Page images
[ocr errors]

would not enable us to export it. Connossieurs in paints acknowledge it is good. His first attempts in making spruce yellow, were flattering; and I doubt not, a man of property, genius, and application, might receive important hints of this person, and find a ready, lucrative account in this branch of manufacture.

CULTIVATION OF THE SOIL.] In this, sir, we are making rapid improvements. I need only say, our own writers on husbandry have been circulated among the farmers, and our fields pay a silent, but annual and liberal tribute to those benefactors of their country. It appears to me that our landholders in general cultivate too much soil. With their present strength of labourers, a smaller spot, in a higher state of cultivation, would be more profitable. It is a prevailing errour to overstock both barns and pastures; in consequence of which, much of our grass land produces less than two, and some that has been wholly devoted to feed, less than one third of what it did thirty and forty years ago; while those lots which have been managed more judiciously, produce as freely as in former years.

EDUCATION.] Our modes of it are as usual in the country; and possibly you may think, sir, that the following suggestion offers some improvement upon this leading interest of society; and all grant, that a small advantage to the shoot may become important to the tree. School-houses in the country being principally improved in winter, would they not be more covenient and accommodating at that, and not less so at other seasons, if, instead of the usual area, the whole floor be covered with seats, leaving a small vacancy around the hearth, and leaving alleys, at proper distances, for the master to pass and inspect his scholars sitting? Less. exposed to confusion, disorder, and partiality, would they not find the same fire more effectual in warming the room?

In this town, education is honourably encouraged. Nearly half the year we have several schools open, besides those required by law. In addition to which, a very decent and convenient house, built for that purpose by certain proprietors, is generally improved, and found greatly beneficial to them.

LIBRARY.] There is a social library in this town, consisting of one hundred and eighty well-chosen volumes, which cost sixty-five pounds; and many of the youth im



prove it with a degree of diligence and discretion, which promises respectability to them, and useful members to society. BILL OF MORTALITY.] Here, sir, I have to regret the ordinary omission of those who have accurate lists of births and deaths, in not minuting the sex. Many children are not named in the town records; others live but few days; the person who notes the birth and death perhaps lives in a distant part of the town, and must frequently inquire several times to learn the sex, which task is generally declined. The diseases of which persons die, are much more difficult to ascertain; for physicians differ in opinion as well as divines. By this circumstance alone, having made the attempt some years ago, I soon found myself necessitated to relinquish it.

Since the beginning of the year 1760 to Jan. 1, 1795, seven hundred and twenty-six inhabitants of this town have died, and in the same period one thousand six hundred and seventy-two have been born. The increase of population must have been much greater, had not many young and growing families preferred a settlement on new lands, where the surveyor deals in round numbers, and counts not the links of his chain.

If this, sir, should encourage the growth of one branch in your promising "forest," I shall be gratified; and if not being my best, it evinces my readiness to contribute such as I have, to so laudable an institution as the Historical Society; and that,

With much respectful esteem, I am, sir, affectionately


Corresponding Secretary of the

Massachusetts Historical Society.


Marlborough, Jan. 3, 1795.



July 31, 1794.

IT is forty years, this day, since I was ordained a missionary to the Indians, in the Old South meeting-house, when the Rev. Dr. Sewall preached on the occasion, and the Rev. Mr. Prince gave the charge.


I had been in the service from Feb. 5, O. S., 1752, and by an ecclesiastical council convened for that purpose, was now solemnly set apart to the work of an evangelist among the western Indians. The Rev. Mr. Foxcroft and Dr. Chaury assisted upon the occasion, and Mr. Appleton of Cambridge, with many delegates from their respective churches.

I entered upon this arduous business at Stockbridge under the patronage of the Rev. Mr. Edwards. Was instructer of a few families of Iroquois, who came down from their country for the sake of christian knowledge and the schooling of their children. These families consisted of Mohawks, Oneidas and Tuscaroras, from Kanajoharry, and Onohoghgwage. I was their school-master, and preached to them on the Lord'sday. Mr. Edwards visited my school, catechised my scholars, and frequently delivered a discourse to their parents. To Indians he was a very plain and practical preacher: upon no occasion did he display any metaphysical knowledge in the pulpit. His sentences were concise, and full of meaning; and his delivery, grave and natural. In the winter, Indians are at home, and my school was well attended: But many, who wintered at Stockbridge, in the Spring and Summer went off, and were about Schoharry, beyond Albany. In the month of September, I therefore made an excursion into the Mohawk country. I had never been at Albany, nor even as far as Kinderhook, till now; and was ignorant of the way which led through a wilderness.


I therefore wanted a guide, and took with me a young Canada Indian, who had attended my school. He had been bred a Roman Catholick; could repeat the Lord's prayer in Latin, and Ave Maria; could read and write. He furnished me with an alphabet for his language, which was of use to He was of the Cagnawauga tribe. He was my company, and only he. Two Two years afterwards, some of the Canada Indians came, and not improbably this fellow might be of the party, who fell upon a family at Stockbridge, on the Lord's-day, and murdered and captured several of its inhabitants. But it was now peace, and I had no apprehensions when travelling alone with him, a whole day, through a solitary wilderness.

Near night we arrived at the out houses in Kinderhook. Here we came across a number of the Stockbridge tribe, encamped by a river. My Indian could no longer refrain:


He was determined to debauch. He wished to get drunk, and associate with a courtezan; but he knew the consequence would be the loss of his ornaments, in case he did not secure them. He therefore came to me, and taking off his wampum, silver trinkets, bracelets, &c. deposited them. It was in vain that I remonstrated. He would have a frolick. I therefore, but with apparent reluctance, took charge of his goods, and secured them in my bags.


In the morning, looking very pensive, he came to my lodgings, and complained that he had been robbed. had lost his best blanket, and wished me to recover it. I went with him, and he pointed to a young female, who had the blanket, and who, upon my requisition, delivered it to him, looking very sheepish.

He then wished me to resign the deposite of wampum, which the evening before he had committed to me. I declined it; and expostulated, and insisted upon his going with me to Albany; using arguments and making him offers. He was silent. I set out and he followed me. I got into the woods and he after me. Prudence dictated, that it was best to restore him his trinkets, although he discovered not any symptoms of ill-nature. Having received them, he returned to the above party, and I never heard of him after. I relate this affair, because it is characteristic of his nation, and all Indians or savages. I knew not the way to Albany; and the path I had taken was obscure, and unfrequented by white people. I came to an Indian village; took some directions, but lost my way. I wandered in blind paths till I found a few white inhabitants in huts, who had lately made settlements, but being ignorant of the English language, could give me but poor information. To be short, I finally got into the great road, I knew not how, but not until I had been out in a most terrible storm of thunder and lightning. Thunder tempests are very frequent in the interiour parts of the country; and I have often met with them since in the wilderness, and sometimes when alone. It cleared off, and I travelled; and all at once, through an opening, appeared to view the city of Albany; and I soon discovered a fleet of vessels by its side, on the adjacent river. Great was my satisfaction. I came down and crossed the ferry; went into the city, and passed it; came to the houses between Albany and Skenectady, and lodged. These were only two houses,


kept for the entertainment of passengers. They were alone, but did not harmonize. Three houses will agree; but two in a wilderness will be considered as rivals; and their interests will clash. Such is human nature, that power and interests must be balanced by a third person or interest.

Between Albany and Skenectady is barren land; but it is strange that only two houses had been at that time erected, on a road so much frequented, and for so many years together. Soon after I left these houses, the road parts. That to the right, leads to Skenectady; and on the other, a road to Schoharry,* where I arrived in the afternoon; and soon found the Indians, and particular Jonah, whose Indian name is T'hànhanagwanàgeas, which is long, but of no extraordinary meaning. This was a very christian-like Indian, and his wife a good woman, who soon got me some refreshment. His mother was a very old person, and of French extract, and full blooded, being captured from Canada when very young. Jonah, therefore, was half blood. I never saw him the worse for strong drink. He was a man of prayer. I had much acquaintance with him after this, as I had considerable the winter passed, when he was at Stockbridge with his family. His wife was of the Tuscarora tribe. Jonah and some other families were about coming again to Stockbridge, there to winter. Some others, whom I saw, were going to Onohoghgwage, where they belonged. I left Jonah, and went further down, about six miles, and found, at the Mohawk village, Sharrack, Peter, and others, who the summer passed had been gathering, with their wives and children, the genseng root for the European market; it having the last year answered for the exporter, beyond all expectation. But this year, as the event proved, many adventurers or speculators in it were nearly ruined; but the Indians employed in gathering it, got considerable by it, having collected in it great quantities. The Indian name for this root is Kalondaggough. I lodged in the vicinity of these Indians, and visited them in the morning; gave their children a few trifles that were acceptable, invited them to Stockbridge, and set out upon my return, and came to the two houses between Albany and Skenectady, where I again lodged.

In regard to Schoharry, it is fine land, and settled by Pa


* Hunter's field, after Governour Hunter.

« PreviousContinue »