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and famous warriors are gone to a certain place of torture, because they did not believe in a religion they never heard of.
Even if the Missionaries ever do make converts, which but seldom happens, they inflict a curse upon the Indian and not a blessing, by destroying his high sense of honour, his great motive for practising virtue.
The Indians are an uncommonly intelligent and shrewd people; but although they will readily give their assent to all good arguments upon morality, yet I regret to say, that they are very sceptical with regard to accounts of miracles, wonders, mysteries, &c. The generality of the Missionaries plunge at once “in medias res,” without attempting to explain the historical evidences of our holy religion, of which evidences indeed I very much doubt whether they themselves know any thing. Hence the Indians naturally refuse their belief to the very strange stories, which are related to them out of the Bible.
Dr. Franklin * tells us of the remark of an Indian Chief, when a Missionary had been explaining to him, how Adam and Eve, by eating the apple in Paradise, occasioned the eternal damnation of all their posterity.—The Chief got up, and replied, with the utmost gravity, “ that it was certainly a very bad thing to eat apples, as it was much better to make them into cider.”
Vide Franklin's Essays.
A gentleman, who had been much among the Indians, told me an anecdote which is somewhat similar. “A Missionary had been relating to an assembly of Indians many of the miracles contained in the Old Testament, and among others that of Jonah and the Whale. With a great deal of difficulty he prevailed on the Indians to say they believed it; but going on from wonder to wonder, he read to them the account of Noah's going into the Ark with a pair of all the animals on the face of the earth, savage as well as tame. Here one of the Chiefs interrupted him, saying, “No, no, brother, we now do not believe the story of the Big fish, we now know that
tell us lies.” Yet, notwithstanding this unpardonable want of faith, I am obliged to allow that the religion of these benighted Indians is simple and sublime. They believe in one Great Spirit, the creator and ruler of the Universe. But they worship him only, in their hearts, erecting neither temples nor altars to him. Again they have no stated times or forms of
prayer; but they address him, when they are in trouble, or when they are anxious about the success of any of their undertakings.
To show what their ideas upon religion are, I shall here insert a speech of the great chief Tecaughretanego to his adopted son, Colonel Smith, who was taken prisoner by the Indians in 1755, and who remained four years with them.* I must
* Vide Indian Wars in the West, in which work, part of Colonel Smith's interesting pamphlet is published.
first of all mention, that together with the veherable old Chief, he was at one time very nearly starved to death, and was glad to make a meal upon soine of the sinews remaining on old bones of foxes and wild cats. After describing this dreadful situation, he says:
“I speedily finished my allowance, such as it was, and when I had ended my repast, Tecaughretanego asked me how I felt? . told him that I was much refreshed. He then handed me his pipe and pouch, and desired me to take a smoke. I did so. He said that he had some thing of importance to tell me, if I were now composed and ready to hear it. I told him that I was ready to hear him. He said: “The reason I harc deferred my speech till now, was because few men are in a right humour to hear good talk, when they are extremely hungry, as they are then generally fretful and discomposed; but as you appear how to enjoy calmness and serenity of mind, I will now communicate to you the thoughts of my heart, and those things I know to be true.
“ Brother, as you have lived with the white people, you have not had the same advantage of knowing, that the Great Being above feeds his people, and gives them their meat in due season, as we Indians have, who are frequently out of provisions, and yet are wonderfully supplied, and that so frequently, that it is evidently the hand of the great Owaneeyo * that doth this: whereas the white
* This is the name of God in their tongue, and signifies the owner and ruler of all things.
people have commonly large stocks of tame cattle, that they can kill when they please, and also their barns and cribs filled with grain. They have not therefore the same opportunity of seeing and knowing, that they are supported by the ruler of Heaven and earth.
“ Brother, I know that you are now afraid that we shall all perish with hunger ; but you have no just reason to fear this.
“ Brother, I have been young, but am now old. I have been frequently under the like circumstances that we are now, and that, some time or other, in almost every year of my life; yet I have hitherto been supported, and my wants supplied in time of heed.
“ Brother, Owaneeyo sometimes suffers us to be in want, in order to teach us our dependance upon him, and to let us know that we are to love and serve him ; aud likewise to know the worth of the favour tliat we receive, and to make us more thankful.
“ Brother, be assured that you will be supplied with food, and that just in the right time; but you must continue diligent in the use of means ; go to sleep, and rise early in the morning, and go a hunting; be strong and cxert yourself like a man, and the Great Spirit will direct your way.”
Now the Missionaries could hardly affirm that such beautiful sentiments on religion were inspired by the Devil.
THE ST. LAWRENCE-MONTREAL-LAKE CHAMPLAIN.
I RETURNED from Buffalo to the Falls of Niagara, and in a day or two set off for the little town of the same name (formerly called Newark), situated at the point where the Niagara river enters Lake Ontario. It was the first place that was set on fire by the Americans at the commencement of the last war, with the exception indeed of some large mills that they had already destroyed, above the Falls, and opposite Black Rock. Yet they might have known that this act of cruelty, which as far as I could learn was perfectly uncalled for, was not likely to further the conquest of the Canadas. Like the burning of Washington, it only tended to unite the people at large, against an enemy who could be guilty of such a crime. Besides, all civilized nations of the present age, recognize it as an axiom, that war is not carried on against individuals, and that consequently the property of individuals ought to be respected. I am glad, however, to be able to state, that Newark has risen from its ashes with increased vigour, and that, although a small town, it is at present in a very flourishing condition.
My reader will perhaps scarcely believe, that while the State of New York is expending millions of dollars on its great canal, the Canadians have so