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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 thepe 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 platie 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 Essay?.
A gentleman, who had been much among the Indians, told me an anecdote which is somewhat similar. "A Missionary had been relating to an assembly of Indians many of the miracles contained in the Old Testament, and among others that of Jonah and the Whale. With a great deal of difficulty he prevailed on the Indians to say they believed it; but going on from wonder to wonder, he read to them the account of Noah's going into the Ark with a pair of all the animals on the face of the earth, savage as well as tame. Here one of the Chiefs interrupted him, saying, 'No, no, brother, we now do not believe the story of the Big fish, we now know that you tell .us lies.'"
Yet, notwithstanding this unpardonable want of faith, I am obliged to allow that the religion of these benighted Indians is simple and sublime. They believe in one Great Spirit, the creator and ruler of the Universe. But they worship him only in their hearts, erecting neither temples nor altars to him. Again they have no stated times or forms of prayer; but they address him, when they are in trouble, or when they are anxious about the success of any of their undertakings.
To show what their ideas upon religion are, I shall here insert a speech of the great chief Tecaughretanego to his adopted son, Colonel Smith, who was taken prisoner by the Indians in 1755, and who remained four years with them.* I must first of all mention, that together with the venerable old Chief, he was at one time very nearly starved to death, and was glad to make a meal upon some of the sinews remaining on old bones of foxes and wild cats. After describing this dreadful situation, he says: "I speedily finished mv allowance, such as it was, and when I had ended my repast, Tecaughretanego asked me how I felt? I told him that I was much refreshed. He then handed me his pipe and pouch, and desired me to take a smoke. I did so. He said that he had something of importance to tell me, if I were now composed and ready to hear it. I told him that I was ready to hear him. He said: "The reason I have deferred my speech till now, was because few men are in a right humour to hear good talk, when they are extremely hungry, as they are then generally fretful and discomposed; but as you appear now to enjoy calmness and serenity of mind, I will now communicate to you the thoughts of my heart, and those things I know to be true.
* Vide Indian Wars in the West, in which work, part of Colonel Smith's interesting pamphlet is published.
"Brother, as you have lived with the white people, you have not had the same advantage of knowing, that the Great Being above feeds his people, and gives them their meat in due season, as we Indians have, who are frequently out of provisions, and yet are wonderfully supplied; and that so frequently, that it is evidently the hand of the great Owaneeyo * that doth this: whereas the white
* This is the name of God in their tongue, and signifies the owner and ruler of all things.