An Early Contribution from the Friends to the Indians

[Author Unknown]


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 87-88

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An Extract from "Seth Smith's Baltimore, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Four, According to the Present Callendar."

The meeting was last year informed that the western Indians, in the Neighborhood of Fort-Wayne, were desirous of engaging in the cultivation of their lands, that they had requested the assistance of friends—And that the President of the United States was authorized to prohibit the introduction of spiritous liquors amongst them.—This being the situation of the business; sow of the Committee were impressed with a belief, that it was necessary something should be done in it, and accordingly procured last spring, for the use of the Indians; 6 sets of Plough Irons, and their appurtenances, such as clevises, &c; 10 leather collars, 10 pair of Haims, 10 Pair of iron chains, & 10 Backbands, 50 Axes, 6 Mattocks, 6 iron wedges, 6 Maul rings and 50 Hoes—which were sent to Pittsburg, from whence they were to be immediately conveyed to Fort-Wayne, and delivered as a present from the Society of Friends here, to the Little Turtle and other chiefs, to be disposed of to such of their people as they knew were desirous of using them.—We also wrote a letter to the Indians, and one to William Wells (the agent at that place), and have received his answer; informing that on the 25th of the 7th month, he had an account of the Articles being on their way from Cincinnati and he expected they would arrive in a few days, and he would deliver them as directed, would also receive the reply of the Indians, to our letter to them, and forward it to us. This we have not yet received.—

The agent also informs that since there has been no spirituous liquor in the Indian Country, they are very industrious, and appea- to be fond of raising stock. And gives it as his opinion, that the suppression of spirituous liquor in that Country, is the best thing that ever was done for them by the United States. That there has not been one Indian killed in that Neighborhood this year; and there has not been a year before since the treaty of Grenville, in which there were less than 10 killed and some years as many as 30—The agent further adds, that the Indians appear very desirous of procuring for themselves, the necessaries of life in our way; but say, they do not know how to begin.,—some of their old men say to him, "The white people want for nothing.—We wish them to show us how to procure the many good things we see amongst them. If it is their wish to instruct us Indians, in their way of living; as they tell us it is; we wish them to make haste and do it—For we are old and must soon die—but we wish to see our women and children in that Path; which will lead them to happiness before we die—"

Published by the Indiana University Department of History.