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 ]

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: An Address to the People of New-England
Author: Hopkins, Samuel
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Address to the People of New-England" ***

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


Transcriber’s Notes:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Additional Transcriber’s Notes are at the end.

       *       *       *       *       *

AN ADDRESS TO THE People of _New-England_.


  The very great IMPORTANCE of attaching the INDIANS to their Interest;
  not only by treating them justly and kindly; but by using proper
  Endeavours to settle _Christianity_ among them.

   PASTOR _of a Church in_ Springfield.

  _I perceive that GOD is no Respecter of Persons: But in every Nation,
  he that feareth him, and worketh Righteousness, is accepted with him._

  Apostle PETER.

  Printed in _Boston_, 1753. Being a Conclusion to the _Historical
  Memoirs_ relating to the _Housatunnuk_ INDIANS; with an Account of
  the Methods used for the Propagation of the Gospel amongst the said
  _Indians_, by the late reverend Mr. JOHN SERGEANT.

  Now recommended to the serious Consideration of the Inhabitants of
  _Pennsylvania_, and the other Colonies.

  Reprinted by B. FRANKLIN, and D. HALL. 1757.


My Design in this Address is to represent, to the People in this
Country, the very great Importance of treating the _Indians_, who live
among us, and upon our Borders, in a just, kind and charitable Manner;
and that we do, by all proper Means and Methods, endeavour to attach
them to us, and to the _British_ Interest. This, I apprehend, is a
Subject that has been too much neglected, and that greatly wants to be
set in a clear and just Light. And I sincerely wish that some Gentleman
of greater Abilities and Address than I can pretend to, would take it
in Hand: Tho’ if my weak Endeavours may be a Means of moving others to
do Justice to a Subject of such Weight, I shall heartily rejoice in it.

That I may offer what I have to say in the clearest and most concise
Manner I can, I shall go into the following Method.

_First_, I shall endeavour to shew, that it is of vast Importance to
the _British Provinces_ and _Colonies_ in _America_, especially to the
Provinces of the _Massachusetts_, _New-York_, and _New-Hampshire_, that
they be in good Terms with the _Indians_, and attach them to their
Interest. And,

_Secondly_, I shall endeavour to shew, by what _Means_ this may be
effected: Or what are the most likely Methods to bring it to pass.

1. I am to shew, that it is of vast Importance, that we be in good
Terms with the _Natives_; and that we engage them in our Interest. I
freely grant, that the _Indians_, simply considered, are not of such
great Consequence to us. We can subsist without them. But yet, their
Trade is a considerable Article, worthy the Care of any politick
People, and managed as it might, and ought to be, would yield us
great Profit. But if we consider them with Relation to _Peace_ and
_War_, as attached to us, or to our _Enemies_, they are of the last
Importance to us; for they certainly have the Ballance of Power in
their Hands, and are able to turn it for or against us, according as
they stand affected to us. _Canada_, inconsiderable as it is, and from
which, separate from the _Indians_, we have little or nothing to fear
in Time of War; _Canada_, I say, would be more than a Match for us,
in case they join with them against us. He must be a great Stranger
to, and very ignorant of, the Circumstances both of the _English_ and
_Indians_, who is not sensible of this. Our Circumstances are such,
that we cannot guard ourselves against the Incursions of such Enemies
in Time of War; for our _Frontiers_ are of vast Extent, and border upon
the adjacent Wilderness; which, tho’ almost inaccessible to us, yet is
the very Element in which they delight to live. They are at Home in
it. The People therefore who inhabit our Frontiers, while they follow
their necessary Business, are exposed to be an easy Prey to them; and
many of them have been surpriz’d in their Fields and Houses, and in
a most barbarous Manner put to Death. A small Number of _Indians_,
encouraged and supported by the _French_ (which they are ready enough
to do) can easily keep us in a constant Alarm, put us to an immense
Charge, destroy many, and impoverish more, in our exposed Places, and
not put themselves at all out of their Way; yea, find their Account
in it; for as they live by Hunting, so where Game is most plenty they
are best off: And where can they find a better Supply, than among our
Cattle, Sheep, and Corn-Fields? There they live at Ease, distress and
impoverish us, and the adjacent Wilderness is their Refuge. By retiring
into it, they are soon out of our Reach; and long Experience has taught
us how ineffectual the Measures we have taken for our Safety and
Defence have proved.

Some, I am sensible, will say, let us not be at any Cost and Pains to
gain the Friendship of such a perfidious Crew, but let us destroy them
all. Quickly said indeed, but not so soon nor so easily effected. Those
Persons who are for destroying them would doubtless soon do it, were
they first bound and delivered up to them. But one Question here is,
how we shall get them into our Power? And another is, Whether it would
be so humane, generous and Christian-like, to take away their Lives,
were that in our Power, as it would be to cultivate Friendship with
them, and to seek their best Good? If we should be so sanguine as to
endeavour to destroy them, it would doubtless prove a vain Attempt;
and serve only to drive them to the _French_, who would be very ready
to receive and protect them. If we neglect them, and take no Measures
to engage them in our Interest, or to cultivate Friendship with them,
this will probably render them indifferent to us, and dispose them
to hearken to the enticing Insinuations of _Romish_ Emissaries; and
our Situation must be very unhappy, when they become engaged in the
_French_ Interest.

If it be objected, that the _French_ have already gained a large Number
of _Indians_ to their Interest, and therefore if we use our best
Endeavours to gain others, it will avail nothing; for those who are
devoted to the _French_, will nevertheless distress us in Time of War.
I reply,

It is very true, that the _French_ of _Canada_, thro’ their Policy and
Vigilance, have taken the Advantage of our Neglect, and gained a large
Number of the _Natives_ to their Interest, and are gaining more and
more every Year; and some even from among our own _Indians_. They spare
neither Cost nor Pains to accomplish their Designs of this Nature,
being sensible enough how advantageous it is to them, and how injurious
to us; and if they continue to be active, and we negligent, as in
Times past, is it not too probable that they will, in a little Time,
attach to themselves all the _Indians_ in _North-America_? Does it not
then concern us to use proper and vigorous Endeavours to prevent this
apparent Mischief, by counter-working the _French_? who are, I suppose,
tampering with all the Tribes of _North-America_, to engage them in
their Interest. And should we succeed in our Endeavours (as it is
highly probable we might, if proper Steps were taken) so as to engage
the _Five Nations_, and some other Tribes, in hearty Friendship with
us; and especially if we should bestow such Favours upon them, as would
induce them to settle upon our Frontiers; it would in all Probability
prevent the Evil spoken of in the Objection; for the _Indians_ from
_Canada_ would not molest us, if a Number of the Natives, in hearty
Friendship with us, were placed in our Borders. Of this we have had a
very plain Proof the last War, in the Safety of _Stockbridge_, and the
adjacent Places, from any Attempts of the Enemy from _Canada_.

_Stockbridge_ is in the very Road of, and more exposed to, the
_Indians_ from _Canada_, than any other Place whatever; and yet we
see that the Enemy turned off East to _Connecticut-River_, and West
to the _Dutch_ Settlements, where they did much Mischief; while
_Stockbridge_, _Sheffield_, _New-Marlborough_, and _Number One_, tho’
more exposed, were not molested. This, so far as we can discern, was
owing to a small Number of _Indians_ dwelling at _Stockbridge_, who
are our hearty and fast Friends; which the Enemy being sensible of,
cared not to come within their Reach, lest they should be taken in
their own Snare. And if we should encourage the Settlement of other
_Indian_ Towns upon our Frontiers, where Hunting is most handy to them,
as _Stockbridge_ has been encouraged; should we give them Townships
of Land suitable for their Improvement, build a Meeting-House and
School-House in each Town, and support Ministers and School-Masters in
them; would not this convince them that we are their true Friends, and
seek their Good? Would it not induce them to settle in our Borders?
especially those of them who are desirous that they themselves and
their Children should be instructed? Would they not be a Guard to us
in Time of War? And if, after all, we should meet with some Trouble
from the _Indians_ of _Canada_, might it not be effectually prevented,
by playing our _Indians_ upon them, as they do theirs upon us? And
would not the Charge of all this be a Trifle, compared with that of
defending ourselves in Time of War? But if we neglect them, and take
no Measures to cultivate Friendship with them, and especially if we
deal injuriously by them, shall we not put an Advantage into the Hands
of the _French_ (which they will not fail of improving) to engage them
in their Interest, and to employ them against us in Time of War? which
would prove a very great Calamity to us, if not our utter Ruin. These
Things considered, is it not of very great Importance, that we be at
good Terms with the neighbouring _Natives_?

2. I will, in the next Place, endeavour to shew what are the likely
_Methods_ to bring this to pass: Or what Measures we must take with the
_Indians_, if we would engage them in hearty Friendship with us.

And here, in general, our Conduct towards them must be such as shall
make them sensible that we are indeed their hearty Friends; and such
also as shall convince them that it is their Interest and Advantage
to be in Friendship with us. Nothing short of this, I apprehend, will
attach them to us, so as to answer the Ends proposed. If we often treat
with them, renew the Friendship, and bestow upon them large Presents:
Or, as they phrase it, Smoke together, brighten the Chain, or put the
Brands together, to kindle up the former Fire; and yet leave Room
for them to suppose that this proceeds not from true Friendship, but
rather from Fear of them, or from Suspicion that they will join with
our Enemies, &c. this will never be sufficient to engage them; the
utmost we can rationally expect from it is, that they will not openly
break with us, but keep up a Shew of Friendship, that they may have the
Benefit of future Presents at our Hands.

Again, if we should by any Means convince them that we are their
true Friends, and yet not go into such Measures with them as should
turn to their _Advantage_, they would hardly be engaged for us. As
all other People are governed by _Interest_, so are they. And the
principal Handle we can take hold of, to attach them to us by, is
their _Interest_, and that would not fail of doing it. If a Tribe of
_Indians_ can sell their Skins to us for _Twenty Shillings_, and buy
their Blankets for _Ten Shillings_; they will never go to _Canada_
where they must sell their Skins for _Ten Shillings_, and give _Twenty
Shillings_ for a Blanket. Convince them that it is much for their
Interest and Advantage to be our Friends and Allies, and we need not
fear but that they will be so. Now, in order to convince them that we
are truly their Friends, and that it is their Interest to be ours, we

In the first Place, treat them according to the Rules of Equity and
Justice. We must not defraud and oppress them, but be honest and just
in our Dealings with them.

The Natives, with whom we have to do, are Persons of so much Sagacity,
that they can distinguish between just and injurious Treatment, as
well as other Men. They are also as ready to resent, and perhaps more
forward to revenge Injuries, than any other People under Heaven. If
therefore we treat them in an unjust Manner, we may rationally expect
that they will be so far from being our Friends, that they will join
with our Enemies, and seek Opportunities of Revenge.

It is well known, that the _Indians_ are generally addicted to
Drunkenness, and that when they have tasted a little Liquor, they have
a strong Thirst for more, and will part with any Thing they have, for a
sufficient Quantity to make them drunk.----And is it not as well known,
that we have taken the Advantage of this their vicious Appetite, and
for a few Quarts of Rum have purchased valuable Effects of them? Have
not private Persons thus made their Gains of them, notwithstanding the
good Laws that have been in Force to prevent it? And is not this the
Manner of all private Traders, who go among their several Tribes for

In our publick Dealings with them at our Truck-Houses, where Rum has
been freely sold them, Care has been taken that they should not be
cheated, but that they should have the full Value of what they had
to sell: An Indian therefore, who was Owner of a Pack of Beaver,
Deerskins, or any other valuable Goods, could buy a large Quantity
of Rum, and might get drunk perhaps ten times, or more; whereas, if
he had fallen into private Hands, he must have contented himself with
being drunk but once or twice. Which of these proves most injurious to
_Indians_ in the End, I shall not pretend to determine.

When they are thus intoxicated, they fall out among themselves, fight,
and sometimes kill, one another, and some have drunk themselves dead
on the Spot. An Instance of each of these there has been, if I am
rightly informed, at _Fort Dummer_, since that has been improved as a
Truck-House. And whether the Guilt of that Blood does not lie upon us,
I leave others to judge.

Now, if we treat the _Natives_ in this Form, will they, can they, live
with us? Will not the Law of Self-Preservation oblige them to leave us,
and to go where they may be better used? Some of the _Five Nations_
plainly speak it out, and say, “We cannot live with the _English_ and
_Dutch_; they bring us so much Rum, that it destroys us; we must go to
the _French_, who will let us have but little strong Drink.” Thus we
alienate the _Indians_ from us, and as it were oblige them to go over
to the _French_, who are often our Enemies, and fail not to employ them
against us in Time of War. And if we proceed to deal thus injuriously
with them, what can we expect but that they will leave us, and be a
severe Scourge to us?

Tho’ the _Indians_ are sunk below the Dignity of human Nature, and
their Lust after Drink exposes them to be cheated out of what little
they have; yet this gives us no Right to deal unjustly by them. They
have a natural Right to Justice, and may, with great Propriety,
challenge it at our Hands, seeing we profess to be subject to the Laws
of _Christ_, which teach us to do _that which is altogether just_.
And we should be so far from taking the Advantage of their Ignorance,
Vice and Poverty, to defraud them of what is their just Right, that
we should rather be moved to Pity, and compassionate their deplorable
State, and be _Eyes to the Blind_, &c.

I am fully persuaded, that if we were upright and just in all our
Transactions with them; if our Trade with them was put into the Hands
of faithful Men, who would deal justly by them; and if they were
supplied with all Necessaries for themselves and Families at a moderate
Price, it would not be in the Power of all the _French_ at _Canada_
(subtle as they are) to alienate them from us. The _French_ are not
upon equal Ground with us in this Affair. For their Northern Climate is
much more inhospitable and severe than ours is: Their Country is not so
productive of those Fruits, which the _Indians_ very much live upon, as
ours: Nor can they afford Goods which are proper and necessary for the
_Indians_ at so cheap a Lay as we can: Therefore we can give them those
Advantages which _Canada_ cannot. We can, without Damage to ourselves,
make it their Interest to adhere to us: And when Experience has once
taught them, that their Interest lies with us, they will want no other
Inducement to engage them to us: Yea, it will not only attach those of
them to us, who are not yet gone to _Canada_, but it will induce those
who are, to return to their Brethren, for the Sake of the Profit they
might reap by it; especially if we give them all the Advantage we can,
consistent with our own.

As unjust and abusive Treatment of the _Indians_ tends naturally
to alienate them from us, and to turn them off to the _French_; so
a Series of just and faithful Dealing with them would be likely to
attach them to us, and to make them our fast Friends. This again
appears from the Temper and Conduct of that Part of the _Tribe_ of the
_River Indians_ who live at _Stockbridge_. For tho’ they were, for
a considerable Time, extremely jealous, that we had some ill Design
upon them, even in the Favours they received at our Hands (a Jealousy
founded, I suppose, upon the ill Usage the _Natives_ have too often
been the Subjects of) yet by the just Treatment they, for a Course of
Years, have met with from the _Government_, from Mr. _Sergeant_, Mr.
_Woodbridge_, and others, they are become our hearty Friends; willing
to live or die with us, whether in Peace or War.

It is very true, that in order to obtain the End proposed, our Trade
with the _Indians_ must not be in private Hands. It must not be in the
Power of every private Person to treat them as he pleases. We may upon
good Grounds despair of their being treated with Equity and Justice,
if every one may gratify his avaricious Temper in dealing with them.
Our Trade therefore must be of a publick Nature, and must be committed
to the Care and Management of faithful Men: Not to such as will seek
the Service, and make Friends to procure the Post for them; (certain
Indications of a Self-seeker) but Men of Uprightness and Integrity must
be sought out; such, and such only, must be trusted with Business of
such Importance: Good Instructions must be given them, which must be
carefully adhered to.

If the _Indian_ Trade at _Canada_ was in private Hands; if every
private Person there might deal with the _Indians_ at Pleasure, we
might then hope that those who are gone from us would soon return;
for, in that Case, it is supposable enough that they would not meet
with much better Usage there than they do here; tho’ it is scarcely
supposable that they would meet with much worse. The _French_ Trade
with the _Indians_ is wholly in the Hands of publick Officers, (it I
am rightly informed) and a private Man, if he wants a Dear-skin, a
Beaver-skin, &c. is not allowed to purchase of an _Indian_, but must
go to the publick Stores. Upon the Supposition that those Officers are
faithful, and deal justly by the _Indians_, it is surely a wise and
politick Method to engage them in their Favour. And so long as every
private Person in the English Government is at Liberty to trade with
them, when, and where, he pleases, and to cheat them out of what they
have, what can we expect but that they will repair to _Canada_, where
they may be better used? Is it not owing to the ill Treatment they
have met with from the _English_ and _Dutch_, that so many of them are
gone already? And if no proper Measures are taken to prevent their
being ill used, will not those who are yet behind soon follow their
Brethren? Yea, if we furnish them with large Quantities of Rum, make
them drunk, and then defraud them of what they have, do we not reduce
them to a Necessity, either of living low and miserable with us, or
of going from us, that they may fare better? How low, how dispirited,
how miserable and brutish these few are, who live within our Borders,
is too manifest. And whether we, by our ill treating of them, have not
contributed to their Misery, is worthy of our serious Enquiry. Yea,
would it not be proper for us to enquire, Whether we have not, by our
Neglect and Abuse of them, provoked Heaven to let loose the Natives
upon us, who have been one of the sorest Scourges that we were ever
chastised with? What Multitudes have they, in a most cruel Manner,
murdered in our Borders? How many of our Neighbours have they led into
Captivity? Some of whom have been redeemed at a very great Expence,
and others are become either Pagans or Papists, and continue still in
a foreign Land. And who can count the Cost we have been at, to defend
ourselves against their Incursions?

If the British Government should be disposed, in Time to come, to
set up and maintain a publick, honest and just Trade with the _Five
Nations_, or any other Tribes, thereby to attach them to us, to promote
their true Interest, with other valuable Ends, that might thereby
be answered; this Objection perhaps would arise, _viz._ That such a
Proceeding will be a very great Expence to the Publick, for our Trade
cannot be safe, unless it be protected by a considerable Force. A Fort
must be built, and a Garrison of 50, 60, or perhaps 100 Men, with their
proper Officers, must be maintained at each Place where the Trade is
set up; therefore the Advantage would not countervail the Cost. To this
I reply,

If such Garrisons should be thought necessary in the Places where a
Trade is set up, to be a Guard to it, the Charge would nothing like
equal that of an Indian War, which perhaps it might prevent.

But further, I apprehend that the Charge of such Garrisons might be
spared; and that, instead of being necessary, they would prove very
injurious to the Design; and that it would be a very wrong Step to be
taken in that Affair.

All who are in any good Measure acquainted with the _Indians_ know,
that they are extreamly jealous, lest any Incroachments should be made
upon them; and it is not strange it should be so, considering what has
past over them. And if a Number of armed Men were placed among them,
and Forts built for the Defence of our Trade, they would be suspicious
that something hostile was intended, and we should not be able to
remove the Suspicion. They would behold us with a jealous Eye, and
perhaps take Measures to frustrate the whole Design.

The most effectual Way to induce them to trust us, is to trust them;
and they will be ready enough to protect our Trade if we desire it, and
shew that we confide in them to do it. And when a little Experience
has taught them how advantageous such a Trade would be to them, they
would be ready enough to do it for their own Advantage. If therefore we
should desire them to admit a Trader into one of their own Forts, or to
build a Fort at our Charge in some convenient Place for such a Design,
and to take Care that our Trade be safe; this would tend to convince
them, both of our Friendship to, and of our Confidence in, them; and
they would not only be pleased with it, but also ambitious to shew
us that we may safely trust them: And were I to be the Truck-Master,
I should esteem myself much safer in their Protection, than in a
Garrison of 100 _English_ Men: For if such a Garrison should be placed
among them, they themselves would suspect some ill Design carrying on
against them; and the _French_ would infallibly tell them, that tho’
we pretended Peace and Friendship, yet our Design in the End is to
dispossess them of their _Country_.

If indeed a Truck-Master should prove an unfaithful Servant, and enrich
himself by defrauding them, he might have Occasion for _English_
Soldiers to protect him and his Stores; but if they found him faithful,
friendly and just in his Dealings with them, they would be as careful
of him as of their own Eyes, and venture their own Lives for him. What
would not the _Indians_ of _Stockbridge_ have done for Mr. _Sergeant_
in his Day, whom they had found to be their true and hearty Friend? And
what would they not now do for Mr. _Woodbridge_, of whom the have had
the like Experience? _Indians_ will be as ready as the _English_, and
perhaps much more so, to serve and protect, if there be Occasion, those
whom they have found to be their faithful and real Friends.

In a Word, I apprehend, that if we had in Times past treated the
Natives according to the Rules of Equity and Justice, it would have
been quite sufficient to have engaged them in our Interest, and to
have kept them in Amity and Friendship with us; and that, even now,
they might in a little Time be attached to us, by such Treatment: But
this, I confess, I despair of, if every private Person must be left at
his Liberty to treat them as he pleases, and to defraud them of all
they have; which I take to be the Case in _New-York_ Government, who
lie next to the _Five Nations_, and have their Trade; tho’ in this
_Province_ we have good Laws in Force to restrain private Persons from
selling them strong Drink.

2. We should also exercise that Kindness and Generosity towards
them, that shall convince them that it is for their Interest to be
in Friendship with us. We should not, in a Case of such Importance,
content ourselves with being barely just in our Treatment of them, but
we should also be kind and generous, as a proper Expedient to obtain
the End proposed. I am aware, I shall here be quickly interrupted with
this Exclamation;

What! _kind_ and _generous_ to such an ungrateful evil Crew! To which
I shall only answer, We have good Authority for being _kind to the
Unthankful, and to the Evil_. And if that good Being who recommends
it to us, had not given an Example of it, in his Dealings with us,
how deplorable had our State been? This kind Temper and Behaviour is
recommended to us in the Gospel, not only because it is the Will of our
heavenly Father that we should be kind, but also because the Exercise
of it answers excellent Ends; produces very good and desirable Effects;
such as Love, Friendship, Peace, &c. And while we make a Profession of
Christianity, it is Pity the Practice of it, in so material an Article,
should be objected against. And is it not very proper that we should
exercise Kindness and Generosity to the poor Natives, when there is a
strong Probability of its being of very happy Consequence both to them
and us?

A great deal of Kindness and Generosity has been exercised towards
the River _Indians_ at _Housatunnuk_, by this _Government_, by the
honourable _Corporation_ at Home, by their honourable and reverend
_Commissioners_ at _Boston_, by the Rev. Mr. _Hollis_, by the Rev. Mr.
_Sergeant_, Mr. _Woodbridge_, and others; and the Consequence has been
very happy as to them; they are brought to the Knowledge of the Gospel,
and to a Christian Profession; and many of them, we hope, to the saving
Knowledge of God. We also have found the Benefit of this kind Usage of
them; for thereby they are become our hearty Friends, are united to us
in their Affections, and were a Means, in the Hand of Providence, of
covering our most Western Frontiers the last War. And were the like
Kindness shewn by us to other Tribes, is there not Room to hope that
the Effects might be alike happy? If Townships, suitable for _Indians_
to settle in, were provided in our Frontiers, and it were proposed
to them, that if they would come and settle in them, they should not
only enjoy the Land as their own, but also have a Minister supported
among them to instruct them in the Christian Religion; and also a
School-Master to teach their Children to read and write; would not this
induce many of them, especially of the better Sort, to come and settle
in our Borders? And would they not cover our Frontiers in case of a
War with _France_?

What has been done for the _Indians_ at _Stockbridge_, has doubtless
been much observed and approved of by the _Natives_ far and near. That
there is a School set up at _Canada_, in Imitation of Mr. _Sergeant_’s
School at _Stockbridge_, and a large Number of Scholars in it, we have
heard and receive for Truth. That the _French_, who esteem Ignorance to
be the Mother of Devotion, and do not desire to teach the _Indians_ any
Thing more than to say their Beads, and to cross themselves, have done
this out of Choice, is not at all likely. They do not desire that their
_Indians_ should become a knowing People. But yet, being sensible that
the Report of Mr. _Sergeant_’s School had spread itself far and wide,
and that their _Indians_ were pleased with the Method the _English_ had
taken to furnish the _Natives_ with Knowledge, they apprehended, that
unless something like it were done among them, there would be Danger
of the _Indians_ repairing to us for Instruction, and to prevent this,
and to engage them to themselves, they set up their School. This, I
conjecture, is the Truth of the Case. And if so, it is manifest that
the _Indians_ are inclined to seek after Knowledge; and therefore would
be disposed to hearken to such kind and generous Proposals, if they
were made to them. And who can tell but that this, that, or the other
Tribe, would gladly settle such Towns, if they were invited to it in a
proper Manner?

3. Another Step, and perhaps the most promising one we can take, to
engage the _Indians_ in Friendship with us is, to send Missionaries
among their respective Tribes, Ministers and Schoolmasters, to instruct
them in the Principles, and to persuade them to the Practice of
Christianity. Tho’ they have so long lived near us, and been conversant
with us, yet they remain ignorant of the Way of Salvation, Strangers
to the Gospel, and are perishing for lack of Knowledge: A Case that
might well move our Pity and Compassion towards them, and put us upon
doing what we can for their Relief. And whether our former Neglect of
Things of this Nature has not been provoking to Heaven, may be worthy
of our serious Enquiry.

The Interest the Rev. Mr. _Barclay_ had in the _Mohawks_, while he was
with them, the Reformation of Manners he wrought among them, their
Willingness to receive Instruction, and their Engagedness to prosecute
Learning, are a plain Indication that faithful Missionaries would be
welcome to them. And the _Five Nations_ being nearest us, and their
Friendship of very great Consequence, it might be proper to begin with
them: And what has been done among them by Mr. _Barclay_ and others,
might be no small Help in the Case. If we should send Persons well
qualified for the Business to reside among them, and support them well,
there would be no Foundation for any Jealousy that we have an ill
Design upon them, and if at any time such Jealousies should arise, they
would soon subside, upon the _Indians_ having a little Experience of
our Kindness and Friendship to them. The prudent Conduct and faithful
Labours of such Missionaries might, by the Blessing of God, serve to
remove their Barbarity, correct their Manners, reform their Lives,
promote in them virtuous Sentiments, and by Degrees form them to true
Religion. This we may hope would be the happy Event, with Respect to
many of them, tho’ not to all; and if, by much Labour and Expence, it
might be brought to pass, should we not find our Account in it; for
what would be the Charge of supporting a few Missionaries, compared
with that of an _Indian_ War? And is there not great Probability that
such Measures would in a few Years Time attach them to us in a hearty
Friendship? And if the _Five Nations_, who are a Terror to, and have in
great Measure the Command of, other Tribes, were indeed our Friends,
and made so by such Obligations laid upon them, would it not be an
effectual Means of restraining other _Indians_ from giving us Trouble
in case of a War?

The general Objection here, I am sensible, will be;--There is no
Likelihood of succeeding, and therefore it is not worth While to make
any Trial; it would only be to spend Labour and Money to no good
Purpose. To which I reply,

How can we draw the Conclusion before we have made the Experiment? Have
we ever made any proper Trial, and found ourselves disappointed? And
can it be looked upon just to draw such a Conclusion, in a Case of such
Importance, unless we had better Grounds for it?

It is true, Mr. _Sergeant_ made a Visit to the _Susquehanna Indians_,
Mr. _Brainard_ also, in his Day, did the same, without Success; but we
know that the Excuse those _Indians_ made was, that they held their
Lands of the _Five Nations_, and therefore could not comply with such
a Motion, till their Consent was first obtained. And besides, shall
we esteem two or three Visits made by private Persons a sufficient
Trial in this Case? Sufficient indeed it was to shew that those good
Gentlemen were possest of an excellent Spirit, and of a laudable Zeal
for the Good of the poor Natives; but yet I apprehend not sufficient to
discourage further Attempts. If those Gentlemen, who went in a private
Capacity, had sustained a publick Character, perhaps they had been more
regarded. But however, when we have used our best Endeavours, and they
indeed prove unsuccessful, we may be excusable; but can we look upon
ourselves so, if we sit still, and use no Endeavours for the Help of
those poor benighted People?

If proper Attempts should be made for Christianizing the _Five
Nations_, there would, I am sensible, some notable Difficulties lie in
the Way, but yet perhaps none but what might be surmounted.

One Difficulty that would doubtless attend such a laudable Undertaking,
would arise from those who maintain a private Trade among them, from
which they reap great Gain; especially by the Article of Rum, too
much of which they convey to them, and by the Influence of which the
_Indians_ are easily defrauded.

These Traders would be very sensible, that if Christianity should
prevail among those _Nations_, the _Hope of their Gain_ would be
_gone_, and _seeing by this Craft they have their Wealth_, they would
use their utmost Endeavours to dissuade the _Indians_ from embracing
the Ways of Religion. They in Fact did so at _Housatunnuk_, where the
Number of _Indians_ was small, and their Trade not so considerable.
How much more then will they do it, if Endeavours should be used to
convert the _Mohawks_, whose Trade is vastly more advantageous? But as
the _Indians_ at _Housatunnuk_, by Mr. _Sergeant_’s Help, saw thro’ the
Artifice they used, and were made sensible of the selfish Views of the
Traders, so doubtless the _Five Nations_ may easily be informed, and
the Obstruction soon removed.

Another Difficulty will arise from the false Insinuations of _Romish_
Emissaries, who will not fail to tell them, that we are about to
teach them a false Religion, and if they hearken to us, they will all
certainly be damned. But when those _Indians_ are properly informed of
the Conduct of the _French_, and other Roman Catholicks, how they deny
the Use of the Bible to the common People among themselves, and that
they have no Design to acquaint the _Indians_ with the Word of God:
And on the other Hand, that our Design is not to impose upon them, but
to open the Bible to them, to enable them to read it, and to judge for
themselves; will not this satisfy them of our honest Intentions towards
them, and of the Safety and Propriety of their examining Things, that
they may form a Judgment for themselves?

A third, and perhaps much the greatest Difficulty that would attend
this good Design is, that those _Indians_ esteem themselves Christians
already, and value themselves upon their being as good Christians as
their Neighbours. Mr. _Sergeant_, in his Journal of _November_ 25,
1734, says,--‘The _Mohawks_ are generally Professors of Christianity,
but for want of Instruction have but little of it in Reality.--’
They are so ignorant of the Principles of Religion, that they know
not the Difference between one who is baptized, and calls himself a
Christian, and one who lives agreeably to the Rules Christ has given us
to walk by. They are not sensible of the Necessity of being conformed
to those Rules of Virtue and Holiness which Christ has prescribed.
_Romish_ Emissaries have baptized some of them, others (as I have been
informed) have been baptized by _Dutch_ Ministers; and they esteem
it a Privilege belonging to them to have their Children baptized,
whenever they present them, without any Regard being had, either to
the Qualifications of the Parent, or the religious Education of the
Child. When the Rev. Mr. _Spencer_ was among them a few Years ago, they
were much displeased that he declined baptizing some Children, whose
Parents were notoriously ignorant, vicious and wicked. Some _Indians_
from _Canada_, who had an _English_ Woman to their Mother, came a few
Years past to _Westfield_ to visit their _English_ Relations there,
and while they staid at that Place, they had a Child born, and were
much offended with the Rev. Mr. _Balantine_, who declined baptizing
of it, as they desired. Since the Rev. Mr. _Edwards_ has been at
_Stockbridge_, one of the _Mohawks_ residing there had a Child born,
and was highly affronted because Mr. _Edwards_ did not baptize it upon
his Desire. From these Instances it is evident, that they account their
Children have Right to Baptism, whenever they desire it. And being
baptized, they esteem them good Christians, whatever their Conversation
may be; for they derive their Notions of Christianity, not from the
Bible (to which they are Strangers) but from the Example of the _Dutch_
and _French_, with whom they are conversant, and who profess themselves
to be Christians.

And so far forth as being baptized, in the forementioned Manner, and
calling themselves Christians will make them so, they are so to be
esteemed. Now these Things being so, it may prove a difficult Thing
to make them sensible, that Drunkenness, and other vicious Practices,
are inconsistent with Christianity; because those Christians, who fall
under their Observation, give them an Example of Vice, and go such
Lengths therein.

But yet I apprehend this Difficulty might also be removed, by giving
them a just and true Account of the Nature and Extent of the Christian
Religion, by informing them what the Will of _Christ_ is; how he
expects that we should be conformed to his Likeness, and to his Laws.
The _Indians_ are as capable of hearing Reasons, and giving them
their Weight, as other Men; and it is because they know not what
Christianity is, that they esteem themselves Christians, in their
present Circumstances. When they are made acquainted with the Terms of
Salvation, proposed in the Gospel, and what they must do that they may
inherit eternal Life; when they are well instructed in the Doctrines of
_Christ_, they will be sensible that the Religion which they now have,
is little or nothing like that which is taught by the Gospel. When Mr.
_Edwards_ refused to baptize a _Mohawk_ Child born at _Stockbridge_
(which I have before mentioned) and they were very much displeased with
him on that Account, he went to them, gave them the Reasons of his
Conduct, and informed them as clearly as he was able, of the Nature
and End of Baptism: Those _Indians_ received the Force of his Reasons,
and appeared to be satisfied and contented, when he had taken Pains to
inform them. And I doubt not but proper Instruction and Information
would remove the Difficulty I have been speaking of.

Tho’ Christianizing those _Indians_ may prove a difficult Work, yet if
our Endeavours might, by the divine Blessing, be succeeded, would not
the Advantage thence arising to them, and us, more than compensate the
Pains and Expence we should be at? And is there not so much Ground to
hope for Success, as should induce us to make the Experiment?

I shall now conclude, by briefly suggesting a few Things, not yet
mentioned, the serious Consideration of which may excite us to use our
best Endeavours for the Conversion of the neighbouring _Indians_ to the
Christian Faith.

1. And in the first Place, should not the Consideration of the divine
Bounty and Goodness, bestowed upon us, excite us to employ Part of that
undeserved Goodness to promote the Knowledge of God, our bountiful
Benefactor, among those who are destitute of it? Thro’ the undeserved
Favour and Blessing of God, we have been prosperous in our secular
Affairs, succeeded in our Husbandry, Trade, &c. and are become a
wealthy People: And, were we as willing as we are able, might we not
spare large Sums for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Heathen?
Ought we not then to shew our Gratitude to the glorious Author of
all our Comforts, by employing a Part of his Bounty to promote the
Redeemer’s Kingdom? Is it not fit that we should thus _honour the Lord
with our Substance_? Does it not lie as a Reproach upon us, who make
an high Profession, that we expend so little to promote the Knowledge
of God among the _Natives_, and so much to ill Purposes? Were what we
employ in unnecessary Expences, by which Pride and Luxury are indulged
and nourished, employed in the laudable Method I am recommending; would
it not be sufficient well to support a Multitude of Missionaries among
the neighbouring Tribes? Would it not probably be a Means of turning
many of them _from the Power of Satan to God_? And would it not be
_an Odour of a sweet Smell, a Sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to
God_[1]? And seeing God, by his Blessings, has enabled us to contribute
to such a good Design, should we not chearfully give of our Substance,
for the spiritual Benefit of the perishing Heathen?

2. Should not the Light and Grace of the Gospel, which we, thro’ divine
Goodness enjoy, be a stronger Argument still to excite us to endeavour
the Conversion of the Heathen?

A few Generations back we were in a State of Heathenism, as they
now are: _Aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel--and without God
in the World_[2]. But, thro’ divine Goodness, _the Day-spring from
on High has visited us_, and we enjoy the Light and Privileges of
the Gospel-Dispensation. Seeing then God has had Compassion on us,
and bestowed upon us those richest Blessings, ought we not to have
Compassion on the neighbouring Heathen, and use our best Endeavours
that they also may be made Partakers of the Light and Blessings of the

3. Should we not be moved to such charitable Endeavours from the
Consideration of the wretched and forlorn Circumstances, in which the
poor _Natives_ appear before our Eyes? We often behold those piteous
Objects, appearing half naked, and almost starved; which is the Effect
of their vicious Way of Living. We see them also in the Depths of
Ignorance and Barbarity; wholly unacquainted with the Way of Salvation,
and quite unconcerned for their eternal Good: And yet their Powers,
both of Body and Mind, are not inferior to our own. Were they brought
to Civility and Industry, they might stand upon equal Ground with us,
respecting the Comforts of Life; and were they instructed in divine
Things, made acquainted with the great and important Truths of the
Gospel, they might stand as fair for the Kingdom of Heaven as we do.
Should not our Eyes therefore affect our Hearts, when we behold them
in such miserable Circumstances? And should we not exert ourselves in
all proper Ways for their Help? Did the Wounds of the poor Man _half
dead_, who _fell among Thieves_, plead with so much Eloquence for
human Compassion, as the unhappy State of the poor _Natives_ does for
Christian Charity? And if the Compassion of a _Samaritan_ was moved by
the former, how much more should the Bowels of a _Christian_ be moved
by the latter?

4. The noble Example of some generous and pious Persons, at Home, may
well excite us to liberal Contributions for the Benefit of the poor

Not only publick Societies, but also private Persons, in
_Great-Britain_, have generously and liberally contributed for the
Benefit of the _Natives_, in this distant Part of the World. Tho’
they are at 3000 Miles Distance, and never beheld, as we do, those
miserable Objects; yet, from a truly pious and generous Spirit, they
have sent over their liberal Contributions, that the Heathen, by their
Means, may be informed in the Way of Life. _Verily, they shall not
lose their Reward._ A noble Example they set before us, most worthy
our Imitation: And how can we excuse ourselves, if we neglect to copy
after it? Some indeed may plead their Inability, but this is not the
Case of all. Are there not among us many wealthy Merchants and Traders?
Are there not also many Farmers, who abound in Wealth, upon the Lands
which were, a few Years ago, the Property of the _Indians_, who now
stand in Need of their Charity? Should not such Persons be moved, by
the generous Examples of others, to help forward the noble Design of
converting the Heathen? Yea, are not the People in general able to do
something to help forward so good a Design? And will it not lie as a
Reproach upon us, if we, who make a high Profession of Religion, prove
void of Charity, when we are so loudly called to the Exercise of it,
not only by the laudable Example of generous Benefactors at Home; but
also by the perishing Circumstances of the neighbouring _Indians_?

I shall only add my hearty Wishes, that this _American_ Continent,
which, for Ages unknown, has been a Seat of Darkness, and _full of
the Habitations of Cruelty_, may become a Scene of Light and Love;
that the Heathen in it, who have been wont to thirst after Blood,
may _hunger and thirst after Righteousness; That the Wilderness and
solitary Place may be glad for them, the Desart rejoice and blossom
as the Rose;----That the Glory of_ Lebanon _may be given unto it, the
Excellency of_ Carmel _and_ Sharon; _That they may see the Glory of the
Lord, and the Excellency of our God_[3].



[1] Phil. iv. 18.

[2] Ephes. ii. 12.

[3] Isaiah xxxv. 1, 2.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Footnotes have been moved to the end of the text and relabeled
consecutively through the document.

Punctuation has been made consistent.

Variations in spelling and hyphenation were retained as they appear in
the original publication, except that obvious typographical errors have
been corrected.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Address to the People of New-England" ***

Copyright 2023 LibraryBlog. All rights reserved.