From Poulson's Daily Advertizer, of February 3.]
At this time, when it is to be feared the liberties of a noble but unfortunate race are about to be cloven down by the cupidity of an avaricious people, it may not be uninteresting to hear the sentiments of a chieftain (now no more) when speaking of the wrongs of this nation. They are extracted from the
SPEECH OF THE CELEBRATED RED JACKET,
Delivered in the Masonic Hall, in Philadelphia, 1829.
After a considerable pause he arose and began thus:
Brothers. It is a custom among Indians when assembled together, in the first place to render up thanks to the Great Spirit.
Brothers. Your red brethren believe that there is a Great Spirit-we were well convinced of that before the white folks came among us.
Brothers. In time long past, your red brethren owned all this great island. Your ancestors came over the great water in a large kind of craft--they asked us for permission to fasten their ship along side of the shore-they then asked us for as much wood as would build a small camp-they then asked us to give them some land to (sic).
Brothers. We done to you as we would have wished you to have done to us.
Brothers. We got along pretty comfortably together until your father Great Britain, came over: he became angry with you-you frowned upon one another-your father invited us to help him, and offered us rum, tobacco, and other things which Indians are very fond of--You persuaded us not to believe what he said-you told us if we would help you we should always have our land for ourselves, our wives and our little ones.
Brothers. We did help you, and when the war was over, we found we had one friend among you-and that friend was General Washington--he told us to go back and seat ourselves upon our lands, where we should not be disturbed--that even on the white people's land we should have free liberty of hunting and fishing and if the wind blowed (sic) any trees down, we should have the right to use it for kindling our fires. But now you have become stingy of your wood, stingy of your fish, stingy of your game-but greedy for your land! Bear with me, my brothers, if I tell you what I am forced to think; that is it seems to me as if you wanted to wrench the last portion of land away from us.
Brothers. As soon as the war with Great Britain was over the United States began to part the Indian land among themselves. Pennsylvania took a great slice. New York took a large piece and so with the rest. I acknowledge that Pennsylvania acted more fair towards us than any of the other States.
Brothers. Our great father General Washington told us that agents should be appointed by your government to be the Indian's friend, to look after our interest, to make our paths straight and while General Washington lived they minded what he said, but as soon as he was dead the Agents that came began to fill their own pockets and to care very little for the Indian's interest--they tried to induce us to sell our land. I know this to be true; they offered me $210 if I would make no opposition to the Indians selling them their lands, they tried to flatter me into compliance by telling me I was the greatest man in the Nation, and if I would say nothing they could get the land.
I told them if I could make the land, I would willingly sell it to them, for them I could make more for my women and children--they told me $230 was a large sum of money-that $100 would buy me a very large field of wheat. I told them I was afraid of displeasing the Great Spirit selling as it was him that made the land and it was he only that had the right to sell it away from our women and children--that I was afraid that the field of wheat of which they spoke would be blighted---I feared a blast would come upon it--therefore I would not sell our land away from our women and children.
Brothers. That is not right---if they want to buy the land from the Indians (as they pretend) why do they not buy it from the nation in council and not undertake to negotiate with our agents.
Brothers. We have made many treaties with you--which of us has been the first to break them?- Not the Indians.
Brothers. In General Washington's time, in your treaties you said what you meant, but now a days you go a great way round to come to the matter-- your words go down here, but come up away off yonder. (Here, and throughout the speech, the orator accompanied his expressions with the appropriate gesture.)
Brothers. After the first war, your old father and you began again to show your teeth at each other, and presently the tomahawk was raised by each of you.
You then told us if we would once more help you, we should indeed have our own lands forever. After thinking of it a while, I thought perhaps it might be so this time. I called out my warriors, and we fought with you all through this war. But is was scarcely over, whilst yet the blood dropped* from the tomahawk, a white man came and said, he must have more land!--- Now my brethren, is that right? Ought you to have treated us thus? Do you think the Great Spirit will be pleased with that?
Brothers, they now want us to move to a place call Green Bay. None of us have ever been to that place. We do not know what kind of a place it is. We fear it is not as good as our own land. Certainly, it is not better, else why should they want us to go there? Why not go there themselves? We are satisfied where we are.
Brothers. When our good Father, Gen. Washington, gave me this medal which now hangs on my breast, he put a plough in it.
Brothers, some of my young men have followed his advice, and have got large farms, and are very comfortably settled. That, my brethren, is the reason why I do not wish you to force us to sell our lands. I do not know how it is, it may be the Great Spirit has been pleased that the whites should thus take our land.
But I do not believe it so.
Brothers, We are told if we do not sell our land voluntarily, the government will rise upon us and sent us among the Chickarees+ and then we will not get anything for our land.
Brothers. Do you think this is right? Do you think the Great Spirit will smile upon such unjust proceedings?
Brothers. Your agent came and brought from some of my people two reservation of land, leaving us only four reservations out of all this great island--well, after they had got my people to agree to his taking two reservations, he took a portion out of each of our reservations and so took all the Gennessee County from us.
Brothers. It may be so (but I cannot believe it) that the Great Spirit meanith (sic) the white Brethren should take all their red Brethren's land from them.
Brothers. I cannot believe the Great Spirit ever intended that there should be a class of men raised up, called 'pre-emption holders who should Have the exclusive privilege of buying our lands. If we must sell our lands, let there be a fair competition among the buyers; let them be thrown fairly into the market, and let us have the right of selling to the highest bidder.
Brothers. This is not the first time that I have been here. When there was but thirteen states it was in Philadelphia that the great Council Fire was kindled.
Brothers. I have come among you once more, probably for the last time, and as I pass along for a great distance round Philadelphia, I see no traces of the Indians: but if, at a still greater distance from here, I happen to find a little of the Indian blood, it is not mixed with white! it is mixed with black!!
(Here the grief and indignation depicted in his countenance was beyond description, and the emphasis which he used, showed that the soul of the patriot was stung to the quick at the recollection of the degradation and wrongs of his once powerful nation.)
Brethren. Permit me to kneel down and beseech you to let us remain on our own land--have a little patience--the Great Spirit is removing us out of your way very fast wait yet a little while and we shall all be dead! then you can get the Indian lands for nothing, nobody will be here to dispute it with you.
Brethren, I am old and feeble, I feel unable to say more at present.
* Here the old warrior held up his drooping tomahawk, accompanied by such natural gestures, that you might almost have understood what he meant without the aid of the interpreter.
+ We are not certain that we understood the name, but it sounded to us about as above written..