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War Talk-Cornplanter 1790

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  • War Talk-Cornplanter 1790

    Speech of Cornplanter
    The Speech of Cornplanter to President Washington, at Philadelphia in the year 1790.

    "Father: the voice of the Seneca nations speaks to you; the great counsellor, in whose heart the wise men of all the thirteen fires (13 U. S.) have placed their wisdom. It may be very small in your ears, and we, therefore, entreat you to hearken with attention; for we are able to speak of things which are to us very great.

    "When your army entered the country of the Six Nations, we called you the town destroyer; to this day, when this name is heard, our women look behind and turn pale, and our children cling close to the necks of their mothers.

    "When our chiefs returned from Fort Stanwix and laid before our council what had been done there, our nation was surprised to hear how great a country you had compelled them to give up to you, without your paying to us any thing for it every one said, that your hearts were yet
    [p. 281]
    swelled with resentment against us for what had happened during the war, but that one day you would consider it with more kindness. We asked each other, What have we done to deserve such severe chastisement?

    "Father: when you kindled your thirteen fires separately, the wise men assembled at them told us you were all brothers; the children of one great father, who regarded the red people as his children. They called us brothers, and invited us to his protection. They told us that he resided beyond the great water where the sun first rises; and that he was a king whose power no people could resist, and that his goodness was as bright as the sun. What they said went to our hearts, we accepted the invitation, and promised to obey him. What the Seneca nation promise, they faithfully perform. When you refused obedience to that king, he commanded us to assist his beloved men in making you sober. In obeying him we did no more than yourselves had led us to promise.

    "We were deceived; but your people teaching us to confide in that king, had helped to deceive us; and we now appeal to your heart. Is all the blame ours?

    "Father: when we saw that we had been deceived, and heard the invitation which you gave us to draw near to the fire you had kindled, and talk with you concerning peace, we made haste towards it: you told us you could crush us to nothing; and you demanded from us a great country, as the price of that peace which you had offered to us, as if our want of strength had destroyed our rights. Our chiefs had felt your power, and were unable to contend against you, and they therefore gave up that country. What they agreed has bound our nation, but your anger against us must by this time be cooled, and although our strength is not increased, nor your power become less, we ask you to consider calmly -- Were the terms dictated to us by your commissioners reasonable and just?"
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  • #2
    War Talk-Farmer's Brother 1798

    Speech of Farmer's Brother, a Seneca Chiefm in a Council at Genesee River, in 1798
    "Brothers, as you are once more assembled in council for the purpose of doing honor to yourselves and justice to your country, we, your brothers, the sachems, chiefs, and warriors of the Seneca nation, request you to open your ears and give attention to our voice and wish. You will recollect the late contest between you and your father, the great king of England. This contest threw the inhabitants of this whole island into a great tumult and commotion, like a raging whirlwind, which tears up the trees, and tosses to and fro the leaves, so that no one knows from whence they come, or where they will fall. This whirlwind was so directed by the Great Spirit above, as to throw into our arms two of your infant children, Jasper Parrish and Horatio Jones. We adopted them into our families, and made them our children. We loved them and nourished them. They lived with us many years; at length the Great Spirit spoke to the whirlwind, and it was still. A clear and an uninterrupted sky appeared. The path of peace was opened, and the chain of friendship was once more made bright. Then these our adopted children left us to seek their relations; we wished them to remain among us, and promised, if they would return and live in our country, to give each of them a seat of land for them and their children to sit down upon. They have returned, and have, for several years past, been serviceable as interpreters. We still feel our hearts beat with affection for them, and now wish to fulfill the promise we made them, and reward them for their services. We have, therefore, made up our minds to give them a seat of two square miles of land, lying on the outlets of Lake Erie, about three miles below Black Rock, beginning at the

    mouth of a creek known by the name of Scyguoydes creek, running one mile from the Niagara River up said creek, thence northerly as the river runs, two miles, to the place of beginning, so as to contain two square miles. We have now made known to you our minds. We expect and earnestly request that you will permit our friends to receive this our gift, and will make the same good to them, according to the laws and customs of your nation. Why should you hesitate to make our minds easy with regard to this our request. To you it is but a little thing; and have you not complied with the request and confirmed the gifts of our brothers the Oneidas, the Onandagas, and Cayugas, to their interpreters? and shall we ask and not be heard? We send you this our speech, to which we expect your answer before the breaking up of our Great Council fire."
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    • #3
      War Talk-Red Jacket

      Speech of Red Jacket
      The witch doctrine of the Senecas was much ridiculed by some of the Americans, to which Red Jacket thus aptly alludes in a speech which he made while on the stand giving evidence against a woman who was believed to be a witch, and who for that crime was put to death by the Indians themselves:

      "What! do you denounce us as fools and bigots, because we still continue to believe that which you yourselves sedulously inculcated two centuries ago? Your divines have thundered this doctrine from the pulpit, your judges have pronounced it from the bench, your courts of justice have sanctioned it with the formalities of law, and you would now punish our unfortunate brother (he that killed the woman) for adherence to the superstitions of his fathers! Go to Salem! Look at the records of your government, and you will find hundreds executed for the very crime which has called forth the sentence of condemnation upon this woman, and drawn down the arm of vengeance upon her. What have your brothers done more than the rulers of your people have done? and what crime has this man committed

      by executing, in a summary way, the laws of his country, and the injunctions of his God?"
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