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1. IF Care were taken to plant and cultivate in them that general Benevolence to Mankind, which is the true first Principle of Virtue, it would effectually eradicate those horrid Vices, occasioned by their unbounded Revenge ; and then they would no longer deserve the Name of Barbarians, but would become a People, whose. Friendship might add Honour to the British Nation.
The Greeks and Romans, Sir, once as much Barbarians as our Indians now are, deified the Heroes that first taught them those Virtues, from whence the Grandeur of those renowned Nations wholly proceeded; a good Man, however, will feel more real Satisfaction and Pleasure, from the Sense of having any Way forwarded the Civilizing of a barbarous Nation, or of having multiplied the Number of good Men, than from the fondeft Hopes of such extravagant Honours,
These Considerations, I believe, will induce you, Sir, to think a History of the Five Nations not unworthy of your
Patronage ; and on these only it is that I presume to offer my best Endeavours in this, who am," with the greatest Respect,
Your most obedient,
and most bumble Servant,
P R E F A CE
To the FIRST PART:
HOUG H every one that is in the leaft ac
quainted with the Affairs of North-America,
texows of what Consequence the Indians, commonly known to the People of New-York by 'the Name of the Five Nations, are, both in Peace and War; I know of no Accounts of them, published in English, but what are very imperfect, and indeed meer Translations of French Authors, who themselves know little of the Truth. This seems to throw fome Reflections on the-Inhabitants of our Province, as if we wanted Curiosity to enquire into our own-Affairs, and were willing to reft fatisfied with the Accounts the French give us of our own Indians, notwithstanding that the French in Canada are always in a different Intereft, and sometimes in: open Hoftility This Confideration, I hope,
will justify my attempting to write an History of the Five Nations at this Time ; and having had the Perufal of the Minutes of the Commissioners for Indian Affairs, I have been enabled to collect many Materials for this Hiftory, which are not to be found any where else.; and cannot but think, that a History of this Kind will be of great Use to all the British Colonies in North-America, fince it may enable them to learn Experience at the Expence - of others : And if I can
Contribute any Thing to so good a Purpose, I shall not think my Labour loft.
It will be necessary for meshare to say fomething in Excufe of two Things in the following Performance, which, I am afraid, will naturally be found Pault with in it. The first is, the filling up so great Part of the Work with the Adventures of smalt Parties, and sometimes with those of one hingle Man: And the fecond is,' the inserting so many Speerbes at Length.
As to the first, the History of Indians would be very lame, without an Account of these private Adventures ; for their warlike Expeditions are almost always carried on by surprising each other, and their whole Art of War confifts in managing fmall Parties. The whole Country being one continued Foreft, gives great Advantages to these foulking Parties, and has obliged the Christians to imitate the Indians in this Method of making War among them. And fome would, doubtless, be desirous to know the Manners and Cafe toms of the Indians, in their publick Treaties especie ally, who could not be satisfied without taking Notice of several minute Circumstances, and Things otherwise of no Consequence. We are fond of searching into remote Antiquity, to know the Manners of our earlieft Progenitors; and, if I am not mistaken, the Indians are living Images of them. $ My Design, therefore, in the second was, that, thereby the Genius of the Indians might appear. An Historian may paint Mens Actions in lively: Colours, or in faint shades, as he likes beft, and in both Gafes preserve a perfect Likeness; but it will be a difficult Task to sew the Wit, Judgment, Art, Simplicity, and Ignorance of the several Partias, managing a Treaty, in other Words than their oron. As to my Part, I thought myself incapable of dring it, without depriving the judicious Observer of the Opportunity of discovering much of the Indian Genius, by my contracting or paraphrasing their Harangues, and without committing
ofoften grofs Mistakes. For, on these Occasions, a skilful Manager often talks confusedly, and obfcurely, with Design; which if an Historian should endeavour to amend, the Reader would receive the History in a falfe Light
The Reader will find a great Difference between Some of the Speeches here given of those made at Albany, i and these taken from the French Authors. Ours are genuine and truly related, as delivered by the sworn Interpreters, of whom Truth only is required; a rough Stile, with Truth, is preferable to Eloquence
without it. This may be said in Juftification of the Indian Expreffion, though I must own, that I sufpelt our Interpreters may not have done Justice to the Indian Eloquence. For the Indians having but few Words, and few complex Ideas, use many Metaphors in their Discourse, which interpreted by an unskilful Tongue, may appear mean, and Arike our Imagination
faintly; but under the Pen of a skilful Reprefenter, might Arongly move our Paffions by their lively Images. I have heard an old Indian Sachem, Speak with much Vivacity and Elocution, so that the Speaker: pleased and moved the Auditors with the Manner of delivering his Discourse; which however, as it after a wards.came from the Interpreter, disappointed us in our Expectations. After the Speaker had employed a confi. derable Time in baranguing with much Elocution, the
Interpreter often explained the whole by one fingle Sena tence. I believe the Speaker in that Time, embellish ed and adorned his Figures, that they might have their full Force on the Imagination, while the Interpreter contented himself with the Senfe, in as few Wordsi as it could be expressed.
He that firft writes the History of Things, which are not generally known, ought to avoid, as much as poffible, to make the Evidence of the Truth depend intirely on his own Veracity and fudgment; and for this Reason I have related several Transaktions in the