Cherokee Phoenix


Published March, 6, 1828

Page 2 Column 5b


Mr. Penn, when he first arrived in Pennsylvania, in the year 1683, and made a treaty with them, makes the following observations, in a letter he then wrote to his friends in England. 'Every king has his council, and that consists of all the old and wise men of his nation, which perhaps are two hundred people. Nothing of moment is undertaken, be it war, peace, selling of land, or traffic, without advising with them. 'Tis admirable to consider how powerful the chiefs are, and yet how they move by the breath of the people. I have had occasion to be in council with them upon treaties for land, and to adjust the terms of trade. Their order is thus; the king sits in the middle of an half moon, and hath his council, the old and the wise on each hand. Behind them, at a little distance, sit the young fry, in the same figure. Having consulted and resolved their business, the king ordered one of them to speak to me. He came to me, and in the name of his king, saluted me. Then took me by the hand, and told me that he was ordered by his king to speak to me; and that now it was not he, but the king who spoke, because what he should say was the king's mind. During the time this person was speaking, not a man of them was observed to whisper or smile. The old were grave-the young reverend in their deportment. They spoke little, but fervently and with elegance. He will deserve the name of wise, who out-wits them in any treaty about a thing they understand. At every sentence they shout, and say amen, is their way.'

Mr. Smith, in his history of N. Jersey, confirms this general statement. 'They are grave even to sadness, upon any common, and more so upon serious occasions-observant of those in company, and respectful to the aged-of a temper cool and deliberate-never in haste to speak, but wait, for a certainty, that the person who spake before them had finished all he had to say. They seemed to hold European vivacity in contempt, because they found such as came among them, apt to interrupt each other, and frequently speak altogether.- Their behavior in public councils was strictly decent and instructive. Everyone in his turn was heard, according to rank of years or wisdom, or services to his country. Not a word, whisper or murmur, was heard while anyone spoke; no interruptions to commend or condemn: the younger sort were totally silent. Those denominated kings, were sachems distinguished by their wisdom and good conduct. The respect paid them was voluntary, and not exacted or looked for, not the omission regarded. The sachems directed in their councils, and had the chief disposition of their lands.'