Header img
Beyond Penn's Treaty

Sketch of the Manners, Customs, Religion and Government of the Seneca Indians in 1800

Page out of 32

An Account of the Seneca Indians

As the present seems to be an interesting crisis respecting the abori-
gines of our country, and particularly some of the southern tribes,
whose precarious situation has awakened the feeling, and excited the
sympathies of an enlightened public; and as memorials have been pre-
sented to congress, with a view of protecting this much injured race of
mankind in their rightful possessions, it may, perhaps, be a means of
increasing our sympathies for the Indian tribes, to bring into view the
situation of those more contiguous to our borders. For if the faith of
the United States is once broken, to favour the claim of any individual
state, and the solemn pledges, made by President Washington

, to pro-
tect the Indians in the possession of their land, are violated, to the ex-
pulsion of one nation or tribe, then the fate of the Indian is sealed. He
is no longer secure within the boundaries of this great republic. As
he becomes obnoxious to those of a fairer skin, and the little land he
posesses, like Naboth's vineyard, is convenient for his master's use, he
is then to be extirpated from the inheritance of his fathers, and dri-
ven from valley to mountain, and from mountain to hill, until his feeble
voice is scarcely heard even among the western wilds.

Although we hope better things of the legislators of our country, and
indulge a glimmering hope, that they will still continue their protection
to the aboriginal lords of the soil who kindly received and made room
for our forefathers when they first landed on their shores; and minis-
tered to their necessities, when they were strangers in a strange land;
yet, from the measures in operation by some of the southern and west-
ern states, with regard to the Indian tribes within their limits, we can-
not but entertain fears for their safety. It is therefore desirable, at
least, to retain a history of those sons of the forest, who have made
some progress in the civilized arts, and with a view of developing their
native character, as well as their progress in civilization, the writer of
this article designs to offer, through the medium of the Friend, or Ad-
vocate of Truth, some account of the Seneca Nation

, whose situation,
perhaps, above all others, would entitle them to the strongest claims of
protection from the general government.

At a treaty held at Canandaigua

, under the authority of the United
States, with the Six Nations, dated the eleventh of November, 1794,
after describing the boundaries of the lands belonging to the Seneca
, the treaty further states- Now the United States acknowledge