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but when they came back to us, they were bad run- ners; ignorant of every means of living in the woods ; unable to bear either cold or hunger; knew neither how to build a cabin, take a deer, or kill an enemy ; speak our language imperfectly; were therefore neither fit for hunters, warrior's or counsellors ; they were totally good for nothing. We are however noi the less oblig. ed by your kind offer, though we decline accepting it : aod to show our grateful sense of it, if the gentlemen of Virginia will send us a dozen of their sous, we will take great care of their education, instruct them in all we know, and makt MEN of them.''
Having frequent occasions to hold public councils, they have acquired great order and decency in conducting the li. The oldest men sit in the foremost ranks, the warriors in the next, and the women and children in the hindmost. The business of the women is to take exact notice of what passes, imprint it in their me. mories, for they have no writing, and communicate it · to their children. They are the records of the council and they preserve tradition of the stipulations in tieaties a hundreci years back ; which whep we compare with our writings, we always find exact. He that would speak rises. The rest observe a profound silence.. When he has finished, and sits down, they leave him five or six minutes to recollect, that, if he has omited any thing he intended to say, or has any thi:g to add may rise again and dcliver it. To interrupt another, even in common conversation, is reckoned highly indecent. How different thss is from the conduct of a polite British House of Commons, where scarce a day passes without some confusion, that makes the speaker hoarse in calling to order ; and how different from the modes of conversation in many polite companies of Europe, .where, if you do not deliver your sentence with great rapidity, you are cut off in the middle of it by the impatient loquacity of those you converse with, and never suffered to finish it!
The politeness of these savages in conversation, is indeed, carried to excess ; since it does not permit
them to contradict or deny the truth of what is assert ed in their presence By this means they indeed avoid disputes; but then it becomes difficult io know their minds, or what impression you make upon them.The missionaries who have attempted to convert them to Christianity, all complain of this as one of the great difficulties of their mission. The Indians hear with patience the truths of the gospel explained to them, and give their usual tokens of assent and approbation; you would think they were convinced. No such mat-, ter. It is mere civility.
A Swedish minister having assembled the chiefs of the Susquehannah Indians, made a sermon to them, acquainting them with the principal bistorical facts on which our religion is founded ; such as the fall of our first parents by eating an apple ; the coming of Christ to repair the mischief; his miracles and suffering, &c. When he had finished, an Indian orator stood up to thank him. " What you have told us,” says he, "is all very good. It is indeed bad to eat apples. It is better to make them all into cyder. \Ve are much obliged by your kindness in coming so far to tell us those things which you have heard froin your mothers. In return, I will tell you some of those we have heard from ours.
" In the beginning, our fathers had only the flesh of animals to subsist on; and if their hunting was unsuccessful, they were starving. Two of our young hun. ters having killed a deer, made a fire in the woods to broil some parts of it. When they were about to sau tisfy their hunger, they beheld a beautiful young woman descend from the clouds, and seat herself on that hill which you see yonder among the Blue Mountains. They said to each other, it is a spirit that perhaps has smelt our broiling venison, and wishes to eat of it : les us offer some to her. They presented her , with the tongue: she was pleased with the taste of it, and said, your kindness shall be rewarded. Come to this place after thirteen moons, and you shall find something that will be of great benefit in nourishing you and your
chiklren to the latest generations. They did so, & to their surprise, found plants they had never seen before ; but which, from that ancient time, have been constantly cultivated-among us, to our great advantage. Where her right hand had touched the ground, they found maize ; where her left hand had touched it they found kidney.-beans, and where her back side had sat on it tobacco. The good missionary, disgusted with this idle tale, said, 6 What I delivered to you were sacred truths; but what you tell me is mere fable, fiction, and falsehood." The Indian, offended, replied, “ My Brother, it seems your friends have not done you justice in your education; they have not wohl instructed you in the rules of common civiliiy. You saw that we, who understand aid practise those rules, believed all your stories; why do you refuse to believe ours?"
When any of them come into our towns, our people are apt to crowd round them, gaze upon them, and incommode them where they desire to be private ; this they esteem great rudeness, and the effect of the want of instruction in the rules of civility and good manners. “ We have,” say they, “ as much curiosity as you, and when you come into our towns, we wish for opportuni, ties of looking at you; but for this purpose we hide ourselves behind bushes where you are to pass, and never intrude ourselves into your company."
Their manner of entering one another's villages has likewise its rules. It is reckoned uncivil in travelling strangers to enter a village abruptly, without giving notice of their approach. Therefore, as soon as they arrive within hearing, they stop and hollow, remaining there till invited to enter. Two old men usually come out to them, and lead them in. There is in every village a vacant dwelling, called the stranger's house. Here they are placed, while the old men go round from hut to hut, acquainting' the inhabitants that strangers are arrived, who are probably hungry and weary; and every one sends them what he can spare of victuals and skins to repose on. When the strangers are refreshedy
pipes and tobacco are brought ; and then, but not before, conversation begins, with enquiries who they are, whither bound, what news, &c. and it usually ends with offers of service ; if the strargers have occasion of guides, or any necessaries for continuing their journey ; and nothing exacted for the entertainment.
The same hospitality, esteemed among them as a principal virtue, is practised by private persons; of which Conrad Weiser, our interpreter, gave me the folJowing instance. He had been naturalized among the Six Nations, and spoke well the Mohock language.In going through the Indian country, to carry a meg. sage from our governor to the council.at Onondaga, he called at the habitation of Cunassetrgo, an old acquaintance, who embraced him, spread furs for him to sit oil, placed before him some boiled beans and venison), and mixed some rum and water for his drink. When he was well rtfieshed, and had his pipe, Canassettgo began to converse with him: asked how he had fared the many years since they had seen each other, whence he then came, what occasioned the journey, &c. Conrad answered all his questions; and hen the discourse bxan to flag. the Lucian, lo constirue it, said, “ Conrad: you liave lived long among the white people, and krow something of the customs; I have been sometimes at Albany, and have observed, that once in seven days they shut up their shops, and assen ble all in the great house ; tell me what it is for? What do they do there?” “They meet there." says Conrad, "10 hear and learn good things.” “I do not doubi," says thic Indiais, that they tell you so ;, they have told me the same: but I doubt the truth of what thic y say, and I will tell you my l'easons. I went lately io Albany, to ! Tskirs, and buy blaulets, kuives, powder, run, &c. You know I used generally to deal with Hans Hanson. Whili vas a iilile inclined this time to try sont other merchanis. However, I called first upon Haus, and asked him what he sculd give for beaver.com He said he could not give more than four slullings a
pound; but says he, I cannot talk on business now; this is the day when we meet together to learn good things, and I am going lo the meeting. So I thought to myself, since I cannot do iny business to day, I may as well go to the meeting too, and I went with him. There stood up a man in black, and began to talk to the people very angrily, I did not understand what he said ; but perceiving inui he looked much at me, and at Hanson, I imagined be was angry at seeing me there ; so I went out, sat down near the house, struck fire, and lit iny pipe, waiting till the meeting should break up. I thought too that the man had mentioned something of beaver, and I suspected it might be the subject of their meeting. So when they came out I accosted iy merchant. Well Hans,' says l, 'I hope you have agreed to give more than four shillings a pound.' No," says he,' I cannot give more than three shilling and six pence.' I then spoke to several other dealers, but they all sung the same song, three and six pence, three and six peuce. This made it clear to me that my suspicion was right; and that whatever they pretended of meeting to learn good things, the purpose was to consult how to cheat Indians in the price of beaver. Consider but a little, Conrad, and you must be of my opinion. If they met so often to learn good things, they would certainly have learned some before this tiine. But they are still ignorant. You kuow our practice. If a while man, in travelling through our country, enters one of our cabins, we all treat him as I do you; we dry him if he is wet, we warm him if he : is cold, and give him meat and drink, that he may ala lay his thirst and hunger; and we spread soft furs for him to rest on; we demand nothing in return.* But
* It is remarkable, chat in all ages and.countries hospitality has been allowed as the virtue of those, whom the civilized were pleased to call Barbarians; the Greeks. celebrated the Scythians for it. The Saracens possessed it eminently; and it is to this day the reigning virtue of the wild Arabs. St. Paul too, in the relation of his