From the Western Recorder
Mr. Hastings. I present you, in this communication, among other things, the copy of the Indian's speech from the principal chief of the Stockbridge nation, located near Green-Bay, addressed to myself and two or three others, who had spent several months at that place, but were then about to leave for New York. If you think it would do good, please do give it a place in the Recorder.
A brief account, also, of the settlement of Indians, perhaps, would not be uninteresting. In 1818, a band of about forty in member of these Indians, living in New Stockbridge, were fitted out to go to White River, in Indiana, for the purpose of settling in that place, and thus open the way for the removal of the remainder of the tribe. Seven or eight of the member were profoundly pious; and before leaving, they were organized into a church. The chief, being pious, constituted a kind of leader or deacon. As he could read and speak the English language, he was furnished with some valuable books, particularly Scott's Family Bible. He was also directed to convene his church and people on the Sabbath, and have religious service. This consisted in singing, prayer, and reading one chapter in the forenoon, and one in the afternoon, from Scott's Bible, with the notes and observations. This I believe was their constant practice. But ere they arrived at their place of destination, their lands which were owned in common with the Delawares and Munsees, were purchased by the United States commissioners, of the Delaware alone. This was to them a sore disappointment. After remaining in an unsettled state that three or four years, and making repeated though unsuccessful applications to the general government, for the restoration of their country, or a part of it, they removed to their present place of residence. This they call Satesburgh. It is situated on Fox River, twenty miles above Green-Bay. Others have since removed from New-Stockbridge; making in all in this settlement, between two and three hundred. They have here four or five hundred acres of land, cleared, fenced, ' in a good state of cultivation. Most of them have comfortable log-houses, raise good crops of corn, potatoes, 'c. and are beginning to raise English grain. They have also plenty of cattle, 'c. They have just begun to build framed barns, have a saw-mill, and are now erecting a grist-mill. The soil here is fertile; the climate mild and pleasant, and as healthy as in any part of the United States. Could the Indians be permitted to enjoy this country, undisturbed, and uncorrupted by the whites, they would soon become an industrious, intelligent, virtuous and happy people.
The speech I send you, was delivered at a religious meeting on Sabbath evening. The meeting was unusually solemn and interesting. It was the last I expected to attend before leaving them. After speaking some time in his own tongue to his people, in a very affecting and appropriate manner, he addressed in English those of us who were about to take our departure. While speaking of the wretched and perishing Indians around them, he was so affected, as frequently to pause, to suppress his feelings before he could proceed.
'MY FRIENDS, You who are about to leave us, I have a word to say to you. When you come here were were glad, we felt rejoiced; and now you are going away, we feel sorry. We think we have benefited by you. We have been in the wilderness a long time; some of us 10 years; some six years, some less. We were like sheep without a shepherd, scattered in the wilderness, without a leader, or anyone to go before us.
'About a hundred years ago, the white men, and our forefathers in New England, formed a chain of friendship; it has been kept good ever since; it has never been broken; has always been kept bright. Eighty-three years ago, they formed another kind of friendship; this was spiritual friendship. The good people from England sent us God's word- the Bible- that holy book, when we lived in Old-Stockbridge, Massachusetts; and when we left there, and come to New-Stockbridge, New York, this friendship continued. They sent us a teacher, a spiritual father, to guide us and to tell us what to do. Here we enjoyed great many privileges- great many blessings; but we did not care about them; we made light of them: we despised them. But when we come away here, and God take all these from us, then we begin to think, we think about what we had lost; and then we begin to try again. Sometimes I did not know what we should do. I thought this church would become extinct. I thought it would die. I remember when we lived in New-Stockbridge, Dr. Backus, president of Hamilton College, come there: He preached to us: We were broken- in a poor state. I then thought we should be scattered and die: But he said this church must not become extinct; it must not die; it could not die. He said it would live. I could not believe it. I do not trust God enough. I feel that I was wrong, for he is able to keep us; and now I believe he will keep us, for he has heard our prayers. When we had noone to teach us, we cried unto God, our heavenly Father; we prayed that he would send us one to guide us, to be our spiritual father: and he has answered our prayers. He sent us one last summer, and we were glad to see him; we rejoiced to take him by the hand; and we thanked our heavenly Father for it. He stayed with us some time; and we begin to do better. He then left us. Last spring he come back again, come to live with us; and a number of others with him. We were glad to see you all; we feel you have done us good; we have had many good meetings together since you come here; and we hope many of us are trying to do better now. But it seems the time has come when some of us must part.
'My Friends, I want to say one thing to you. If God spare your life, to go through that long and dangerous path, and you get home to your friends again, I want you should tell them how we live here, and what we are doing. Tell them, many of us poor Indians here in this wilderness live like the beasts- live like the brutes. They have no houses- hardly any clothes- go most naked- sometimes have nothing to eat- go hungry a long time. They are ignorant as the brutes. They have no God -- no Christ -- no bible -- no Sabbath -- noone to tell them about these things. Tell your friends, the door is open here, they are white to the harvest. Tell them, we can look all around us, to the north, and to the south, to the east, and to the west, and the fields are all white to the harvest; but the labourers are few. Tell them to come and help us: tell them COME and TEACH US. When you get home to your family and friends, we want you should pray for us. Tell them to pray for us, poor Indians, who live here in the wilderness. Tell them to pray that the Lord would send us more teachers. We hope you will not forget us: We shall never forget you; we will pray for you. This is what I have to say.'
I also send you a copy of a pamphlet we have just published, relative to the New-York Indians*. An agent is now on his way to Washington, on this business. O, that the Patriot, the Philanthropist, and the Christian, would speak out on this subject.
If the Lord will, I intend to return to Green-Bay, in the spring.
J. D. S.
*It appears from this pamphlet, which in the form of a memorial to the government of the United States, that the Indians who removed to Green-Bay from Oneida, are apprehensive of being turned out of possession of a considerable portion of the lands on which they are located and which they purchased of the Menominne and Winnebago Indians, by the permission and with the sanction of the general government; a treaty having been recently concluded by Gov. Cass with the Menominies and Winnebagoes, by which the United has obtained the title to a great extent of territory, in which a large portion of the above mentioned lands are included, without the consent of the present possessor, or any recognition of their previous claim. Ed. Rec.