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Beyond Penn's Treaty

Journal of a Journey

Page out of 37
Ninth month 14th, [1799].

After breakfast, pre-
pared to set off nine miles down the river to Corn-
planter's village

,[NOTE.--Genesinguhta, where the travelers met Halliday
and Joel Swayne, as described last week, was on the
Allegheny Reservation of the Seneca Indians, on the Allegheny
river, just above the line, in New York State. Cornplanter had a
village and private reservation of his own,--about 1300 acres,--
down the river, and below the line, in Warren county, Pennsyl-
vania. He called it Genesedaga. The town of Kinzua is now on
the opposite side of the river.] in order to attend the council be-
fore appointed, and nine of us embarked in a canoe
to wit: Indian John, Halftown, Halliday Jackson,
Joel Swayne, Joshua Sharples, Thomas Stewardson,
James Cooper, myself, and Hugh Hartshorn. Had a
pleasant sail down the river, and arrived at our des-
tined port a little before 11 o'clock, divers of the dis-
tant chiefs being collected before we came. Before
we sat in council, walked about, viewing some of the
Indian cottages and their dress, which would take
more time to describe than I am at this time dis-
posed to take. About an hour after we arrived, a
large horn, something like a French horn, was
blown, in order to collect the chiefs and others to
council; and in a short time they collected in a part
of Cornplanter's house or cabin, perhaps to the num-
ber of thirty or more. We all sat down in stillness a
short space, when the old chief stood up (his son
Henry O'Beil interpreting), and addressed us in sub-
stance as follows:

Ninth month 14th, [1799].

Brothers, I am glad the good Spirit has favored
you all with health in your long journey to come and
see us and take us by the hand, so that we may
brighten the chain of friendship; and now some of
us are collected, we should be glad to hear what you
have to say to us.

We then informed them that we had taken a long
journey to see our young men who were settled
among our Indian brothers, and that we had not
much that we knew of to say to the Indians; only to
know from themselves how they liked our young
men being amongst them, and whether they thought
they were likely to be useful to them or not. We
then had our certificate read and interpreted to them,
with which they expressed satisfaction; and we hav-
ing agreed upon a short piece of advice or queries to
lay before them, which we had in writing, it was read
by paragraphs and interpreted to them as follows:

Ninth month 14th, [1799].

"Brothers, you have now heard that our coming
here was to see how you and our young men who
live amongst you are getting along. We are glad the
Good Spirit has favored us to meet you in health, and
given us this opportunity of taking you by the hand
and brightening the chain of friendship. Now broth-
ers, we should like to hear from your own mouths if
you are quite satisfied with our young men living
amongst you. They came here with a hope of being
useful, by instructing you in a better way of manag-
ing your land and providing for yourselves and your
cattle. We desire you to speak freely brothers. It
has been some satisfaction to us in riding through
your town to see marks of industry taking place; that
you are building better and warmer houses to live in;
and that so much of your cleared land is planted with
corn, potatoes, beans, squashes, cucumbers, etc., and
to see these articles kept in good order. Brothers, we
observe where your new houses are building, that the
timber is very much cut off a rich flat which we wish
you encouraged to clear and make it fit for plowing.
We believe it to be very good land for wheat, as well
as corn, and as the white people are settling around
you, the deer and other wild game will grow scarce
and more difficult to be taken. We therefore hope
that more of your men will assist in clearing land,
fencing it, planting it with corn, and sowing it with
wheat. You will then have a supply of provision
more certain to depend upon than hunting. Broth-
ers, we were pleased to see your stock of cattle in-
creased; the rich bottoms on the river will be plenty
for them to live on in the summer season, but as your
winters are long and cold, it will require something
for them to live on in the winter. Now the white
people keep their cattle on hay, on straw and on
corn-fodder. Straw you cannot get until you raise
wheat or other grain; the rich bottoms, if they were
put in order, would produce a great deal of hay; but
for an immediate supply, we think, if as soon as you
gather your corn you would cut the stalks close at
the ground, bind them up in small bundles, and put
them in stack, as our young men do, they would keep
the cattle part of the cold weather. Brothers, we
are glad to see a quantity of new fence made this
summer, near where our young men live, and we
would not have you get discouraged at the labor it
takes; for if you will clear a little more land every
year and fence it, you will soon get enough to raise
what bread you want, as well as some for grass to
make hay for winter. Brothers, we understand you
are desirous to discourage whiskey from being
brought amongst you, with which we are much
pleased, and should be glad you could entirely keep
it away; for to get it, you give your money which
you should have to buy clothes with, and to buy
oxen and plows with to work your land; and it does
not do you any good."

After which a solemn silence took place, in which
I thought I felt love to flow to the poor natives,
accompanied by a strong desire that they might be
prevailed upon to wholly decline the drinking of
distilled spirits; for truly I think until some reforma-
tion in that respect takes place amongst them, the
solid ground on which we can expect their profit-
able civilization is small; and though I felt as I did,
it seemed discouraging to offer anything to them on
the occasion, considering my own inability and the
imperfect interpreter we had--being one who hath a
strong inclination to the evil habit himself. So I had
liked to have omitted saying anything, until my friend
Joshua Sharples

, whispered to me and told me if I
had anything to say to them not to omit it. I then
addressed them in substance as follows:

Ninth month 14th, [1799].

Brothers, your brothers, the Quakers, who have
come a long way to see you, believe that the Great
Spirit made both white men and red men, and placed
them on this great island, gave them many good
things to live upon such as grain, flesh, fruit, etc., and