Cherokee Phoenix

Extract from the North American Review

Published September, 28, 1833

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Extract from the North American Review.


One of the greatest triumphs of this extraordinary man was his influence with the Indians; and since our relations with this unfortunate race are likely to produce excitement for years to come, his example cannot be too often cited. The only charm by which he acquired so much influence over them, was by treating them with uniform justice; and perhaps it would be well for states and individuals, who complain of them as bad neighbors, to try the same novel experiment, and see whether it may not be attended with similar success. In his letter to the Free Society of traders, Penn gives an account of this unfortunate race, as descriptive as that which Tacitus gives of the Germans. After speaking of their habits and manners, he says 'do not abuse them, but let them have justice and you win them.' He purchased from them the land to which he held a title from the King of England, and strictly enjoined it as a duty of inhabitants and surveyors, not to take possession of any land which they claimed, till he had first, at his own cost, satisfied them for the same.- The modern practice of assuming jurisdiction over them was then unknown; and had it been otherwise, his conscience might have been too unaccommodating to allow him to take advantage of that ingenious discovery: it is gratifying to reflect that he has lost nothing by his course, but on the contrary stands considerably higher than he otherwise would in the estimation of the world. The Indians always regarded him with respect and affection, and he kept up a frequent intercourse with them in order to confirm their good will. Thus palisades and block-houses, the usual defence of frontier settlements, were rendered unnecessary; so far from having any disposition to molest them, the Indians sometimes carried their kindness to excess. Thus we are told that Mr. Carver, the first settler at Byberry, was in distress for food. As none was to be had nearer than Newcastle, he prepared to go thither, and sent his children meantime to beg the hospitality of the Indians, which they not only granted, but took all the boys trousers, tied up the legs, and sent them back to the parents filled with corn. It is not till a comparatively late period, that the aborigines have disappeared. Tedyuscung, a Delaware chief, was a frequent visitor in Philadelphia so late as 1760. Governor Dickenson speaks of negotiating a treaty at Albany, on which occasion this chief undertook to address the assembly; his wife, who was present, spoke to them in the most gently and silvery tones imaginable, in the Indian tongue, with her eyes fixed steadfastly on the ground; every one was enchanted with the sweetness of her voice and manner. On inquiring of Tedyuscung, who spoke English fluently, what his wife had said, he answered, 'Ho! she is but a poor weak woman! She told me it was unworthy the dignity of a great king like me, to present myself drunk before the great council of the nation.' The last chief of the Delawares near Philadelphia was Isaac Still, a man of sense and character, who had been much employed by the whites as an agent and interpreter among the Indians. He dwelt with his people in wigwams on Logan's place for a time, but as soon as he could, collected the remains of his tribe, to lead them to the Wabash, 'far away' as he said, 'from war and rum.' A person who witnessed their march, with Still, a fine looking man, ornamented with feathers, at their head, described it as an imposing scene; thus, in 1775, the last vestige of the Leni Lenape disappeared from the region. This writer however tells us that one, called Old Indian Hannah, was living in the present century on the Brandywine, and retained a high and haughty spirit to the last.