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permit them to contradict or deny the truth of what is afferted in their prefence. By this means they indeed avoid difputes; but then it becomes - difficult to know their minds, or what impreffion you make upon them. The miffionaries who have attempted to convert them to Christianity, all complain of this as one of the great difficulties of their million. The Indians hear with patience the truths of the gofpel explained to them, and give their ufual tokens of aflent and approbation: you would think they were convinced. matter. It is mere civility.

No fuch

A Swedish minifter having affembled the chiefs of the Safquehannah Indians, made a fermon to them, acquainting them with the principal hiftorical facts on which our religion is founded; fuch as the fall of our first parents by eating an apple; the coming of Chrift to repair the mischief; his miracles and fuffering, &c.-When he had finished, an Indian orator ftood up to thank him. "What you have told us," fays he, "is all very "good. It is indeed bad to eat apples. It is "better to make them all into cyder. We are "much obliged by your kindness in coming fo "far, to tell us thofe things which you have "heard from your mothers. In return, I will "tell you fome of those we have heard from


In the beginning, our fathers had only the "flefh of animals to fubfift on; and if their "hunting was unfuccefsful, they were ftarving. "Two of our young hunters having killed a deer, "made a fire in the woods to broil fome parts of "it. When they were about to fatisfy their hunger, they beheld a beautiful young woman de"fcend from the clouds, and feat herself on that hill which you fee yonder among the Blue "Mountains. They faid to each other, it is a





"fpirit that perhaps has fmelt our broiling veni"fon, and wifhes to eat of it: let us offer fome to her. They prefented her with the tongue : "fhe was pleafed with the taste of it, and faid, "Your kindness fhall be rewarded. Come to "this place after thirteen moons, and you fhall "find fomething that will be of great benefit in "nourishing you and your children to the latest "generations. They did fo, and to their fur"prife, found plants they had never seen before; "but which, from that ancient time, have been "conftantly cultivated among us, to our great "advantage. Where her right hand had touched "the ground, they found maize; where her left "hand had touched it they found kidney-beans; "and where her backfide had fat on it, they "found tobacco." The good miffionary, difgufted with this idle tale, faid, "What I deliver"ed to you were facred truths; but what you "tell me is mere fable, fiction, and falsehood." The Indian, offended, replied, "My brother, it "feems your friends have not done you justice "in your education; they have not well inftruct"ed you in the rules of common civility. You "faw that we, who understand and practise those "rules, believed all your ftories, why do you "refufe to believe ours?"

When any of them come into our towns, our people are apt to crowd round them, gaze upon them, and incommode them where they defire to be private; this they efteem great rudeness, and the effect of the want of inftruction in the rules

of civility and good manners. "We have," fay they," as much curiofity as you, and when you "come into our towns, we wish for opportunities "of looking at you; but for this purpose we "hide ourselves behind bushes where you are to $ 2 pafs,


"pafs, and never intrude ourselves into your "company."

Their manner of entering one another's villages has likewife its rules. It is reckoned uncivil in travelling ftrangers to enter a village abruptly, without giving notice of their approach. Therefore, as foon as they arrive within hearing, they ftop and hollow, remaining there till invited to enter. Two old men usually come out to them, and lead them in. There is in every village a vacant dwelling, called the ftranger's houfe. Here they are placed, while the old men go round from hut to hut, acquainting the inhabitants that ftrangers are arrived, who are probably hungry and weary; and every one fends them what he can fpare of victuals, and skins to repofe on. When the ftrangers are refreshed, pipes and tobacco are brought; and then, but not before, converfation begins, with enquiries who they are, whither bound, what news, &c. and it usually ends with offers of fervice; if the strangers have occafion of guides, or any neceffaries for continuing their journey; and nothing is exacted for

the entertainment.

The fame hofpitality, efteemed among them as a principal virtue, is practifed by private perfons; of which Conrad Weifer, our interpreter, gave me the following inftance. He had been naturalized among the Six Nations, and spoke well the Mohuck language. In going through the Indian country, to carry a meffage from our govenor to the council at Onondaga, he called at the habitation of Ganaffetego, an old acquaintance, who embraced him, fpread furs for him to fit on, placed before him fome boiled beans and venifon, and mixed fome rum and water for his drink. When he was well refreshed, and had lit his pipe, Canaffetego began to converfe with him: asked



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how he had fared the many years fince they had feen each other, whence he then came, what occafioned the journey, &c. Conrad answered all his questions; and when the difcourfe began to flag, the Indian, to continue it, faid, "Conrad, you have lived long among the white people, "and know fomething of their cuftoms; I have "been sometimes at Albany, and have obferved, "that once in feven days they fhut up their "fhops, and affemble all in the great houfe; tell "me what it is for? What do they do there?" They meet there," fays Conrad, "to hear and "learn good things. "I do not doubt," fays the Indian," that they tell you fo; they have told "me the fame: but I doubt the truth of what "they fay, and I will tell you my reafons. I "went lately to Albany to fell my skins and buy "blankets, knives, powder, rum, &c. You "know I used generally to deal with Hans Han"fon; but I was a little inclined this time to try "fome other merchants. However, I called first 66 upon Hans, and afked him what he would give for beayer, He faid he could not give "more than four fhillings a pound: but, fays he, "I cannot talk on bufinefs now; this is the day "when we meet together to learn good things, and "I am going to the meeting. So I thought to "myself, fince I cannot do any business to-day, "I may as well go to the meeting too, and I went "with him. There ftood up a man in black, "and began to talk to the people very angrily. "I did not understand what he faid; but per"ceiving that he looked much at me, and at "Hanfon, I imagined he was angry at feeing me "there; fo I went out, fat down near the house, "ftruck fire, and lit my pipe, waiting till the "meeting should break up. I thought too that "the man had mentioned fomething of beaver,




" and I fufpected it might be the subject of their "meeting. So when they came out I accofted 66 my merchant. Well, Hans, fays I, I hope you have agreed to give more than four fhil"lings a pound." "No," fays he, "I cannot "give fo much, I cannot give more than three "fhillings and fixpence." I then spoke to seve"ral other dealers, but they all fung the fame “song, three and fixpence, three and fixpence. "This made it clear to me that my fufpicion "was right; and that whatever they pretended "of meeting to learn good things, the real pur"pofe was to confult how to cheat Indians in the price of beaver. Confider but a little, Conrad, "and you must be of my opinion. If they meet "fo often to learn good things, they would cer"tainly have learned fome before this time. "But they are ftill ignorant. You know our "practice. If a white man, in travelling through "our country, enters one of our cabins, we all "treat him as I do you; we dry him if he is "wet, we warm him if he is cold, and give him "meat and drink, that he may allay his thirst "and hunger; and we fpread foft furs for him "to reft and fleep on: we demand nothing in "return". But if I go into a white man's house "at Albany, and afk for victuals and drink, "they fay, Where is your money; and if I have


*It is remarkable, that in all ages and countries, hofpitality has been allowed as the virtue of those, whom the civilized were pleased to call Barbarians; the Greeks celebrated the Scythians for it. The Saracens poffeffed it eminently; and it is to this day the reigning virtue of the wild Arabs. St. Paul too, in the relation of his voyage and fhipwreck, on the island of Melita, fays, "The barbarous people fhewed


us no little kindness; for they kindled a fire, and received "us every one, because of the present rain, and because of "the cold." This note is taken from a fmall collection of Franklin's papers, printed for Dilly.



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