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ligion, or to take it from you. We only want to enjoy our own.
“ Brother, we are told you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbours. We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while, and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest, and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again of what you have said.
“ Brother, you have now heard our answer to your talk, and this is all we have to say at present. As we are going to part, we will come and take you by the hand, and hope the Great Spirit will protect you on your journey, and return you safe to your friends.” .
“ As the Indians began to approach the Missionary, he rose hastily from his seat, and replied that he could not take them by the hand; that there was no fellowship between the religion of God and the works of the devil. This being interpreted to the Indians, they smiled, and retired in a peaceable manner. It being afterwards suggested to the Missionary, that his reply to the Indians was rather indiscreet, he observed, that he supposed the ceremony of shaking hands, would be received by them as a token that he assented to what they had said. Being otherwise informed, he said he was sorry for the expressions.”
. “ In May 1811, a second Council was held at the same place, when Red Jacket delivered the following Speech in answer to one made by the Rev. Mr. Alexander, a missionary from the Missionary Society in New York.”
“ Brother, we listened to the talk' you delivered to us from the Council of the Black Coats * in New York. We have fully considered your talk, and the offers you have made us. We perfectly understand them, and we return an answer, which we wish you also to understand. In making up our minds, we have looked back, and remembered what was done in our days, and what our fathers have told us was done in old times. - 6 Brother, great numbers of Black coats' have been among the Indians, and with sweet voices and smiling faces, have offered to teach them the religion of the white people. Our brethren in the East listened to the Black coats, turned from the religion of their fathers, and took up the religion of the white people. What good has it done them? Are they more happy, and more friendly one to another, than we are? No, brother! they are a divided people; we are united, they quarrel about religion; we live in love and friendship,--they drink strong water—have learned to cheat—and to practise all the vices of white men, which disgrace Indians, without imitating the virtues of the white
* The appellation given to the Clergymen by the Indians. " men. Brother, if you be our well-wisher, keep away, and do not disturb us.
“ Brother, we do not worship the Great Spirit as the white men do; but we believe that forms of worship are indifferent to the Great Spirit. It is the offering of a sincere heart that pleases him, and we worship him in this manner. According to your religion, we must believe in a Father and a Son, or we shall not be happy hereafter. We have always believed in a Father, and we worship him as we were taught by our fathers.---Your book says, that the Son was sent on earth by the Father. Did all the people who saw the Son believe in him? No! they did not, and the consequences must be known to you, if you have read the book.
“ Brother, you wish us to change our religion for yours. We like our religion, and do not want another. Our friends” (pointing to Mr. Granger, Mr. Parish, and Mr. Taylor) “ do us great good. They counsel us in our troubles, and instruct us how to make ourselves comfortable. Our friends the Quakers do more than this, they give us ploughs, and show us how to use them. They tell us we are accountable beings, but do not say we must change our religion. We are satisfied with what they do.
“ Brother, for these reasons we cannot receive your offers. We have other things to do, and beg you to make your mind easy, and not to trouble
us, lest our heads should be too much loaded, and by and by burst.”
In spite of all these arguments, the Missionaries still continue to intrude upon the tribe of Red Jacket. So much has he been vexed at this, that a short time before I saw him, he made a journey to Washington in order to complain of their conduct, and to request that they might be hindered from going among his people.
To confess the truth, nothing can be more irrational than the method pursued by the Missionaries. They should first of all have taught the Indians the most necessary arts, and have shown. them the advantages of civilization. When the Indians had sufficiently abandoned their wild mode of life, the Missionaries might then have proceeded to give them a learned education, so that by dint of study they might be enabled to form a candid and accurate estimate of the historical and other Evidences of Christianity. But instead of acting according to this rational plan, the Missionary Societies have sent among the Indians a set of well meaning persons 'religiously mad. These men preach to the noble-minded sensible chiefs, about grace, and election, and predestination, and regeneration, &c. &c. words which convey rather confused ideas. Moreover the Missionaries disgust their auditors by telling them that all their fathers
and famous warriors are gone to a certain place of torture, because they did not believe in a religion they never heard of.
Even if the Missionaries ever do make converts, which but seldom happens, they inflict a curse upon the Indian and not a blessing, by destroying his high sense of honour, his great motive for practising virtue.
The Indians are an uncommonly intelligent and shrewd people; but although they will readily give their assent to all good arguments upon morality, yet I regret to say, that they are very sceptical with regard to accounts of miracles, wonders, mysteries, &c. The generality of the Missionaries plunge at once “in medias res,” without attempting to explain the historical evidences of our holy religion, of which evidences indeed I very much doubt whether they themselves know any thing. Hence the Indians naturally refuse their belief to the very strange stories, which are related to them out of the Bible.
Dr. Franklin * tells us of the remark of an Indian Chief, when a Missionary had been explaining to him, how Adam and Eve, by eating the apple in Paradise, occasioned the eternal damnation of all their posterity.--The Chief got up, and replied, with the utmost gravity, “ that it was certainly a very bad thing to eat apples, as it was much better to make them into cider.”
* Vide Franklin's Essays.