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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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neous production of their country, suitable for the support of human
life, and lay up against times of scarcity, which sometimes occur, and
more frequently in the fore part of summer. For though many of them
raise a competence of corn, to serve, with frugality, the year round, yet
others fall short - using their supply so liberally, it is exhausted before
the new corn is fit for use; still trusting to the hazard of procuring food
from their native forests.

When an Indian entered the house of his friend, it was common to
set before him such provisions as were cooked, and if while he was
eating, several of his associates came in, he divided it in equal parts
amongst them; reserving his own proportion. When he is about to
leave his friend, he tells him he is going, which amounts to farewell;
but if any circumstance takes place which has given umbrage, he with-
draws, and says nothing. This is clear evidence that he is offended.

They appear to be naturally as well calculated for social and rational
enjoyment, as any people. --They frequently visit each other in their
houses, and spend much of their time in friendly intercourse.

They are also mild and hospitable, not only among themselves, but
to strangers, and good natured in the extreme, except when their na-
ture are perverted by the inflammatory influence of spirituous liquors.
In their social interviews, as well as public council, they are careful
not to interrupt one another in conversation, and generally make short
speeches. This truly laudable mark of good manners, enables them to
transact all their public business with decorum and regularity, and more
strongly impresses on their mind and memory, the result of their delibe-
rations. Probably it is from this circumstance that they are enabled,
without the aid of literature, to retain in their memory, and transmit
their transactions from one generation to another; thus one of their
chiefs, speaking in public council , will relate with precision, circum-
stances that have taken place among their ancestors for several gene-
rations past.

Although they appear to possess tender feelings for their children,
they inure them to hardships, while in an infant state, by frequently
immersing them in cold water. Being indulged in most of their wishes,
as they grow up, liberty, in its fullest extent, becomes their ruling pas-
sion. They are seldom chastened with blows, or treated with restraint
or correction. Their faults are mostly left for their own reason to cor-
rect when they are grown up - which faults, they say, cannot be very
great, before reason arrives at some degree of maturity. If, however,
they prove too obstinate, they sometimes plunge them in the river; and
if one dip is not sufficient to conquer or quiet them, it is repeated, till
the end is effected. As the child gets a little older, they will sometimes
talk to it a long while, endeavouring to impress on its mind what it