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Beyond Penn's Treaty

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

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The Second Speech of Cornplanter

, Half-town, and Big Tree.

Father, Your speech, written on the great paper, is to us like the
first light of the morning to a sick man, whose pulse beats too strongly
in his temples - he sees it, and rejoices, but is not cured.

You have spoken plainly on the great point, that you will protect
us in the land secured to us at Fort Stanwix

, and that we have a right
to sell, or refuse to sell-this is very good. But our nation complain
that you compelled us at that treaty to give up too much of our lands
- we confess that our nation is bound by what was there done, and
acknowledge your power - we have now appealed to yourselves against
that treaty, as made while you were too angry at us - and, therefore,
unreasonable and unjust - to this you have given us no answer.

Father, That treaty was not with a single state - it was the thir-
teen states. We should never have given all that land to one state -
we know that it was before you had the great authority - and as you
have more wisdom than the commissioners who forced us into that treaty,
we expect you have more regard to justice, and will now, at our re-
quest, reconsider the treaty, and restore to us part of that land.

Father, The land which lies between the line running south from
Lake Erie to the boundary of Pennsylvania, as mentioned in the treaty
of Fort Stanwix

, and the eastern boundary of that land which you sold
and the Senecas confirmed to Pennsylvania, is the land on which Half-
and all his people live, with other chiefs, who always were, and
still are, dissatisfied with the treaty of Fort Stanwix. They grew out
of this land, and their fathers grew out of it, and they cannot be per-
suaded to part with it. We therefore entreat you to restore us this
little piece.

Father, Look at the land which we gave to you at that treaty, and
then cast your eyes upon what we now ask you to restore us, and you
will see that what we now ask is a very little piece. By giving it back
again you will satisfy the whole of our nation. The chiefs who signed
that treaty will be in safety - and peace between your children and
our children will continue so long as your land shall continue to join

Every man in our nation will then turn his eyes away from all the
other land that we then gave up to you, and forget that our fathers
ever said that it belonged to them.

Father, We see that you ought to have the path at the carrying-
place from Lake Erie to Niagara, as it was marked down at Fort Stan-

, and we are willing it should remain to be yours. And if you de-
sire to reserve a passage through the Conewango, and through the