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holding a belt of wampum in his hand, he spoke to them as follows:
“Cousins! Let this belt of wampum serve to chastise you! You ought to be taken by the hair of the head and shaken severely, till you recover your senses and become sober. You don't know what ground you stand on, nor what you are doing. Our brother Onas's* cause is very just and plain, and his intentions are to preserve friendship. On the other hand, your cause is bad ; your heart far from being upright; and you are maliciously bent to break the chain of friendship with our brother Onas, and his people. We have seen with our eyes a deed signed by nine of your ancestors above fifty years ago, for this very land, and a release signed, not many years since, by some of yourselves and chiefs now living, to the number of fifteen or upward. But how came you to take upon you to sell land at all? We conquered you; we made women of you; you know you are women, and can no more sell land than women. Nor is it fit you should have the power of selling lands, since you would abuse it. This land that you claim has gone through your bellies; you have been furnished with clothes, meat and drink, by the goods paid you for it; and now you want it again, like children - as you are! But what makes you sell land in the dark?
* Onas, in the Indian tongue, signifies Pen, and was the name by which they always addressed the Governors of Pennsylvania, in honour of its founder.
Did you ever tell us that you had sold this land ? Did we ever receive any part, even the value of a pipe-shank, from you for it? You have told us a blind story,* that you sent a messenger to us to inform us of the sale; but he never came among us, nor did we even hear any thing about it. This is acting in the dark, and very different from the conduct our Six Nations observe in the sales of land. On such occasions they give public notice, and invite all the Indians of their United Nations, and give them all a share of the presents they receive for their lands. This is the behaviour of the wise United Nations. But we find you are none of our blood : you act a dishonest part, not only in this, but in other matters: your ears are ever open to slanderous reports about your brethren: you receive them with as much greediness as lewd women receive the embraces of bad men. And for these reasons, we charge you to remove instantly. We don't give you the liberty to think about it. You are women. Take the advice of a wise man, and remove immediately. You may return to the other side of the Delaware, where you came from. But we do not know whether, considering how you have demeaned yourselves, you will be permitted to live there; or whether you have not swallowed. that land down your throats, as well as the land on this side. We therefore assign you two places
* * Referring, probably, to explanations the Delawares bad attempted to give in their private consultations.
to go to – either to Wyoming, or Shamokin. You may go to either of these places, and then we shall have you more under our eye, and shall see how you behave. Don't deliberate, but remove away, and take this belt of wampum.”
This speech having been translated into English, and also into the Delaware tongue, Canassateego took another string of wampum, and proceeded :
"Cousins! After our just reproof and absolute order to depart from the land, you are now to take notice of what we have farther to say to you. This string of wampum serves to forbid you, your children and grand-children, to the latest posterity, forever, meddling with land affairs. Neither you, nor any that shall descend from you, are ever hereafter to presume to sell any land : for which purpose you are to preserve this string in memory of what your uncles have this day given you in charge. We have some other business to transact with our brethren, and therefore depart the council, and consider what has been said to you."*
* Canassateego was famous as an orator and counsellor among the Onondagas, and his counsels and memory were cherished by the people of the Six Nations, for a long number of years. Dr. Franklin has somewhere related an amusing anecdote of him, the point of which lies in the circumstance of his visiting Albany once, to sell his furs, and going to church with Hans Jansen, the merchant to whom he expected to sell them. Canassateego took it into his head, during the service, that the minister was preaching about him and his furs. And he was confirmed in this opinion after church, from the fact that Jansen offered him six pence per pound less, than he had done before the service. Everybody else, moreover, to whom he afterward offered to sell his furs, would only give him three and sixpence per pound after church, instead of four shillings per pound, as had been offered before. The old chief therefore concluded that the minister had been preaching down the price of his beaver-skins, and he had no good opinion of the “black coats ” afterward. It is stated by some authorities, that he was accompanied by two bundred and thirty warriors on his visit to Philadelphia to attend the council spoken of in the text.
There was no diplomatic mincing of words in the speech of the Onondaga chieftain. He spoke not only with the bluntness of unsophisticated honesty, but with the air of one having authority, nor dared the Delawares to disobey his peremptory command. They immediately left the council, and soon afterward removed from the disputed territory - some few of them to Shamokin, * but the greater portion to Wyoming. The whole tenour of the speech, moreover, goes to establish the fact that the Delawares were the dependants — indeed the abject subjects — of the Aquanuschioni, or Mengwe, as the Six Nations have been frequently called by modern writers. But the questions how, and at what time, the Lenelenoppes were brought into such a humiliating condition, cannot be answered with precision. The Delawares themselves pretend that they were beguiled into a surrender of their national and political manhood, and Mr. Heckewelder has attempt
* Shamokin was an Indian town at the junction of the east and west branches of the Susquehanna, sixty miles below Wyoming. It was a sort of military colony of the Six Nations, and the residence of the celebrated Cayuga chief Shickcalamy, or Shikellimus, the father of the yet more celebrated Logan, the chief who has been immortalized by Mr. Jefferson in his Notes on Virginia. Shamokin stood upon the site of the present town of Northumber. land, where Dr. Priestley spent the latter days of his life, and died. Logan was named after James Logan, the companion of Penn — a learned man for a long time secretary of the colony, and greatly beloved by the Indians.
ed to sustain the pretension. According to their tradition, the Mengwe and Lenelenoppes had long been at war, and the advantages were with the latter, until for their own common safety the league of the Five Nations was formed. Strength. ened by this union, the fortunes of war began to turn in their favour - especially as they were soon afterward supplied with fire-arms by the Dutch, who were now engaged in colonizing the country of the Hudson river. By the aid of firearms the Mengwe were enabled for a time to contend both with the Lenelenoppes and their new enemies on the north — the French; but finding themselves at length severely pressed, they hit upon the stratagem by which their older enemy was caught with guile, and disarmed by reason of his own magnanimity. Among the Indians it is held to be cowardly for a warrior to sue for peace. Having taken up the hatchet, he must retain it, however weary of the contest, until his enemy is humbled, or peace restored by some fortuitous means other than a direct application for a truce by himself. It is not so, however, with their women, who frequently become mediators, else their wars would be interminable. They often throw themselves as it were between contending tribes, and plead for peace with great pathos and effect; for notwithstanding the common opinion to the contrary, there is no people on earth among whom woman exercises greater influence than she does upon the aboriginals of America. “Not a