JULY 13, 1775
The Congress met according to adjournment.
The Committee appointed
to prepare a speech to the Indians, reported the same.
The speech to the Six
Nations being read and debated by paragraphs was agreed to and
is as follows:-
A Speech to the Six Confederate
Nations, Mohawks, Oneidas, Tusscaroras, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senekas,
from the Twelve United Colonies, convened in Council at Philadelphia.
BROTHERS, SACHEMS, AND WARRIORS,
We, the Delegates from the Twelve United Provinces, viz. New Hampshire,
Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, the three lower counties of New Castle, Kent, and
Sussex, on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South
Carolina, now sitting in general Congress at Philadelphia, send
this talk to you our brothers. We are sixty-five in number, chosen
and appointed by the people throughout all these provinces and
colonies, to meet and sit together in One great council, to consult
together for the common good of the land, and speak and act for
Brothers, in our consultation
we have judged it proper and necessary to send you this talk,
as we are upon the same island, that you may be informed of the
reasons of this great council, the situation of our civil constitution,
and our disposition towards you our Indian brothers of the Six
Nations and their allies.
BROTHERS AND FRIENDS,
When our fathers crossed the great water and came over to this
land, the king of England gave them a talk: assuring them that
they and their children should be his children, and that if they
would leave their native country and make settlements, and live
here, and buy, and sell, and trade with their brethren beyond
the water, they should still keep hold of the same covenant chain
and enjoy peace.-And it was covenanted, that the fields, houses,
goods and possessions which our fathers should acquire, should
remain to them as their own, and be their children's forever,
and at their sole disposal.
Trusting that this covenant
should never be broken, our fathers came a great distance beyond
the great water, laid out their money here, built houses, cleared
fields, raised crops, and through their own labour and industry
grew tall and strong.
They have bought, sold
and traded with England according to agreement, sending to them
such things as they wanted, and taking in exchange such things
as were wanted here.
The king of England and
his people kept the way open for more than one hundred years,
and by our trade became richer, and by a union with us, greater
and stronger than the other kings and people who live beyond the
All this time they lived
in great friendship with us, and we with them; for we are brothers-one
Whenever they were struck,
we instantly felt as though the blow had been given to us-their
enemies were our enemies.
Whenever they went to
war, we sent our men to stand by their side and fight for them,
and our money to help them and make them strong.
They thanked us for our
love, and sent us good talks, and renewed their promise to be
one people forever.
BROTHERS AND FRIENDS,
OPEN A KIND EAR
We will now tell you of the quarrel betwixt the counsellors of
king George and the inhabitants and colonies of America.
Many of his counsellors
are proud and wicked men.-They persuade the king to break the
covenant chain, and not to send us any more good talks. A considerable
number have prevailed upon him to enter into a new covenant against
us, and have torn asunder and cast behind their backs the good
old covenant which their ancestors and ours entered into, and
took strong hold of.
They now tell us they
will slip their hand into our pocket without asking, as though
it were there own; and at their pleasure they will take from us
our charters or written civil constitution, which we love as our
lives-also our plantations, our houses and goods whenever they
please, without asking our leave.-That our vessels may go to this
island in the sea, but to this or that particular island we shall
not trade any more.-And in case of our non-compliance with these
new orders, they shut up our harbours.
Brothers, this is our
present situation-thus have many of the king's counsellors and
servants dealt with us.-If we submit, or comply with their demands,
you can easily perceive to what state we will be reduced.- If
our people labour on the field, they will not know who shall enjoy
the crop.-If they hunt in the woods, it will be uncertain who
shall taste of the meat or have the skins.-If they build houses,
they will not know whether they may sit round the fire, with their
wives and children. They cannot be sure whether they shall be
permitted to eat, drink, and wear the fruits of their own labour
BROTHERS AND FRIENDS
OF THE SIX NATIONS, ATTEND,
We upon this island have often spoke and intreated the king and
his servants the counsellors, that peace and harmony might still
continue between us-that we cannot part with or lose our hold
of the old covenant chain which united our fathers and theirs-that
we want to brighten this chain-and keep the way open as our fathers
did; that we want to live with them as brothers, labour, trade,
travel abroad, eat and drink in peace. We have often asked them
to love us and live in such friendship with us as their fathers
did with ours.
We told them again that
we judged we were exceedingly injured that they might as well
kill us, as take away our property and the necessaries of life.-We
have asked why they treat us thus?-What has become of our repeated
addresses and supplications to them? Who bath shut the ears of
the king to the cries of his children in America? No soft answer-no
pleasant voice from beyond the water has yet sounded in our ears.
Brothers, thus stands
the matter betwixt old England and America. You Indians know how
things are proportioned in a family-between the father and the
son-the child carries a little pack-England we regard as the father-this
island may be compared to the son.
The father has a numerous
family-both at home and upon this island.-He appoints a great
number of servants to assist hen in the government of his family.
In process of time, some of his servants grow proud and ill-natured-they
were displeased to see the boy so alert and walk so nimbly with
his pack. They tell the father, and advise him to enlarge the
child's pack-they prevail-the pack is increased-the child takes
it up again-as he thought it might be the father's pleasure-speaks
but few words-those very small-for he was loth to offend the father.
Those proud and wicked servants finding they had prevailed, laughed
to see the boy sweat and stagger under his increased load. By
and by, they apply to the father to double the boy's pack, because
they heard him complain-and without any reason said they-he is
a cross child-correct him if he complains any more.-The boy intreats
the father-addresses the great servants in a decent manner, that
the pack might be lightened-he could not go any farther- humbly
asks, if the old fathers, in any of their records, had described
such a pack for the child-after all the tears and entreaties of
the child, the pack is redoubled-the child stands a little, while
staggering under the weight-ready to fall every moment. However
he entreats the father once more, though so faint he could only
lisp out his last humble supplication-waits a while-no voice returns.
The child concludes the father could not hear-those proud servants
had intercepted his supplications, or stopped the ears of the
father. He therefore gives one struggle and throws off the pack,
and says he cannot take it up again-such a weight would crush
him down and kill him-and he can but die if he refuses.
Upon this, those servants
are very wrath-and tell the father many false stories respecting
the child-they bring a great cudgel to the father, asking him
to take it in his hand and strike the child.
This may serve to illustrate
the present condition of the king's American subjects or children.
Amidst these oppressions
we now and then hear a mollifying and reviving voice from some
of the king's wise counsellors, who are our friends and feel for
our distresses, when they heard our complaints and our cries,
they applied to the king, also told those wicked servants, that
this child in America was not a cross boy, it had sufficient reason
for crying, and if the cause of its complaint was neglected, it
would soon assume the voice of a man, plead for justice like a
man, and defend its rights and support the old covenant chain
of the fathers.
Notwithstanding all our entreaties, we have but little hope the
king will send us any more good talks, by reason of his evil counsellors;
they have persuaded him to send an army of soldiers and many ships
of war, to rob and destroy us. They have shut up many of our harbours,
seized and taken into possession many of our vessels: the soldiers
have struck the blow, killed some of our people, the blood now
runs of the American children: They have also burned our houses
and towns, and taken much of our goods.
Brothers! We are now
necessitated to rise, and forced to fight, or give up our civil
constitution, run away and leave our farms and houses behind us.
This must not be. Since the king's wicked counsellors will not
open their ears, and consider our just complaints, and the cause
of our weeping, and bath given the blow, we are determined 'to
drive away the king's soldiers, and to kill and destroy all those
wicked men we find in arms against the peace of the twelve United
Colonies upon this island. We think our cause is just; therefore
hope God will be on our side. We do not take up the hatchet and
struggle for honor and conquest; but to maintain our civil constitution
and religious privileges, the very same for which our forefathers
left their native land and came to this country.
BROTHERS AND FRIENDS!
We desire you will hear and receive what we have now told you,
and that you will open a good ear and listen to what we are now
going to say. This is a family quarrel between us and Old England.
You Indians are not concerned in it. We don't wish you to take
up the hatchet against the king's troops. We desire you to remain
at home, and not join on either side, but keep the hatchet buried
deep. In the name and in behalf of all our people, we ask and
desire you to love peace and maintain it, and to love and sympathise
with us in our troubles; that the path may be kept open with all
our people and yours, to pass and repass, without molestation.
Brothers! we live upon
the same ground with you. The same island is our common birth-place.
We desire to sit down under the same tree of peace with you: let
us water its roots and cherish its growth, till the large leaves
and flourishing branches shall extend to the setting sun, and
reach the skies.
BROTHERS, OBSERVE WELL!
What is it we have asked of you? Nothing but peace, notwithstanding
our present disturbed situation-and if application should be made
to you by any of the king's unwise and wicked ministers to join
on their side, we only advise you to deliberate, with great caution,
and in your wisdom look forward to the consequences of a compliance.
For, if the king's troops take away our property, and destroy
us who are of the same blood with themselves, what can you, who
are Indians, expect from them afterwards?
Therefore, we say, brothers,
take care-hold fast to your covenant chain. You now know our disposition
towards you, the Six Nations of Indians, and your allies. Let
this our good talk remain at Onondaga, your central council house.
We depend upon you to send and acquaint your allies to the northward,
the seven tribes on the river St. Lawrence, that you have this
talk of ours at the great council fire of the Six Nations. And
when they return, we invite your great men to come and converse
farther with us at Albany, where we intend to re-kindle the council
fire, which your and our ancestors sat round in great friendship.
Brothers and Friends!
We greet you all farewell.
We have said we wish you Indians may continue in peace with one
another, and with us the white people. Let us both be cautious
in our behaviour towards each other at this critical state of
affairs. This island now trembles, the wind whistles from almost
every quarter- let us fortify our minds and shut our ears against
false rumors-let us be cautious what we receive for truth, unless
spoken by wise and good men. If any thing disagreeable should
ever fall out between us, the twelve United (colonies, and you,
the Six Nations, to wound our peace, let us immediately seek measures
for healing the breach. From the present situation of our affairs,
we judge it wise and expedient to kindle up a small council fire
at Albany, where we may hear each other's voice, and disclose
our minds more fully to each other.
Ordered, That a similar
talk be prepared for the other Indian nations, preserving the
tenor of the above, and altering it so as to suit the Indians
in the several departments.