From the Rochester Observer.
SLANDER ON WM. PENN
Mr. Editor: In perusing a late No. of the United States Telegraph, I met with the following paragraph, contained in an article under the head of 'Indian reform.'
'It would be exceedingly to the discredit of Wm. Penn to assert that he believed the Indians were the sovereign owners of the soil, and that he could have no just claim to it, until by fair contract, it had been conveyed to him, by the natives. Had these been his views, his treaties must have been a mere mocking of common sense and common honesty. All the circumstances show that both he and the Indians well understood that the terms of the contract, which was a contract in form only, were under his control, and he certainly knew that he was not paying them a tenth nor a hundredth part of a just equivalent for the land, had he been really purchasing it.'
The assertion that the 'treaties of Wm. Peen must have been a mere mockery of common sense and common honesty, if he had supposed he could have no just claim to the soil until it had been, by fair contract conveyed to him.' does, in my opinion, charge him with a want of 'common sense and common honesty;' and it the first charge of the kind against him, which I have any where met with. The whole paragraph is intended to convey the idea that Wm. Penn considered he possessed a right to the soil (irrespective of the claims to the Indians) by virtue of a charter from a European Sovereign: and that the treaties he made with the Indians, were mere matters of form, he never intending really to purchase their lands.
I do not deem it necessary to vindicate the character of Wm. Penn from such aspersions, especially, as the writer has not in the whole of the article, from which the extract is made, adduced the shadow of a proof, that the sentiments of that distinguished man, were as he represented them. I merely wished to show what methods are resorted to, to turn the current of public feeling in a particular channel, and make our citizens believe that the oppression of the Indians, is not oppression; that the Indians have no rights, and that treaties made with them. are not treaties -- for such must be the sentiments of the community in order to justify all the measures adopted, and now in progress against the aborigines of this country. I trust the time has not yet come when our citizens are prepared to sanction measures so directly contrary to the dictates of justice and humanity.
The editor of the Telegraph says the writer of the essays, from which the above extract is taken, is 'an eminent divine.' For the honor of the clerical profession, I am glad we have only the authority of the editor that such is the fact.