsfield, Esq., son of the late Timothy Horsfield, through whom they
have come into his hands, and who is willing to communicate them.[273]
I am, dear friend,

  Yours sincerely,


_P. S._--Will you be so good as with my respects to mention to the
secretary that I have received his letter, and shall shortly answer
it--my best wishes also to your brother Richard, whom I highly esteem.

  J. H.



  BETHLEHEM, 3d April, 1816.

MY DEAR FRIEND.--With Captain Mann, of your city, I send David
Zeisberger’s Grammar of the Language of the Lenni Lenape, (otherwise
called the Delaware Indians.) As the book is not mine, but left by
will, to be placed in the Library at Bethlehem, I can do no more than
send it for perusal; or, if wished for, to have a copy taken from it,
which, indeed, I myself would cheerfully have done for you, were it not
that I must spare my weak eyes as much as possible.

I believe I have closed my last letter to you, without answering to the
question you put to me, respecting, “wild animals and the native plants
of our country.” On this head I do not know that I could be of any
service, since the animals that were in this country on the arrival of
the Europeans must be pretty generally known; and respecting the native
plants, I do not consider myself qualified to give any information,
as all I have attended to, has been to collect plants for botanists,
leaving it to them to examine and class them. But my friend Dr. Kampman
of this place, who is, I believe, one of the most attentive gentlemen
to botany, has promised me for you a copy of the botanical names of
those plants which he, and a few others of his friends, have collected,
within a great number of years, in the Forks of Delaware, with some few
from New Jersey, to the number (he thinks) of about five hundred; all
of which plants are in nature carefully laid up by him. Probably in two
or three weeks, I shall have the pleasure of transmitting to you this
promised catalogue.

  I am, &c.



  PHILADELPHIA, 14th May, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--When you write to your friend Mr. Heckewelder, I beg you
will request him to answer the following questions:

1. What name did the French give to the Delaware nation?

2. I find in Zeisberger’s Vocabulary, page 11, that _Gischuch_ means
the _sun_. In the Grammar, I see that the Delawares divide their year
by moons, and call them _anixi gischuch_, &c. So that _gischuch_
signifies _moon_ as well as _sun_, how is it?

3. I find in the Grammar that the pronoun _nekama_ or _neka_ means
_he_, but it does not appear to have any feminine. What is the proper
word for _she_ in the Delaware, and how is it declined?

  I am, &c.



  PHILADELPHIA, May 21st, 1816.

MY DEAR FRIEND.--I am much obliged by your kind letters, which are
very interesting, and will, I hope, obtain from[274] us some of the
valuable information which has been left unpublished by our ingenious
colleague the late Dr. Barton. The Grammar of your venerable friend,
Zeisberger, is regarded by Mr. Duponceau as a treasure. He thinks the
inflections of the Indian verbs so remarkable that they will attract
the general attention of the literati. Inclosed is a letter from him,
by which he expects to open a correspondence with you on the subject. I
will be much obliged by your writing to him as soon as your convenience
will permit.

We expect soon to have materials for publishing a volume of Historical
Documents, and I have proposed that we shall prefix to those which
relate to Pennsylvania, all the information we can collect respecting
the Indians who were here before our ancestors. The Committee agree
that this will be the proper method, and my dependence for authentic
information is on you; as I have never met with any person who had any
knowledge to compare with yours, respecting the poor Indians. I was
delighted to find that your enquiries have been directed to the history
of the Lenni Lenape before they settled in Pennsylvania. The removal
of the Indian tribes from our country to another is a very interesting
subject. If you can tell us where they came from and what forced them
away; who were here before them, and what induced their predecessors to
make war for them, we shall be much obliged to you. There is no book I
shall read with more pleasure than yours.

The causes of their downfall, I believe, are well known to you, and
will of course have a place. The manner in which they were treated by
the Six Nations, after their conquest, will be an interesting article,
as it will shew the Indian policy. An account of the political rights
which were still allowed them, and, in short, of everything which is
connected with their conquest, will add to the interest of the work. As
occupants of Pennsylvania before the whites, ought not the Shawanese
and the Six Nations also to be described?

I have been told that the Shawanese were more refined than any other
Indians in this part of America, and that the place where Chilicothe
now stands, was the seat of Indian civilisation.

I have the pleasure of forwarding to you an instructing work by Dr.
Drake, a physician at Cincinnati, which he sends you.

He also sends a small package and a letter to Mr. Steinhauer.

I send them by a wagon which goes from Mr. Bolling’s, but I am not
without some expectation of paying another visit to Bethlehem very
soon, where it will be a great gratification to meet with my friend.

  Affectionately yours,




  BETHLEHEM, 27th May, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I was this morning favoured with a letter from my friend Dr.
Wistar, inclosing some questions which you wish me to answer. I lose no
time in complying with your desire.

Your first question is, “what name the French did give to the Delaware

I believe the Baron de La Hontan meant them when he spoke of the
Algonkins, whom he describes as a people whose language was understood
by many nations or tribes. So is certainly that of the Delawares.

While I was residing on the Muskingum, between the years 1773 and 1781,
I cannot precisely remember the year, there came a French gentleman
who was travelling on some business among the different Indian tribes,
and could speak more or less of several Indian languages, among which
was that of the Delawares. I had much conversation with him respecting
the Indians, and observed that he called the Delawares _les Lenopes_,
(a word evidently derived from their real name _Lenni Lenape_.) He
told me that the language of that nation had a wide range, and that
by the help of it, he had travelled more than a thousand miles among
different Indian nations, by all of whom he was understood. He added,
that the Baron La Hontan, when speaking of the Algonkins, must either
have alluded to that nation, or to some one descended from them. In
other instances, in the course of the four years that I resided in
Upper Canada, I generally heard the French Canadians call them Lénôpé,
while the English called them Delawares. Nevertheless, I do not doubt
but that they have been called by different names by the French and
other travellers, and if my memory serves me, some of the French people
called them _les Loups_, a name probably derived from one of their
tribes called the _Wolf_, if it is not a corruption of Lenape or Lenope.

Your next question is, “whether the Delaware word _gischuch_, signifies
the sun or moon, or both together?” The Indian name “_gischuch_,” is
common to “the two great luminaries which send down light from above.”
The moon is called “_nipawi gischuch_,” as it were “the sun which
gives light in the night.” It is also called in one word “_nipahum_.”
“_Gischuch_,” singly, is often used for the moon; the Indian year
is divided into thirteen lunar months, and in this sense, the word
“_gischuch_,” is used; as for instance, “_schawanáki_[275] _gischuch_”
or, in the Minsi or Monsey dialect, “_chwani_[276] _gischuch_” the
_shad moon_, answering to the month which we call March, at which time
the fish called “shad” passes from the sea into the fresh water rivers.
The inferior “stars” have a different name; they are called in the
singular _alank_; plural, _alankewak_, and by contraction, _alanquak_.

Lastly, you ask whether the Delawares have a word answering to the
English personal pronoun “_she_,” and what it is? I beg leave to answer
you somewhat in detail.

In the Indian languages, those discriminating words or inflections
which we call _genders_, are not, as with us, in general, intended to
distinguish between male and female beings, but between animate and
inanimate things or substances. Trees and plants (annual plants and
grasses excepted) are included within the generic class of animated
beings. Hence the personal pronoun has only two modes, if I can so
express myself, one applicable to the animate, and the other to the
inanimate gender; “_nekama_” is the personal pronominal form which
answers to “he” and “she” in English. If you wish to distinguish
between the sexes, you must add to it the word “man” or “woman.” Thus
“_nekama lenno_,” means “_he_” or “_this man_;” “_nekama ochqueu_,”
“_she_” or “_this woman_.” This may appear strange to a person
exclusively accustomed to our forms of speech, but I assure you that
the Indians have no difficulty in understanding each other.

Nor must you imagine that their languages are poor. See how the
Delaware idiom discriminates between the different ages of man and

  LENNO, _a man_.
  Wuskilenno, _a young man_.
  Pilapeu, _a lad_.
  Pilawesis, or pilawétzitsch, _a boy_.
  Pilawétit, _a male infant babe_.
  Kigeyilenno, _an aged man_.
  Mihilusis, _an old man, worn out with age_.
  OCHQUEU, _a woman_.
  Wusdóchqueu, _a young woman, a virgin_.
  Ochquetschitsch, _a girl_.
  Quetit, _a female infant babe_.
  Gichtochqueu, _an aged woman_.
  Chauchschìsis, _a very old woman_.

Note “_len_” or “_lenno_” in the male, and “_que_” or “_queu_” in the
female, distinguish the sexes in compound words; sometimes the _L_
alone denotes the male sex, as in “pi_l_apeu,” “mihi_l_usis,” &c.

The males of quadrupeds are called “_lenno wéchum,_” and by contraction
“_lennochum_;” the females “_Ochqueu wéchum_,” and by contraction
“_ochquéchum_,” which is the same as saying _he_ or _she_ beasts. With
the winged tribe, their generic denomination “_wehelle_” is added to
the word which expresses the sex; thus, “_lenno wehelle_” for the male,
and “_ochquechelle_” (with a little contraction) for the female. There
are some animals the females of which have a particular distinguishing
name, as “_Nunschetto_” a _doe_, “_Nunscheach_” a _she bear_. This,
however, is not common.

Thus I have endeavoured to answer your questions, and I hope, have done
it to your satisfaction. I shall always be willing and ready to give
you any further information that you or the Philosophical Society may
require; I mean, always to the best of my knowledge and abilities.

  I am, &c.



  PHILADELPHIA, 10th June, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--Your favour of the 27th ult. has done me the greatest
pleasure. I am very thankful for the goodness you have had to answer
the questions which I took the liberty of putting to you through our
common friend Dr. Wistar. I shall not fail to avail myself of your
kind offer to answer such further questions as I may ask, as in so
doing I shall fulfil a duty which the Historical Committee of the
Philosophical Society has imposed upon me, and at the same time I am
satisfied that I shall derive a great deal of pleasure to myself. But
I must acknowledge that I am entirely ignorant of the subject on which
I have been directed to obtain information from you, so much so that I
am even at a loss what questions to ask. As I have, however, undertaken
the task, I must endeavour to go through it as well as I can, and rely
on the instruction which I shall receive from your letters, to point
out to me further enquiries. I am fortunately employed in translating
the late Mr. Zeisberger’s Grammar of the Lenni Lenape, which will lead
me a little into the right path, and I read at the same time such books
as I can find in our scanty libraries respecting the languages of the
American Indians. This study pleases me much, as I think I perceive
many beauties in those idioms, but the true enjoyment of those beauties
is, I presume, only accessible to those to whom the languages are

From what I have above stated, you will easily perceive that my
questions to you must necessarily be desultory, and without any regular
order or method. But you will diffuse light through this chaos, and
every thing at last will find its proper place.

I cannot express to you how delighted I am with the grammatical forms
of the Indian languages, particularly of the Delaware, as explained
by Mr. Zeisberger. I am inclined to believe that those forms are
peculiar to this part of the world, and that they do not exist in the
languages of the old hemisphere. At least, I am confident that their
development will contribute much to the improvement of the science
of universal grammar. About fifty years ago, two eminent French
philosophers published each a short treatise on the origin of language.
One of them was the celebrated mathematician Maupertuis, and the other
M. Turgot, who afterwards was made a minister of state, and acquired
considerable reputation by his endeavours to introduce reform into the
administration of the government of his own country. M. Maupertuis,
in his Essay, took great pains to shew the necessity of studying the
languages even of the most distant and barbarous nations, “because,”
said he, “we may chance to find some that are formed on _new plans
of ideas_.” M. Turgot, instead of acknowledging the justness of this
profound remark, affected to turn it into ridicule, and said he could
not understand what was meant by “_plans of ideas_.” If he had been
acquainted with the Delaware language, he would have been at no loss to
comprehend it.

I presume that by this expression M. Maupertuis meant the various
modes in which ideas are combined and associated together in the
form of words and sentences, and in this sense it is to me perfectly
intelligible. The associations expressed by words must be first formed
in the mind, and the words shew in what order of succession the ideas
were conceived, and in what various groups they arranged themselves
before utterance was given to them. The variety of those groups which
exist in the different languages forms what M. Maupertuis meant by
“plans of ideas,” and indeed, this variety exists even in one and the
same language. Thus when we say, “lover,” and “he who loves,” the same
group of ideas is differently combined, and of course, differently
expressed, and it may well be said that those ideas are arranged “on
different plans.”

This difference is strongly exemplified in the Delaware language; I
shall only speak at present of what we call the “declension of nouns.”
What in our European idioms we call the “objective cases” are one or
more words expressive of two prominent ideas, that of the object spoken
of, and that of the manner in which it is affected by some other object
or action operating upon it. This is done in two ways; by inflecting
the substantive, or by affixing to it one or more of those auxiliary
words which we call “prepositions.” Thus when we say in English “_of
Peter_” and in German “_Peters_,” the same two principal ideas are
expressed in the former language by two words and in the latter by one,
and the termination or inflexion _s_ in German conveys the same meaning
as the preposition “_of_” in English. It is clear that these two ideas,
before they were uttered in the form of words, were grouped in the
minds both of the German and the Englishman; in the one, as it were
at once, and in the other successively: for it is natural to suppose
that they were conceived as they are expressed. Again, when you say in
Latin _amo Petrum_, (I love Peter,) the termination _um_ is expressive
of the action of the verb _love_, upon the object, _Peter_. In the
English and German this accessory idea is not expressed by sound, but
still it exists in the mind. In every language there are more ideas,
perhaps, understood, than are actually expressed. This might be easily
demonstrated, if it were here the place.

Let us now consider how the same ideas are combined and expressed in
the Delaware language, according to Mr. Zeisberger. When the accessory
idea which we call “_case_” proceeds from the operation of a verb upon
a noun or word significant of an object, that idea is not affixed as
with us to the noun but to the verb, or in other words, it is not the
_noun_ but the _verb_ that is declined by inflexions or cases. Thus
when you say “_getannitowit n’quitayala_, I fear God;” the first word,
_getannitowit_, which is the substantive, is expressed, as we should
say, in the nominative case, while the termination of the verb _yala_,
expresses its application to the object. It is precisely the same as
if in Latin, instead of saying, _Petrum amo_, I love Peter, we carried
the termination _um_ to the verb, and said _Petrus amum_. Does not this
shew that many various combinations of ideas may take place in the
human mind, of which we, Europeans by birth or descent, have not yet
formed a conception? Does this not bid defiance to our rules or canons
of universal grammar, and may we not say with M. Maupertuis, that in
extending our study of the languages of man, we shall probably find
some formed upon “plans of ideas” different from our own?

But I perceive that instead of asking you questions, as it is my duty
to do, I am losing myself in metaphysical disquisitions; I return,
then, to my principal object. A very interesting German book has lately
fallen into my hands. It is entitled “_Untersuchungen ueber Amerikas
Bevœlkerung ans dem alten Kontinente_,”[277] and it is written by
Professor Vater, of Leipzig. The author, after justly observing that
the language of the Delawares is exceedingly rich in grammatical
forms, and making the same observation on that of the Naticks, from
the venerable Eliot’s translation of the Bible into that idiom, says
that, on the contrary, that of the Chippeways is very poor in that
respect. “_Die Chippewæer_,” he says, “_haben fast keine formen._”[278]
This appears to me very strange, because on examining the various
Indian languages from Nova Scotia to Chili, I have been surprised to
find that they appear all formed on the same model, and if Professor
Vater is correct, the Chippeway dialect will form an exception. I beg,
therefore, you will inform me whether there is such a great difference
as he states between that and the Delaware. I am much inclined to think
that the learned Professor is mistaken. I must take this opportunity,
however, to express my astonishment at the great knowledge which the
literati of Germany appear to possess of America, and of the customs,
manners and languages of its original inhabitants. Strange! that we
should have to go to the German universities to become acquainted with
our own country.

Another German Professor, of the name of Rudiger, has compiled an
interesting work, in which he gives specimens of all the languages in
the world, as far as they are known, and among them does not forget
those of the Indian nations of America. He gives the numerals of
the Delaware language, from a vocabulary of that idiom, printed at
Stockholm, in 1696, and made while the Swedes were in possession of
that part of this country which they principally inhabited. I find
a considerable difference between those numerals and these given by
Zeisberger. That you may see in what it consists, I insert them both.


  According to the Swedish Vocabulary.  According to Zeisberger.
            1. Ciutte.                    1. Ngutti.
            2. Nissa.                     2. Nischa.
            3. Naha.                      3. Nacha.
            4. Nawo.                      4. Newo.
            5. Pareenach.                 5. Palenach.
            6. Ciuttas.                   6. Guttasch.
            7. Nissas.                    7. Nischasch.
            8. Haas.                      8. Chasch.
            9. Pæschun.                   9. Peschkonk.
           10. Thæræn.                   10. Tellen.
           20. Nissinacke.               20. Nishinachke.
          100. Ciutabpach.              100. Nguttapachki.

Now, there can be no doubt that these two sets of numerals belong
to the same language, but I am astonished at seeing the same words
written so differently by a Swede and a German, when there is so little
difference in the powers of the alphabetical signs of their languages.
I am particularly struck with some words that are written with _R_
by the Swede and with _L_ by the German author. In all Zeisberger’s
Grammar I have not been able to find the letter _R_ in one single
Delaware word, neither is it to be found in any of the words of his
Delaware spelling book. No doubt you can inform me of the reason of
this difference.

A greater one is still to be found in the Algonkin numerals given by
the Baron La Hontan, and those of the Delaware proper. I place them
here again in opposition to each other.

  Algonkin numerals from La Hontan.  Delaware numerals from Zeisberger.
      1. Pegik.                            1. Ngutti.
      2. Ninch.                            2. Nischa.
      3. Nissoue.                          3. Nacha.
      4. Neou.                             4. Newo.
      5. Narau.                            5. Palenach.
      6. Ningoutouassou.                   6. Guttasch.
      7. Ninchouassou.                     7. Nischasch.
      8. Nissouassou.                      8. Chasch.
      9. Changassou.                       9. Peschkonk.
     10. Mitassou.                        10. Tellen.

There is certainly a family resemblance between some of these words,
while in others no kind of similarity can be traced. As you believe
that the Delawares and the Algonkins are the same people, I beg you
will be so good as to point out to me the cause of the difference which
I have observed.

  I am, &c.



  PHILADELPHIA, 13th June, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I take the liberty of submitting to you a few questions,
which have occurred to me in perusing Mr. Zeisberger’s Grammar. I beg
you will be so good as to answer them at your leisure.

  I am, &c.


1. In Mr. Zeisberger’s Grammar, double consonants are frequently used,
as in _Pommauchsin_, _Lenno_, _Lenni Lenape_.

QUÆRE: Are the two consonants fully and distinctly sounded, thus:
_pom-m-auchsin_--_Len-n-o_, as in the Italian language, or is only one
of the consonants heard, as if it were thus written: _pomauchsin_,
_leno_. In this latter case what is the reason for using two
consonants, if only one is sounded?

2. Mr. Zeisberger frequently puts a comma or apostrophe (’) before
or after the letter N in the present of the indicative verbs,
_’npommauchsi_, and sometimes _n’pommauchsi_. Sometimes he writes the
word without: _ndappiwi_, _ndappiwitsch_; what is the reason of this
variation? Is there any necessity for the comma before or after the _N_
in the first person, or after the _K_ and _W_, in the second and third?
Is it not best to simplify as much as possible the orthography of such
a difficult language?

3. What is the difference in pronunciation between _ke_ and _que_; say,
_pomauchsijenke_ and _pomauchsijeque_? Is the latter sounded like _cue_
or _kue_, or is it sounded as _ke_?

4. The conjunctive mood is expressed in German by “_wenn_;” does it
mean in English “_if_” or “_when_”? Does “_n’pomauchsijane_,” mean
“when I live” or “if I live,” or both? I find it sometimes expressed
“_wenn_,” oder “_da_,” oder “_als_,” which inclines me to think it
signifies both “_when_” and “_if_.”

5. I find some terminations in the tenses of the verbs, sometimes
written “_cup_,” sometimes “_kup_,” and sometimes “_gup_;” thus
_epiacup_, “where I was,” _elsijakup_, “when or if I was so situated;”
and _pommauchsijengup_, “if or when we have lived.” Are these different
sounds, or does this difference in writing arise from the Germans being
accustomed to confound the sounds of K and G hard?

6. I find some words written sometimes with one _I_ and sometimes
with two; thus _elsia_, and _elsija_. Are the two _i_’s separately
articulated, or do they sound only as one?

7. I find the second person of the singular in verbs sometimes written
with a _K_, sometimes with a _G_, thus _kneichgussi_, du wirst
gesehen (thou art seen); _kdaantschi_, du wirst gehen (thou wilt go);
_gemilgussi_, dir wird gegeben (it is given to thee). Why is it not
written _kemilgussi_? see query 5. I find sometimes a double _aa_--Is
it merely to express length of quantity, or are the two _a_’s sounded

8. What is the difference in sound between _ch_ and _hh_, do they both
represent the same guttural sound like _ch_ in German? If so, why
express this sound in two different ways; if otherwise, what is the
real difference between the two sounds?


_Ach_pil, bleibe du (remain thou); a_ch_pi_ch_tique, wenn sie nicht da
sind (if they are not there); nda_hh_enap, wir waren gegangen (we had
gone); kda_hh_imo, ihr gehet (you go).

  I am, &c.



  BETHLEHEM, 20th June, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--Your favors of the 10th and 13th inst. have been duly
received. I shall now endeavour to answer the first. The second shall
in a few days be attended to.

I am glad to find that you are so much pleased with the forms of our
Indian languages. You will be still more so as you become more familiar
with the beautiful idiom of the Lenni Lenape. It is certain that many
of those forms are not to be found either in the German or English; how
it is with the other languages of Europe, Asia, and Africa, I cannot
say, not being acquainted with them, and never having made philology
my particular study. I concur with you in the opinion that there must
be in the world many different ways of connecting ideas together in
the form of words, or what we call _parts of speech_, and that much
philosophical information is to be obtained by the study of those
varieties. What you observe with regard to the verbs being inflected
in lieu of affixing a case or termination to the noun is very correct,
but the ground or principle on which it is done, is not perhaps known
to you. The verbs in the Indian languages are susceptible of a variety
of forms, which are not to be found in any other language that I know.
I do not mean to speak here of the positive, negative, causative, and
a variety of other forms, but of those which Mr. Zeisberger calls
_personal_, in which the two pronouns, governing and governed, are by
means of affixes, suffixes, terminations, and inflections, included in
the same word. Of this I shall give you an instance from the Delaware
language. I take the verb _ahoalan_, to love, belonging to the fifth
of the eight conjugations, into which Mr. Zeisberger has very properly
divided this part of speech.


  _Singular._                          _Plural._

  N’dahoala, _I love_,                 n’dahoalaneen, _we love_,
  k’dahoala, _thou_--                  k’dahoalohhimo, _you_--
  w’dahoala,} _he_--                   ahoalewak, _they_--
  or ahoaleu}

Now for the personal forms in the same tense.



  _Singular._                          _Plural._

  K’dahoatell, _I love thee_,          K’dahoalohhumo, _I love you_,
  n’dahoala, _I love him or her_.      n’dahoalawak,--_them_.



  _Singular_.                          _Plural._

  K’dahoali, _thou lovest me_,         k’dahoalineen, _thou lovest us_,
  k’dahoala,--_him or her_.            k’dahoalawak,--_them_.


HE, (_or_ SHE.)

  _Singular._                          _Plural._

  N’dahoaluk, _he loves me_,           w’dahoalguna, _he loves us_,
  k’dahoaluk,--_thee_,                 w’dahoalguwa,--_you_,
  w’dahoalawall--_him_.                w’dahoalawak,--_them_.



  _Singular._                          _Plural._

  K’dahoalenneen, _we love thee_,      k’dahoalohummena, _we love you_,
  n’dahoalawuna,--_him_.               n’dahoalowawuna,--_them_.



  _Singular._                          _Plural._

  K’dahoalihhimo, _you love me_,       k’dahoalihhena, _you love us_.
  k’dahoalanewo,--_him_.               k’dahoalawawak,--_them_.



  _Singular._                          _Plural._

  N’dahoalgenewo, _they love me_,      n’dahoalgehhena, _they love us_.
  k’dahoalgenewo,--_thee_,             k’dahoalgehhimo,--_you_.
  w’dahoalanewo,--_him_.               w’dahoalawawak,--_them_.

In this manner verbs are conjugated through all their moods and tenses,
and through all their negative, causative, and various other forms,
with fewer irregularities than any other language that I know of.

These conjugations, no doubt, you have found, or will find in Mr.
Zeisberger’s grammar, but the few examples that I have above put
together, are necessary to understand the explanation which I am about
to give.

The words you quote are: “_getannitowit n’quitayala_,” _I fear God_,
or rather, according to the Indian inversion, _God I fear_. Your
observation is that the inflection or case of the noun substantive
_God_, is carried to the verb. This is true; but if you enquire for the
reason or the manner in which it takes place, you will find that _ala_
is the inflection of the second or last person of the verb, in the
first personal form; thus as you have seen that _n’dahoala_ means _I
love him_, so _n’quitayala_, in the same form and person means _I fear
him_; it is therefore the same as if you said _God I fear him_. This
is not meant in the least to doubt or dispute the correctness of your
position, but to shew in what manner the combination of ideas is formed
that has led to this result. You have now, I believe, a wider field for
your metaphysical disquisitions.

I pass on to the other parts of your letter. I believe with you that
Professor Vater is mistaken in his assertion that the language of
the Chippeways is deficient in grammatical forms. I am not skilled
in the Chippeway idiom, but while in Upper Canada, I have often met
with French Canadians and English traders who understood and spoke it
very well. I endeavoured to obtain information from them respecting
that language, and found that it much resembled that of the Lenape.
The differences that I observed were little more than some variations
in sound, as _b_ for _p_, and _i_ for _u_. Thus, in the Delaware,
_wapachquiwan_ means a _blanket_, in the Chippeway it is _wabewian_;
_gischuch_ is Delaware for a _star_, the Chippeways say _gischis_;
_wape_ in Delaware _white_; in the Chippeway, _wabe_. Both nations
have the word _Mannitto_ for God, or the Great Spirit, a word which is
common to all the nations and tribes of the Lenape stock.

There is no doubt that the Chippeways, like the Mahicanni, Naticks,
Wampanos, Nanticokes, and many other nations, are a branch of the great
family of the Lenni Lenape, therefore I cannot believe that there is so
great a difference in the forms of their languages from those of the
mother tongue. I shall, however, write on the subject to one of our
Missionaries who resides in Canada, and speaks the Chippeway idiom,
and doubt not that in a short time I shall receive from him a full and
satisfactory answer.

On the subject of the numerals, I have had occasion to observe that
they sometimes differ very much in languages derived from the same
stock. Even the Minsi, a tribe of the Lenape or Delaware nation, have
not all their numerals like those of the Unami tribe, which is the
principal among them. I shall give you an opportunity of comparing them.

  Numerals of the Minsi.                          Numerals of the Unami.

   1. Gutti.                                       1. N’gutti.
   2. Nischa.                                      2. Nischa.
   3. Nacha.                                       3. Nacha.
   4. Newa.                                        4. Newo.
   5. _Nalan_, (algonk. _narau_.)                  5. Palenach.
   6. Guttasch.                                    6. Guttasch.
   7. _Nischoasch_, (algonk. _nissouassou_.)       7. Nischasch.
   8. Chaasch.                                     8. Chasch.
   9. _Nolewi._                                    9. _Peschkonk._
  10. _Wimbat._                                   10. _Tellen._

You will easily observe that the numbers five and ten in the Minsi
dialect, resemble more the Algonkin, as given by La Hontan, than the
pure Delaware. I cannot give you the reason of this difference. To this
you will add the numerous errors committed by those who attempt to
write down the words of the Indian languages, and who either in their
own have not alphabetical signs adequate to the true expression of the
sounds, or want an _Indian ear_ to distinguish them. I could write a
volume on the subject of their ridiculous mistakes. I am, &c.



  BETHLEHEM, 24th June, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I now proceed to answer the several queries contained in
your letter of the 13th inst.

1. The double consonants are used in writing the words of the Delaware
language, for the sole purpose of indicating that the vowel which
immediately precedes them is short, as in the German words _immer_,
_nimmer_, _schimmer_, and the English _fellow_, _terrible_, _ill_,
_butter_, &c. The consonant is not to be articulated twice.

2. The apostrophe which sometimes follows the letters _n_ and _k_, is
intended to denote the contraction of a vowel, as _n’pommauchsi_, for
_ni pommauchsi_, _n’dappiwi_, for _ni dappiwi_, &c. If Mr. Zeisberger
has placed the apostrophe in any case before the consonant, he must
have done it through mistake.

3. There is a difference in pronunciation between _ke_ and _que_; the
latter is pronounced like _kue_ or _kwe_. In a verb, the termination
_ke_ indicates the first person of the plural, and _que_ the second.

4. The word _wenn_, employed in the German translation of the tenses
of the conjunctive mood of the Delaware verbs, means both _when_,
and _if_, and is taken in either sense according to the content of
the phrase in which the word is used. Examples: _Ili gachtingetsch
pommauchsiane_, “IF I live until the next year”--_Payane Philadelphia_,
“WHEN I come to Philadelphia.”

5. Sometimes the letters _c_ or _g_, are used in writing the Delaware
language instead of _k_, to shew that this consonant is not pronounced
too hard; but in general _c_ and _g_ have been used as substitutes for
_k_, because our printers had not a sufficient supply of types for that

6. Where words are written with _ij_, both the letters are to be
articulated; the latter like the English _y_ before a vowel. For this
reason in writing Delaware words I often employ the _y_ instead of _j_,
which Mr. Zeisberger and the German Missionaries always make use of.
Thus _Elsija_ is to be pronounced like _Elsiya_.

7. Answered in part above, No. 5. The double vowels are merely intended
to express length of sound, as in the German.

8. _Ch_, answers to the X of the Greeks, and _ch_ of the Germans. _Hh_,
like all other duplicated consonants, indicates only the short sound of
the preceding vowels.

  I am, &c.



  PHILADELPHIA, 13th July, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I have received your kind letters of the 20th and 24th ult.
It is impossible to be more clear, precise, and accurate, than you
are in your answers to my various questions. The information which
your letters contain is of the highest interest to me, and I doubt not
will prove so to the Committee, by whose orders I have engaged in this
Correspondence, on a subject entirely new to me, but with which I hope
in time and with your able assistance, to become better acquainted.

M. de Volney has said somewhere in his excellent Descriptive View of
the United States, that it were to be wished that five or six eminent
linguists should be constantly employed at the public expense to
compile Indian Grammars and Dictionaries. I cannot suppose that the
Count meant literally what he said, as he must have been sensible of
the difficulties attending on the execution of such a plan, but at any
rate, here is a noble display of enthusiasm for our favourite science,
and a sufficient encouragement for us to pursue our philological
enquiries. Alas! if the beauties of the Lenni Lenape language were
found in the ancient Coptic, or in some ante-diluvian Babylonish
dialect, how would the learned of Europe be at work to display them
in a variety of shapes and raise a thousand fanciful theories on that
foundation! What superior wisdom, talents and knowledge would they not
ascribe to nations whose idioms were formed with so much skill and
method! But who cares for the poor American Indians? They are savages
and barbarians and live in the woods; must not their languages be
savage and barbarous like them?

Thus reason those pretended philosophers who court fame by writing huge
volumes on the origin of human language, without knowing, perhaps, any
language but their own, and the little Latin and Greek that they have
been taught at College. You would think, when you read their works,
that they had lived in the first ages of the creation and had been
intimately acquainted with the family of our first parents. They know
exactly what words were first uttered when men began to communicate
their ideas to each other by means of articulated sounds; they can
tell you how the various parts of speech, in perfect regular order,
were successively formed, and with a little encouragement, they would,
I have no doubt, compile a Grammar and Dictionary of the primitive
language, as one Psalmanazar did once in England of a supposed Formosan
tongue. It is a pity, indeed, that the Delawares, the Wyandots and
the Potowatamies, with languages formed on a construction which had
not been before thought of, come to destroy their beautiful theories.
What then? are we to suppress the languages of our good Indians, or to
misrepresent them, that the existing systems on Universal Grammar and
the origin of language may be preserved? No, my friend, we shall on the
contrary, I hope, labour with all our might to make them known, and
provide, at least, additional facts for future theorists.

I have been led into this chain of ideas by reading the ponderous work
of a Scotch Lord named Monboddo, who has dreamt of languages more than
any other writer that I know. On the authority of a Father Sagard, (a
French Missionary) he represents the language of the Hurons as the
most incoherent and unsystematical heap of vocables that can possibly
be conceived. Their words have no regular formation or derivation,
no roots or radical syllables, there is no analogy whatever in the
construction or arrangement of this language. He says, for instance,
that there is a word for “two years” entirely different from those
which signify one, three, four or ten years; that “_hut_,” “_my hut_,”
and “_in my hut_,” are severally expressed by words entirely different
from each other. He adduces several other examples of the same kind,
with which I shall not trouble you, and concludes with saying, that
“the Huron language is the most imperfect of any that has been yet
discovered.” (Orig. of Lang., Vol. I., p. 478.)

Before we proceed further, let us suppose that a Huron or a Delaware
is writing a treatise on the origin of language, and in the pride of
pompous ignorance attempts to make similar observations on the English
idiom. Following Lord Monboddo’s course of reasoning, he will say: “The
English is the most imperfect language upon earth, for its words have
no kind of analogy to each other. They say, for instance, ‘_a house_,’
and the things that belong to a house they call ‘_domestic_.’ They say
‘_a year_,’ and ‘an _annual_ payment,’ for a sum of money payable every
_year_. That is not all; if the payment is to be made in _two_ years,
it is then called _biennial_, in which you find no trace of either the
word _two_ or the word ‘_year_,’ of which in a regular language it
should be compounded. What belongs to a _King_ is royal; to a _woman_,
feminine; to _ship_, naval; to a _town_, urban; to the _country_,
rural. Such another irregular, unmethodical dialect never existed, I
believe, on the back of the great tortoise!!”

Such would be the language of our Huron philosopher, and he would
be about as right as Lord Monboddo. I have read this work of Father
Sagard, of which there is a copy in the Congress library. It appears to
me that the good Father was an honest, well meaning, but most ignorant
friar, of one of the mendicant orders. His residence among the Hurons
was very short, not more than a twelve-month; he was, I know not for
what reason, called home by his superiors, and left America with great
regret. He has collected a number of words and phrases of the Huron
language in the form of a vocabulary, which he improperly calls a
dictionary. I have had it copied and shall shew it to you when you come
to town. You will be satisfied when you see it, that the good man not
only never analysed the language of the Hurons, but was incapable of
doing it. He was perfectly bewildered in the variety of its forms, and
drew the very common conclusion that what he could not comprehend was
necessarily barbarous and irregular. From an attentive perusal of his
“dictionary,” I am inclined to draw the opposite conclusion from that
which he has drawn. There appears to me to be in it sufficient internal
evidence to shew that the Huron language is rich in grammatical forms,
and that it is constructed much on the same plan with the Delaware. I
shall be very glad to have your opinion on it, with such information
as you are able and willing to give. I beg particularly that you will
let me know whether there are roots and derivations in the Indian
languages, analogous to those of our own?

  I am, &c.



  PHILADELPHIA, 18th July, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--In your letter of the 27th of May you have said that you
believed the Delaware nation were those whom the Baron La Hontan meant
to designate by the name of _Algonkins_. In a subsequent letter, (June
20th,) you seem to consider them as distinct nations, but nearly
allied to each other; you say you are not well acquainted with their
language, which is not the same with that of the Lenape, though there
is a considerable affinity between them. Upon the whole I suppose that
you have meant to apply the denomination Algonkins, not only to the
Delawares proper, but to all the nations and tribes of the same family.

This has led me to consider who those Algonkins might be that La
Hontan speaks of, and upon the best investigation that I have been
able to make of the subject, I am inclined to believe that La Hontan’s
Algonkins are properly those whom we call _Chippeways_, a family or
branch of the Delawares, but not the Delawares themselves. I first
turned to Dr. Barton’s “New Views of the Origin of the Nations and
Tribes of America,” in which I found that he considered the Delawares
and Chippeways as two distinct people; but when I came to the specimens
which he gives of their languages in his Vocabularies, I found no
difference whatever in the idioms of the two nations. Pursuing the
enquiry further, I compared the Vocabulary of the Chippeway language
given by Carver in his travels, and that of the Algonkin by La
Hontan, and was much astonished to find the words in each language
exactly alike, without any difference but what arises from the French
and English orthography. The words explained by the two authors,
happen also to be precisely the same, and are arranged in the same
alphabetical order. So that either Carver is a gross plagiarist, who
has pretended to give a list of Chippeway words and has only copied the
Algonkin words given by La Hontan, or the Chippeways and Algonkins are
one and the same people. I shall be very glad to have your opinion on
this subject.

I find in Zeisberger’s Grammar something that I cannot well comprehend.
It is the verb “_n’dellauchsi_” which he translates “I live, move
about,” or “I so live that I move about.” Pray, is this the only verb
in the Delaware language, which signifies “_to live_,” and have the
Indians no idea of “life,” but when connected with “_locomotion_”?

Is the _W_ in the Delaware, as your Missionaries write it, to be
pronounced like the same letter in German, or like the English _W_
and the French _ou_? If this letter has the German sound, then it is
exactly the same as that of our _V_; in that case I am astonished that
the Delawares cannot pronounce the _F_, the two sounds being so nearly

  I am, &c.



  BETHLEHEM, 22d July, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I received at the same time your two letters of the 13th and
18th inst., the last by our friend Dr. Wistar. I think you are wrong
to complain of the little importance attached by the learned of Europe
to the study of Indian languages and of the false ideas which some
of them have conceived respecting them. The truth is that sufficient
pains have not been taken in this country to make them known. Our
Missionaries have, indeed, compiled grammars and dictionaries of
those idioms, but more with a view to practical use and to aid their
fellow-labourers in the great work of the conversion of the Indians to
Christianity, than in order to promote the study of the philosophy of
language. They have neither sought fame nor profit, and therefore their
compositions have remained unknown except in the very limited circle
of our religious society. It belongs to the literary associations of
America to pursue or encourage those studies in a more extended point
of view, and I shall be happy to aid to the utmost of my power the
learned researches of the American Philosophical Society.

Your remarks on Lord Monboddo’s opinion respecting the Indian
languages, and on Father Sagard’s work, on which that opinion is
founded, I believe to be correct. I am not acquainted with the language
of the Hurons, which I have always understood to be a dialect of that
of the Iroquois, or at least to be derived from the same stock, and
I cannot conceive why it should be so poor and so imperfect as the
good Father describes it, while its kindred idiom, the Iroquois, is
directly the reverse. At least, it was so considered by Mr. Zeisberger,
who was very well acquainted with it. Sir William Johnson thought the
same, and I believe you will find his opinion on the subject in one of
the Volumes of the Transactions of the Royal Society of London.[279]
Colden, in his History of the Five Nations, says “that the verbs of
that language are varied, but in a manner so different from the Greek
and Latin, that his informant could not discover by what rule it
was done.”[280] I suspect his informant had not yet acquired a very
profound knowledge of the Iroquois; but from his imperfect description
of their verbs, I am very nearly convinced that they are formed on
the same model with those of the Lenni Lenape, which Mr. Zeisberger
has well described in his Grammar of that language. Colden praises
this idiom in other respects; he says that “the Six Nations compound
their words without end, whereby their language becomes sufficiently
copious.” This is true also of the Delawares.

The Hurons are the same people whom we call Wyandots; the Delawares
call them _Delamattenos_. I am inclined to believe that the tribe whom
we call _Naudowessies_, and the French _Sioux_, who are said to live to
the west or north-west of Lake Superior, are a branch of the Hurons;
for the rivers which we call _Huron_, (of which there are three)[281]
are called by the Chippeways, _Naduwewi_, or _Naudowessie Sipi_.
But of this I cannot be sure; though I would rather conclude that
_Naudowessie_ is the Chippeway name for all the Wyandots or Hurons.
It is a fact which, I think, deserves to be ascertained. It is a very
common error to make several Indian nations out of one, by means of the
different names by which it is known.

I proceed to answer the questions contained in your letter of the 18th.

As it seems to me probable that the Naudowessies and Hurons, though
called by different names, are the same people; so it may be the case
with the Chippeways and the Algonkins, although I have no greater
certainty of this hypothesis than of the former. I have no doubt,
however, of their being both derived from the same stock, which is that
of the Lenni Lenape: that their languages are strikingly similar is
evident from the two vocabularies that you mention, and I had rather
believe that they both speak the same language, than that Captain
Carver was a plagiarist. The accounts which he gives of the Indians I
have found in general correct; which is the more remarkable, that from
his own account, it appears that he did not reside very long among
them. He must have been, therefore, a very attentive and accurate

It is very probable that I did not express myself with sufficient
precision in the passages of my letters of the 27th of May and 20th of
June to which you refer. The Lenni Lenape, or Delawares, are the head
of a great family of Indian nations who are known among themselves
by the generic name of _Wapanachki_, or “Men of the East.” The same
language is spread among them all in various dialects, of which I
conceive the purest is that of the chief nation, the Lenape, at whose
residence the grand national councils meet, and whom the others, by way
of respect, style _grandfather_. The Algonkins are a branch of that
family, but are not, in my opinion, entitled to the pre-eminence which
the Baron La Hontan ascribes to them. He applied the name “Algonkin,”
in a more extensive sense than it deserves, and said that the Algonkin
language was the finest and most universally spread of any on the
continent; a praise to which I think the Lenni Lenape idiom alone is
entitled. In this sense only I meant to say that the Baron included the
Delawares in the general descriptive name of “Algonkins.”

I have yet to answer your questions respecting the language, which I
shall do in a subsequent letter.

  I am, &c.



  BETHLEHEM, 24th July, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I have now to answer your question on the subject of the
Delaware verb, _n’dellauchsi_, which Zeisberger translates by “I live,
or move about,” or “I so live that I move about.” You ask whether this
is the only verb in the language which expresses “_to live_,” and
whether the Indians have an idea of _life_, otherwise than as connected
with _locomotion_?

Surely they have; and I do not see that the contrary follows from Mr.
Zeisberger’s having chosen this particular verb as an example of the
first conjugation. I perceive you have not yet an adequate idea of the
copiousness of the Indian languages, which possess an immense number of
comprehensive words, expressive of almost every possible combination
of ideas. Thus the proper word for “_to live_” is in the pure Unami
dialect _lehaleheen_. An Unami meeting an aged acquaintance, whom
he has not seen for a length of time, will address him thus: “_Ili
k’lehelleya?_”[282] which means, “are you yet alive?” The other will
answer “_Ili n’papomissi_,”[283] “I am yet able to walk about.” The
verb _n’dellauchsin_, which Mr. Zeisberger quotes, is more generally
employed in a spiritual sense, “_n’dellauchsin Patamawos wulelendam_,”
“I live up, act up to the glory of God.” This verb, like _pommauchsin_,
implies action or motion, connected with _life_, which is still the
principal idea. I do not know of any thing analogous in the English
language, except, perhaps, when we say “To _walk_ humbly before God;”
but here the word _walk_ contains properly no idea in itself but that
of locomotion, and is not coupled with the idea of _life_, as in the
Indian verb which I have cited. The idea intended to be conveyed arises
in English entirely from the _figurative_ sense of the word, in the
Delaware from the _proper_ sense.

I should never have done, were I to endeavour to explain to you in all
their details the various modes which the Indians have of expressing
ideas, shades of ideas, and combinations of ideas; for which purpose
the various parts of speech are successively called to their aid. In
the conjugations of the verbs, in Zeisberger’s Grammar, you will find
but three tenses, present, past, and future; but you will be much
mistaken if you believe that there are no other modes of expressing
actions and passions in the verbal form as connected with the idea
of time. It would have been an endless work to have given all those
explanations in an elementary grammar intended for the use of young
Missionaries, who stood in need only of the principal forms, which they
were to perfect afterwards by practice. Let me now try to give you a
faint idea of what I mean by a few examples in the Delaware language.

  N’mitzi, _I eat_.[284]
  N’mamitzi, _I am eating, or am in the act of eating_.
  N’mitzihump, _I have eaten_.
  Metschi n’gischi mitzi, _I am come from eating_.
  N’dappi mitzi, _I am returned from eating_.

The first two _n’mitzi_ and _n’mamitzi_, both mean _I eat_, but the one
is used in the indefinite, and the other in the definite sense, and a
good speaker will never employ the one instead of the other. The three
last expressions are all past tenses of the verb “_I eat_,” and all
mean, “_I have eaten_,” but a person just risen from table, will not
say, “_n’dappi mitzi_;” this expression can only be used after leaving
the place where he has been eating, in answer to a person who asks him
“where he comes from.” The word “_n’dappi_” is connected with the verb
_apatschin_, to return. There is another distinction, proper to be
mentioned here. If the place where the person comes from is near, he
says “_n’dappi_,” if distant “_n’dappa_.” Thus:

  N’dappi pihm, _I am come from sweating_ (_or from the sweat oven_.)
  N’dappihackiheen, _I am come from planting_.
  N’dappi wickheen, _I am come from building a house_.
  N’dappimanschasqueen, _I am come from mowing grass_.
  N’dappi notamæsin, _I am come from striking fish with a spear_.
  N’dappallauwin, _I am come (returned) from hunting_.
  N’dappachtopalin, _I am come (returned) from making war_.

In the future tense I could shew similar distinctions, but it would
lead me too far.

I must now take notice of what Father Sagard says, as you have
mentioned in your letter of the 13th inst., that the Indian languages
have “no _roots_, and that there is no regularity in the formation of
their words.” It is certain that the manner in which the Indians in
general form their words is different from that of the Europeans, but I
can easily prove to you that they understand the manner of forming them
from “_roots_.” I take, for instance, the word _wulit_, good, proper,
right, from which are derived:

  Wulik, _the good_.
  Wulaha, _better_.
  Wulisso, _fine, pretty_.
  Wulamoewagan, _truth_.
  Wulatenamuwi, _happy_.
  Wulatenamoagan, _happiness_.
  Wulapensowagan, _blessing_.
  Wulapan, _fine morning_.
  Wuliechen, _it is good, or well done_.
  Wulittol, _they are good_.
  Wuliken, _it grows well, thrives_.
  Wuliechsin, _to speak well_.
  Wulelendam, _to rejoice_.
  Wulamallsin, _to be well, happy_.
  Wulandeu,   }
  Wuligischgu,} _a fine day_.
  Wulapeyu, _just, upright_.
  Wuliwatam, _to be of good understanding_.
  Wuliachpin, _to be in a good place_.
  Wulilissin, _to do well_.
  Wulilissu, _he is good_.
  Wulilissick, _behave ye well_.
  Wulinaxin, _to look well_.
  Wulamoeyu, _it is true_.
  Wulantowagan, _grace_.
  Wulatopnachgat,[285] _a good word_.
  Wulatopnamik, _good tidings_.
  Wulatonamin,[286] _to be happy_.
  Wulissowagan, _prettiness, handsome appearance_.
  Wulihilleu, _it is good_.
  Wulineichquot, _it is well to be seen_.
  Wulelemileu, _it is wonderful_.
  Wulitehasu, _well cut or hewed_.
  Wuliwiechinen, _to rest well_.
  Welsit Mannitto, _the Good Spirit_.
  From Machtit, _bad_.
  Machtitsu, _nasty_.
  Machtesinsu, _ugly_.
  Machtschi _or_ Matschi Mannitto _or_ Machtando, _the evil Spirit,
      the Devil_, &c.

You will naturally observe that the words derived from the root
_Wulit_, imply in general the idea of what is good, handsome, proper,
decent, just, well, and so pursuing the same general object to
_happiness_ and its derivatives; _happiness_ being considered as a good
and pleasant feeling, or situation of the mind, and a person who is
_happy_, as being well. This does not, as you might suppose, make the
language ambiguous; for the Indians speak and understand each other
with great precision and clearness.

I have yet to answer your question about the _f_ and _w_. There are in
the Delaware language no such consonants as the German _w_, or English
_v_, _f_, or _r_. Where _w_ in this language is placed before a vowel,
it sounds the same as in English; before a consonant, it represents a
_whistled_ sound of which I cannot well give you an idea on paper, but
which I shall easily make you understand by uttering it before you when
we meet.

  _I am, &c._



  PHILADELPHIA, 31st July, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I have received with the greatest pleasure your two favours
of the 24th and 26th inst.; the last, particularly, has opened to
me a very wide field for reflection. I am pursuing with ardour the
study of the Indian languages (I mean of their grammatical forms) in
all the authors that I can find that have treated of the subject,
and am astonished at the great similarity which I find between those
different idioms from Greenland even to Chili. They all appear to me
to be compounded on a model peculiar to themselves, and of which I had
not before an idea. Those personal forms of the verbs, for instance,
which you mention in your letter of the 20th of June, I find generally
existing in the American languages. The Spanish-Mexican Grammarians
call them _transitions_, but they are not all equally happy in their
modes of explaining their nature and use. The word “_transition_,”
however, I think extremely well chosen, as it gives at once an idea of
the passage of the verb from the pronoun that governs to that which
is governed, from “I love” to “I love you.” The forms of the Indian
verbs are so numerous, that a proper technical term is very much wanted
to distinguish this particular class, and I adopt with pleasure this
appropriate Spanish name, at least, until a better one can be found.

I am sufficiently satisfied from the examples in your last letter
that the Indians have in their languages “roots,” or radical words
from which many others are derived; indeed, I never doubted it
before, and only meant to shew you by the instances of Father Sagard,
and Lord Monboddo, what false ideas the Europeans have conceived
on this subject. The various meanings of the word “_wulit_” and
its derivatives, obtained, as you have shewn, by easy or natural
transitions from one kindred idea to another, are nothing new in
language. The Greek has the word “_kalos_,” which in its various
meanings is very analogous to “_wulit_.” Instances of similar
“transitions” from different European idioms might be cited without
end. There is one in the French which strikes me at this moment
with peculiar force. In that language, an honest man is “_just_” in
his dealings and a judge in his judgments; but a pair of shoes is
so likewise, when made exactly to fit the foot, and by a natural
transition, when the shoes are too tight, they are said to be too
_just_ (trop justes). A foreigner in France is reported to have said
to his shoemaker, complaining of the tightness of a pair of new made
shoes: “_Monsieur, ces souliers sont trop équitables_.” I remember also
an English song, beginning with the words “_Just like love_,” where you
see the word “_just_” is employed without at all implying the idea of
_equity_ or _justice_. But justice is strict, exact, correct, precise,
and therefore the word _just_ is employed for the purpose of expressing
these and other ideas connected with that to which it was first applied.

I have made these trite observations, because I am well aware that
many _a priori_ reasoners would not fail to find in so many words
of different meanings derived from the same root, a proof of the
poverty of the Indian languages. They would say that they are poor,
because they have but few radical words, a conclusion which they
would infallibly make without taking the pains of ascertaining the
fact. If they were told that the Greek (the copiousness of which is
universally acknowledged) has itself but a comparatively small number
of roots, they would not be at a loss to find some other reason in
support of their pre-conceived opinion. I have read somewhere (I
cannot recollect in what book), that there was not a greater proof of
the barbarism of the Indian languages, than the comprehensiveness of
their locutions. The author reasoned thus: Analysis, he said, is the
most difficult operation of the human mind; it is the last which man
learns to perform. Savage nations, therefore, express many ideas in a
single word, because they have not yet acquired the necessary skill
to separate them from each other by the process of analysis, and to
express them simply.

If this position were true, it would follow that all the languages
of savage nations have been in the origin formed on the same model
with those of the American Indians, and that simple forms have been
gradually introduced into them by the progress of civilisation. But if
we take the trouble of enquiring into facts, they will by no means lead
us to this conclusion. It is not many centuries since the Scandinavian
languages of the North of Europe were spoken by barbarous and savage
nations, but we do not find that in ancient times they were more
comprehensive in their grammatical forms than they are at present,
when certainly they are the least so, perhaps, of any of the European
idioms; on the other hand, the Latin and Greek were sufficiently so by
means of the various moods and tenses of their verbs, all expressed
in one single word, without the use of auxiliaries; and yet these two
nations had attained a very high degree, at least, of civilisation.
I do not, therefore, see as yet, that there is a necessary connexion
between the greater or lesser degree of civilisation of a people, and
the organisation of their language. These general conclusions from
insulated facts ought constantly to be guarded against; they are the
most fruitful sources of error in the moral as well as in the natural
sciences. Facts ought to be collected and observations multiplied long
before we venture to indulge in theoretical inferences; for unobserved
facts seem to lie in ambush, to start up at once in the face of
finespun theories, and put philosophers in the wrong.

I wish very much that some able linguist would undertake to make a
good classification of the different languages of the world (as far
as they are known) in respect to their grammatical forms. It was once
attempted in the French Encyclopedia, but without success, because the
author had only in view the Latin and Greek, and those of the modern
languages which he was acquainted with. His division, if I remember
right, was formed between those idioms in which inversions are allowed,
and those in which they are not. Of course, it was the Latin and Greek
on the one side, and the French, Italian, &c., on the other. This
meagre classification has not been generally adopted, nor does it, in
my opinion, deserve to be. A greater range of observation ought to be

I do not pretend to possess talents adequate to carrying into execution
the plan which I here suggest; but I beg you will permit me to draw a
brief sketch of what I have in view.

I observe, in the first place, in the eastern parts of Asia, a class
of languages formed on the same model, of which I take that which is
_spoken_ in the empire of China, as it stood before its conquest by
the Tartars, to be the type. In this language, there is but a very
small number of words, all monosyllables. As far as I am able to
judge from the excellent grammars of this idiom of which we are in
possession, the words convey to the mind only the principal or leading
ideas of the discourse, unconnected with many of those accessory
ideas that are so necessary to give precision to language, and the
hearer is left to apply and arrange the whole together as well as he
can. It has but few or no grammatical forms, and is very deficient in
what we call the connecting parts of speech. Hence it is said that
the words spoken are not immediately understood by those to whom
they are addressed, and that auxiliary modes of explanation, others
than oral communication, are sometimes resorted to, when ambiguities
occur. As I am no Sinologist, I will not undertake to say that the
description which I have attempted to give of this language, from
the mere reading of grammars and dictionaries, is very accurate, but
I venture to assert that it differs so much from all others that we
know, that with its kindred idioms, it deserves to form a _genus_ in a
general classification of the various modes of speech. From its great
deficiency of grammatical forms, I would give to this genus the name

My second class of languages would consist of those which possess,
indeed, grammatical forms, sufficient to express and connect together
every idea to be communicated by means of speech, but in which those
forms are so organized, that almost every distinct idea has a single
word to convey or express it. Such are the Icelandic, Danish, Swedish,
and even the German and English. Those forms of the nouns and verbs
which are generally called declensions and conjugations, are in these
languages the result of an analytical process of the mind, which has
given to every single idea, and sometimes to a shade of an idea, a
single word to express it. Thus, when we say “_of the man_,” here
are three ideas, which, in the Latin, are expressed by one single
word “_hominis_.” In the locution “_I will not_,” or “_I am not
willing_,” and in the verbal form “_I will go_,” three or four ideas
are separately expressed in English, which, in Latin, are conveyed
together by single words “_nolo_,” “_ibo_.” From this peculiar quality
of sufficiently, yet separately, expressing all the necessary ideas, I
would denominate this class of languages _analytical_, or _analytic_.

The third class would, of course, be that in which the principal parts
of speech are formed by a synthetical operation of the mind, and in
which several ideas are frequently expressed by one word. Such are what
are called the Oriental languages, with the Latin, Greek, Slavonic, and
others of the same description. These I would call _synthetic_.

The French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, with their various
dialects, in which conquest has in a great degree intermingled the
modes of speech of the second and third class, would together form a
fourth, which I would call “_mixed_.”

In these various classes I have not found a place for the Indian
languages, which richly deserve to form one by themselves. They are
“_synthetic_” in their forms, but to such a degree as is not equalled
by any of the idioms which I have so denominated, and which are only
such in comparison with others where _analytic_ forms prevail. That
they deserve to make a class by themselves cannot be doubted. They are
the very opposite of the Chinese, of all languages the poorest in
words, as well as in grammatical forms, while these are the richest
in both. In fact, a great variety of forms, necessarily implies a
great multiplicity of words; I mean, complex forms, like those of the
Indians; compound words in which many ideas are included together, and
are made to strike the mind in various ways by the simple addition or
subtraction of a letter or syllable. In the Chinese much is understood
or guessed at, little is expressed; in the Indian, on the contrary,
the mind is awakened to each idea meant to be conveyed, by some one or
other of the component parts of the word spoken. These two languages,
therefore, as far as relates to their organisation, stand in direct
opposition to each other; they are the top and bottom of the idiomatic
scale, and as I have given to the Chinese, and its kindred dialects,
the name of _asyntactic_, the opposite name, _syntactic_, appears to
me that which is best suited to the languages of the American Indians.
I find that instead of asking you questions, as I ought to do, I am
wandering again in the field of metaphysical disquisitions. I shall try
to be more careful in my next letter.

  I am, &c.



  PHILADELPHIA, 3d August, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I now return to my proper station of a scholar asking
questions of his master. In your letter of the 24th ult., you have
fully satisfied me that the Indians have a great number of words
derived from “_roots_,” much in the same manner as in the languages of
Europe, but you have said at the same time “that the manner in which
the Indians in general form their words, is different from that of the
Europeans.” I am very anxious to have this manner[287] explained, and I
shall be very much obliged to you for all the information that you can
give me on the subject.

I have told you already that I thought I had reason to believe that
all the American languages were formed on the same general plan. If I
am correct in my supposition, I think I have found in the language of
Greenland, the identical manner of compounding words which I am now
calling upon you to explain. You will tell me whether I have judged
right, and you will at once destroy or confirm my favourite hypothesis.
According to the venerable Egede, words are formed in the Greenland
language by taking and joining together a part of each of the radical
words, the ideas of which are to be combined together in one compound
locution. One or more syllables of each simple word are generally
chosen for that purpose and combined together, often leaving out the
harsh consonants for the sake of euphony. Thus from “_agglekpok_,” he
writes, “_pekipok_,” he mends or does better, and “_pinniarpok_,” he
endeavours, is formed the compound word “_agglekiniaret_,” which means,
“endeavour to write better.” The first syllable “_agl_,” is taken from
“agl_ekpok_,” the second “_ek_” from the same word, and also from the
first syllable of “_pekipok_,” leaving out the _p_ to avoid harshness,
and the third “_inniar_” from “Pinniar_pok_,” also leaving out the
initial consonant for the same reason. It seems to me that I find
something like it in the Delaware language. According to Zeisberger,
_wet_ooch_wink_ signifies “father.” Now taking the second syllable
_ooch_, and placing _n_ before it, you have “_nooch_,” my father. To be
sure, it is not the first syllable that is borrowed, as in the above
example from the Greenlandish, but the principle appears, nevertheless,
to be the same in both languages.

On the subject of this word “_father_” I observe a strange
contradiction between two eminent writers on Indian languages,
evidently derived from the stock of the Lenni Lenape or Delaware.
One of them, Roger Williams, in his Key to the Language of the New
England Indians, says “_osh_” (meaning probably _och_ or _ooch_, as the
English cannot pronounce the guttural _ch_) father; “_nosh_” my father;
“_kosh_” thy father, &c. On the other hand, the Rev. Jonathan Edwards,
in his observations on the language of the _Muhhekanew_ (Mohican)
Indians, speaks as follows: “A considerable part of the appellations
is never used without a pronoun affixed. The Mohegans say, my father,
‘_nogh_’ (again _noch_ or _nooch_) thy father ‘_kogh_,’ &c., but
they cannot say absolutely ‘_father_.’ There is no such word in their
language. If you were to say ‘_ogh_,’ you would make a Mohegan both
stare and smile.” (page 13.)

Which of these two professors is right? It seems that either Rogers
invented the word _osh_ for “father,” from analogy, or that Edwards is
not correct when he says that _ogh_ or _ooch_ singly, mean nothing in
the Indian language. Is he not mistaken when he says that there is no
word whatever answering to “father,” or “the father,” in an abstract
sense; and if an Indian would stare and smile when a white man says
_ooch_, would he smile in the same manner if he said _wetoochwink_?
Is it possible to suppose that this respectable author had only a
partial knowledge of the language on which he wrote, and that he was
not acquainted with the radical word from which _nooch_ and _kooch_
had been formed? Or is there no such radical word, and has Zeisberger
himself committed a mistake?

I beg leave to submit to you also another observation that I have
made. It appears from the work of the late Dr. Barton, who quotes
your authority for it, that the name of the _Lenni Lenape_, means
“_the original people_,” and that “_Lenno_” in the Delaware language
signifies “man,” in the general sense, (_Mensch_.) Now, it appears that
in the language of the _Micmacs_ (a tribe of Nova Scotia,) they call
an Indian “_Illenoh_,” and in that of the Canadian mountaineers (whom
some believe to be the Algonkins proper) they say “_Illenou_.” (Mass.
Histor. Coll. for the year 1799, pp. 18, 19.) I am apt to believe that
those names are the same with “_Lenno_,” and that it is from them that
the French have formed the name “_Illinois_,” which extends even beyond
the Mississippi. In the speech of the Indian chief _Garangula_, to the
Governor of Canada, related by La Hontan, the warrior says: “You must
know, Onontio, that we have robbed no Frenchmen, but those who supplied
the ‘_Illinois_,’ and the ‘_Oumamis_,’ our enemies, with powder and
ball.” I am inclined to believe that Garangula when he spoke of the
_Illinois_ meant the _Lenni Lenape_, and by the name of _Oumamis_,
intended to describe their chief tribe, the _Unamis_. Of this,
however, I leave you to judge. But I strongly suspect that “_Lenno_,”
“_Lenni_,” “_Illenoh_,” “_Illenou_,” “_Illinois_,” are the same name,
and all apply to that great nation whom the Baron La Hontan takes to
be the _Algonkins_, who, it would seem, are only called so by way of
discrimination, but consider themselves as a branch of the great family
of the “_Illenou_.” If I am correct in this, how do you make out that
_Lenni Lenape_ means “_original people_”?

The Greenlanders, according to Egede, call themselves _Innuit_, which
in their language also signifies _men_. It appears to me to be very
much akin to _Illenoh_, _Illeun_. Could the Greenlanders be in any way
connected with the _Lenni Lenape_?

Pray tell me from what languages are derived the words _squaw_,
_sachem_, _tomahawk_, _calumet_, _wampum_, _papoose_, which are so much
in use among us? Are they of the Delaware or the Iroquois stock?

  I am, &c.



  BETHLEHEM, 12th August, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I have duly received your two letters of the 31st of July
and 3d of August last. I am much pleased with your metaphysical
disquisitions, as you call them, and I beg you will indulge in them
with perfect freedom, whenever you shall feel so disposed. I agree
with you that a proper classification of human languages would be a
very desirable object; but I fear the task is too hard ever to be
accomplished with the limited knowledge of man. There are, no doubt,
many varieties in language yet to be discovered.

As you wish to be acquainted with the manner in which our North
American Indians compound their words, I shall endeavour to satisfy you
as well as I am able. The process is much the same as that which Egede
has described with respect to the Greenland language, and this strongly
corroborates your opinion respecting the similarity of forms of at
least of those of North America. In the Delaware and other languages
that I am acquainted with, parts or parcels of different words,
sometimes a single sound or letter, are compounded together, in an
artificial manner, so as to avoid the meeting of harsh or disagreeable
sounds, and make the whole word fall in a pleasant manner upon the
ear. You will easily conceive that words may thus be compounded and
multiplied without end, and hence the peculiar richness of the American
languages. Of this I can give you numerous examples. In the first
place, the word “_nadholincen_.” It is a simple short word, but means
a great deal. The ideas that are conveyed by it are these: “Come with
the canoe and take us across the river or stream.” Its component parts
are as follows: The first syllable “_nad_” is derived from the verb
“_naten_,” to fetch; the second, “_hol_,” from “_amochol_,” a canoe or
boat; “_ineen_” is the verbal termination for “_us_,” as in _milineen_,
“give us;”--the simple ideas, therefore, contained in this word, are
“_fetch canoe us_,” but in its usual and common acceptation it means,
“come and fetch us across the river with a canoe.” I need not say that
this verb is conjugated through all its moods and tenses. _Nadholawall_
is the form of the third person of the singular of the indicative
present, and means “He is fetched over the river with a canoe,” or
simply, “He is fetched over the river.”

From _wunipach_, a leaf, _nach_, a hand, and _quim_, a nut growing on a
tree (for there is a peculiar word to express nuts of this description
and distinguish them from other nuts) is formed _wunachquim_, an acorn,
and the ideas which by this name are intended to be conveyed are these:
“The nut of the tree the leaves of which resemble a hand, or have upon
them the form of a hand.” If you will take the trouble to examine the
leaves of an oak tree, you will find on them the form of a hand with
outspread fingers. On the same principle are formed

  M’sim, _hickory nut_.
  Ptucquim, _walnut_.
  Wapim, _chestnut_.
  Schauwemin, _beech nut_, and many others.

The tree which we call “_Spanish oak_,” remarkable for the largeness
of its leaves, they call “_Amanganaschquiminschi_,” “the tree which
has the largest leaves shaped like a hand.” If I were to imitate the
composition of this word in English and apply it to our language,
I would say _Largehandleafnuttree_, and softening the sounds after
the Indian manner, it would perhaps make _Larjandliffentree_, or
_Larjandlennuttree_, or something like it. Of course, in framing the
word, an English ear should be consulted. The last syllable of that
which I have last cited, is not taken from the proper name for _tree_,
which is _hittuck_; but from “_achpansi_,”[288] which means the “stock,
trunk or body of a tree” (in German “_der stamm_”). The last syllable
of this word, “_si_,” is in its compound converted into _schi_,
probably for the sake of euphony, of which an Indian ear in this case
is the best judge.

Again, “_nanayunges_,” in Delaware means “a horse.” It is formed
from _awesis_, a beast, from which the last syllable _es_ is taken,
and _nayundam_, to carry a burden on the back or shoulders; for
when something is carried in the hands or arms, the proper verb is
“_gelenummen_.” The word which signifies “horse,” therefore, literally
means, “the beast which carries on its back,” or in other words,
“a beast of burden.” Were asses or camels known to the Indians,
distinctive appellations for them would soon and easily be formed.

Thus much for the names of _natural substances_, and words which relate
to visible objects. Let us now turn to the expression of ideas which
affect the moral sense.

You will remember that I have told you before that “_wulik_” or
“_wulit_” signifies “good,” and in the various derivations which flow
from it means almost every thing that is good, just, proper, decent,
pleasing or agreeable. When an Indian wishes to express that he is
pleased with something that you have told him, he will say in his
metaphorical language: “You have spoken _good_ words.” Now let us see
how this compound idea is expressed. “_Kolamoe_” is one of the forms of
the past tense of a verb which means “to speak the truth,” and properly
translated signifies “thou hast spoken the truth,” or “thou hast spoken
good words.” _K_, from _ki_, expresses the second person, “_ola_” is
derived from _wulit_ and conveys the idea of _good_; the rest of the
word implies the action of speaking.

In the third person, “_wulamoe_” means “he has spoken the truth;” from
which is formed the noun substantive _wulamoewagan_, “_the_ truth:”
_wagan_ or _woagan_ (as our German Missionaries sometimes write it
to express the sound of the English _w_) being a termination which
answers to that of “_ness_” in English, and “_heit_” or “_keit_” in
German. Pursuing further the same chain of ideas, _wulistamoewagan_ or
_wulamhittamoewagan_, means “faith” or “belief,” the belief of what
a man has seen or heard; for _glistam_ is a verb which signifies “to
hear, hearken, listen;” hence “_wulista_,” believe it, _wulistam_, he
believes; _wulisto_, believe ye, &c. The Indians say _klistawi!_ hear
me! _nolsittammen_, I believe it; _ammen_ or _tammen_ abridged from
_hittammen_, where they are employed as terminations, mean “to do,
perform, adopt.” See what a number of ideas are connected together
in single words, and with what regularity they are compounded, with
proper terminations indicating the part of speech, form, mood, tense,
number and person, that they respectively belong to! The various
shades of thought that those different modes of speech discriminate
are almost innumerable; for instance, _wulistammen_ means simply to
believe; _wulamsittammen_ to believe with full conviction. I would
never have done, if I were to point out to you all the derivatives
from this source, or connected with the idea of _belief_, which word
I bring forward merely by way of example, there being many others
equally fruitful. There is _wulamoinaquot_, credible, worthy of belief
(sometimes used as an impersonal verb, “it is credible, it deserves to
be believed”); _welsittawot_, a believer; _welsittank_, a believer in
the religious sense, &c.

The syllable _pal_ or _pel_ prefixed to some words, implies denial,
and also frequently denotes wrong and is taken in a bad sense.
Hence _palsittamoewagan_, unbelief; _palsittammen_, to disbelieve;
_pelsittank_, an unbeliever; _pelsittangik_, unbelievers. Again,
_palliwi_, otherwise; _palliton_, to spoil, to do something wrong;
_palhiken_, to make a bad shot, to miss the mark in shooting;
_palhitechen_, to aim a stroke and miss it; _pallahammen_, to miss in
shooting at _game_; _pallilissin_, to do something amiss or wrong.

M. de Volney has very justly observed on the Miami language, which is
a dialect of the Lenape, that _m_ at the beginning of a word implies
in general something bad or ugly. It is certainly so in the Delaware,
though not without exceptions, for _mannitto_, a spirit, by which
name God himself, the great and good Spirit is called, begins with
that ill-omened letter. Nevertheless the words “_machit_,” bad, and
“_medhick_,” evil, have produced many derivatives, or words beginning
with the syllables _med_, _mach_, _mat_, _mui_, _me_, _mas_, &c.,
all of which imply something bad, and are taken in a bad sense. For
instance, _mekih_ and _melih_, corruption; _machtando_, the devil;
_machtageen_, to fight, kill; _machtapan_, a bad, unpleasant morning;
_machtapeek_, bad time, time of war; _machtonquam_, to have a bad
dream, &c. I mention this merely to do justice to the sagacity of M.
Volney, whose few observations upon the Indians induce us to regret
that he was not in a situation to make more.

I begin to feel fatigued, and therefore shall take leave of you for the
present and reserve the remainder of my answer for my next letter.

  I am, &c.



  BETHLEHEM, 15th August, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I sit down to conclude my answer to your letter of the 3d

Before I begin this task, let me give you some examples that now occur
to me to shew the regularity of the formation of Indian words.

1. The names of reptiles generally end in _gook_ or _gookses_.

  Achgook, _a snake_.
  Suckachgook, _a black snake_ (from _suck_ or _suckeu_, black.)
  Mamalachgook, _spotted snake_.
  Asgaskachgook, _green snake_.

2. The names of fishes in _meek_ (_Namæs_, a fish.)

  Maschilameek, _a trout_ (spotted fish.)
  Wisameek, _cat-fish_ (the fat fish.)
  Suckameek, _black fish_.
  Lennameek, _chub fish_.

3. The names of other animals, have in the same manner regular
terminations, _ap_, or _ape_, for walking in an erect posture; hence
_lenape_, man; _chum_, for four-legged animals, and _wehelleu_, for
the winged tribes. I need not swell this letter with examples, which
would add nothing to your knowledge of the principle which I have
sufficiently explained.

I now proceed to answer your letter.

Notwithstanding Mr. Edwards’s observation (for whom I feel the highest
respect), I cannot help being of opinion, that the monosyllable
_ooch_, is the proper word for _father_, abstractedly considered, and
that it is as proper to say _ooch_, father, and _nooch_, my father,
as _dallemons_, beast, and _n’dallemons_, my beast; or _nitschan_,
child, or a child, and _n’nitschan_, my child. It is certain, however,
that there are few occasions for using these words in their abstract
sense, as there are so many ways of associating them with other ideas.
_Wetoochwink_ and _wetochemuxit_ both mean “the father,” in a more
definite sense, and _wetochemelenk_ is used in the vocative sense, and
means “thou our father.” I once heard Captain Pipe, a celebrated Indian
chief, address the British commandant at Detroit, and he said _nooch!_
my father!

The shades of difference between these several expressions are so nice
and delicate, that I feel great difficulty in endeavouring to explain
them. _Wetochemuxit_, I conceive to be more properly applicable to the
heavenly Father, than to an earthly one. It implies an idea of power
and authority over his children, superior to that of mere procreation,
therefore I think it fittest to be used in prayer and worship.
_Wetoochwink_, on the contrary, by the syllable _we_ or _wet_, prefixed
to it, implies progeny and ownership over it;[289] and _wink_ or _ink_
conveys the idea of the actual existence of that progeny. Yet Mr.
Zeisberger, who well understood the language, has used _wetoochwink_ in
the spiritual sense. Thus, in his Delaware Hymn Book,[290] you find,
page 15, _Pennamook Wetoochwink milquenk!_ which is in English “Behold
what the Father has given us!” Again, in the same book, page 32, we
read, “_Hallewiwi wetochemuxit_;” which means “The Father of Eternity.”
Upon the whole I believe that _ooch_ is a proper word for “father”
or “a father,” but _wetoochwink_ may also be used in the same sense,
notwithstanding its more definite general acceptation. There is little
occasion, however, to use either with this abstract indefinite meaning.

I agree with you that _lenni_, _lenno_, _illenoh_, _illenou_,
_illinois_, appear to have all the same derivation, and to be connected
with the idea of _man_, _nation_, or _people_. _Lenno_, in the Delaware
language, signifies man, and so does _Lenape_, in a more extended
sense. In the name of the Lenni _Lenape_, it signifies _people_; but
the word _lenni_, which precedes it, has a different signification and
means _original_, and sometimes _common_, _plain_, _pure_, _unmixed_.
Under this general description the Indians comprehend all that they
believe to have been first created in the origin of things. To all such
things they prefix the word _lenni_; as, for instance, when they speak
of _high_ lands, they say _lenni hacki_ (original lands), but they do
not apply the same epithet to _low_ lands, which being generally formed
by the overflowing or washing of rivers, cannot, therefore, be called
_original_. Trees which grow on high lands are also called _lenni
hittuck_, original trees. In the same manner they designate Indian
corn, pumpkins, squashes, beans, tobacco, &c., all which they think
were given by the Great Spirit for their use, _from the beginning_.
Thus, they call Indian corn[291] _lenchasqueem_, from _lenni_ and
_chasqueem_; beans, _lenalachksital_, from _lenni_ and _malachksital_;
tobacco, _lenkschatey_, from _lenni_ and _kschatey_; which is the same
as if they said _original corn_, _original beans_, _original tobacco_.
They call the linden tree _lennikby_, from _lenni_ and _wikby_; the
last word by itself meaning “the tree whose bark peels freely,” as the
bark of that tree peels off easily all the year round. This bark is
made use of as a rope for tying and also for building their huts, the
roof and sides of which are made of it. A house thus built is called
_lennikgawon_, “original house or hut,” from _lennikby_, original, or
linden tree, _wikheen_, to build, and _jagawon_ or _yagawon_, a house
with a flat roof. It is as if they said “a house built of _original_

_Lennasqual_, in the Minsi dialect, means a kind of grass which is
supposed to have grown on the land from the beginning. English grasses,
as timothy, &c., they call _schwannockasquall_, or white men’s grass.
The chub fish they call _lennameek_, because, say they, this fish is in
all fresh water or streams, whereas other fish are confined to certain
particular waters or climates.

They also say _lenni m’bi_, “pure water;” _leneyachkhican_, a fowling
piece, as distinguished from a rifle, because it was the _first_
fire-arm they ever saw; a rifle they call _tetupalachgat_. They say,
_lenachsinnall_, “common stones,” because stones are found every where,
_lenachpoan_, “common bread,” (_achpoan_ means “bread”); _lenachgook_,
a common snake, such as is seen every where (from _achgook_, a snake);
_lenchum_, the original, common dog, not one of the species brought
into the country by the white people. I think I have sufficiently
explained the name “_Lenni Lenape_.”

As I do not know the Greenland language, I cannot say how far the word
“_innuit_” is connected with _lenni_ or _lenno_, or any of the words or
names derived from them.

The words _squaw_, _sachem_, _tomahawk_, and _wigwam_, are words of
Delaware stock, somewhat corrupted by the English. _Ochqueu_, woman;
_sakima_, chief; _tamahican_, hatchet;[292] _wickwam_ (both syllables
long, as in English _weekwawm_), a house. Hence, _nik_, my house;
_kik_, thy house; _wikit_, his house; _wikichtit_, their houses;
_wikia_, at my house; _wiquahemink_, in the house; again, _wickheen_,
to build a house; _wikhitschik_, the builders of a house; _wikheu_,
he is building a house; _wikhetamok_, let us build a house; _wikheek_
(imperative), build a house; _wikhattoak_, they are building (a house
or houses).

_Calumet_ is not an Indian word; M. Volney thinks it is an English word
for a tobacco pipe; it is certainly not proper English, but I have
always thought that it was first used by the English or the French. The
Delaware for a tobacco pipe is _Poakan_ (two syllables).

_Wampum_ is an Iroquois word, and means a marine shell.

_Papoose_, I do not know; it is not a word of the Delaware language,
yet it is possible that it may be used by some Indian nations, from
whom we may have borrowed it. I have been told that the Mahicanni of
New England made use of this word for a _child_.

  I am, &c.



  PHILADELPHIA, 21st August, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I have read with the greatest pleasure your two interesting
letters of the 12th and 15th. I need not tell you how pleased the
Historical Committee are with your correspondence, which is laid before
them from time to time. I am instructed to do all in my power to
induce you to persevere in giving to your country the so much wanted
information concerning the Indians and their languages. The Committee
are convinced that the first duty of an American Scientific Association
is to occupy themselves with the objects that relate to our own
country. It is on these subjects that the world has a right to expect
instruction from us.

I am busily employed in studying and translating the excellent
Delaware Grammar of Mr. Zeisberger; I hope the Historical Committee
will publish it in due time. The more I become acquainted with this
extraordinary language, the more I am delighted with its copiousness
and with the beauty of its forms. Those which the Hispano-Mexican
Grammarians call _transitions_ are really admirable. If this language
was cultivated and polished as those of Europe have been, and if the
Delawares had a Homer or Virgil among them, it is impossible to say
with such an instrument how far the art could be carried. The Greek is
admired for its compounds; but what are they to those of the Indians?
How many ideas they can combine and express together in one single
locution, and that too by a regular series of grammatical forms, by
innumerably varied inflexions of the same radical word, with the
help of pronominal affixes! All this, my dear sir, is combined with
the most exquisite skill, in a perfectly regular order and method,
and with fewer exceptions or anomalies than I have found in any
other language. This is what really astonishes me, and it is with
the greatest difficulty that I can guard myself against enthusiastic
feelings. The verb, among the Indians, is truly the _word_ by way of
excellence. It combines itself with the pronoun, with the adjective,
with the adverb; in short, with almost every part of speech. There
are forms both positive and negative which include the two pronouns,
the governing and the governed; _ktahoatell_,[293] “I love thee;”
_ktahoalowi_, “I do not love thee.” The adverb “not,” is comprised both
actively and passively in the negative forms, _n’dahoalawi_, “I do
not love;” _n’dahoalgussiwi_, “I am not loved;” and other adverbs are
combined in a similar manner. From _schingi_, “unwillingly,” is formed
_schingattam_, “to be unwilling,” _schingoochwen_, “to go somewhere
unwillingly,” _schingimikemossin_, “to work unwillingly;” from _wingi_,
“willingly,” we have _wingsittam_, “to hear willingly,” _wingachpin_,
“to be willingly somewhere,” _wingilauchsin_, “to live willingly in
a particular manner;” from the adverb _gunich_,[294] “long,” comes
_gunelendam_, “to think one takes long to do something;” _gunagen_, “to
stay out long;” and so are formed all the rest of the numerous class
of _adverbial verbs_. The _adjective verbs_ are produced in the same
way, by a combination of adjective nouns with the verbal form. Does
_guneu_ mean “long” in the adjective sense, you have _guneep_, it was
long, _guneuchtschi_, it will be long, &c.; from _kschiechek_, “clean,”
is formed _kschiecheep_, “it was clean;” from _machkeu_, “red,”
_machkeep_, “it was red;” and so on through the whole class of words.
Prepositions are combined in the same manner, but that is common also
to other languages. What extent and variety displays itself in those
Indian verbs, and what language, in this respect, can be compared to
our savage idioms?

Nor are the participles less rich or less copious. Every verb has a
long series of participles, which when necessary can be declined and
used as adjectives. Let me be permitted to instance a few from the
causative verb _wulamalessohen_, “to make happy.” I take them from

  Wulamalessohaluwed, _he who makes happy_.
  Wulamalessohalid, _he who makes me happy_.
  Wulamalessohalquon, _he who makes thee happy_,
  Wulamalessohalat, _he who makes him happy_.
  Wulamalessohalquenk, _he who makes us happy_.
  Wulamalessohalqueek, _he who makes you happy_.
  Wulamalessohalquichtit, _he who makes them happy_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now comes another participial-pronominal-vocative form; which may in
the same manner be conjugated through all the _objective_ persons.
_Wulamalessohalian!_ THOU WHO MAKEST ME HAPPY!

I will not proceed further; but permit me to ask you, my dear sir,
what would Tibullus or Sappho have given to have had at their command
a word at once so tender and so expressive? How delighted would be
Moore, the poet of the loves and graces, if his language, instead of
five or six tedious words slowly following in the rear of each other,
had furnished him with an expression like this, in which the lover,
the object beloved, and the delicious sentiment which their mutual
passion inspires, are blended, are fused together in one comprehensive
appellative term? And it is in the languages of savages that these
beautiful forms are found! What a subject for reflection, and how
little do we know, as yet, of the astonishing things that the world

In the course of my reading, I have often seen the question discussed
which of the two classes of languages, the _analytical_ or the
_synthetical_ (as I call them), is the most perfect or is preferable
to the other. Formerly there seemed to be but one sentiment on the
subject, for who cannot perceive the superiority of the Latin and
Greek, over the modern mixed dialects which at present prevail in
Europe? But we live in the age of paradoxes, and there is no opinion,
however extraordinary, that does not find supporters. To me it would
appear that the perfection of language consists in being able to
express much in a few words; to raise at once in the mind by a few
magic sounds, whole masses of thoughts which strike by a kind of
instantaneous intuition. Such in its effects must be the medium by
which immortal spirits communicate with each other; such, I should
think, were I disposed to indulge in fanciful theories, must have
been the language first taught to mankind by the great author of all

All this would probably be admitted if the Latin and Greek were only in
question: for their supremacy seems to stand on an ancient legitimate
title not easy to be shaken, and there is still a strong prepossession
in the minds of the learned in favour of the languages in which Homer
and Virgil sang. But since it has been discovered that the barbarous
dialects of savage nations are formed on the same principle with the
classical idioms, and that the application of this principle is even
carried in them to a still greater extent, it has been found easier to
ascribe the beautiful organisation of these languages to stupidity and
barbarism, than to acknowledge our ignorance of the manner in which
it has been produced. Philosophers have therefore set themselves to
work in order to prove that those admirable combinations of ideas in
the form of words, which in the ancient languages of Europe used to be
considered as some of the greatest efforts of the human mind, proceed
in the savage idioms from the absence or weakness of mental powers in
those who originally framed them.

Among those philosophers the celebrated Dr. Adam Smith stands
pre-eminent. In an elegant treatise on the origin and formation of
language, he has endeavoured to shew that synthetical forms of speech
were the first rude attempts which men made to communicate their ideas,
and that they employed comprehensive and generic terms, because their
minds had not yet acquired the powers of analysis and were not capable
of discriminating between different objects. Hence, he says every river
among primitive men was _the river_, every mountain _the mountain_, and
it was very long before they learned to distinguish them by particular
names. On the same principle, he continues, men said in one word
_pluit_ (it rains,) before they could so separate their confused ideas
as to say _the rain_ or _the water is falling_. Such is the sense and
spirit of his positions, which I quote from memory.

This theory is certainly very ingenious; it is only unfortunate
that it does not accord with facts, as far as our observations can
trace them. You have shown that the comprehensive compounds of the
Delaware idiom are formed out of other words expressive of single
ideas; these simple words, therefore, must have been invented before
they were compounded into others, and thus analysis presided over the
first formation of the language. So far, at least, Dr. Smith’s theory
falls to the ground; nor does he appear to be better supported in his
supposition of the pre-existence of generic terms. For Dr. Wistar has
told me, and quotes your authority for it, that such are seldom in
use among the Indians, and that when a stranger pointing to an object
asks how it is called, he will not be told a _tree_, a _river_, a
_mountain_, but an ash, an oak, a beech; the Delaware, the Mississippi,
the Allegheny. If this fact is correctly stated, it is clear that among
those original people every tree is not _the tree_, and every mountain
_the mountain_, but that, on the contrary, everything is in preference
distinguished by its specific name.

It is no argument, therefore, against the synthetical forms of
language, that they are in use among savage nations. However barbarous
may be the people by whom they are employed, I acknowledge that I can
see nothing barbarous in them, but think, on the contrary, that they
add much to the beauty of speech. This is neither the time nor the
place to enter into an elaborate discussion of this subject, but I beg
leave to be allowed to illustrate and support my opinion by a lively
example taken from the Latin tongue.

Suetonius relates that the Roman Emperor Claudius (one of the most
barbarous tyrants that ever existed,) once gave to his courtiers
the spectacle of a naval combat on the Fucine lake, to be seriously
performed by gladiators. When the poor fellows saw the Emperor
approaching, they hailed him with “_Ave, Imperator_, MORITURI _te
salutant!_” In English this means, “Hail, Cæsar! THOSE WHO ARE GOING
TO DIE salute thee!” The tyrant was so moved, or rather struck with
this unexpected address, that before he had time to reflect he returned
the salutation _Avete vos!_ “Fare ye well!” This gracious reply, from
the mouth of an Emperor, amounted to a pardon, and the gladiators,
in consequence, refused to fight. But the monster soon returned to
his natural ferocity, and after hesitating for a while whether he
would destroy them all by fire and sword, he rose from his seat, and
ran staggering along the banks of the lake, in the most disgusting
agitation, and at last, partly by exhortations and partly by threats,
compelled them to fight.[295] Thus far Suetonius.

Now, my dear sir, I put the question to you; if the gladiators,
instead of _morituri_, had said in English _those who are about or
going to die_; would the Emperor even have hesitated for a moment, and
would he not at once have ordered those men to fight on? In the word
_morituri_, he was struck at the first moment with the terrible idea
of death placed in full front by means of the syllable MOR; while the
future termination ITURI with the accessory ideas that it involves was
calculated to produce a feeling of tender compassion on his already
powerfully agitated mind, and in fact did produce it, though it lasted
only a short time. But if, instead of this rapid succession of strong
images, he had been assailed at first with five insignificant words
_Those--who--are--going--to_, foreseeing what was about to follow,
he would have had time to make up his mind before the sentence had
been quite pronounced, and I doubt much whether the gladiators would
have been allowed time to finish it. In German, _Diejenigen welche
am sterben sind_, would have produced much the same effect, from the
length of the words _diejenigen_ and _welche_, which have no definite
meaning, and could in no manner have affected the feelings of the
tyrant Claudius. _Ceux qui vont mourir_, in French, is somewhat
shorter, but in none of the modern languages do I find anything that
operates on my mind like the terrible and pathetic _morituri_. May we
not exclaim here with the great Gœthe: _O, eine Nation ist zu beneiden,
die so feine Schattirungen in einem Worte auszudruecken weiss!_ “O,
how a nation is to be envied, that can express such delicate shades of
thought in one single word!”[296]

I hope, indeed I do not doubt, that there is a similar word in
the Delaware language; if so, please to give it to me with a full
explanation of its construction and meaning.

I thank you very much for the valuable information you have given
on the subject of the word “_father_;” the distinction between
_wetochemuxit_, and _wetoochwink_, appears to me beautiful, and
Zeisberger seems to have perfectly understood it. When he makes use of
the first of these words, he displays the “_Father of Eternity_” in all
his glory; but when he says, “_Behold what the Father has given us!_”
he employs the word _wetoochwink_, which conveys the idea of a _natural
father_, the better to express the paternal tenderness of God for his
children. These elegant shades of expression shew in a very forcible
manner the beauty and copiousness of the Indian languages, and the
extent and the force of that natural logic, of those powers of feeling
and discrimination, and of that innate sense of order, regularity and
method which is possessed even by savage nations, and has produced such
an admirable variety of modes of conveying human thoughts by means of
the different organs and senses with which the Almighty has provided us.

Will you be so good as to inform me whether the Delaware language
admits of inversions similar or analogous to those of the Latin tongue;
and in what order words are in general placed before or after each
other? Do you say “_bread give me_,” or “_give me bread_”?

  I am, &c.



  BETHLEHEM, 26th August, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--Your letter of the 21st inst. has done me the greatest
pleasure. I see that you enter the spirit of our Indian languages, and
that your mind is struck with the beauty of their grammatical forms. I
am not surprised to find that you admire so much _wulamalessohalian_,
it is really a fine expressive word; but you must not think that it
stands alone; there are many others equally beautiful and equally
expressive, and which are at the same time so formed as to please
the ear. Such is _eluwiwulik_, a name which the Indians apply to
Almighty God, and signifies “the most blessed, the most holy, the
most excellent, the most precious.” It is compounded of _allowiwi_,
which signifies “_more_” and _wulik_, the meaning of which has been
fully explained in former letters. It is, as it were _allowiwi wulik_;
the vowel _a_, in the first word being changed into _e_. By thus
compounding this word _allowiwi_ with others the Delawares have formed
a great number of denominations, by which they address or designate the
Supreme Being, such are:

  Eliwulek,[297]   } _He who is above every thing_.[299]
  Allowilen,[298]  }
  Eluwantowit,[300] _God above all_; (“getannitowit” means _God_.)
  Eluwiahoalgussit, _the beloved above all things_.
  Elewassit,[301] _the most powerful_, _the most majestic_.
  Eluwitschanessik, _the strongest of all_.
  Eluwikschiechsit, _the supremely good_.[302]
  Eluwilissit, _the one above all others in goodness_.

I have no doubt you will admire these expressions; our Missionaries
found them of great use, and considered them as adding much to the
solemnity of divine service, and calculated to promote and keep alive a
deep sense of devotion to the Supreme Being. I entirely agree with you
in your opinion of the superior beauty of compound terms; the Indians
understand very well how to make use of them, and a great part of the
force and energy of their speeches is derived from that source: it is
very difficult, I may even say impossible, to convey either in German
or English, the whole impressiveness of their discourses; I have often
attempted it without success.

The word “_morituri_” which you cite from the Latin, affords a very
good argument in support of the position which you have taken. It is
really very affecting, and I am not astonished at the effect which
it produced upon the mind of the cruel emperor. We have a similar
word in the Delaware language, “_Elumiangellatschik_,” “those who
are on the point of dying, or who are about to die.” The first part
of it, _elumi_, is derived from the verb _n’dallemi_, which means
“I am going about” (something). _N’dallemi mikemosi_, “I am going
to work,” or “about to work.” _N’dallemi wickheen_, “I am going to
build.” _N’dallemi angeln_, “I am about dying,” or “going to die.”
The second member of the word, that is to say _angel_, comes from
_angeln_, “to die;” _angloagan_, “death,” _angellopannik_, “they are
all dead.” The remainder is a grammatical form; _atsch_, indicates the
future tense; the last syllable _ik_, conveys the idea of the personal
pronoun “_they_.” Thus _elumiangellatschik_, like the Latin _morituri_,
expresses in one word “they or those who are going or about to die,”
and in German “_Diejenigen welche am sterben sind_.”

I am pleased to hear that you discover every day new beauties as you
proceed with the study of the Indian languages, and the translation
of Mr. Zeisberger’s Grammar. You have, no doubt, taken notice of the
reciprocal verb exemplified in the fifth conjugation, in the positive
and negative forms by “_ahoaltin_,” “to love each other.” Permit me to
point out to you the regularity of its structure, by merely conjugating
one tense of it in the two forms.


                Positive Form.
    N’dahoaltineen, _we love one another_.
    K’dahoaltihhimo, _you love one another_.
    Ahoaltowak, _they love one another_.

                Negative Form.
    Matta n’dahoaltiwuneen, _we do not love one another_.
    Matta kdahoaltiwihhimo, _you do not love one another_.
    Matta ahoaltiwiwak, _they do not love one another_.

You will find the whole verb conjugated in Zeisberger, therefore I
shall not exemplify further. You see there is no singular voice in this
verb, nor is it susceptible of it, as it never implies the act of a
single person. In the negative form, “matta” or “atta” is an adverb
which signifies “no” or “not,” and is always prefixed; but it is not
that alone which indicates the negative sense of the verb. It is also
pointed out by _wu_ or _wi_, which you find interwoven throughout the
whole conjugation, the vowel immediately preceding being sometimes
changed for the sake of sound, as from “aholt_a_wak,” “they love each
other,” is formed “ahoalt_i_wiwak,” “they do not love each other.”

I will point out further, if you have not already observed it, what I
am sure you will think a grammatical curiosity; it is a concordance
in tense of the adverb with the verb. Turn to the future of the same
negative conjugation in Zeisberger, and you will find:

  Mattatsch n’dahoaltiwuneen, _we shall or will not love each other_.
  Mattatsch k’dahoaltiwihhimo, _you_--
  Mattatsch ahoaltiwiwak, _they_--

I have said already that _atsch_ or _tsch_ is a termination which in
the conjugation of verbs indicates the future tense. Sometimes it is
attached to the verb, as in _matta ktahoaliwitsch_, “thou shalt or wilt
not love me,” but it may also be affixed to the adverb as you have seen
above, by which means a variety is produced which adds much to the
beauty and expressiveness of the language.

You have asked me whether the Delaware language has inversions
corresponding with those of the Latin? To this question, not being a
Latin scholar, I am not competent to give an answer; I can only say
that when the Indian is well or elegantly spoken, the words are so
arranged that the prominent ideas stand in front of the discourse; but
in familiar conversation a different order may sometimes be adopted. We
say, in Delaware, _Philadelphia epit_, “Philadelphia at,” and not, as
in English, “at Philadelphia.” We say “bread give me,” and not “give me
bread,” because _bread_ is the principal object with which the speaker
means to strike the mind of his hearer.

In the personal forms, or as you call them, _transitions_ of the active
verbs, the form expressive of the pronoun governed is sometimes placed
in the beginning, as in _k’dahoatell_, “I love thee,” which is the
same as _thee I love_; for _k_ (from _ki_), is the sign of the second
person; sometimes, however, the governing pronoun is placed in front,
as in _n’dahoala_, “I love him,” _n’_ being the sign of the first
person, I. In these personal forms or transitions, one of the pronouns,
governing or governed, is generally expressed by its proper sign, _n’_
for “I” or “me,” _k’_ for “thou” or “thee,” and _w’_ for “he or him;”
the other pronoun is expressed by an inflexion, as in _k’dahoalohhumo_,
I love you, _k’dahoalineen_, thou lovest us, _k’dahoalowak_, thou
lovest them. You may easily perceive that the governing pronoun is not
always in the same relative place with the governed.

That these and other forms of the verbs may be better understood, it
will not be amiss to say something here of the personal pronouns. They
are of two kinds: separable and inseparable. The separable pronouns are

  Ni, _I_.
  Ki, _thou_.
  Neka, _or_ nekama, _he_ or _she_.
  Kiluna, _we_.
  Kiluwa, _you_.
  Nekamawa, _they_.

There are other personal pronouns, which I believe to be peculiar to
the Indian languages; such are:

  Nepe, _I also_.
  Kepe, _thou also_.
  Nepena, _or_ kepena, _we also_.
  Kepewo, _you also_.
  Kepoak, _they also_.

The inseparable pronouns are _n_ for the first person, _k_ for the
second, and _w_ or _o_ for the third, both in the singular and the
plural. They are combined with substantives in the possessive forms,
as in _nooch_, my father, _kooch_, thy father; the third person is
sometimes expressed by the termination _wall_, as _ochwall_, his or
her father, and at other times by _w_, as in _wtamochol_, his or her
canoe. In the plural, _nochena_, our father, _kochuwa_, your father,
_ochuwawall_, their father.

The verbal transitions are compounded of the verb itself, combined
with the inseparable pronouns and other forms or inflexions, expressive
of time, person, and number. To understand these properly requires
attention and study.

These things are not new to you, but they may be of use to those
members of the Committee who have not, like yourself, had the
opportunity of studying a grammar of this language.

  I am, &c.



  BETHLEHEM, 27th August, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I promised you in one of my former letters that I would
write to a gentleman well acquainted with the Chippeway language, to
ascertain whether it is true, as Professor Vater asserts, that it is
almost without any grammatical forms. I wrote in consequence to the
Rev. Mr. Dencke, a respectable Missionary of the Society of the United
Brethren, who resides at Fairfield in Upper Canada, and I have the
pleasure of communicating to you an extract from his answers to the
different questions which my letter contained.


1. “According to my humble opinion, and limited knowledge of the
Indian languages, being chiefly acquainted with the Delaware and
Chippeway, of which alone I can speak with propriety, those two idioms
are of one and the same grammatical structure, and rich in forms. I
am inclined to believe that Mr. Duponceau is correct in his opinion
that the American languages in general resemble each other in point of
grammatical construction; for I find in that of Greenland nearly the
same inflections, prefixes, and suffixes, as in the Delaware and the
Chippeway. The inflexions of nouns and conjugations of verbs are the
same. The pronominal accusative is in the same manner incorporated with
the verb, which, in this form, may be properly called _transitive_.
See Crantz’s History of Greenland, in German, page 283. These forms,
though they are very regular, are most difficult for foreigners to
acquire. I might give examples of conjugations in the various forms,
but as they have not been expressly called for, I do not think
necessary to do it.

“The Greenlanders, it seems, have three numbers in the conjugation
of their verbs, the singular, dual, and plural; the Delawares and
Chippeways have also three, the singular, the _particular_, and the
plural. For instance, in the Delaware language we say in the plural,
‘_k’pendameneen_,’ which means ‘we _all_ have heard;’ and in the
particular number we say, ‘_n’pendameneen_,’ ‘we, who are now specially
spoken of, (for instance, this company, the white people, the Indians,)
have heard.’ Upon the whole, Crantz’s History of Greenland has given me
a great insight into the construction of the Indian languages; through
his aid, I have been able to find out the so necessary _infinitive_
of each particular verb. By means of the transitions, Indian verbs
have nine or ten different infinitives, whence we must conclude that
it is very difficult to learn the Indian languages. There is also a
peculiarity in them, by means of the duplication of the first syllable,
as ‘_gattopuin_,’ ‘to be hungry;’ ‘_gagattopuin_,’ to be very hungry.

2. “Carver’s Vocabulary of the Chippeway, I believe is not correct,
though I have it not at present before me.

3. “The numerals in the Chippeway up to ten, are as follows. I write
them according to the German orthography. 1. Beschik. 2. Nisch. 3.
Nisswi. 4. Newin. 5. Nanán. 6. N’guttiwaswi. 7. Nischschwaswi. 8.
Schwaschwi. 9. Schenk. 20. Quetsch.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus far Mr. Dencke. I do not recollect whether I have already
explained to you what he says about the “_particular_” number in the
conjugation of the Delaware verbs. There is a distinction in the plural
forms. “_K’pendameneen_, (_k’_ from _kiluna_, ‘we,’) means generally
‘we have heard,’ or ‘we all have heard,’ not intending to allude to a
particular number of persons; in ‘_n’pendameneen_,’ the ‘_n’_ comes
from ‘_niluna_,’ which means ‘_we_,’ in particular, our family, nation,
select body, &c. ‘_Niluna yu epienk_,’ ‘we who are here assembled,’
_n’penameneen_, (for _niluna penameneen_) we see (we who are together
see); _n’pendameneen_, we hear (we who are in this room hear). But
when no discrimination is intended to be made, the form _kiluna_, or
its abridgement _k’_ is used. _Kiluna elenapewit_, ‘we, the Indians’
(meaning _all_ the Indians); _kiluna yu enda lauchsienk_, ‘we all that
live upon earth;’ ‘_k’nemeneen sokelange_,’ we see it rain, (we _all_
see it rain); _k’nemeneen waselehelete_, we _all_ see the light, (we
and all who live upon earth see the light.)”

I believe Mr. Zeisberger does not mention this distinction in his
Grammar; but he could not say every thing.

  I am, &c.



  PHILADELPHIA, 30th August, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I thank you for your two favours of the 26th and 27th
inst. I am very much pleased to find from the valuable extract of
Mr. Dencke’s letter, which you have had the goodness to communicate,
that the Chippeways have grammatical forms similar to those of the
Delawares. Indeed, as far as my researches have extended, I have found
those forms in all the Indian languages from Greenland to Cape Horn.
The venerable Eliot’s Grammar shews that they exist in the idiom of the
New England Indians, as he calls it, which is believed to be that of
the Natick tribe. Crantz and Egede prove in the most incontrovertible
manner that the language of Greenland is formed on the same _syntactic_
or _polysynthetic_ model. So are the various dialects of Mexico, as far
as I can judge from the Grammars of those languages that are in our
Society’s library. Indeed, the authors of those Grammars are the first
who have noticed the personal forms of the Indian verbs, and given
them the name of _transitions_. I find from Father Breton’s Grammar
and Dictionary of the Caribbee language, that those forms exist also
in that idiom, and the Abbé Molina, in his excellent History of Chili,
has shewn that the Araucanian belongs to the same class of languages.
All the genuine specimens that we have seen of the grammatical forms
of the Indians from north to south, on the continent, and in the
islands, exhibit the same general features, and no exception whatever
that I know of has yet been discovered. Father Sagard’s assertions
about the Huron are not founded in fact, and are even disproved by the
examples which he adduces, and Mr. Dencke’s testimony is sufficient
to counterbalance the naked supposition of Professor Vater that the
language of the Chippeways has no forms. Too much praise cannot be
given to this learned author for the profound researches that he has
made on the subject of American languages with a view to discover the
origin of the ancient inhabitants of this continent, but not being
on the spot, he had not the same means of ascertaining facts that we
possess in this country. Had he lived among us, he would not so easily
have been persuaded that there was such a difference between the
different languages of the American Indians; that some of them were
exceedingly rich in grammatical forms, and appeared to have been framed
with the greatest skill, while others were so very poor in that respect
that they might be compared to the idioms of the most savage nations in
north-eastern Asia and Africa.[303] In Philology, as well as in every
other science, authorities ought to be weighed, compared, and examined,
and no assertion should be lightly believed that is not supported by
evident proof faithfully drawn from the original sources.

I do not positively assert that all the languages of the American
Indians are formed on the same grammatical construction, but I think
I may safely advance that as far as our means of knowledge extend,
they appear to be so, and that no proof has yet been adduced to the
contrary. When we find so many different idioms, spoken by nations
which reside at immense distances from each other, so entirely
different in their etymology that there is not the least appearance of
a common derivation, yet so strikingly similar in their forms, that
one would imagine the same mind presided over their original formation,
we may well suppose that the similarity extends through the whole of
the languages of this race of men, at least until we have clear and
direct proof to the contrary. It is at any rate, a fact well worthy of
investigation, and this point, if it should ever be settled, may throw
considerable light on the origin of the primæval inhabitants of this

The most generally established opinion seems to be, that the Americans
are descended from the Tartars who inhabit the north-easternmost
parts of Asia. Would it not be then well worth the while to ascertain
this fact by enquiring into the grammatical forms and construction
of the languages of those people? The great Empress Catharine
employed a learned professor to compile a comparative vocabulary
of those languages which are spoken within the vast extent of the
Russian Empire. This was but the first step towards a knowledge of
the character and affinities of those idioms. If something may be
discovered by the mere similarity of words, how much farther may not
we proceed by studying and comparing the “plans of men’s ideas,” and
the variety of modes by which they have contrived to give them body and
shape through articulate sounds. This I consider to be the most truly
philosophical view of human language generally considered, and before
we decide upon the Tartar origin of the American Indians, we ought, I
think, to study the grammars of the Tartar languages, and ascertain
whether their thoughts flow in the same course, and whether their
languages are formed by similar associations of ideas, with those of
their supposed descendants. If essential differences should be found
between them in this respect, I do not see how the hypothesis of Tartar
origin could afterwards be maintained.

Professor Vater is of opinion that the language of the Cantabrians,
whom we call Biscayans or Basques, a people who inhabit the sea coast
at the foot of the Pyrenean mountains, is formed on the same model
with that of the American Indians. We have in our Society’s library,
a translation into that idiom of Royaumont’s History of the Bible.
I acknowledge, that by comparing it with the original, I have found
sufficient reason to incline in favour of the Professor’s assertion.
This is a very curious fact, which well deserves to be inquired into.
This Basque language, it is to be presumed, was once spoken in a
considerable part of the ancient world, and probably branched out into
various dialects. How comes it that those polysynthetic forms which
distinguish it, have disappeared from all the rest of the continent of
Europe, and are only preserved in a single language no longer spoken
but by a handful of mountaineers? How comes it that the Celtic which
appears no less ancient is so widely different in its grammatical
construction? Are we to revive the story of the Atlantis, and believe
that the two continents of America and Europe were once connected
together? At least, we will not forget that the Biscayans were once
great navigators, and that they were among the first who frequented the
coasts of Newfoundland.

But let us leave these wild theories, and not lose sight of our
object, which is to ascertain facts, and let others afterwards draw
inferences from them at their pleasure. In Father Breton’s Grammar
and Dictionary of the Caribbee language, I have been struck with a
fact of a very singular nature. It seems (and indeed there appears
no reason to entertain the least doubt on the subject) that in that
idiom the language of the men and that of the women differ in a great
degree from each other. This difference does not merely consist in
the inflexions or terminations of words, but the words themselves,
used by the different sexes, have no kind of resemblance. Thus the
men call an enemy _etoucou_, and the women _akani_; a friend in the
masculine dialect is _ibaouanale_, in the female _nitignon_. I might
adduce a much greater number of examples to shew the difference between
these two modes of speaking. It does not, however, pervade the whole
language; sometimes the termination of the words only differs, while
in many cases the same words are used exactly alike by both sexes.
But those which differ entirely in the two idioms are very numerous,
and are in general terms of common use, such as names of parts of
the body, or of relationship as father, mother, brother, sister, and
many others. It is said a tradition prevails in the Caribbee islands
that their nation was once conquered by another people, who put all
the males to death and preserved only the females, who retained their
national language, and would not adopt that of the conquerors. I am
not much disposed to believe this story; the more so as I find similar
instances in other idioms of different words being employed by the
men and women to express the same thing. Thus among the Othomis, (a
Mexican tribe) the men call a brother-in-law _naco_, and the women
_namo_; a sister-in-law is called by the men _nabehpo_, and by the
women _namuddu_. (Molina’s Grammar of the Othomi language, p. 38.) In
the Mexican proper, the men add an _e_ to the vocative of every proper
name, and say _Pedroe_ for _Pedro_; while the women leave out the
_e_ and distinguish the vocative only by an affected pronunciation.
(Rincon’s Mexican Grammar, p. 6.) It is said also that among the
Javanese, there is a language for the nobles and another for the common
people.[304] These are curious facts, and a discovery of their causes
would lay open an interesting page of the great hidden book of the
history of man.

As I have determined to abstain from every hypothesis, I shall leave it
to others to discover and point out the causes of these extraordinary
facts; but I shall be obliged to you for informing me whether in any
of the Indian languages that you know, there is any such difference of
dialect between the two sexes, and in what it particularly consists.
I cannot believe this story of the conquest of the Caribbee islands
and of its producing that variety of language. I find it related by
one Davis, an English writer, in whom I place no reliance; for he has
pretended to give a Vocabulary of the Caribbee language, which he has
evidently taken from Father Breton, without even taking the trouble of
substituting the English for the French orthography. Carver acted with
more skill in this respect.

I thank you for the explanation which you have given of what Mr.
Dencke calls the “_particular_ plural,” of the Chippeway and Delaware
languages, of which I had no idea, as Zeisberger does not make any
mention of it. It appears to me that this numerical form of language
(if I can so express myself,) is founded in nature, and ought to have
its place in a system of Universal Grammar. It is more natural than
the Greek dual, which is too limited in its comprehension, while the
particular plural expresses more, and may be limited in its application
to two, when the context or the subject of the conversation requires
it. I find this plural in several of the modern European languages;
it is the _nosotros_ of the Spanish, the _noi altri_ of the Italian,
and the French _nous autres_. There is nothing like it in English or
German, nor even in the Latin. I am disposed to believe that this form
exists also in the Greenland language, and has been improperly called
_dual_ by those who have written on it. The Abbé Molina speaks also of
a Dual in the Araucanian idiom, which he translates by _we two_. But he
may have used a term generally known, to avoid the explanations which a
new one would have required. However this may be, the particular plural
is well worthy of notice.

I shall be obliged to you for a translation of the Lord’s prayer in the
Delaware language, with proper explanations in English. I suspect that
in Loskiel is not correct.

In reading some time ago one of the Gospels, (I think St. Mark’s,) in
one of the Iroquois dialects, said to be translated by the celebrated
chief Captain Brandt, I observed that the word _town_ was translated
into Indian by the word _Kanada_, and it struck me that the name of the
province of _Canada_ might probably have been derived from it. I have
not been able to procure the book since, but I have now before me a
translation of the English common prayer-book into the Mohawk, ascribed
to the same chief, in which I find these words: “_Ne_ KANADA-_gongh
konwayatsk Nazareth_,” which are the translation of “in a CITY called
Nazareth,” (Matth. ii. 23.) The termination _gongh_ in this word
appears evidently to be a grammatical form or inflexion, and _Kanada_
is the word which answers for “_city_.” I should be glad to know your
opinion of this etymology.

I find in Zeisberger’s grammar, in the conjugation of one of the forms
of the verb _n’peton_ “I bring,” _n’petagep_ in one place, and in
another _n’petagunewoakup_, both translated into German by “_sie haben
mir gebracht_,” “they have brought to me.” Are these words synonyma, or
is there some difference between them, and which?

  I am, &c.



  BETHLEHEM, 5th September, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I have received your favour of the 30th ult. I answer
it first at the end, and begin with your etymology of the word
_Canada_. In looking over some of Mr. Zeisberger’s papers, who was
well acquainted with the language of the Onondagoes, the principal
dialect of the Iroquois, to which nation the Mohawks belong, I find
he translates the German word _stadt_ (town) into the Onondago by
“_ganatage_.” Now, as you well know that the Germans sometimes employ
the G instead of the K, and the T instead of the D, it is very possible
that the word _Kanada_ may mean the same thing in some grammatical
form of the Mohawk dialect. As you have seen it so employed in Captain
Brandt’s translation, there cannot be the least doubt about it. This
being taken for granted, it is not improbable that you have hit upon
the true etymology of the name _Canada_. For nothing is more certain
than what Dr. Wistar once told you on my authority, that the Indians
make more use of _particular_ than of _generic_ words. I found myself
under very great embarrassment in consequence of it when I first began
to learn the Delaware language. I would point to a tree and ask the
Indians how they called it; they would answer an _oak_, an _ash_, a
_maple_, as the case might be, so that at last I found in my vocabulary
more than a dozen words for the word _tree_. It was a good while before
I found out, that when you asked of an Indian the name of a thing, he
would always give you the specific and never the generic denomination.
So that it is highly probable that the Frenchman who first asked of
the Indians in Canada the name of their country, pointing to the spot
and to the objects which surrounded him, received for answer _Kanada_,
(town or village), and committing the same mistake that I did, believed
it to be the name of the whole region, and reported it so to his
countrymen, who consequently gave to their newly acquired dominions the
name of _Canada_.

I had never heard before I received your letter that there existed a
country where the men and the women spoke a different language from
each other. It is not the case with the Delawares or any Indian nation
that I am acquainted with. The two sexes with them speak exactly the
same idiom. The women, indeed, have a kind of lisping or drawling
accent, which comes from their being so constantly with children; but
the language which they speak does not differ in the least from that
which is spoken by their husbands and brothers.

The question you ask about _n’petageep_ and _n’petagunewoakup_, both
of which Zeisberger translates by _sie haben mir gebracht_, is easily
answered. The translation is correct in both cases, according to the
idiom of the German language, from which alone the ambiguity proceeds.
_N’petageep_ means “they have brought to me,” but in a general sense,
and without specifying by whom the thing has been brought. _Es ist mir
gebracht worden_, or “it has been brought to me,” would have explained
this word better, while _n’petagunewoakup_ is literally rendered by
“_they_,” (alluding to particular persons,) “have brought to me,” or
_sie haben mir gebracht_. You have here another example of the nicely
discriminating character of the Indian languages.

I believe I have never told you that the Indians distinguish the
genders, animate and inanimate, even in their verbs. _Nolhatton_ and
_nolhalla_, both mean “_I possess_,” but the former can only be used
in speaking of the possession of things inanimate, and the latter of
living creatures. NOLHATTON _achquiwanissall_, “I have or possess
blankets;” _cheeli kœcu n’nolhattowi_, “many things I am possessed
of,” or “I possess many things;” _woak nechenaunges nolhallau_, “and
I possess a horse,” (and a horse I possess.) The _u_ which you see at
the end of the verb _nolhalla_, conveys the idea of the pronoun _him_,
so that it is the same as if you said, “and a horse I possess _him_.”
It is the accusative form on which you observed in one of your former
letters and is annexed to the _verb_ instead of the _noun_.

In the verb “_to see_,” the same distinction is made between things
animate and inanimate. _Newau_, “I see,” applies only to the former,
and _nemen_ to the latter. Thus the Delawares say: _lenno newau_, “I
see a man;” _tscholens newau_, “I see a bird;” _achgook newau_, “I see
a snake.” On the contrary they say, _wiquam nemen_, “I see a house;”
_amochol nemen_, “I see a canoe,” &c.

It is the same with other verbs; even when they speak of things lying
upon the ground, they distinguish between what has life and what is
inanimate; thus they say, _icka_ schingiesch_in_[305] _n’dallemans_
“there lies my beast,” (the verb _schingieschin_[305] being only used
when speaking of animate things;) otherwise they will say: _icka_
schingiesch_en n’tamahican_, “yonder lies my ax.” The _i_ or the _e_
in the last syllable of the verb, as here used in the third person,
constitutes the difference, which indicates that the thing spoken of
has or has not life.

It would be too tedious to go through these differences in the various
forms which the verb can assume; what I have said will be sufficient to
shew the principle and the manner in which this distinction is made.

I inclose a translation of the Lord’s Prayer into Delaware, with the
English interlined according to your wishes. I am, &c.


  Ki                        _Thou_
  Wetóchemelenk             _our Father_
  talli                     _there_
  épian                     _dwelling_
  Awosságame,               _beyond the clouds,_
  Machelendásutsch          _magnified or praised be_
  Ktellewunsowágan          _thy name_
  Ksakimowagan              _thy kingdom_
  peyewiketsch              _come on_
  Ktelitehewágan            _thy thoughts, will, intention, mind,_
  léketsch                  _come to pass_
  yun                       _here_
  Achquidhackamike          _upon or all over the earth,_
  elgiqui                   _the same_
  leek                      _as it is_
  talli                     _there_
  Awosságame                _in heaven or beyond the clouds_,
  Milineen                  _give to us_
  eligischquik              _on or through this day_
  gunagischuk               _the usual_, _daily_
  Achpoan                   _bread_,
  woak                      _and_
  miwelendammauwineen       _forgive to us_
  n’tschannauchsowagannéna  _our transgressions_ (faults),
  elgiqui                   _the same as_
  niluna                    _we_ (particular plural) _we who are here_
  miwelendammáuwenk         _we mutually forgive them_,
  nik                       _who or those_
  tschetschanilawequéngik   _who have transgressed or injured us_
                                (past participle)
  woak                      _and_
  kátschi                   _let not_
  n’páwuneen                _us come to that_
  li                        _that_
  achquetschiechtowáganink  _we fall into temptation_; (ink, _into_),
  shuckund                  _but_ (rather)
  ktennineen                _keep us free_
  untschi                   _from_
  medhicking                _all evil_
  Alod                      _for_
  Knihillátamen             _thou claimest_
  ksakimowágan[306]         _thy kingdom_
  woak                      _and_
  ktallewussoágan           _the superior power_
  woak                      _and_
  ktallowilissowágan        _all magnificence_
  ne                        _from_
  wuntschi                  _heretofore_
  hallemiwi,                _ever_ (always)
  Nanne leketsch.           _Amen._ (so be it; so may it come to pass.)



  PHILADELPHIA, 1st October, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--Various professional avocations have prevented me from
answering sooner your kind letter of the 5th ult. I thank you for the
Delaware translation of the Lord’s prayer; it does not differ much from
that in Loskiel, but the English explanations which you have given add
greatly to its value.

The information which your letter contains on the subject of the
annexation to the verb of the form or inflexion indicative of the
gender, is quite new to me. Though I was already acquainted with the
principle on which this takes place, I was not fully aware of the
extent of its application. We have already noticed and remarked upon
the combination of the pronominal form with the active verb[307] in
“_getannitowit n’quitayala_, I fear God;” in which the pronoun _him_
is expressed by the last syllable _ala_ or _yala_, so that it is the
same as if you said “_God I fear him_,” in Latin _Deus timeo eum_,
and by contraction, _Deus timeum_. With this it is not difficult to
pursue the same course or “plan of ideas,” by connecting not only the
subject pronoun, but its gender, animate, or inanimate, with the verbal
form. The idea of the sexes, if the language admitted of it, might be
expressed in the same manner. Thus also Latin words might be compounded
on the Delaware plan. If I wished to express in that manner “_I see a
lion_,” I would say _leo video eum_, and by contraction _videum_; and
if the object was of the feminine gender, I would say _videam_, for
_video eam_. The difference between the Latin and the Delaware is that
in the former the ideas of the pronoun and its gender are expressed by
a _nominal_ and in the latter by a _verbal_ form. I consider _leonem
video_, as a contraction of _leo eum video_; the _n_ being interposed
between _leo_ and _eum_, and the _u_ in _eum_ left out for euphony’s
sake. In the same manner _fœminam_ appears to me to be contracted
from _fœmina eam_;[308] whence we may, perhaps, conclude that in the
formation of different languages, the same ideas have occurred to the
minds of those who framed them; but have been differently combined, and
consequently differently expressed. Who would have thought that the
barbarous idioms of the American savages could have thrown light on the
original formation of the noble and elegant language of ancient Rome?
Does not this very clearly shew that nothing is indifferent in science,
and above all, that we ought by no means to despise what we do not know?

I thought we had exhausted all the verbal forms of the Delaware
language, when I accidentally fell upon one which Zeisberger has
not mentioned in his grammar, but of which he gives an example in
his vocabulary or spelling-book. It is a curious combination of the
relative pronoun “_what_” or “_that which_” with an active verb,
regularly conjugated through the several transitions or personal forms.
The author thus conjugates the present of the indicative.


            _Singular._                           _Plural._

  Elan, _what I tell thee_,            ellek, _what I tell you_,
  elak, _what I tell him_.             elachgup, _what I tell them_.


            _Singular._                           _Plural._

  Eliyan, _what thou tellest me_,      eliyenk, _what thou tellest us_,
  elan, _what thou tellest him_.       elachtup, _what thou tellest them_.


  _Singular._              _Plural._

  Elit, _what he tells me_,              elquenk, _what he tells us_,
  elquon, _what he tells thee_,          elquek, _what he tells you_,
  elat, elguk, _what he tells him_.      elatup, elatschi, _what he tells


  _Singular._                        _Plural._

  Elenk, _what we tell you_,         ellek, _what we tell you_,
  elank, _what we tell him_.         elanquik, _what we tell them_.


  _Singular._                        _Plural._

  Eliyek, _what you tell me_,        eliyenkup, _what you tell us_,
  elatup, _what you tell him_.       elaachtitup, _what you tell them_.


  _Singular._                        _Plural._

  Elink, _what they tell me_,        elgeyenk, _what they tell us_,
  elquonnik, _what they tell thee_,  elgeyek, _what they tell you_,
  elaachtit, _what they tell him_.   elatschik, _what they tell us_.

Thus I have given myself the pleasure of transcribing this single tense
of one of the moods of this beautiful verb, which I find is used also
in the sense of “_as I tell thee_,” &c., and is a striking example of
the astonishing powers of this part of speech in the Delaware language.
Can you tell me where those powers end? Is there anything which a
Delaware verb will not express in some form or other? I am no longer
astonished to find that Mr. Zeisberger has not displayed in his grammar
all the richness of this idiom. A single verb, with its various forms
and transitions, would almost fill a volume, and there are no less than
eight conjugations, all of which were to be explained and illustrated
by examples!

But it is not in the verbs alone that consist the beauties of this
language. The other parts of speech also claim our attention. There I
find, as well as in the verbs, forms and combinations of which I had
not before conceived an idea. For instance, Zeisberger tells us that
there are nouns substantive in the Delaware which have a _passive
mood_! Strange as this may appear to those who are unacquainted with
Indian forms, it is nevertheless a fact which cannot be denied; for
our author gives us several examples of this _passive noun_, all ending
with the substantive termination _wagan_, which, as you have informed
me, corresponds with the English _ness_, in “happiness,” and the German
_heit_ or _keit_, in the numerous words ending with these syllables.
Permit me to select some of the examples given by Zeisberger.

  Machelemuxowagan, _honour, the being honoured_.
  Gettemagelemuxowagan, _the receiving favour, mercy, tenderness_.
  Mamschalgussiwagan,[309] _the being held in remembrance_.
  Witahemgussowagan, _the being assisted or helped_.
  Mamintochimgussowagan,[310] _the being esteemed_.
  Wulakenimgussowagan, _the being praised_.
  Machelemoachgenimgussowagan, _the receiving honour and praise_.
  Amangachgenimgussowagan, _the being raised or elevated by praise_.
  Schingalgussowagan, _the being hated_.
  Mamachtschimgussowagan, _the being insulted_.

You will, I am afraid, be disposed to think that we have changed
places, and that I am presuming to give you instruction in the Delaware
language; but I am only repeating to you the lessons that I have
learned from Zeisberger, to save you the trouble of explaining what I
can obtain from another source; to be corrected, if I have committed
mistakes, and to receive from you the information which my author
does not give. Besides, as our correspondence is intended for the use
of the Historical Committee, my occasional extracts from Zeisberger,
and the observations to which they give rise, are addressed to them
as well as to you, and under your correction, may contribute to give
them a clearer idea of the forms of the Indian languages. Our letters
thus form a kind of epistolary conference between the scholar and his
master, held before a learned body, who profit even by the ignorance
of the student, as it draws fuller and more luminous explanations from
the teacher. Had I proceeded otherwise, your task would have been much
more laborious and troublesome, and it would have been ungenerous to
have exacted it from you.

In this manner I have relieved you from the trouble of explaining the
_passive substantives_ of Zeisberger, unless I should have mistaken his
meaning, in which case, you will, of course, set me right. But this
author does not tell us whether there are on the other hand _active
substantives_, such as “_the honouring_,” “_the favouring_,” “_the
remembering_,” “_the praising_,” “_the insulting_,” “_the hating_.”
Here I beg you will be so good as to supply his deficiency, and explain
what he has left unexplained.

I find also that there are diminutive words in the Delaware, as in the
Italian, such as _lennotit_, a little man, (from _lenno_); _amementit_,
a little child, (from _amemens_); _wiquames_, a little house, (from
_wiquam_), &c. Pray, are there also augmentatives? Is there any
difference between the diminutive terminations _tit_ and _es_, and what
is it?

I have been told that you intend soon to visit Philadelphia; I shall
rejoice to find it true, and to form a personal acquaintance with you,
which, I hope, will produce a lasting friendship.

  I am, &c.



  BETHLEHEM, 10th October, 1816.

DEAR SIR.--I have hesitated whether I should answer your favour of
the 1st inst., being very soon to set out for Philadelphia, where I
shall be able to explain to you verbally everything that you wish to
know in a much better manner than I can do in writing. As there are,
however, but few questions in your letter, and those easily answered,
I sit down to satisfy your enquiry, which will for the present close
our correspondence. If you think proper to resume it after my return to
this place, you will find me as ready as ever to continue our Indian

In the first place, it cannot, I think, properly be said that
substantives in general in the Delaware language have a passive mood;
but there are substantives which express a passive situation, like
those which you have cited, after Mr. Zeisberger. I do not know of any
words which express the same thing _actively_, except the infinitives
of active verbs, which are in that case substantively used. Such are,

  Shingalgundin, _to hate_; or _the hating_.
  Machelemuxundin, _to honour_; or _the honouring_.
  Mamachkimgundin, _to insult_ (by words); or _the insulting_.

The diminutive forms in the Indian are _tit_ and _es_; the former is
generally applied to animate, and the latter to inanimate things.
Thus we say _lennotit_, a little man; _amementit_, a little child;
_wiquames_, a small house; and _amocholes_, a small canoe. This rule
does not hold, however, in all cases; for the little fawn of a deer,
although animate, is called _mamalis_, and a little dog among the
Minsi is called _allumes_, (from _allum_, a dog.) _Chis_ or _ches_, is
also a diminutive termination, which is sometimes applied to beasts;
_achtochis_ and _achtoches_, “a small deer.”

Augmentatives are compounded from the word _chingue_, which signifies
large; and sometimes the two words are separately used.

  Chingue, _or_ m’chingue puschis, _a large cat_.
  Chingewileno (for _chingue lenno_), _a tall stout man_.
  Chingotæney (for _chingue otæney_), _a large town_.
  Chingi wiquam, _a large house_.
  Chingamochol, _a large canoe_.
  Chingachgook, _a large snake_, &c.

There are a few augmentatives formed in a different manner; for
instance, from _pachkshican_ or _kshican_, “a knife,” are formed
_pachkschicanes_, “a small knife,” and _m’chonschicanes_,[311] “a large
knife;” still it is easy to see that _m’chon_, in the latter word, is
derived from _chingue_, large or great, which, with a little variation,
brings it within the same rule with the others.

You have, no doubt, observed in Zeisberger the terminations _ink_ and
_unk_, which express the idea of locality, coupled with a substantive,
as for instance:

  Utenink, _or_ otænink, _from_ otæney, _a town_; _in the town_.
  Utenink n’da, _I am going to town_, or _into the town_.
  Utenink noom, _I am coming from within the town_.
  Sipunk, (_from_ sipo) _to_ or _into the river_.
  M’bink, (_from_ m’bi) _in the water_.
  Hakink, (_from_ hacki) _in_ or _on the earth_.
  Awossagamewunk, (_from_ awossageme), _in heaven_.
  Wachtschunk n’da, _I am going up the hill_.
  Wachtschunk noom, _I come from the hill_.
  Hitgunk, _on_ or _to the tree_.
  Ochunk, _at his father’s_.

As you must have observed that many of our Indian names of places
end with one or other of these terminations, such as _Minisink_,
_Moyamensing_, _Passyunk_, &c., you will understand that all these
names are in what we might call the _local_ case, which accounts for
the great number of those which end in this manner.

I beg you will not write to me any more for the present, as I do not
know how soon I may have the pleasure of seeing you. I anticipate great
satisfaction from your acquaintance, and hope it will be improved into
a true _Indian_ friendship.

  I am, &c.



  PAGE 352, LINE 11--For “_Zeisberger_” read “_Heckewelder_.”

       359,      24--(of letter vi.) For “_from_” read “_for_.”

       362,      15--For “_schawanáki_” read “_schwanameki_.”
                 16--For “_chwani_” read “_chwami_.”

       383,       1--(from the bottom) For “_k’lehelleya_” read

       386,      21--For “_wulatopnachgat_” read “_wulaptonachgat_.”
                 23--For “_wulatonamin_” read “_wulatenamin_.”

       392,      27--(of letter xvii.) For “_manner_” read “_matter_.”

       397,       6 and 7--For “_achpansi_” read “_achpanschi_.”

       401,      26--For “_Indian corn_” read “_a particular species of
                        Indian corn_.”

       404,       8--For “_ktahoatell_” read “_ktahoalell_.”
                 18--For “_gunich_” read “_gunih_.”

       410,      12--For “_eliwulek_” read “_eluwilek_.”
                 13--For “_allowilen_” read “_allowilek_.” For the English
                       translation, of these two words, substitute “_the most
                       extraordinary, the most wonderful_.”
                 14--For “_eluwantowit_” read “_eluwannitowit_.”
                 16--For “_elewassit_” read “_elewussit_.”
                 18--For “_the supremely good_” read “_the most holy one_.”

       424,       6 and 7--For “_schingieschin_” read “_schingiechin_.”

       429,       9--For “_mamschalgussiwagan_” read
                 11--For “_mamintochimgussowagan_” read

       431,       4--(from the bottom) For “_m’chonschicanes_” read


  PAGE 323, LINE 34--For “_Indians_” read “_traders_.”










  N’mítzi, _I eat_.
  N’gáuwi, _I drink_.
  N’wachpácheli, _I awake_.
  N’ménne, _I drink_.
  N’papommíssi, _I walk_.
  N’gagelícksi, _I laugh_.
  N’mamentschi, _I rejoice_.
  N’dáschwil, _I swim_.
  N’manúnxi, _I am angry_.
  N’mikemósi, _I work_.
  N’delláchgusi, _I climb_.
  N’nanipauwi, _I stand_.
  N’lemáttáchpi, _I sit_.
  Nópo, nóchpo, n’hóppo, _I smoke_.
  N’schiweléndam, _I am sorry_.
  N’gattópui, _I am hungry_.
  N’gattósomi, _I am thirsty_.
  N’pálsi, _I am sick_.
  Nolamálsi, _I am well_.
  N’nipitíne, _I have the tooth-ache_.
  N’wilíne, _I have a head-ache_.
  N’wischási, _I am afraid_.
  N’wiquíhhalla, _I am tired_.
  N’tschittanési, _I am strong_.
  N’schawússi, _I am weak_, _feeble_.
  N’túppocu, _I am wise_.
  N’nanólhand, _I am lazy_.
  N’pomóchksi, _I creep_.
  N’dellemúske, _I am going away_.
  N’gattúngwan, _I am sleepy_.
  Oténink n’da, _I am going to town_.
  Gelóltowak, _they are quarrelling_.
  K’dahólel, _I love you_.
  Kschingálel, _I hate you_.
  Ponihi, _let me alone_.
  Palli áal, _go away_.
  Gótschemunk, _go out of the house_.
  Ickalli áal, _away with you_.
  Kschaméhella, _run_.
  Ne nipauwi, _stop there_.
  Undach áal, _come here_.
  Kpáhi, _shut the door_.
  Tauwúnni, _open the door_, _lid_, &c.
  Pisellissu, _soft_.
  Pisalatúlpe, _soft-shelled tortoise_.
  Kulupátschi, _otherwise_, _on the other hand_, _else_, _however_.
  Eiyelíwi,} _both_ (of them.)
  Leu, _true_.
  Attáne léwi, _it is not true_.
  Alla gaski lewi, _it cannot be true_.
  Bíschi, bíschihk, _yes_, _indeed_, (it is so.)
  N’wingalláuwi, _I like to hunt_.
  N’winggi mikemósi, _I like to work_.
  N’schíngi mikemósi, _I don’t like to work_.
  M’wingínammen, _I like it_.
  N’wingándammen, _I like the taste_ (of it).
  N’wíngachpihn, _I like to be here_.
  N’schíngachpihn, _I dislike being here_.
  N’mechquihn, _I have a cold, cough_.
  Undach lénni, _reach it hither_.
  Undach lénnemáuwil, _reach it to me_.
  N’gattópui, _I am hungry_.
  N’gattosomi, _I am thirsty_.
  N’wiquíhilla, _I am tired, fatigued_.
  N’tschitannéssi, _I am strong_.
  N’schauwihilla, _I am weak, faint_.
  N’wischási, _I am afraid_.
  N’daptéssi, _I sweat_.
  N’dágotschi, _I am cold, freezing_.
  N’dellennówi, _I am a man_.
  N’dochquéwi, _I am a woman_.
  N’damándommen, _I feel_.
  N’leheléche, _I live, exist, draw breath_.
  Lécheen, _to exist, breathe, draw breath, be alive_.
  Lechéwon, _breath_.

    _Note._ As we would ask a person whom we had not seen for a
    long time: “Are you _alive_ yet?”--or, is such and such a one
    yet _alive_? the Indian would say:

  Ili kleheléche? _do you draw breath yet_?
  Leheléche íli nítis, N. N.? _does my favourite friend_ N. N. _yet
    draw breath_?
  Gooch ili lehelecheu? _does your father draw breath yet_?
  Gáhawees ili lehelecheu? _does your mother draw breath yet_?
  N’tschu! _my friend_.
  N’tschútti, _dear, beloved friend_.
  Nitis, _confidential friend_.
  Geptschat, _a fool_.
  Geptschátschik, _fools_.
  Leppóat, _wise_.
  Leppoeu, _he is wise_.
  Leppoátschik, _wise men, wise people_.
  Sókelaan, _it rains_.
  K’schilaan, _it rains hard_.
  Pélelaan, _it begins to rain_.
  Achwi sókelaan, _it rains very hard_.
  Alla sókelaan, _it has left off raining_.
  Peelhácquon, _it thunders_.
  Sasapeléhelleu, _it lightens_.
  Petaquíechen, _the streams are rising_.
  M’chaquiéchen, _the streams are up, high_.
  Choppécat, _the water is deep_.
  Meetschi higíhelleu, _the waters are falling_.
  Síchilleu meétschi, _the waters have run off_.
  Tatehúppecat, _shallow water_.
  Gahan, _very low water, next to being dried up_.
  K’schuppéhelleu, _a strong current, riffle_.
  Pulpécat, _deep dead water, as in a cove or bay_.
  Clampéching, _a dead running stream, the current imperceptible_.
  Kscháchan, _the wind_.
  Ta úndchen? _from whence blows the wind_?
  Lowannéunk úndchen, _the wind comes from the north_.
  Schawannéunk úndchen, _the wind comes from the south_.
  Schawanáchen, _south wind_.
  Lowannáchen, _north wind_.
  Wundchennéunk, _in the west_.
  Gachpatteyéunk, _in the east_.
  Moschháquot, _a clear sky_.
  Kschiechpécat, _clear water, clear, pure water_.
  Achgumhócquat, _cloudy_.
  Páckenum, _dark_, (very.)
  Pekenink, _in the dark_.
  Pisgeu, _it is dark_.
  Pisgéke, _when it becomes dark_, (is dark.)
  Mah! _there, take it_!
  Yuni, _this_.
  Nanni, nan, _that_.
  Wullíh, _yonder_.
  Wáchelemi, _afar off_.
  Wáchelemat? _is it afar off, a great way off_?
  Péchuat, _near, nigh_.
  Pechuwíwi, _near_, (not far off.)
  Pechútschi, _near_.
  Pechu lennitti, _directly, presently_.
  Pechu, _soon_, _directly_.
  Alíge, _if so_, _nevertheless_.
  Alíge n’dallemúsca, _I will go for all_, _nevertheless I will go_.
  Yu úndachqui! _this way_, _to this side_!
  Icka úndachqui, _to yon side_.
  Ickalli úndachqui! _still further on that way!_
  Wullih! _yonder!_
  Wullíh táh! _beyond that!_
  Pennó wullíh! _look yonder!_
  Nachgiéchen, _it has hit against something_, (cannot move or be
      driven forward,) as _a joist_, _a pin in a building_.
  Clagáchen, _it rests on something in the water, is grounded_.
  Clagáchen amóchol, _the canoe is aground, rests on something_.
  Clagáchen aschwitchan, _the raft has grounded_.
  Tauwihilla, _sunk_, _it has sunk_.
  N’dámochol k’tauwíhille, _my canoe sunk_.
  Gachpattol amóchol, _take the canoe out of the water_.
  Gachpallátam, _let us get out and go on shore_.
  Pusik! _embark!_ (ye.)
  Pusil! _embark!_ (thou.)
  Wischíksil! _be thou vigilant, quick, in earnest and exert thyself!_
  Wischíksik! _be ye vigilant, in earnest, quick!_ (about it.)

    _Note._ The word wischíksi or wischíxi
    is by the white people interpreted
    as signifying “_be strong_,” which does
    not convey the true meaning of this
    word: it comprehends more; it asks
    for _exertions to be made, to fulfil the

  N’petalogálgun! _I am sent as a messenger!_
  N’sagimáum petalogálgun yu pétschi, _my chief has sent me as a
      messenger to you_.
  Matta nutschquem’páwi, _I am not come for nothing_, (meaning, being
      on an errand.)
  Pechu k’pendammenéwo wentsche payan, _you will soon hear why I am
      come here_.
  Tschingetsch kmátschi? _when do you return home again?_
  Sédpook! _at day break!_
  N’dellgun lachpi gatta páame, _I was told to hasten, and return
  Lachpí, _quick_, (without delay.)
  N’mauwi pihm, _I am going to take a sweat_ (at the sweat house).
  N’dapi pihm, _I am come from sweating_ (from the sweat house).
  N’dapelláuwi, _I am come from hunting_.
  N’dápi notamæsi, _I come from taking fish with the spear_.
  N’dapi áman, _I come from fishing with the hook and line_.
  N’dapi achquáneman, _I come from bushnet fishing_.
  Notameshícan, _a fishing spear_, _gig_.
  Aman, _a fish hook_.
  Achquáneman, _a bush net_.
  Apatschiáne, _when I return_.
  Góphammen,  } _to shut up anything close_, _a door_, &c.
  K’páhammen, }
  Kpáhi, _shut the door_.
  Kpáskhamen, _to plug up tight_.
  Tauwún, _open the door_.
  Tauwúnni, _open the door for me_.
  M’biák, _a whale_, (fish.)
  Yuh’ allauwítan! _come, let us go a hunting!_
  Nelema n’metenaxíwi, _I am not yet ready_.
  K’metenaxi yúcke? _are you now ready?_
  Nélema ta! _not yet!_
  Pechu lenítti, _by and by_.
  Laháppa pehil! _wait a little for me!_
  Nelema n’gischambíla níwash! _I have not yet done tying up my pack!_
  Yúh’ yehúcke allemuskétam! _well now let us go on!_
  Schuck sokeláan gachtáuwi! _but it will rain!_
  Quanna ta! _even if it does_, _no matter if it does_!
  Alla kschilánge, _when the shower is over_.
  Ta hatsch gemauwikéneen? _at what place shall we encamp?_
  Wdiungoakhánnink, _at the white oak run_.
  Enda gochgochgáchen, _at the crossing, fording-place_.
  Enda tachtschaúnge, _at the narrows_, (where the hill comes close
      on the river.)
  Meechek achsinik, _at the big rock_.
  Gauwáhenink, _at the place of the fallen timbers_.
  Sikhéunk, _at the salt spring_.
  Pachséyink, _in the valley_.
  Wachtschúnk, _on the hill_.
  Yapéwi, _on the river bank_.
  Gámink, _on the other side of the river_.
  Eli shíngeek, _on the flat_, (level upland.)
  Mahónink, _at the lick_, (deer lick.)
  Oténink, _in the town_.
  Tékenink, _in the woods_.
  Hachkihácanink, _in the field_.
  Pockhapóckink, _at the creek between the two hills_.
  Menatheink, _on the island_.
  Enda lechauhánne, _at the forks of the river_.
  Enda lechauwíechen, _at the forks of the road_.
  Sakunk, _at the outlet of the river_, (mouth of the river.)
  T’huppecúnk, _at the cold spring_.
  K’mésha? _did you kill a deer?_
  Atta, n’palléha! _no, I missed him!_
  Yuh’ allácqui! _what a pity!_
  Biesch knéwa? _then you did see one?_
  Nachen n’newa achúch, _three times I saw deer_.
  Quonna eet kpúngum machtit, _perhaps your powder is bad_.
  Na leu, _that is true_, _so it turned out to be_.
  Achtschíngi pockteu, _it scarcely took fire_.
  Achtuchuíke wérnan? _are there plenty of deer where you was?_
  Atta ta húsca, _not a great many_.
  Nángutti schuck n’peenhálle, _I saw but few tracks_.
  Machk kpenhálle? _did you track any bears?_
  Biesch n’penhálle mauchsu, _I tracked but one_.
  Schuck n’dállemons mekane, _but my dog_.
  Palli uchschíha, _drove him off_.
  N’gatta amochólhe, _I want to make a canoe_.
  Wítschemil! _help me!_
  N’pachkamen gachtáuwi, _I want to get bled_.
  Yuh, nanne léketsch, _well do so_, _let it be so_.
  N’matamálsi, _I feel unwell_.
  Woak n’nipitíne, _and have the tooth-ache_.
  Wítschemil! _help me!_
  Poníhil, _let me alone_.
  Tschitgússil! _be still_, _hold your tongue_!
  Kscháhel! _strike hard_, _lay on well_! (on wood, &c.)
  Míleen, _to give_, _the giving_.
  Mil, _give_.
  Mili, _give me_.
  Milineen, _give us_.
  Miltin, _given_, (was already.)
  Miltoágan, _a present_.
  N’milgun, _it was given to me_.
  Milo, _give him_.
  Milátamo, _let us give him_.
  Sehe! _hush_, _be quiet_!
  Elke! _O dear_, _wonderful_!
  Ekesa! _miserable_, _for shame_!
  Suppínquall, _tears_.
  Lepácku, _he cries_.
  E gohán, _yes, indeed_.
  Kéhella, _aye_, _yes_.
  Kehellá? _so, is it possible?_
  Kehella lá! _O yes_, _so it is_!
  Yuh kehella! _well, then!_
  La kella! _to be sure_, _’tis so_!
  Kehella kella! _yes, yes!_
  E-E, _yes_, (a lazy _yes_.)
  Mátta, _no_.
  Tá, _no_, (a lazy _no_.)
  Tagú, _no_, _not_.
  Atta ta, _no, no_.
  Eekhockewítschik mamachtagéwak, _the nations are warring against
      each other_.
  Yuh allácqui na lissichtit, _indeed it is a pity they do so_.
  Napenaltowaktsché, _they will be scalping each other_.
  Auween won gintsch pat? _who is that who just now came?_
  Taktáani, _I don’t know_.
  Mauwi pennó, _go and see_.
  Auween kháckev? _who are you?_ (of what nation.)
  Lennápe n’hackey, _I am an Indian_, (of the Lenni Lenape.)
  Ta kóom? _where do you come from?_
  Oténink nóom, _I come from the town_.
  Auween kpetschi, witscheuchgun? _who came with you here?_
  Na nípauwit, _he who stands there_.
  Lennápe? _is he an Indian?_ (a Lenni Lenape.)
  Tah, Mengwe, _no, he is a Mingo, an Iroquois_.
  Kpetschi witscheuchgun otenink untschi? _did he come with you from
      the town?_
  Matta! n’mattelúkgun, _no! he fell in with me_ (by the way).
  Ta tallí? _where?_
  Wulli tah achtschaúnge! _yonder at the narrows!_
  Ki gieschquíke? _this day?_ (to-day.)
  Atta! welaquíke, _no! last evening_.
  Kœcu undochwe wentschi yu páat? _what is he come here for_, _what
      is he after_?
  Taktani, schuck n’tschupínawe! _I don’t know, but I mistrust him!_
  Tcshpináxu gáhenna, _he appears suspicious_, _has a suspicious
  Gichgemotket quónna, _probably he is a thief_.
  Wewitschi eet, _most likely_, (he is such.)
  N’gemotemúke n’dállemons nechnaúnges, _my horse has been stolen from
  Wichwínggi gemotgéwak Menge, _the Mingoes are very fond of stealing_.
  Yuh amachgídieu, _they are vagabonds_.
  Gachtíngetsch, _next year_.
  Lehelechejane, _If I live_, (or am alive.)
  Gamhackinktsch n’da, _I will go across the sea_, (or more properly)
      _to the country beyond the sea_.
  Clámachphil! _sit still!_
  Schíki a na Lenno, _that is a fine, pretty man_.
  Quatsch luppackhan? _why do you cry?_
  N’nilchgun na nipauwit, _he that stands there struck me_.
  Uchschímo meetschi, _he has already ran off_, _made away with
  T’chúnno! _catch him!_
  Gachbílau! _tie him!_
  Lachénau! _let him loose!_
  Weemi, _or_ wemi auween lue, _everybody says_.
  Wigwingi geloltóak schwánnakwak, _that the white people are fond
      of quarrelling_.
  N’matúnguam, _I had a bad dream_.
  N’mátschi, _I will go home_.
  Siquonne lappitsch knewi lehellecheyan! _in the spring you will see
      me again if I am alive!_
  Yuh, schuck mámschali! _well, but do remember me!_
  Natsch leu, _it shall be so_, _that shall be done_.
  N’nuntschímke, _I have been called_.
  Auween guntschimgun? _who called you?_
  N’dochquéum, _my wife_.
  N’nitsch undach aal! _come hither my child!_
  Lachpi! _quick!_
  Nayu nípauwi (or nípawi), _there stand_.
  Pelláh, _indeed_, _surely_, _so so_.
  Petalamo auween, _somebody sounds_ (calls out) _the alarm yell_,
      (signifying danger at hand.)
  Yuh, shimoítam! _come, let us run off!_
  Nélema ta! _not yet!_
  Quanna eet auween gatta napenálgun! _perhaps somebody is coming
      to attack and scalp us!_
  Wewitschi eet, _probably_, _may-be_.
  Pennáu! _look!_
  Wulli ta pépannik! _yonder they are coming!_
  Auween knéwa? _who do you see?_
  Machelook, _or_ chelook schwánnakwak, _many white people_.
  Papomiscuak? _are they on foot?_
  Alénde, _some of them_.
  Schuk matta weémi, _but not all of them_.
  Gachtonalukguntsch matta uchschimuiénge, _we shall be attacked if
      we do not make off with ourselves_.
  Yuh, uchschimuítam alíge, _well then, let us make off at any rate_.
  Mattapewíwak nik schwannakwak, _the white people are a rascally set
      of beings_.
  Kilunéwak wingi, _they are giving to lying_.
  Kschinggálguna gehenna, _they hate us truly_.
  Gemotemukguna wíngi, _they like, are disposed to rob us, are thieves
      upon us_.
  Yuh, gachtonalátam! _well, let us fall upon them, attack them_.
  Longundowináquot, _it looks likely for peace_, _there is a prospect
      of peace_.
  Pennau won! _look at that one!_
  Achgíeuchsu, _he is drunk_.
  Achgepíngwe, _he is blind_.
  Achgépcheu, _he is deaf_.
  Kpítscheu, _he is foolish_.
  Sópsu, _he is naked_.
  Mamanúnxu, _he is angry_.
  Scháaksu, _he is covetous_.
  Pihmtónheu, _he has a crooked mouth_.
  Ilau, _he is a great war-captain_.
  Sakímau, _he is a chief_.
  Kschamehellátam, _let us run together_.
  Típaas, _a hen_. Tipátit, _a chicken_.
  Tschólens, _a bird_. Tscholéntit, _a little bird_.


  Abbott, Rachel, 341.

  Abenakis, a name of the Lenape, xliii., 121, 123, 126.

  Acadia, inhabited by the Souriquois, etc., 121.

  Achsinning, 184.

  Achtschingi clammui, 199.

  Adair, James I., 126.

  _Adelung’s Mithridates_, 124.

  Ahouandâte or Wyandots, xliv.

  Albany, xxx., xxxi., 61.

  Albany River, the, 120.

  Algonquins, the, 95;
    language, 121, 122, 123, 124.

  Allegheny River, the, 84, 294.

  Alligewi or Allegheny, the, 48, 53, 126.

  Alligewi Sipu, the Allegheny River, 48.

  Anderson, John, a Quaker trader, 241 _et seq._

  Apalaches or Wapanachkis, the, 126.

  Apalachian nation, the, 126.

  Aquanoshioni, national name of the Six Nation Indians, 96, 97, 98.

  Arundel and Robbins, Messrs., 173.

  Assiniboils or Sioux, the, 119, 123.

  Assinipoetuk, the, 119.

  Aubrey, Lætitia, 336.

  Bartholinus, Kasper, 118.

  _Barton’s New Views_, 121, 122, 126.

  Bear, the naked, 255.

  Belts of Wampum, 109.

  Benezet, John Stephen, xxx.

  Bethlehem, xxx.;
    Indians at, 85, 90, 91, 92, 251, 332.

  Beverwyck, xxxi.

  Big Beaver River, 190, 196.

  Blackfoot Indians, 121.

  Boudinot, Elias, 331.

  Brodhead, General Daniel, 70, 237.

  Butterfield’s _Crawford’s Campaign against Sandusky_ referred to, 284.

  Calhoon, Thomas, an Indian trader, 270.

  Canada, xxxvi., 56, 85, 93, 120, 121, 126, 342.

  Canai or Kanhawas, the, xliv., 90, 122.

  Canajoharie, xxxi.

  Canaways, the, xliv.

  Canawese, the, xliv.

  Canibas, the, 121.

  Carolina, xxxii., xxxvii.

  Carolina, North, 122.

  Carver, Captain Jonathan, 119;
    his “_Three Years’ Travel through the interior parts of North
      America_,” _ibid._; 268, 322;
    quoted, 324, 339.

  Catawbas, the, 126.

  Cayahaga, Delaware preacher at, 291.

  Cayahaga River, 85.

  Cayugas, the, 96, 99.

  Chaktawas, the, 126.

  Chapman, Abraham, and John, 67.

  Chapman, a Jew trader, 257.

  Chaquaquock, Indian name for the English, 142.

  Charlevoix, Father, 123, 124, 331.

  Chemenk, 91, 92.

  Chenos, an old Indian, brings down rain, 236.

  Cherokees, the, 64, 65, 88, 89, 95;
    language of, 119, 171, 327.

  Chesapeake Bay, 50.

  Chickesaws, the, 125.

  Chingleclamoose, 199.

  Chippeways or Algonquins, language of, 119; xl., 90, 124, 130, 144,
      176, 212.

  Choctaws, the, 125.

  Christian Indians, xl.

  Christinaux, the, 123.

  Clavigero, the Abbé, 331.

  Cochnewagoes, the, a mixed race of Indians, 93.

  Coghnewago, 52.

  Coghnewago Hills, 52.

  Colden, Cadwallader, his _History of the Five Indian Nations_ quoted,
      xxxii., xxxiv., xliii., 55, 120.

  _Collections of Maps, Historical Society_, referred to, 93, 94.

  _Colonial Records of Penna._, xxxv., 178.

  Conecocheague, 341.

  Conestoga Indians, the murder of, 68, 80, 184, 192.

  Connecticut, 94.

  Conois, the, xliv.

  Cornplanter, the, 112.

  Cornstalk, the, 89, 184.

  Coshocton, 237.

  Crantz, David, a Moravian historian, his _History of Greenland_
      referred to, 118.

  Crawford. Col. William, 133;
    tortured by Indians, 284;
    dialogue with Capt. Wingenund, 285.

  Creeks, the, 95, 121, 125.

  Cushman, the Rev. Mr., of the Plymouth Colony, 330.

  David, a Moravian Indian, 166.

  David’s Path, 168.

  De Laet, 126.

  Delamattenos, the, 80.

  De la Ware, Lord, xliii.

  Delaware hunter and the bear (anecdote), 255.

  Delaware Water Gap, 264.

  Denmark, 119.

  Detroit, xl., 49, 55, 108, 110, 119, 121, 133, 144, 171, 174, 226,
      230, 258, 284.

  _Detroit Gazette_ quoted, 243.

  Doctol, Indian for Doctor, 231.

  Duncan, David, 280.

  Dunmore’s War, 89, 263, 278.

  Du Ponceau to Heckewelder, letters of, 353, 364, 369, 376, 379, 387,
      392, 403, 416, 426.

  Du Ponceau to Wistar, letter of, 359.

  Du Pratz, 126.

  Dutch, Indian account of their arrival in New York, 71 _et seq._;
      xxx., xxxii., xxxiii., xxxiv., xxxviii., 61, 74, 75.

  Dutchemaan, the Dutch so called by the Indians, 60, 77.

  Du Vallon, 126.

  Easton, xxxv., 79, 168, 303.

  Edwards, Bryan, 331.

  Edwards, the Rev. Jonathan, 94, 125, 127.

  Egede, P., 118.

  Eliot, the Rev. John, 94, 125, 127.

  Elliot, Matthew, 152.

  Enda Mohatink, “_where human flesh was eaten_,” 200.

  Esquimaux Indians, 118.

  Etchemins, the country of the, 121.

  Evans, Mr., murder of, at Pittsburg, 111.

  Florida Indians, 95, 347.

  Floridian languages, 125.

  Forks of Delaware, the, 86.

  Fort Allen, 166, 333.

  Fort Duquesne, 86.

  Fort Harmar, 112.

  Fort McIntosh, 173, 219.

  Fort Washington, 183.

  Franklin at Fort Allen, 166.

  Freeman, Mr., an Indian Peace Commissioner, 182.

  French and Indian War, the, 67, 88.

  French Missionaries, 119.

  Gaaschtinick or Albany, 60.

  Gachgawatschiqua, a Shawano chief, 86.

  Gambold, the Rev. John, 126.

  Gelelemend or Killbuck, a Delaware chief, 233;
    biographical sketch of, _ibid._

  Gentellemaan (gentleman), 188.

  Georgia, 86, 121.

  Gibson, Col. John, biographical sketch of, 48;
    letter to the Rev. N. Seidel, 82, 85, 132.

  Girty, Simon, 152, 279.

  Gladwyn, Major, at Detroit, 108.

  Glicanican or Indian tobacco, 212.

  Glikhican, Isaac, a Moravian Indian, 341.

  Gnadenhütten on the Mahoning, 91.

  Goshachking, 237, 295, 327.
    (See Coshocton.)

  Greenland, inhabitants of, 118;
    Moravian mission in, _ibid._

  Greentown, incident occurring at, 144.

  Greenville, treaty of, xli., 298.

  Guyandots, the, xliv.

  Hardin, Mr., an Indian Peace Commissioner, 182.

  Harris, John, on the site of Harrisburg, 90.

  Heckewelder, the Rev. John G. E., biographical sketch of, vii.-xiv.;
    at Detroit, 144;
    in Upper Canada, 168;
    on the Muskingum, 102, 171;
    associated with Gen. R. Putnam, 183;
    on the Big Beaver, 190;
    at Tuscarawas, 205;
    at Lower Sandusky, 219;
    at New Gnadenhütten on the Huron, 226;
    dialogue with Killbuck, 234;
    dialogue with Chenos, 237;
    his “_Collection of the names of chieftains and eminent men of the
      Delaware Nation_” alluded to, 270;
    general observations and anecdotes, 310 _et seq._;
    at Post Vincennes, 311;
    at Marietta, 312;
    advice to travellers, 318.

  Heckewelder to Du Ponceau, letters of, 361, 371, 375, 380, 383, 395,
      399, 409, 414, 422, 430.

  Heckewelder to Wistar, letters of, 356, 358.

  Henry, Judge William, of Lancaster, 82.

  Hermit’s Field, the, 200.

  Hervas, 126.

  Holland, Luke, a Delaware, 178 _et seq._

  Hoosink, 255.

  Hudson’s Bay Company, the, 118, 120.

  Huron River, now the Clinton, 93.

  Hurons, the, xliv.;
    disunited from the Iroquois, 119;
    language of, 122.

  Iceland, 119.

  Indiana Territory, 85.

  Indian Grammars by the Spaniards, 127.

  Indians, their historical traditions, 47.
    mounds and fortifications, 48, 49.
    treatment of, by the Europeans, 76 _et seq._
    general character, 100 _et seq._
    belief in an all-wise and good Creator, or Mannito, 101.
    hospitality, 101.
    civility, 103.
    humor and wit, 104.
    respect for the aged, 104, 163 _et seq._
    sense of justice, 105.
    form of government, 107.
    education of their children, 113 _et seq._
    signs and hieroglyphics, 127 _et seq._
    drawings, 130.
    hunters’ marks, 131.
    oratory, 132.
    metaphorical expressions, 137 _et seq._
    names given their own people and the whites, 141 _et seq._
    intercourse with each other, 145 _et seq._
    political manœuvres, 150 _et seq._
    manner of marriage and treatment of their wives, 154 _et seq._
    pride and greatness of mind, 170 _et seq._
    wars and the causes which lead to them, 175.
    manner of surprising an enemy, 177 _et seq._
    peace-messengers, 181 _et seq._
    treaties of peace, 185 _et seq._
    ill treatment by the whites, 187 _et seq._
    food, and the manner of preparing it, 193 _et seq._
    dress, and love of ornaments, 202 _et seq._
    dances, songs, and sacrifices, 208 _et seq._
    scalp-whoops or yells, 215 _et seq._
    alarm-whoop, 217.
    death-halloo, _ib._
    physical constitution and diseases, 220 _et seq._
    _materia medica_, 224 _et seq._
    sweat-ovens, 225.
    physicians and surgeons, 228 _et seq._
    doctors or jugglers, 231 _et seq._
    superstitions, 239 _et seq._
    manner of initiating boys, 245.
    system of mythology, 249.
    coats-of-arms, 252.
    behaviour towards the insane, and their ideas regarding suicide,
      257 _et seq._
    drunkenness, 261 _et seq._
    funerals, 268 _et seq._
    friendships, 277 _et seq._
    preachers and prophets, 290 _et seq._
    computation of time, 306 _et seq._
    astronomical and geographical knowledge, 308 _et seq._
    general character compared with that of the whites, 328 _et seq._

  Iroquois, the, 95 _et seq._;
    supplied by the English with fire-arms, xxxii.;
    the name given to the Six Nations by the French, xliv.;
    the language, 119;
    in the State of New York, 121.

  Irvine, General William, letter to Wm. More, 81;
    letter from Washington, 284.

  Jefferson, Thomas, 122.

  Johnson, Sir William, 68, 120.

  Juniata River, Shawanose on the, 86, 87.

  Kanawha, the Great, 89, 184.

  Karalit, language of the, 118.

  Kickapoos, the, 121.

  Killbuck or Gelelemend, 233;
    dialogue with Heckewelder, 234.

  Killistenoes, the, 95, 322.

  Knisteneaux, the, 95.

  Knox, H., Secretary of War, letter to Heckewelder, 311.

  Koguethagechton, Indian name of Capt. White Eyes, 280.

  Kuequenaku, the Indian name of Philadelphia, 142.

  Labrador, 118.

  La Chine, a murderous affair between two Indians at, 105.

  Laehauwake, Easton, 79.

  La Hontan, Father, xliii., 119;
    list of Indian nations, 121, 122, 124.

  Lake Erie, 49, 85.

  Lake St. Clair, 49.

  Languages, Indian, 118 _et seq._

  Las Casas, 331.

  Leather Lips, a Wyandot chief, 297;
    death of, 298.

  Lehigh Hills, 52.

  Lehigh River, the, 52.

  Lehigh Water Gap, the, 91, 234, 334.

  Lehighton, site of Gnadenhütten on the Mahoning, xxxi.

  Lenapewihittuck, the Delaware River, 51, 78.

  Lenni Lenape, national name of the Delawares, xxvi.;
    were they or were they not conquered by the Mengwe? xxvii. _et
      seq._; xiii.;
    wars with the Iroquois, xxvii.;
    settle on the Atlantic coast, xxviii.;
    made women by the Iroquois, xxix.;
    on New York Island, xxxvii.;
    in the far West, 47;
    on the Mississippi, 49;
    confederated with the Mengwe to fight the Allegewi, 50;
    on Chesapeake Bay, _ib._;
    on the Delaware, 51;
    consent to become women, 58;
    seek to gain their independence, 62;
    take up arms against the English, 68;
    assert their national independence, 70;
    their fate subsequent to 1763, and that of their kindred tribes, 83
      _et seq._;
    their number, 85;
    language, 121, 124;
    song of the warriors, 211;
    words, phrases, etc., 431 _et seq._;
    Tortoise, Turkey, and Wolf tribes of, 51, 52, 253.

  Lincoln, Gen. Benjamin, 105.

  Logan, the well-known Indian chief, 89;
    his celebrated speech, 132.

  Lord’s Prayer, the, in the Delaware, 424.

  Loskiel, the Rev. George H., biographical sketch of, xxix.;
    his _History of the Mission of the United Brethren_
    _among the Indians of North America_” referred to, xxix., xxx.,
      xxxvii., xl., 48;
    quoted in full touching the making women of the Delawares by the
      Iroquois, 59;
    referred to, 70, 85, 86, 88, 90, 92, 97, 126, 134;
    quoted, 206;
    referred to, 213, 341.

  Lower Sandusky, 159, 173.

  Mæchachtinni, the name given by the Lenape to the Senecas, 99.

  Machtitschwanne, or Massachusetts, 77.

  Mackenzie, Alexander, 121.

  Mahicanni or Mohicans, xliii., 53;
    their account of the Iroquois making women of the Delawares, 60;
    Moravian mission among them, 93;
    called Mahingans, xliii., 121.

  Mahikanders or Mohicans, xliii.

  Maine, Province of, xxviii., 121.

  Manahachtanienk, New York Island, 77, 262.

  Maqua, the Mohican name of the Six Nations, xliv., 98.

  Marietta, 311, 312.

  Maryland, 53, 91, 92, 122.

  Matassins, the, 123.

  McKee, Alexander, 152.

  Mechanschican, _i.e. Long Knives_, 142, 143.

  Meigs, Return Jonathan, U. S. Agent to the Cherokees, 126.

  _Memorials of the Moravian Church_ referred to, 302.

  Mengwe, Delaware name of the Six Nations, xxvi.;
    in the Great Lake region, 50;
    on the St. Lawrence, 54;
    their treachery toward the Lenni Lenape, 54, 64, 68, 98.

  Messissaugees, the, 121.

  Miamis or Twightwees, xii.;
    of Lenape origin, 121;
    their country, 93.

  Michael, a Monsey buried at Bethlehem, 206 _et seq._

  Micmacs, the, 121.

  Minisink, the country of the Minsis, 52.

  Mingoes, name given to the Six Nations by the whites, xliv., 98, 130.

  Minsis or Monseys, 52, 53, 84, 85, 123, 124.

  Miquon, Delaware name of William Penn, 66, 78, 142.

  Mississippi River, the, xxvii., xxxii., xxxvii., 47, 49, 51, 85, 95,

  Mitchell, Mr., U. S. Agent to the Creeks, 126.

  Mobilians, the, 126.

  Mohawks, the, xxxiv., xxxv., 61, 96, 99.

  Mohicanichtuck, Hudson’s River, xxxviii., 52, 53, 75.

  Mohicans, xxviii., xxx., xxxiii., 71, 86.

  Monongahela River, the, 87.

  Monsonies, the, 123.

  Montreal, 105.

  Moravian Indians, the, xl., 81;
    settle at Wyalusing, 83, 197;
    settle on the Muskingum, 84, 85;
    at Philadelphia, 166;
    grant of lands by Congress to, 168;
    on the Retrenche, _ibid._;
    near Detroit, 176;
    murder of, on the Muskingum, 184, 283.

  Morgan, Col. George, 300.

  Mourigans or Mohicans, xliii.

  Muhheekanes or Mohicans, xliii.

  Munsell’s _Collections of the History of Albany_ quoted, xxxi.

  Muskanecun Hills, the, 52.

  Muskingum or Tuscarawas River, xl., 84, 85, 102, 112, 171, 180, 252.

  Muskohgees or Creeks, 125.

  Namaesisipu, the Mississippi River, 47, 49, 51.

  Nanticokes, the, xxviii., xliii., 53, 83, 90 _et seq._, 122.

  Natchez, the, 126.

  Natick dialect, the, 125;
    Eliot’s Bible in the Natick, 94.

  Naudowessies, the, 95, 119, 268.

  Nazareth, Capt. John at, 52, 220;
    the Barony, 336.

  Nentico or Nanticoke, xliv.

  Nescopeck, 91, 166, 333.

  New England, xxxii., 71.

  New London, 94.

  New York Island, xxxvi., xxxvii., 72, 208.

  Niagara, xl., 174.

  Nocharauorsul, the ground hog, myth of, 251.

  Nordmann’s Kill, xxx., xxxi., xxxv., 60, 61.

  North River, the, xxxvii., 51.

  Nova Scotia, 121, 123.

  Ohio, an Iroquois word, 48;
    the river, 84, 86, 87, 339

  Onas, Iroquois for William Penn, 142.

  Oneida, 93.

  Oneidas, the, 96, 99.

  Ongwe-honwe, the name given themselves by the Iroquois, xxxiv.

  Onondagoes, the, 96, 99.

  Openagi, the, xliii.

  Openangoes, the, 121.

  Otayáchgo, Mohican name of the Nanticokes, 92.

  Ottawas, the, xl., xii.

  Owl Creek, 168.

  Pachgantschihilas, a Delaware chief, 80.

  Papunhank, a Monsey, 197.

  Pascagoulas, the, 125.

  Paxnos, a Shawano chief, 88.

  Penn, William, 66, 107, 331.

  Pequods, the, 94.

  Perth Amboy, 148.

  Philadelphia, Shawanose on the site of, 86;
    Indians on the site of, 148.

  Pilgerruh, a Moravian Mission, 85.

  Pine Plains, Dutchess Co., N. Y., 93.

  Pine Swamp, the, 166, 200.

  Pipe, a Delaware chief, biographical sketch of, 133;
    speech at Detroit, _ibid._, 151, 152, 153, 338, 347.

  Pipe of Peace, 109.

  Pittsburg, 69, 70, 86;
    Mr. Evans murdered at, 111, 184, 190, 192, 279.

  Point Pleasant, 89, 184.

  Pontiac, 108.

  Potomac River, the, 51, 90.

  Pottowatomies, the, xli., 121.

  Proctor, General Thomas, 295.

  Proud’s _History of Pennsylvania_ quoted, 67.

  Psindamocan, a preparation of Indian corn, 195.

  Putnam, General Rufus, 183, 311.

  Pyrlæus, the Rev. J. Christopher, biographical sketch of, xxx.;
    his collection of Indian traditions in MS., 54;
    account of the conspiracy of the Five Nations quoted, 56;
    quoted, 61, 91, 96;
    _Indian tradition_ quoted, 251, 347.

  Quaekels, Quakers so called by the Indians, 143.

  Quebec, 78.

  Rauch, Christian Henry, a Moravian Missionary, 93.

  River Indians, Mohicans so called, xxxiv., xliii.

  Robbins and Arundel, Messrs., 173.

  Rochefort, 126.

  Rocky Mountains, 118.

  Rogers’s _Key into the Language of the Indians of New England_
      referred to, 142.

  Rosenbaum, Cornelius, a Delaware, 264;
    dialogue with Heckewelder, 265.

  Sagard, Father Samuel, xliv.;
    his Dictionary, 120, 127.

  Samuel, a Moravian Indian, 220.

  Sandusky, 153, 172;
    Crawford’s campaign against, 284.

  Sankhicanni, name given by the Lenape to the Mohawks, 99.

  Savannah, 86, 121.

  Schatikooks or Mohicans, xliii.

  Scheyichbi, Indian name of New Jersey, 51.

  Schussele’s painting, “The Power of the Gospel,” 294.

  Schuylkill River, the, 86.

  Schwannack, _i. e._, “salt beings,” 142.

  Schweinitz’s _Life of Zeisberger_ referred to, 63, 81.

  Senecas, 55, 69, 96, 99.

  Sganarady, a Mohawk chief’s account of the origin of the Indians, 61,

  Sganiateratich-rohne, the Iroquois name of the Nanticokes, 92.

  Shamokin, 91, 178.

  Shawanose, the, xxxix., xli., 85 _et seq._; 121, 130.

  Shechschequon, 91.

  Shenango, 91.

  Shikilimus at Shamokin, 88.

  Shingask, 269;
    funeral of his wife, 270 _et seq._

  Shummunk, 91.

  Silver Heels, a Shawano, 278.

  Sioux or Assiniboils, the, 119.

  Six Nations or Mengwe, their manner of attaining to power, xxxii. _et
    how they lost their power, xxxix. _et seq._; xliv.;
    eat human flesh, 55;
    unable to conquer the Delawares, 56;
    their scheme to make women of the Delawares, _ib._;
    insult the Delawares, 67, 119.

  Snake Indians, the, 121.

  Soccokis, the, 121.

  Souriquois, the, 121.

  Sproat, Col. Ebenezer, 312.

  “_Star in the West, A_” referred to, 331.

  Steiner, the Rev. Abraham, 49.

  Stenton, John, 333;
    his place attacked by Indians, 334, 335.

  St. Lawrence, the, xxviii., xxxvii., 54, 56, 93, 95.

  St. Pierre, the, 119.

  Stockbridge, 93.

  Susquehanna River, the, 50, 52, 90.

  Sussee Indians, the, 121.

  Sweat-ovens, 226.

  Sweden, 119.

  Tadeuskund or Honest John, 302.

  Tallegewi, the, 48, 49.

  Tamanend, 300.

  Tamaqua, or King Beaver, 269.

  Tammany Society, the, 301.

  Tar-he, a Wyandot chief, 298.

  Tassmanane, a preparation of Indian corn, 195.

  Tatemy, Moses, Brainerd’s interpreter, 302, 307, 337.

  Tawachguano, Delaware name of the Nanticokes, 92.

  Tawalsantha, Indian name of Norman’s Kill, xxxi.

  Tecumseh, 295.

  Thomas, a Susquehanna Indian at Bethlehem, 267.

  Thomson, Charles, xxxvi.

  Thorhallesen, 118.

  _Transactions of the Massachusetts Historical Society_ referred to,

  Trappers, the, Nanticokes so called, 92.

  Treaties held with the Indians between 1740 and 1760, xxxv.

  Trueman, Mr., an Indian Peace Commissioner, 182.

  _Trumbull’s History of Connecticut_ referred to, 94.

  Tschachgoos, the, 142.

  Tuscarawas, the river, 85;
    the town, 205.

  Tuscaroras, the, 96, 99, 327.

  Twightwees or Miamis, the, 121.

  Umfreville, Mr., 121.

  Unalachtgo, Turkey Delawares, 51, 53, 253.

  Unamis or Turtles, 51, 53, 124, 250.

  Unechtgo, Delaware name of Nanticokes, 92.

  Upper Sandusky, 173.

  Vater, Johann Severin, 124, 125, 126.

  Vincennes, Post, 183, 311.

  Virginia, xxviii., 53, 71, 90, 122.

  Virginians or “Long Knives,” 76.

  _Volney’s View of the Soil and Climate of the United States_ referred
      to, 256.

  Wabash River, the, 85, 183.

  Waketemeki, 230.

  Wampum, 109.

  Wangomend, a Monsey preacher, 293 _et seq._

  Wapanachki, xliii., 121, 123, 124, 126.

  Wapsid Lenape, i. e. _the white people_, 142.

  Wawundochwalend, a chief of the Tuscaroras, 206.

  Wayne, Gen’l Anthony, xli., 89, 133, 192.

  Weiser, Conrad, xxx., xxxi., 54.

  Weissport, 166.

  Wells, William, and the bear, 256.

  Wetterholt, Captain Jacob, 334.

  White, a Nanticoke chief, 90, 92.

  White Eyes, Capt., a chief of the Western Delawares, xxxix.;
    biographical sketch of, 69, 151, 152, 153, 279.

  Whitefield, the Rev. George, 52, 336.

  Williamson, Capt. David, in command of militia at Gnadenhütten on
      Muskingum, 81;
    his expedition by whom authorized, 283, 286.

  Wingenund, Capt., a Delaware, 279, 284;
    dialogue with Col. Crawford, 285 _et seq._

  Wistar to Heckewelder, letters of, 354, 359.

  Wolf tribe of Delawares, 52, 253.

  Womelsdorf, xxx.

  W’Tássone, name given by the Lenape to the Oneidas, 99.

  Wyalusing, 83, 196.

  Wyandots, xl., xli., xliv., 95, 119, 130.

  Wyoming, 79, 91, 92, 166.

  Yengees (_Yankees_), 77, 142, 143.

  Zeisberger, the Rev. David, reference to his _Essay of a Delaware
      and English Spelling-Book_, xliii., 125;
    biographical sketch of, 63;
    quoted, 97;
    his German Iroquois Dictionary, 97, 120, 347;
    his opinion of the Iroquois language, 120;
    his Grammar of the Lenni Lenape language, 125, 127, 166, 279;
    dialogue with Indian David, 167;
    at Goschgoschink, 293, 338, 347.

  Zinzendorf, Count Nicholas Lewis, in Penna., xxx.;
    among the Shawanose of Wyoming, 88, 337.

[Illustration: FINIS]


[1] The annotations in brackets are by the Editor.

[2] Between the words “_if_” and “_what_” insert “_we can credit_.”

[3] A figurative expression, denoting the territory claimed by them,
and occupied at the time.

[4] Alluding to the white people settling those countries.

[5] [The book referred to here and elsewhere frequently in the course
of his narrative by the author, was written by the Rev. George Henry
Loskiel, a clergyman of the Continental Province of the Moravian
Church, and was published at Barby, Saxony, in 1789. It is entitled
“Geschichte der Mission der Evangelischen Brüder unter den Indianern in
Nordamerika,” and is a faithful record of the Christian work in which
the Moravians engaged chiefly among the Lenape and Iroquois stocks of
the aborigines, in the interval between 1735 and 1787. The material
on which the author wrought in the preparation of his history was
furnished mainly from the archives of his church at Herrnhut, to which
duplicates of the missionaries’ journals were statedly forwarded. In
this way he was enabled to produce a narrative which is marvellously
accurate, even touching minor points of topography, despite the fact
that the shifting scenes of his drama were laid in another hemisphere.
The preface was written at Strickenhof, in Livonia, in May of 1788. In
it Mr. Loskiel acknowledges his indebtedness for valuable assistance
to the venerable Bishop Augustus G. Spangenberg, who had superintended
the Moravian Mission in the New World in the interval between 1744
and 1762; and to the veteran missionary David Zeisberger, at that
time still in its service. It was the latter who supplied the larger
portion of the material relating to the history, traditions, manners,
and customs of the North American Indians, found in the ten chapters
introductory to the history of the Mission. This valuable work was
translated into English by the Rev. Christian Ignatius Latrobe, of
London, in 1793, and published there, in 1794, by “The Brethren’s
Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel.” It is now a rare book.
Having been consecrated a Bishop for the American Province of his
Church in 1802, Mr. Loskiel came to this country, settled at Bethlehem,
Pa., where he died in 1814.]

[6] Figurative expression. See Loskiel’s History, Part I. c. 10.[9]

[7] For “_declaring at the same time_” read “_and declared afterwards_.”

[8] [John Christopher Pyrlæus was sent by the heads of the Moravian
Church at Herrnhut, Saxony, to Bethlehem, Pa., in the autumn of 1741,
to do service in the Indian Mission. Having assisted Count Zinzendorf,
during his sojourn in the Province in 1742, in the work of the ministry
among a portion of the German population of Philadelphia, we find him,
in January of 1743, prosecuting the study of the Mohawk under the
direction of Conrad Weiser, the provincial interpreter, at Tulpehocken,
(near Womelsdorf, Berks County, Pa.) This was in view of fitting
himself for the office of corresponding secretary of the Mission Board
at Bethlehem, and for the duties of an evangelist among the Iroquois
stock of Indians, to whom it was purposed by the Moravians to bring the
Gospel. At the expiration of three months he returned to Bethlehem,
and in the following June, accompanied by his wife, who was a daughter
of John Stephen Benezet, a well-known merchant of Philadelphia, set
out for the Mohawk country, his destination being the Mohawk castle of
Canajoharie. Here he remained upwards of two months, in which interval
of time he visited the remaining Mohawk castles, and by constant
intercourse with the Indians strove assiduously to perfect himself in
their language. Such was his progress then and subsequently, that in
1744 he felt himself competent to impart instruction in that important
dialect of the Iroquois to several of his brethren at Bethlehem, who
were training for missionaries. In 1748, while settled at Gnadenhütten,
on the Mahoning, (Lehighton, Carbon County, Pa.,) he rendered similar
service. Meanwhile he had acquired a knowledge of the Mohican, and in
1745 there appeared his first translations of German hymns into that
tongue--the beginnings of a collection for use in Divine worship in
the Mission churches. Eight of the eleven years of his stay in this
country were mainly spent in labors of the kind just enumerated. Having
been liberally educated, Mr. Pyrlæus was well qualified for the work in
which he engaged. Several of his contributions to this novel department
of philology, in manuscript, are deposited in the library of the
American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. Among these are essays
on the grammatical structure of the Iroquois dialects, and a collection
of notes on Indian traditions. The former Mr. Heckewelder names on
a subsequent page, and from the latter he makes frequent extracts.
In 1751 Mr. Pyrlæus sailed for England, where he was active in the
ministry of his Church until his recall to Germany in 1770. He died at
Herrnhut in 1785.]

[9] [The passage referred to by Mr. Heckewelder is quoted in full by
way of annotation on a subsequent page.]

[10] [Norman’s Kill, named after Albert Andriese Bratt De Norman,
an early settler of Beverwyck, rises in Schenectady County, has a
south-east course of about twenty-eight miles, and empties into the
Hudson, two miles south of Albany, in the town of Bethlehem. In records
of 1677 it is called Bethlehem’s Kil. The Indian name of the stream was
Tawalsantha. In the spring of 1617 the United New Netherlands Company
erected a fort near the banks of Norman’s Kill, and in 1621 the Dutch
made a solemn alliance and treaty of peace with the Five Nations, near
its mouth.--_Munsell’s Collections of the History of Albany._ Albany,

[11] For “_Mohicans_” read “_Lenape_.”

[12] [”_The History of the Five Indian Nations depending on the
Province of New York in America_, by _Cadwallader Colden_.” The
first edition of this rare book was dedicated by the author to his
Excellency, William Burnet, Esq., and was printed and sold by William
Bradford in New York, 1727. Colden emigrated from Scotland in 1708, and
first settled in Pennsylvania, engaging in the practice of medicine.
Removing to New York in 1718, he was some time surveyor-general,
subsequently a member of the King’s Council, and in 1761 commissioned
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province. This commission he held at the
time of his death at his seat on Long Island, in September of 1776.]

[13] [The proceedings of these conferences and treaties with the
Indians are spread upon the minutes of the Provincial Council of
Pennsylvania, which were authorized to be printed by the Act of
Legislature of April 4th, 1837, and published subsequently in seven
volumes. They are known as “The Colonial Records.”]

[14] At a Treaty, at Easton, in July and November, 1756.

[15] [Should be _Thomson_.]

[16] Loskiel’s History, Part I., ch. 10.

[17] The Iroquois were at that time a confederacy of only Five Nations;
they became Six afterwards when they were joined by the Tuscaroras.

[18] Meaning, that the Five Nations would assist the white people in
getting the country of their enemies, the Delawares, &c., to themselves.

[19] Loskiel, Part I., ch. 10.

[20] [The Indian converts attached to the Moravian Mission, whom Mr.
Heckewelder invariably designates “Christian Indians” throughout his
history. The Moravian Indians at this date were settled with their
missionaries in three towns on the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum
(now the Tuscarawas River), all within the limits of the present
Tuscarawas County, Ohio.]

[21] Loskiel, Part III., ch. 9.

[22] The proper name is _Wtáwas_, the _W_ is whistled.

[23] [In the summer of 1794, Gen. Wayne moved an army into the Ohio
country, and on the 20th of August defeated the confederated Indians
near the rapids of the Maumee, or Miami of the Lake. The result of this
campaign was a treaty of peace, which was ratified at Greenville, the
present county seat of Darke County, Ohio, in August of 1795, between
the United States Government, represented by Wayne, and the Shawanese,
Delawares, Wyandots, Ottawas, Potawattomies, Miamis and smaller tribes,
at which treaty about two-thirds of the present state of Ohio was ceded
to the United States.]

[24] [The missionary David Zeisberger, in a collection of Delaware
vocables incorporated in “_An Essay of a Delaware and English Spelling
Book for the use of the Schools of the Christian Indians on the
Muskingum River_,” printed at Philadelphia, by Henry Miller, in 1776,
defines _Lennilenape_, “Indians of the same nation.”]

[25] Colden.

[26] La Hontan.

[27] The Dutch called them Mahikanders; the French Mourigans, and
Mahingans; the English, Mohiccons, Mohuccans, Mohegans, Muhheekanew,
Schatikooks, River Indians.

[28] “Night’s encampment” is a halt of one year at a place.

[29] The Mississippi, or _River_ of _Fish_; _Namæs_, a _Fish_; _Sipu_,
a _River_.

[30] The Iroquois, or Five Nations.

[31] [Col. John Gibson, to whom Mr. Heckewelder frequently alludes, was
born at Lancaster, Pa., in 1740. At the age of eighteen, he made his
first campaign under Gen. Forbes, in the expedition which resulted in
the acquisition of Fort Du Quesne from the French. At the peace of 1763
he settled at that post (Fort Pitt) as a trader. Some time after this,
on the resumption of hostilities with the savages, he was captured
by some Indians, among whom he lived several years, and thus became
familiar with their language, manners, customs, and traditions. In the
expedition against the Shawanese under Lord Dunmore, the last royal
governor of Virginia, in 1774, Gibson played a conspicuous part. On the
breaking out of the Revolutionary war, he was appointed to the command
of one of the Continental regiments raised in Virginia, and served with
the army at New York and in the retreat through New Jersey. He was
next employed in the Western department, serving under Gen. McIntosh
in 1778, and under Gen. Irvine in 1782. At one time he was in command
at Pittsburgh. In 1800 Col. Gibson was appointed Secretary and acting
Governor of the territory of Indiana, a position which he filled for a
second time between 1811 and 1813. Subsequently he was Associate Judge
of Allegheny County, Pa. He died near Pittsburgh in 1822. He was an
uncle of the late John B. Gibson, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of
Pennsylvania between 1827 and 1851.]

[32] Loskiel’s History of the Mission of the United Brethren, Part I.,
ch. I.

[33] [In 1789 Mr. Heckewelder, accompanied by Abraham Steiner,
(subsequently a missionary to the Cherokees of Georgia,) visited the
mission at New Salem, on the Petquotting, (now the Huron,) in Erie
County, Ohio, on business relating to the survey of a tract of land on
the Tuscarawas, which Congress had conveyed to the Moravians in trust
for their Indians. This was to indemnify them for losses incurred at
their settlements during the border-war of the Revolution.]

[34] The _Glades_, that is to say that they crossed the mountains.

[35] Meaning the river Susquehannah, which they call “the great Bay
River,” from where the west branch falls into the main stream.

[36] The word “Hittuck,” in the language of the Delawares, means a
rapid stream; “Sipo,” or “Sipu,” is the proper name for a river.

[37] [The Indians of this town proved troublesome neighbors to a small
company of Moravians, who, in the spring of 1740, were employed by
Whitefield to erect a large dwelling near its site, which he designed
for a school for negroes. The town lay near the centre of a tract
of 5,000 acres (now Upper Nazareth township, Northampton County,
Pennsylvania), which Whitefield bought of William Allen, which he named
Nazareth, and which, in 1741, he conveyed to the Moravians. Captain
John and his clan of Delawares vacated their plantation in the autumn
of 1742, and in the following year, the Moravians commenced their
first settlement, and named it Nazareth. Whitefield’s house is still

[38] Loskiel, part I., ch. 10.

[39] The Reverend C. Pyrlæus, a pupil of Conrad Weiser, of whom he
learned the Mohawk language, and who was afterwards stationed on the
Mohawk River, as a Missionary, has, in a manuscript book, written
between the years 1742 and 1748, page 235, the following note which he
received from a principal chief of that nation, viz.: “The Five Nations
formerly did eat human flesh; they at one time ate up a whole body of
the French King’s soldiers; they say, _Eto niocht ochquari_; which is:
Human flesh tastes like bear’s meat. They also say, that the hands are
not good eating, they are _yozgarat_, bitter.”

Aged French Canadians have told me, many years since, while I was at
Detroit, that they had frequently seen the Iroquois eat the flesh of
those who had been slain in battle, and that this was the case in the
war between the French and English, commonly called the war of 1756.

At a treaty held at the Proprietors house in Philadelphia, July 5th,
1742, with the Six Nations, none of the Senecas attended; the reason of
their absence being asked, it was given for answer, “that there was a
famine in their country, and that a father had been obliged to kill two
of his children, to preserve the lives of the remainder of the family.”
See Colden’s History of the Five Nations, part II., page 52. See also
the minutes of that treaty, printed at Philadelphia, by B. Franklin, in
1743, p. 7, in the Collection of Indian Treaties in the library of the
American Philosophical Society.

[40] Loskiel, part I., ch. 1.

[41] The Rev. C. Pyrlæus, in his manuscript book, page 234, says: “The
alliance or confederacy of the Five Nations was established, as near
as can be conjectured, one age (or the length of a man’s life) before
the white people (the Dutch) came into the country. _Thannawage_ was
the name of the aged Indian, a Mohawk, who first proposed such an
alliance.” He then gives the names of the chiefs of the Five Nations,
which at that time met and formed the alliance, viz.: “_Toganawita_,
of the Mohawks; _Otatschéchta_, of the Oneidas; _Tatotarho_, of the
Onondagos; _Togaháyon_, of the Cayugas; _Ganiatariò_ and _Satagarùyes_,
from two towns of the Senecas, &c.,” and concludes with saying: “All
these names are forever to be kept in remembrance, by naming a person
in each nation after them,” &c., &c.

[42] Loskiel, part I., ch. 10.

[43] Loskiel, part I., ch. 10.

[44] Ibid.

[45] [The following is the passage from Loskiel, which that historian
copied from David Zeisberger’s “Collection of Notes on the Indians,”
compiled by the missionary during his residence in the valley of the
Tuscarawas, about 1778. “According to the account of the Delawares,
they were always too powerful for the Iroquois, so that the latter
were at length convinced that if they continued the war, their total
extirpation would be inevitable. They therefore sent the following
message to the Delawares: ‘It is not profitable that all the nations
should be at war with each other, for this will at length be the ruin
of the whole Indian race. We have therefore considered a remedy by
which this evil may be prevented. One nation shall be the _woman_. We
will place her in the midst, and the other nations who make war shall
be the man, and live around the woman. No one shall touch or hurt the
woman, and if any one does it, we will immediately say to him, “Why
do you beat the woman?” Then all the men shall fall upon him who has
beaten her. The woman shall not go to war, but endeavor to keep peace
with all. Therefore, if the men that surround her beat each other, and
the war be carried on with violence, the woman shall have the right
of addressing them, “Ye men, what are ye about? why do you beat each
other? We are almost afraid. Consider that your wives and children
must perish, unless you desist. Do you mean to destroy yourselves from
the face of the earth?” The men shall then hear and obey the woman.’
The Delawares add, that, not immediately perceiving the intention of
the Iroquois, they submitted to be the _woman_. The Iroquois then
appointed a great feast, and invited the Delaware nation to it; when,
in consequence of the authority given them, they made a solemn speech
containing three capital points. The first was, that they declared the
Delaware nation to be the _woman_ in the following words: ‘We dress you
in a woman’s long habit, reafilled ching down to your feet, and adorn
you with ear-rings;’ meaning that they should no more take up arms.
The second point was thus expressed: ‘We hang a calabash with oil and
medicine upon your arm. With the oil you shall cleanse the ears of
the other nations, that they may attend to good and not to bad words,
and with the medicine you shall heal those who are walking in foolish
ways, that they may return to their senses and incline their hearts to
peace.’ The third point, by which the Delawares were exhorted to make
agriculture their future employ and means of subsistence, was thus
worded: ‘We deliver into your hands a plant of Indian corn and a hoe.’
Each of these points was confirmed by delivering a belt of wampum, and
these belts have been carefully laid up, and their meaning frequently

“The Iroquois, on the contrary, assert that they conquered the
Delawares, and that the latter were forced to adopt the defenceless
state and appellation of a _woman_ to avoid total ruin.

“Whether these different accounts be true or false, certain it is that
the Delaware nation has ever since been looked to for preservation of
peace, and entrusted with the charge of the great belt of peace and
chain of friendship, which they must take care to preserve inviolate.
According to the figurative explanation of the Indians, the middle of
the chain of friendship is placed upon the shoulder of the Delaware,
the rest of the Indian nations holding one end and the Europeans the

[46] [_The Life and Times of David Zeisberger, the Western Pioneer
and Apostle to the Indians, by Edmund de Schweinitz, Phila._, 1870,
reviews the Moravian mission among the North American Indians from its
beginnings to recent times, besides very fully portraying the career
of the veteran missionary, who spent upwards of sixty years of his
life as an evangelist to the Indians, thirty-six of which were passed
within the limits of the present State of Ohio. He died on the 17th of
November, 1808, at Goshen, on the Tuscarawas, in the 88th year of his
age. Zeisberger, in the course of his long life in the Indian country,
mastered the Delaware and the Onondaga of the Iroquois, into the former
of which he made translations of a number of devotional books, while
he studied both critically, as his literary efforts in that direction,
partly published and partly in MS., amply testify.]

[47] Mr. Proud, in his History of Pennsylvania, relates that, some
time after the establishment of William Penn’s government, the Indians
used to supply the family of one John Chapman, whose descendants still
reside in Bucks County, with all kinds of provisions, and mentions
an affecting instance of their kindness to that family. Abraham and
John Chapman, twin children about nine or ten years old, going out one
evening to seek their cattle, met an Indian in the woods, who told
them to go back, else they would be lost. They took his advice and
went back, but it was night before they got home, where they found the
Indian, who had repaired thither out of anxiety for them. And their
parents, about that time, going to the yearly meeting at Philadelphia,
and leaving a young family at home, the Indians came every day to
see whether anything was amiss among them. Such (says Proud) in many
instances was the kind treatment of the Aborigines of this country to
the English in their first and early settlement. Proud’s Hist., Vol.
I., pp. 223, 224.

[48] [For “Easton in Pennsylvania,” read _Philadelphia_. Easton, the
county-seat of Northampton County, was laid out in the spring of 1752.]

[49] For “1742,” read “_and November, 1756_.” [The latter was held at

[50] [The so-called French and Indian war, the fourth and last of the
inter-colonial wars, which originated in disputes between the French
and English concerning territorial claims, and which, after a seven
years’ contest, resulted in establishing the supremacy of the latter
over the civilized portions of North America.]

[51] [The Conestogas remained on their ancestral seats, near the mouth
of the Conestoga, in Manor township, Lancaster County, Penna., long
after the other Indians on the Susquehanna had been crowded by the
advance of civilization beyond Shamokin. Here the remnant of this tribe
was fallen upon by Scotch-Irish partizans of Paxton township (now
within the limits of Dauphin County) in December of 1763, all that
were at the settlement killed, and their cabins burnt to the ground.
Ten days later, the remainder of this inoffensive people, who had
been lodged in the jail at Lancaster, were inhumanly butchered by the
same band of lawless frontiersmen. In Heckewelder’s “Narrative of the
Mission of the United Brethren among the Delaware and Mohegan Indians,”
there is a statement by an eye-witness, touching the last scene in this
bloody tragedy.]

[52] [White Eyes, alias Koquethagachton, a celebrated captain and
counsellor of the Delawares of the Ohio country, was first met
by Heckewelder at his home, near the mouth of the Beaver (above
Pittsburg), when the latter was on his way to the Tuscarawas, in the
spring of 1762. When Zeisberger entered the valley of that river, in
1772, and built Schönbrunn, the chieftain was residing six miles below
Gekelemukpechunk, the then capital of his nation, in the present Oxford
township, Coshocton County. In Dunmore’s war, as well as in the war of
the Revolution, White Eyes strove strenuously to keep the Delawares
neutral. Failing in this in the latter contest, and seeing himself
necessitated to take sides, he declared for the Americans, joined Gen.
McIntosh’s command, but died at Fort Laurens, on the Tuscarawas, in
November of 1778, before the projected expedition, which was aimed at
the Sandusky towns, moved. White Eyes was a warm friend of the Moravian
mission, and was deeply interested in the progress of his people in the
arts of civilized life.]

[53] Indian chiefs, in their public speeches, always speak on behalf
of their nation in the singular number and in the first person,
considering themselves, in a manner, as its representatives.

[54] [In August of 1779, Col. Daniel Brodhead, then commandant of
Fort Pitt, moved with some troops up the Allegheny, and in the forks
of that river destroyed several settlements, inhabited by Monsey and
Seneca Indians. “The Delawares,” he writes in his report to the War
Department, “are ready to follow me wherever I go.”]

[55] Loskiel, part II., ch. 8.

[56] Henry Hudson, a British navigator and discoverer in the employ
of the Dutch East India Company, sailed from Amsterdam in command of
the Half Moon, in April of 1609, in search of a north-eastern passage.
Foiled by the ice in the higher latitudes, he turned southwards, and in
September anchored in New York bay.

[57] Dele “_in which_.”

[58] Hackhack is properly a gourd; but since they have seen glass
bottles and decanters, they call them by the same name.

[59] These Dutchmen were probably acquainted with what is related
of Queen Dido in ancient history, and thus turned their classical
knowledge to a good account.

[60] The Hollanders.

[61] Manhattan, or New York Island.

[62] For “_Delawares_” read “_Mohicans_.”

[63] An Indian corruption of the word _English_, whence probably the
nickname _Yankees_.

[64] This word means “a cluster of islands with channels every way,
so that it is in no place shut up or impassable for craft.” The
Indians think that the white people have corrupted this word into
_Massachusetts_. It deserves to be remarked as an example of the
comprehensiveness of the Indian languages.

[65] The Delaware river. I have said above, p. 51, that _Hittuck_
means a rapid stream. I should have added that it means so only when
placed at the end of another word, and used as a compound. Singly, it
signifies a _tree_.

[66] The Swedes and Dutch.

[67] William Penn.

[68] Land traders and speculators.

[69] Easton, Northampton County, Pa.

[70] This actually took place at a treaty held at Easton in July and
November, 1756.

[71] _Council house_ here means “Connexion District.”

[72] _Pulling the council house down._ Destroying, dispersing the
community, preventing their further intercourse with each other, by
settling between them on their land.

[73] _Putting the fire out._ Murdering them or their people, where they
assemble for pacific purposes, where treaties are held, &c.

[74] _Our own blood._ The blood flowing from the veins of some of our

[75] Alluding to the murder of the Conestogo Indians, who, though of
another tribe, yet had joined them in welcoming the white people to
their shores.

In a narrative of this lamentable event, supposed to have been written
by the late Dr. Franklin, it is said: “On the first arrival of the
English in Pennsylvania, messengers from this tribe came to welcome
them with presents of venison, corn, and skins, and the whole tribe
entered into a treaty of friendship with the first proprietor, William
Penn, which was to last as long as the sun should shine, or the waters
run in the rivers.”

[76] _The fire was entirely extinguished by the blood of the murdered
running into it; not a spark was left to kindle a new fire._ This
alludes to the last fire that was kindled by the Pennsylvania
government and themselves at Lancaster, where the last treaty was held
with them in 1762, the year preceding this murder, which put an end to
all business of the kind in the province of Pennsylvania.

[77] _The great Swamp._ The Glades on the Allegheny mountains.

[78] _Delamattenos._ The Hurons or Wyandots, whom they call their
uncle. These, though speaking a dialect of the Iroquois language, are
in connexion with the Lenape.

[79] For “1787” read “1781.”

[80] [These were the words of a war-chief of the Delawares,
Pachgantschihilas by name, in the course of an address to the Moravian
Indians at Gnadenhütten, in which he sought to persuade them to remove
from their exposed position on the Tuscarawas to a place of safety
among the Wyandots of the Maumee.]

[81] For “_us_” read “_them_.”

[82] [The massacre of Moravian Indians at Gnadenhütten was perpetrated
on the 8th of March, 1782, by militia led by Col. David Williamson,
of Washington County, Pa. The details of this atrocious affair are
very minutely given by De Schweinitz in _The Life and Times of David
Zeisberger_. While such of the borderers as had suffered from Indian
forays sought to extenuate the deplorable transaction, it was at the
same time made the subject of an investigation at the head-quarters
of the department. With what result, however, is inferable from
the following extract from a letter written by Gen. Irvine to His
Excellency William Moore, President of the Supreme Executive Council of
Pennsylvania, and dated _Fort Pitt, May 9, 1782_:--“Since my letter of
the 3d inst. to your excellency, Mr. Pentecost and Mr. Cannon have been
with me. They, and every intelligent person whom I have consulted with
on the subject, are of opinion that it will be almost impossible ever
to obtain a just account of the conduct of the militia at Muskingum.
No man can give any account, except some of the party themselves; if,
therefore, an inquiry should appear serious, they are not obliged, nor
will they give evidence. For this and other reasons, I am of opinion
farther inquiry into the matter will not only be fruitless, but in the
end may be attended with dangerous consequences. A volunteer expedition
is talked of against Sandusky, which, if well conducted, may be of
great service to this country, if they behave well on this occasion. It
may also in some measure atone for the barbarity they are charged with
at Muskingum. They have consulted me, and shall have every countenance
in my power, if their numbers, arrangements, &c., promise a prospect of
success.” _MS. in the Irvine Collection._]

[The following is a letter from Col. John Gibson, to the Right Rev.
Nathaniel Seidel, senior Bishop of the Moravian Church at Bethlehem,
dated _Fort Pitt, May 9, 1782_.

“SIR:--Your letter by Mr. Shebosh of the 11th ult., came safe to hand.
I am happy to find that the few small services I rendered to the
gentlemen of your society in this quarter, meet with the approbation of
you and every other worthy character.

“Mr. Shebosh will be able to give you a particular account of the late
horrid massacre perpetrated at the towns on Muskingum, by a set of
men the most savage miscreants that ever degraded human nature. Had I
have known of their intention before it was too late, I should have
prevented it by informing the poor sufferers of it.

“I am in hopes in a few days to be able to send you a more particular
account than any that has yet transpired, as I hope to obtain the
deposition of a person who was an eye-witness of the whole transaction,
and disapproved of it. Should any accounts come to hand from Mr.
Zeisberger, or the other gentlemen of your society, you may depend
on my transmitting them to you. Please present my compliments to Mr.
William Henry, Jr., &c.

“Believe me, with esteem, your most obedient servant,


  “Col. 7th Virginia Reg’t.”

[83] [For a full account of this exodus, the reader is referred to a
paper entitled “Wyalusing and the Moravian Mission at Friedenshütten,”
by W. C. Reichel, in Part 5 (1871) of the Transactions of the Moravian
Historical Society.]

[84] For “_Mouseys_” read “_Monseys_.”

[85] For “1768, _about six_,” read “1772, _a few_.”

[86] Loskiel, part III., ch. 12.

[87] [Pilgerruh on the Cuyahoga, within the limits of what is now
Independence township, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, was the seat of the
mission during the time of the dispersion in the interval between May
of 1786, and April of 1787.]

[88] General John Gibson thinks that _Sawano_ is their proper name;
they are so called by the other Indian nations, from their being a
southern people. _Shawaneu_, in the Lenape language, means the south;
_Shawanachau_,[89] the south wind, &c. We commonly call them the

[89] For “_Shawanachau_” read “_Shawanachan_.”

[90] The Shawanos call the Mohicans their _elder brother_.

[91] Loskiel, part II., ch. 10.

[92] While these people lived at Wyoming and in its vicinity, they
were frequently visited by missionaries of the Society of the United
Brethren, who, knowing them to be the most depraved and ferocious tribe
of all the Indian nations they had heard of, sought to establish a
friendship with them, so as not to be interrupted in their journies
from one Indian Mission to another. Count Zinzendorf being at that
time in the country, went in 1742 with some other missionaries to
visit them at Wyoming, stayed with them 20 days, and endeavoured to
impress the gospel truths upon their minds; but these hardened people,
suspecting his views, and believing that he wanted to purchase their
land, on which it was reported there were mines of silver, conspired
to murder him, and would have effected their purpose, but that Conrad
Weiser, the Indian interpreter, arrived fortunately in time to prevent
it. (Loskiel, part II., ch. 1.) Notwithstanding this, the Brethren
frequently visited them, and Shehellemus, a chief of great influence,
having become their friend (Loskiel, ibid., ch. 8), they could now
travel with greater safety. He died at Shamokin in 1749; the Brethren
were, however, fortunate enough to obtain the friendship of Paxnos or
Paxsinos, another chief of the Shawanos, who gave them full proof of it
by sending his sons to escort one of them to Bethlehem from Shamokin,
where he was in the most perilous situation, the war having just broke
out. (Loskiel, ibid., ch. 12.)

[93] Loskiel, part I., ch. 10.

[94] [After the peace of 1763 there was comparative quiet on the
Western frontiers, until the inauguration of the “Dunmore War,” in the
spring of 1774--a contest which the last royal governor of Virginia is
said to have excited, in order to divert the attention of the colonists
from the oppressive acts of England towards them. The initial military
movement in this war was Col. Angus McDonald’s expedition against the
Shawanese town of Waketameki, just below the mouth of the Waketameki
Creek, within the limits of the present county of Muskingum, Ohio. The
battle fought on the 10th of October, 1774, at the junction of the
Great Kanawha and the Ohio, between the garrison of Point Pleasant,
under General Andrew Lewis, and the flower of the Shawanese, Delawares,
Mingoes, and Wyandots, led by the Cornstalk, the Shawano king, in which
the confederate Indians were routed, was speedily followed by a peace.]

[95] See, in Loskiel’s History, part II., ch. 10, his account of the
visit of this chief to the Christian Indian Congregation at Bethlehem.

[96] For “_Shawanos_” read “_Nanticokes_.”

[97] [In 1726, John Harris, a Yorkshireman, settled at the mouth of the
Paxton Creek, traded largely with the neighboring Indians, cleared a
farm, and kept a ferry. John Harris, Jr., his son, born on the Paxton
in the above-mentioned year, inherited from his father 700 acres of
land, on a part of which Harrisburg was laid out in 1785.]

[98] _Zeningi_, according to Loskiel.

[99] For “_Schschequon_” read “_Shechschequon_.”

[100] [For “_Christian_” read “_Christopher_.”]

[101] Loskiel, part I., ch. 9.

[102] For “_Tawachguáno_” read “_Tayachguáno_.”

[103] [Now the Clinton, on whose banks New Gnadenhütten was built by
David Zeisberger in the summer of 1782.]

[104] [The first mission established by the Moravians among the
northern tribes of Indians, was among a clan of Mohegans, in the town
of Pine Plains, Dutchess County, New York, where Christian Henry Rauch,
of Bethlehem, began his labors as an evangelist in July of 1740.]

[105] Collections Massach. Histor. Soc., vol. I., p. 195; vol. IV., p.
67; vol. IX., p. 92.

[106] Collections Massach. Histor. Soc., vol. IX., p. 76.

[107] Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc., vol. IX., p. 77. Trumbull’s History of
Connecticut, vol. I., p. 28.

[108] The Atlantic Ocean.

[109] P. 235.--This MS. is in the library of the Society of the United
Brethren at Bethlehem.

[110] Loskiel, part II., ch. 9.

[111] Mr. Zeisberger wrote a complete dictionary of the Iroquois
language, in three quarto volumes, the first of which, from A to the
middle of H, is unfortunately lost. The remainder, which is preserved,
contains upwards of 800 pages, which shews that, at least, the Indian
languages are not so _poor_ as is generally imagined. It is German and
Indian, beginning with the German.[112]

[112] [This work, entitled “_Deutch und Onondagaishes Wörterbuch_,” _i.
e._, Lexicon of the German and Onondaga Languages, complete in 7 vols.,
MS., is deposited in the Library of the American Philosophical Society,
at Philadelphia. Also a complete grammar of the Onondaga by the same

[113] This word should be pronounced according to the powers of the
German Alphabet.

[114] Being, or Spirit.

[115] An old Indian told me about fifty years ago, that when he was
young, he still followed the custom of his father and ancestors, in
climbing upon a high mountain or pinnacle, to thank the Great Spirit
for all the benefits before bestowed, and to pray for a continuance
of his favour; that they were sure their prayers were heard, and
acceptable to the Great Spirit, although he did not himself appear to

[116] When, between the years 1760 and 1768, the noted war-chief
Pontiac had concerted a plan of surprising and cutting off the garrison
and town of Detroit, while in the act of delivering an impressive
peace oration, to the then commandant Major Gladwyn, the _turning of
the belt_ was to have been the signal of the attack by his forces, who
all had their guns, which previously had been cut off to large pistol
length, hidden under their blankets. So I have been informed by some
of the most respectable inhabitants of Detroit, and by the Indians

[117] For “_once_” read “_sometimes_.”

[118] For “_should_” read “_deserved to_.”

[119] For “_to_” read “_out at_.”

[120] Dele “_outside of the door and_.”

[121] Grammatica Grœnlandico-Danico-Latina, edita à P. Egede, Hafniæ,
1760, 8vo.

Dictionarium Grœnlandico-Danico-Latinum, adornatum à P. Egede, Hafniæ,
1750, 8vo.

[122] For “_Thornhallesen_” read “_Thorhallesen_.”

[123] [The Moravians have been conducting a successful mission in
Greenland since 1733. In 1761, David Crantz, one of their clergymen,
sailed for that distant country to collect material for a history,
touching its physical aspect and resources, the manners and customs
of the native tribes. Crantz’s work was published at Barby, Saxony,
in 1765, under the title of “_Historie von Grönland, enthaltend die
Beschreibung des Landes und der Einwohner insbeomdere, die Geschichte
der dortigen Mission der evangelischen Brüder zu Neu-Herrnhut und
Lichtenfels_.” An English Translation appeared in London, in 1766.]

[124] The Hurons, a great while, perhaps centuries ago, became
disunited from the Iroquois; many wars took place between them, and
the former withdrew at last to remote places, where they settled, and
were discovered by French Missionaries and traders: of this last I was
repeatedly assured during my residence at Detroit, between 1781 and

[125] Carver says that there are in North America, four different
languages, the Iroquois to the east, the Chippeway or Algonkin to
the northwest, the Naudowessie to the west, and the Cherokee, &c. to
the south. Travels, ch. 17, Capt. Carver, though he appears to have
been in general an accurate observer, resided too short a time among
the Indians to have a correct knowledge of their languages. [Mr.
Heckewelder quotes here and elsewhere from _“Three Years’ Travels
through the Interior Parts of North America for more than Five Thousand
Miles, &c.,” by Capt. Jonathan Carver of the Provincial Troops in
America, Phila._, 1796. Those tribes of the Naudowessies among whom
Carver resided for five months, dwelt about the River St. Pierre, 200
miles above its junction with the Mississippi. This was the extreme
westerly point reached by the adventurous traveller. The entire nation
of the Naudowessies, according to Carver, mustered upwards of 2000
fighting men.]

[126] Le grand Voyage du pays des Hurons, par Samuel Sagard, Paris,
1632. To which is added, a Dictionary of the Huron language, with a

[127] Philos. Trans. Abr., vol. lxiii., p. 142.

[128] Hist. of the Five Nations, p. 14.

[129] Barton’s New Views, Ed. 1798. Prelim. Disc., p. 32.

[130] The late Dr. Barton, in the work above quoted, append., p.
3,[132] seems to doubt this fact, and relies on a series of numerals
which I once communicated to him, and was found among the papers of
the late Rev. Mr. Pyrlæus. But it is by no means certain that those
numerals were taken from the language of the Nanticokes, and the
vocabularies above mentioned leave no doubt as to the origin of that

[131] Letter v.

[132] For “_page_ 3” read “_page_ 5.”

[133] Letter xxv.

[134] He says that it is not copious, and is only adapted to the
necessities and conveniences of life. These are the ideas which
strangers and philosophers, reasoning _à priori_, entertain of Indian
languages; but those who are well acquainted with them think very
differently. And yet the Baron says that the Algonquin is “the finest
and the most universal language on the Continent.”

[135] Letter xi., p. 276.

[136] It should be properly _Tortoise_; but this word seems in a fair
way to be entirely superseded by _Turtle_, as well in England as in
this country.

[137] _Chippewäisch-Delawarischer, oder Algonkisch-Moheganischer,
Stamm._ Mithrid., part III., vol. iii., p. 337.

[138] Vater in Mithrid., part III., vol. 3, p. 283, quotes De Laet,
Novus Orbis, pp. 98, 103, Du Pratz, vol. 2, pp. 208, 9, Rochefort,
Histoire Natur. des Antilles, pp. 351, 394, and Hervas, _Catologo delle
Lingue_, p. 90; none of which works I have it in my power to consult.

[139] Mithrid., ibid.

[140] Loskiel, part I., ch. 1.

[141] Duvallon, Vue de la Colonie Espagnole du Mississippi, quoted by
Vater, in Mithrid., ibid., p. 297.

[142] The Bibliotheca Americana records 45 grammars and 25 dictionaries
of the languages spoken in Mexico only, and 85 works of different
authors on religious and moral subjects written or translated into some
of those languages.

[143] For “_or_” read “_nor_.”

[144] For “_met_” read “_saw_.”

[145] For “_days_” read “_hours_.”

[146] Loskiel, part III., ch. 9.

[147] For “_December_” read “_November_.”

[148] [Pipe, a leader of the Wolf tribe of the Monseys, was residing
in the Ohio country at the time of Bouquet’s expedition against the
Delawares and Shawanon of the Muskingum and Scioto, in 1764. When the
Moravians entered the valley of the former river, he was at home on the
Walhonding, about 15 miles above the present Coshocton. In the border
wars of the Revolution, he at first declared against the Americans,
withdrawing with the disaffected Delawares to the Tymochtee creek,
a branch of the Sandusky, within the limits of the present Crawford
County. While here, he was a serviceable tool in the hands of the
British at Detroit. To the Moravian mission among his countrymen he was
for many years unjustifiedly hostile. Eventually, however, he regarded
the work apparently with favor. It was the Pipe who doomed Col. William
Crawford to torture, after the failure of the latter’s expedition
against Sandusky in the summer of 1782. After the treaty of Fort Harmar
in January of 1789, Pipe threw all his influence on the side of those
of his people who now resolved at all hazards to uphold peace with the
United States. He died a few days before the defeat of the confederated
Indians by Wayne, near the rapids of the Maumee.]

[149] See Loskiel, part III., ch. 9, p. 704, German text, and p. 165,
Eng. Trans.

[150] It will be understood that he speaks here throughout for himself
and his nation or tribe, though always in the first person of the
singular, according to the Indian mode.

[151] Meaning his nation, and speaking, as usual, in the first person.

[152] Meaning women and children.

[153] Prisoners.

[154] To make his language agree with the expression _live flesh_.

[155] For “_with_” read “_of_.”

[156] According to the powers of the English alphabet, it should be
written Koo-ek-wen-aw-koo.

[157] Rogers’s Key into the Language of the Indians of New England, ch.

[158] For “_they_” read “_the Chippeways and some other nations_.”

[159] [In Green township, in what is now Ashland County.]

[160] For “_your_” read “_yon_.”

[161] After the word “_nation_” insert “_which they do not approve of_.”

[162] [Alexander McKee, Matthew Elliott, and Simon Girty,--the
first some time a British agent among the Indians, the second with
a captain’s commission from the commandant at Detroit, the third as
brutal, depraved, and wicked a wretch as ever lived,--deserted with
a squad of soldiers from Fort Pitt, in March of 1778. This trio of
renegade desperadoes, henceforth, in the capacity of emissaries of the
British at Detroit (with their savage allies), wrought untold misery on
the frontiers, even till the peace of 1795.]

[163] For “_they sure_” read “_they are sure_.”

[164] For “_reply_” read “_answer_.”

[165] The pronouns in the Indian language have no feminine gender.

[166] For “_decide_” read “_say_.”

[167] For “_man_” read “_men_.”

[168] Between “_is_” and “_even_” insert “_sometimes_.”

[169] For “_an old Indian_” read “_several old men_.”

[170] [The fort, built by Franklin in the early winter of 1756, stood
on the site of Weissport, on the left bank of the Lehigh, in Carbon
County, Penna. The well of the fort alone remains to mark its site.]

[171] For “_road_” read “_course_.”

[172] [The road from Easton, via Ross Common and the Pocono, to
Wilkes-Barré, formerly called the Wilkes-Barré turnpike.]

[173] [Mr. Heckewelder had been despatched by the Mission Board at
Bethlehem to Fairfield, on the Retrenche, (Thames,) in Upper Canada,
where the Moravian Indians settled in 1792, to advise with them and
their teachers, concerning a return to the valley of the Tuscarawas, in
which the survey of a grant of 12,000 acres of land, made by Congress,
had recently been completed. Pursuant to his instructions, he proceeded
from Fairfield to the Tuscarawas, to make the necessary preparations
for a colony that was to follow in the ensuing autumn, and re-founded
Gnadenhütten. The village of Goshen, seven miles higher up the river,
was built in October, on the arrival of David Zeisberger and the
expected colony from the Retrenche.]

[174] [The Wyandot village of Upper Sandusky was three miles in a
south-easterly direction from the site of the present town of Upper
Sandusky, the county-seat of Wyandot County, Ohio. Lower Sandusky, a
trading-post and Wyandot town, was situated at the head of navigation
on the Sandusky. Fremont, the county-seat of Sandusky County, marks
its site. Here the Moravian missionaries and their families were most
hospitably entertained by Arundel and Robbins for upwards of three
weeks, while awaiting the arrival of boats from Detroit, on which they
were to be taken as prisoners of war to that post. It was through
British influence that the Mission on the Muskingum had been overthrown
in the early autumn of 1781, and that its seat was transferred to the
Sandusky. Fort McIntosh stood on the present town of Beaver, Beaver
County, Pennsylvania. It was erected in October of 1778 by General
McIntosh, then in command of the Western Department.]

[175] For “_where_” read “_whence_.”

[176] [On the 18th October, 1755, a party of Indians fell upon the
settlers on the Big Mahanoy, (now Penn’s Creek, in Union County,
Penna.,) killed and carried off twenty-five persons, and burned and
destroyed all the buildings and improvements.--_Colonial Records_,
_vol._ 6, p. 766.]

[177] For “_Duke Holland_” read “_Luke Holland_;” the same where the
name again occurs.

[178] Indian stockings.

[179] [The three Commissioners set out from Fort Washington
(Cincinnati) for the Indian country in June of 1792, but never
returned. Despite the failure of this mission, General Rufus Putnam was
without delay despatched on a similar errand, and at Post Vincennes,
on the Wabash, in September of the above mentioned year, concluded a
treaty of peace with a number of the Western tribes. Mr. Heckewelder
was associated by the War Department with Putnam in this perilous

[180] [Cornstalk, the well-known Shawano king, while held by the
Americans in the fort at Point Pleasant, at the mouth of the Kanhawa,
was murdered by some soldiers of the garrison, in revenge for the loss
of one of their companions, who had met his death while hunting, at the
hands of a British Indian.]

[181] The Bible.

[182] The Indians gave this name to General Wayne, because they say
that he had all the cunning of this animal, who is superior to all
other snakes in the manner of procuring his food. He hides himself in
the grass with his head only above it, watching all around to see where
the birds are building their nests, that he may know where to find the
young ones when they are hatched.

[183] This is not applicable to the Iroquois of the present time.

[184] [A Monsey of Wyalusing, at whose persuasion the Moravian Indians
settled on that stream in 1765, who became one of their number,
following them to the Big Beaver and the Tuscarawas, where he died
in May of 1775. Papunhank’s name occurs frequently in the annals of
Provincial history between 1762 and 1765.]

[185] [The Chinglacamoose, now the Moose, empties into the Susquehannah
in Clearfield County, Penna.]

[186] Dele _again_.

[187] Bethlehem.

[188] [“The serenity of Michael’s countenance,” writes Loskiel, “when
he was laid in his coffin, contrasted strangely with the figures
scarified upon his face when a warrior. These were as follows: upon
the right cheek and temple, a large snake; from the under lip a pole
passed over the nose, and between the eyes and the top of the forehead,
ornamented at every quarter of an inch with round marks, representing
scalps; upon the upper cheek, two lances crossing each other; and upon
the lower jaw, the head of a wild boar.”]

[189] See Loskiel, part I., ch. 3.

[190] See Loskiel, part I., ch. 11.

[191] For “_very often_” read “_sometimes_.”

[192] For “_inches_” read “_feet_.”

[193] For “_of_” read “_on_.”

[194] Podophyllum peltatum.

[195] [Mr. Heckewelder was in this year residing at New Gnadenhütten on
the Huron (now the Clinton), Michigan, where the Moravian Missionaries
ministered to their converts for upwards of three years, subsequent to
their compulsory evacuation of the Tuscarawas valley.]

[196] They call them _Doctols_; because the Indians cannot pronounce
the letter R. The Minsi or Monseys call them “Mĕdéu,” which signifies

[197] [Gelelemend, _i. e._, _a leader_, (whose soubriquet among the
whites was Kill-buck,) a grandson of the well-known Netawatwes, was
sometime chief counsellor of the Turkey tribe of the Delaware nation,
and after the death of Captain White Eyes, installed temporarily as
principal chief. He was a strenuous advocate of peace among his people
in the times of the Revolutionary war; and being a man of influence,
drew upon himself, in consequence, the implacable animosity of those
of his countrymen who took up arms against the Americans. Even after
the general peace concluded between the United States and the Indians
of the West in 1795, his life was on several occasions imperilled by
his former opponents. Gelelemend united with the Moravian Indians, at
Salem, on the Petquotting in the summer of 1788, where, in baptism,
he was named William Henry, after Judge William Henry, of Lancaster.
He died at Goshen, in the early winter of 1811, in the eightieth year
of his age. He is said to have been born in 1737, in the neighborhood
of the Lehigh Water Gap, Carbon County, Pa. William Henry Gelelemend
was one of the last converts of distinction attached to the Moravian
Mission among the Indians.]

[198] [Goschachking, sometime the capital of the Delaware nation, stood
on the Muskingum, immediately below the junction of the Tuscarawas and
the Walhonding. On its site stands Coshocton. The town was destroyed by
Gen. Brodhead in 1781.]

[199] For “_Americans_” read “_white men_.”

[200] The following extract from the Detroit Gazette, shews that this
superstitious belief of the Indians in the powers of witchcraft, still
continues in full force, even among those who live in the vicinity of
the whites, and are in the habit of constant intercourse with them.

_From the Detroit Gazette of the 17th of August, 1818._

On the evening of the 22d ult. an Indian of the Wyandot tribe was
murdered by some of his relatives, near the mouth of the river Huron,
on lake Erie. The circumstances, in brief, are as follows:

“It appears that two Wyandots, residing at Malden, and relatives to
the deceased, had been informed by Captain Johnny, an Indian living
on the Huron river, and also a relative, that a Shawanee Indian had
come to his death by the witchcraft of an old Indian woman and her
son Mike, and that in order to avert the vengeance of the Shawanee
tribe, it would be necessary to kill them--and furthermore, that the
death of Walk-in-the-water, who died last June, was caused by the same
old woman’s witchcraft. It was determined to kill the old woman and
her son--and for that purpose they crossed over on the 22d ult. and
succeeded in the course of the evening in killing the latter in his
cabin. The old woman was not at home. The next day, while endeavouring
to persuade her to accompany them into the woods, as they said, to
drink whiskey, they were discovered by Dr. William Brown and Mr.
Oliver Williams, who had received that morning intimations of their
intentions, and owing to the exertions of these gentlemen, the old
woman’s life was preserved and one of the Indians taken, who is now
confined in the jail of this city--the others escaped by swiftness of

“On the examination of the Indian taken, it appeared that the old
woman, shortly after the death of the Shawanee, had entered his cabin,
and in a voice of exultation, called upon him, saying--’Shawanee
man! where are you?--You that mocked me; you thought you would live
forever--you are gone and I am here--come--Why do you not come?’
&c.--She is said to have made use of nearly the same words in the cabin
of Walk-in-the-water, shortly after his death.”

[201] War-hatchet: from which we have made _tomahawk_.

[202] The Indians call the American continent an island; believing it
to be (as in fact, probably, it is) entirely surrounded with water.

[203] For “_killed_” read “_eaten_.”

[204] Mr. Pyrlæus lived long among the Iroquois, and was well
acquainted with their language. He was instructed in the Mohawk dialect
by the celebrated interpreter Conrad Weiser. He has left behind him
some manuscript grammatical works on that idiom, one of them is
entitled: _Affixa nominum et verborum Linguæ Macquaicæ_, and another,
_Adjectiva, nomina et pronomina Linguæ Macquaicæ_. These MSS. are in
the library of the Society of the United Brethren at Bethlehem.

[205] For “_Pauksit_” read “_P’duk-sit_.”

[206] See page 101.

[207] Probably alluding to a tradition which the Indians have of a very
ferocious kind of bear, called the _naked bear_, which they say once
existed, but was totally destroyed by their ancestors. The last was
killed in the New York state, at a place they called _Hoosink_, which
means the _Basin_, or more properly the _Kettle_.

[208] The same whom Mr. de Volney speaks of in his excellent “View of
the Soil and Climate of the United States.” Supplement, No. VI., page
356, Philadelphia Edition, 1804.

[209] See ch. 29, p. 225.

[210] See ch. 28, p. 221.

[211] See ch. 2.

[212] Dele “_lands or_.”

[213] This word means _liquor_, and is also used in the sense of a
medicinal draught, or other compound potion.

[214] [Shingask, which signifies _boggy or marshy ground overgrown
with grass_, a brother of Tamaqua, or King Beaver, ranked first among
Indian warriors in the times of the so-called French and Indian war.
The frontiers of Pennsylvania suffering severely from the forays of
this Delaware and his braves, Governor Denny, in 1756, set a price of
£200 upon his head or scalp. Mr. Heckewelder, in a “Collection of the
Names of Chieftains and Eminent Men of the Delaware Nation” states that
Shingask, although an implacable foe in battle, was never known to
treat a prisoner with cruelty. “One day,” he goes on to say, “in the
summer of 1762, while passing with him near by where two prisoners of
his--boys of about twelve years of age--were amusing themselves with
his own boys, as the chief observed that my attention was arrested by
them, he asked me at what I was looking. Telling him in reply that I
was looking at his prisoners, he said, ‘When I first took them, they
were such; but now they and my children eat their food from the same
bowl or dish;’ which was equivalent to saying that they were in all
respects on an equal footing with his own children, or alike dear to

[215] A kind of round buckle with a tongue, which the Indians fasten
to their shirts. The traders call them _broaches_. They are placed in
rows, at the distance of about the breadth of a finger one from the

[216] The same whom I have spoken of above, page 184, No. 4.

[217] For “_Albany_” read “_Pittsburg_.”

[218] See ch. 15, p. 151.

[219] The Indian name of Capt. White Eyes.

[220] Page 188.

[221] For “_Sandusky_” read “_Muskingum_.”

[222] See above, pages 81, 184.

[223] [Williamson did not lead the expedition against Sandusky, nor was
it organized for the destruction of the Moravian Indians, then in the
Sandusky country. It was led by Colonel William Crawford. Sanctioned
by General Irvine, then in command of the Western Department, the
undertaking was intended to be effectual in ending the troubles upon
the western frontiers of Pennsylvania and Virginia, by punishing
the Wyandots, Shawanese, Delawares, and Mingoes, whose war-parties
were wont to come from their settlements in Sandusky, to kill and
devastate along the borders. See Butterfield’s _Crawford’s Campaign
against Sandusky_, for full details touching the fitting out of this
expedition, its disastrous termination, and the awful death by torture
of its commanding officer.

In a letter written by Washington to General Irvine, and dated
_Headquarters, 6th August, 1782_, he expresses himself in the following
words: “I lament the failure of the expedition, and am particularly
affected with the disastrous fate of Colonel Crawford. No other than
the extremest torture which could be inflicted by the savages, could, I
think, have been expected by those who were unhappy enough to fall into
their hands, especially under the present exasperation of their minds
from the treatment given their Moravian friends. For this reason, no
person should at this time suffer himself to fall alive into the hands
of the Indians.”--_MS. in the Irvine Collection._]

[224] This name, according to the English orthography, should be
written _Winganoond_ or _Wingaynoond_, the second syllable accented and
long, and the last syllable short.

[225] The people were at that moment advancing, with shouts and yells,
to torture and put him to death.

[226] Ruth, i. 16.

[227] Of the value of one dollar.

[228] For “_bought_” read “_brought_.”

[229] [A Monsey settlement near the mouth of the Tionesta, within the
limits of the present Venango County. It was visited by Mr. Zeisberger
for the first time in the autumn of 1767; in the following year it
became the seat of a mission. In 1770, the Allegheny was exchanged by
the missionary and his converts for the Beaver. Zeisberger’s labors
at Goschgoschink furnished the subject for Schüssele’s historical
painting, “The Power of the Gospel.”]

[230] See Nile’s Weekly Register, vol. i., p. 141, vol. v., p. 174, and
vol. vi., p. 111.

[231] This appears to be a mistake; Leather-lips, as has been stated
above, was a chief of the Wyandots or Hurons, and is so styled in the
treaty of Greenville, otherwise called Wayne’s Treaty, where he was one
of the representatives of that nation.

[232] The Indian name of this chief was Tar-he; he was also a Wyandot
or Huron, and one of the signers of the Greenville treaty. How great
must have been the power of Tecumseh, who trusted the execution of
Leather-lips to a chief of the same nation!

[233] [The earliest record of Tamanen is the affix of his mark to a
deed, dated 23d day of the 4th month, 1683, by which he and Metamequan
conveyed to old Proprietor Penn a tract of land, lying between the
Pennypack and Neshaminy creeks, in Bucks County.--_Pennsylvania
Archives_, vol. i., p. 64. Heckewelder gives the signification of the
Delaware word “tamanen” as _affable_.]

[234] [Tadeuskund was baptized at the Gnadenhütten Mission, (Lehighton,
Carbon County, Pa.,) by the Moravian Bishop Cammerhoff, of Bethlehem,
in March of 1750. For additional notices of this prominent actor in
the French and Indian war, extracted from manuscripts in the Archives
of the Moravian Church at Bethlehem, the reader is referred to
_Memorials of the Moravian Church_, vol. i., edited by _W. C. Reichel,
Philadelphia, 1870_.]

[235] [Moses Tatemy was a convert of, and sometime an interpreter for,
David Brainerd, during that evangelist’s career among the Delawares of
New Jersey and Pennsylvania, who were settled on both sides of their
great river, between its forks and the Minisinks. A grant of upwards of
200 acres of land, lying on the east branch of Lehietan or Bushkill,
within the limits of the present Northampton County, Pa., was confirmed
to the chief about the year 1737, by the Proprietaries’ agents, for
valuable services rendered. On this reservation, Tatemy was residing
as late as 1753, and probably later. He was there a near neighbour
of the Moravians at Nazareth. In the interval between 1756 and 1760,
he participated in most of the numerous treaties and conferences
between the Governors of the Province and his countrymen, frequently
in the capacity of an interpreter. Subsequent to the last-mentioned
year, his name ceases to appear on the Minutes of the Provincial
Council. He probably died in 1761. Such being the facts in the case,
Mr. Heckewelder is in error when he states that Tatemy lost his life
at the hands of a white man _prior to 1754_. That a _son_ of the old
chieftain, _Bill Tatemy_ by name, was mortally wounded in July of 1757,
by a young man in the Ulster-Scot settlement, (within the limits of
Allen township, Northampton County,) while straying from a body of
Indians, who were on their way from Fort Allen to Easton, to a treaty,
is on record in the official papers of that day. This unprovoked
assault upon one of their countrymen, as was to be expected, incensed
the disaffected Indians to such a degree, that Governor Denny was fain
to assure them, at the opening of the treaty, that the offender should
be speedily brought to justice; at the same time, he condoled with the
afflicted father. _Bill Tatemy_ died near Bethlehem, from the effects
of the gun-shot wound, within five weeks. He had been sometime under
John Brainerd’s teaching, at Cranberry, N. J., and was a professing

[236] See above page 67, and see the Errata with reference to that page.

[237] Ch. 34, pp. 255, 256.

[238] [These chiefs were representatives of the seven nations with whom
Gen. Putnam concluded a treaty in September of the above-mentioned
year, and were on their way to Philadelphia.

_Note._--The following is a copy of the letter written by the Secretary
of War to Mr. Heckewelder, advising him of Putnam’s request that he
might be associated with him in his mission to the western Indians:

  “WAR DEPARTMENT, _18 May, 1792_.

    “SIR.--I have the honour to inform you that the United States
    have for some time past been making pacific overtures to the
    hostile Indians north-west of the Ohio. It is to be expected
    that these overtures will soon be brought to an issue under
    the direction of Brigadier-General Putnam, of Marietta, who is
    specially charged with this business.

    “He is now in this city, and will be in readiness to set out
    on Monday next, and being acquainted with you, he is extremely
    desirous that you should accompany him in the prosecution of
    this good work.

    “Being myself most cordially impressed with a respect for your
    character and love of the Indians, on the purest principles
    of justice and humanity, I have cheerfully acquiesced in the
    desire of Gen. Putnam.

    “I hope sincerely it may be convenient for you to accompany or
    follow him soon, in order to execute a business which is not
    unpromising, and which, if accomplished, will redound to the
    credit of the individuals who perform it.

    “As to pecuniary considerations, I shall arrange them
    satisfactorily with you.

  “With great respect, I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
  “H. KNOX,
  _Secretary of War_.”]

[239] [Col. Ebenezer Sproat was one of the colony which, under the
auspices of the recently formed Ohio Company, and led by Gen. Putnam,
emigrated to the Ohio country in the spring of 1788, and founded

[240] Ch. 6, p. 104.

[241] For “_them_” read “_us_.”

[242] Sun-fish.

[243] Vocabularium Barbaro-Virgineorum, bound with an Indian
translation from the Swedish of Luther’s Catechism. Stockholm, 1696,

[244] Carver’s Travels, Introduction, p. 72. Boston Edit., 1797.

[245] Carver was only 14 months in the Indian country, during which
time he says he travelled near 4000 miles and visited twelve different
nations of Indians.

[246] For “_Indians_” read “_traders_.”

[247] [They were sent to Goschschoking (Coshocton), the then capital of
the Delaware nation, to condole with that people on the death of White

[248] Ch. 7, p. 111.

[249] See above, ch. 18, p. 172.

[250] Dr. Boudinot was long a member, and once President, of the
Continental Congress, and his talents were very useful to the cause
which he had embraced. At a very advanced age, he now enjoys literary
ease in a dignified retirement.

[251] A Star in the West, or a humble attempt to discover the long lost
ten tribes of Israel, preparatory to their return to their beloved
city, Jerusalem. Trenton (New Jersey), 1816.

[252] See page 140, and following.

[253] Star in the West, p. 138.

[254] This relation is authentic. I have received it from the mouth
of the chief of the injured party, and his statement was confirmed by
communications made at the time by two respectable magistrates of the

[255] [This outrage was committed at the public house of John Stenton,
which stood on the road leading from Bethlehem to Fort Allen, a short
mile north of the present Howertown, Allen township, Northampton
County. Stenton belonged to the Scotch-Irish, who settled in that
region as early as 1728.]

[256] [Nescopeck was an Indian settlement on the highway of Indian
travel between Fort Allen and the Wyoming Valley.]

[257] Justice Geiger’s letter to Justice Horsefield proves this fact

[258] [These unprovoked barbarities were perpetrated by a squad of
soldiers who, in command of Captain Jacob Wetterholt, of the Provincial
service, were in quarters at the Lehigh Water Gap, Carbon County, Pa.]

[259] [In this paragraph, Mr. Heckewelder briefly alludes to the _last
foray_ made by Indians into old Northampton County, south of the
Blue Mountain. It occurred on the 8th of October, 1763. An account
of the affair at Stenton’s, on the morning of that day, in which
Stenton was shot dead, and Captain Jacob Wetterholt and several of
his men seriously or mortally wounded, was published in Franklin’s
_Pennsylvania Gazette_, of October 18th, 1763. Leaving Stenton’s, after
the loss of one of their number, the Indians crossed the Lehigh, and
on their way to a store and tavern on the Copley creek, (where they
also had been wronged by the whites,) they murdered several families
residing within the limits of the present Whitehall township, Lehigh
County. Laden with plunder, they then struck for the wilderness north
of the Blue Mountain. Upwards of twenty settlers were killed or
captured on that memorable day, and the buildings on several farms were
laid in ashes.]

[260] [The 5,000 acres at Nazareth, which Whitefield sold to the
Moravians in 1741, were first held by Lætitia Aubrey, to whom it
had been granted by her father, William Penn, in 1682. The right
of erecting this tract, or any portion thereof, into a manor, of
holding court-baron thereon, and of holding views of frankpledge for
the conservation of the peace, were special privileges accorded to
the grantee by the grantor. It was one of few of the original grants
similarly invested. The royalty, however, in all cases remained a dead

[261] Alluding to what was at that time known by the name of the _long
day’s walk_.

[262] See above, p. 302.

[263] The same of whom I have spoken above, p. 171.

[264] See above, pp. 135, 136.

[265] Above, p. 279.

[266] Carver’s Travels, ch. 9, p. 196. Edit. above cited.

[267] [Glikhican, one of the converts of distinction attached to the
Moravian mission, was a man of note among his people, both in the
council chamber and on the war-path. When the Moravians first met
him he resided at Kaskaskunk, on the Beaver, and at Friedenstadt, on
that river, he was baptized by David Zeisberger in December of 1770.
Subsequently he became a “national assistant” in the work of the
Gospel, lived consistently with his profession, and met his death at
the hands of Williamson’s men at Gnadenhütten in March of 1782.]

[268] See above, p. 338.

[269] Loskiel, p. 3, ch. 3.

[270] [The valley of the Conecocheague, which stream drains Franklin
County, Pennsylvania, was explored and settled about 1730 by
Scotch-Irish pioneers, among whom were three brothers of the name of
Chambers. The site of Chambersburg was built on by Joseph Chambers.
The Conecocheague settlement suffered much from the Indians after
Braddock’s defeat in 1755.]

[271] Letter V.

[272] For “_Zeisberger_” read “_Heckewelder_.”

[273] These papers have been communicated.

[274] For “_from_” read “_for_.”

[275] For “_schawanáki_” read “_schwanameki_.”

[276] For “_chwani_” read “_chwami_.”

[277] An Enquiry into the Question, whether America was peopled from
the Old Continent?

[278] The Chippeways have hardly any grammatical forms.

[279] See Philos. Trans. abridged; vol. lxiii., 142.

[280] Colden’s Hist. of the Five Nations. Octavo ed., 1747, p. 14.

[281] One of them empties itself into the north side of Lake St. Clair,
another at the west end of Lake Erie, and a third on the south side of
the said lake, about twenty-five miles east of Sandusky river or bay.

[282] For “_K’lehelleya_” read “_K’lehellecheya_.”

[283] From the verb _Pommauchsin_.

[284] In the original it is _N’mizi_; the German _z_ being pronounced
like _tz_, which mode of spelling has been adopted in this publication.

[285] For “_Wulatopnachgat_” read “_Wulaptonachgat_.”

[286] For “_Wulatonamin_” read “_Wulatenamin_.”

[287] For “_manner_” read “_matter_.”

[288] For “_achpansi_” read “_achpanschi_.”

[289] _Wenitschanit_, the parent or owner of a child naturally
begotten; _wetallemansit_, the owner of the beast.

[290] [_A Collection of Hymns, for the use of the Christian Indians of
the Missions of the United Brethren, in North America._ Philadelphia:
Printed by Henry Sweitzer, at the corner of Race and Fourth Streets,
1803. A second edition of this work abridged, and edited by the Rev.
Abraham Luckenbach, was published at Bethlehem in 1847.]

[291] For “_Indian corn_” read “_a particular species of Indian corn_.”

[292] All words ending in _ican_, _hican_, _kschican_, denote a
sharp instrument for cutting. _Pachkschican_, a knife; _pkuschican_,
a gimlet, an instrument which cuts into holes; _tangamican_, or
_tangandican_, a spear, a sharp-pointed instrument; _poyachkican_, a
gun, or an instrument that cuts with force.

[293] For “_Ktahoatell_” read “_Ktahoalell_.”

[294] For “_gunich_” read “_gunih_.”

[295] Quin et emissurus Fucinum lacum, naumachiam ante commisit.
Sed cum proclamantibus naumachiariis “Ave, Imperator! morituri te
salutant,” respondisset “Avete vos!” neque post hanc vocem, quasi veniâ
datâ, quisquam dimicare vellet, diù cunctatus an omnes igni ferroque
absumeret, tandem è sede sua prosiluit, ac per ambitum lacûs, non sine
fœdâ vacillatione discurrens, partim minando, partim adhortando, ad
pugnam compulit. Sueton. in Claud. 21.

[296] Gœthe, in Wilhelm Meister.

[297] For “_Eliwulek_” read “_Eluwilek_.”

[298] For “_Allowilen_” read “_Allowilek_.”

[299] For the English translation of these two words substitute “_the
most extraordinary_, _the most wonderful_.”

[300] For “_Eluwantowit_” read “_Eluwannitlowit_.”

[301] For “_Elewassit_” read “_Elewussit_.”

[302] For “_the supremely good_” read “_the most holy one_.”

[303] Bey vielen Amerikanischen Sprachen finden wir theils einen so
künstlichen und zusammengesetzten bau, und einem so grossen reichthum
an grammatischen formen, wie ihn selbst bey dem verbum wenige sprachen
der Welt haben: theils scheinen sie so arm an aller grammatischen
ausbildung, wie die sprachen der rohesten Völker in Nord-Ost-Asia und
in Afrika seyn mögen. _Untersuchungen über Amerikas bevölkerung_, S.

[304] Among the Mbayas, a nation of Paraguay, it is said that young men
and girls, before their marriage, speak a language differing in many
respects from that of married men and women. Azara, c. 10.

[305] For “_schingieschin_” read “_schingiechin_.”

[306] The _k_ which is prefixed to this and the following substantives,
conveys the idea of the pronoun _thy_; it is a repetition (as it were)
of the beginning of the phrase “for _thine_” &c., and enforces its
meaning. _Ksakimowagan_, may be thus dissected: _k_, thy, _sakima_,
king or chief, _wagan_, substantive termination, added to _king_, makes

[307] See Letters 8 and 10.

[308] M. Raynouard, in his excellent Researches on the Origin and
Formation of the corrupted Roman Language, spoken before the year 1000,
has sufficiently proved that the French articles _le_, the Spanish
_el_, and the Italian _il_, are derived from the Latin demonstrative
pronoun _ille_, which began about the sixth century to be prefixed to
the substantive. Thus they said: ILLI _Saxones_, “THE SAXONS;” ILLI
_negociatores de Longobardia_, “THE Lombard merchants,” &c. So natural
is the use of the pronominal form to give clearness and precision to
language. _Recherches_, &c., p. 39.

[309] For “_Mamschalgussiwagan_” read “_Mamschalgussowagan_.”

[310] For “_Mamintochimgussowagan_” read “_Mamintschimgussowagan_.”

[311] For “_M’chonschicanes_” read “_M’chonschican_.”

[Transcriber’s Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History, Manners, and Customs of The Indian Nations who once Inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighbouring States." ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.