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« most all the Indian Nations of this vast Conti66 nent.”
Their Matters of Consequence, which concern all the Nations, are transacted in a general Meeting of the Sachems of each Nation. These Conventions are commonly held at Onnondaga, which is nearly the Center of their Country; but they have fixed on Albany for the Place of treating with the British Colonies.
They strictly follow one Maxim, formerly used by the Romans to increase their Strength, that is, they encourage the People of other Nations to incorporate with them ; and when they have subdued any People, after they have fatiated their Revenge by fome cruel Examples, they adopt the rest of their Captives ; who, if they behave well, become equally esteemed with their own People ; so that some of their Captives have afterwards become their greatest Sachems and Captains. The Tuskaroras, after the War they had with the People of Carolina, fled to the Five Nations, and are now incorporated with them ; so that they now properly indeed consist of six Nations, though they still retain the old Name of the Five Nations among the English. The Cowetas also, or Creek-Indians, are in the fame Friendship with them.
The Tufkaroras, since they came under the Province of New York, behave themselves well, and remain peaceable and quiet ; and by this may be feen the Advantage of using the Indians well, and I believe, if they were still better used as there is Room enough to do it) they would be proportionably more useful to us.
The Cruelty the Indians' use in their Wars, towards those that do not or cannot refift, such as Women and Children, and to their Prisoners, after they have them in their Power, is deservedly indeed held in Abhorrence: But whoever reads the History of the fo famed ancient Heroes, will find them, I'm afraid, not much better in this Respect. Does Achilles's Behaviour to HeEtor's dead Body, in Homer, appear less
favage ? This Cruelty is also not peculiar to the Five Nations, but equally practised by all other Indians. It is wonderful, how Custom and Education are able to soften the most horrid Actions, even a mong a polite and learned People ; witness the Car. thaginions and Phænicians burning their own Children alive in Sacrifice; and several Passages in the Jewish History; and witness, in later Times, the Christians burning one another alive, for God's Sake.
When any of the young Men of these Nations have if Mind to signalize themselves, and to gain a Reputation among their Countrymen, by fome notable Enterprize against their Enemy, they at first communicate their Design to two or three of their most intimate Friends ; and if they come into it, an Invitation is made, in their Names, to all the young Men of the Castle, to feast on Dog's Flesh ; but whether this be, because Dog's Flesh is most agreeable to Indian Palates, or whether it be as an Emblem of Fidelity, Ma for which the Dog is distinguished by all Nations, that it is always used on this Occasion, I have not sufficient Information to determine. When the Company is met, the Promoters of the Enterprize set forth the Undertaking in the best Colours they can; they boast of what they intend to do, and incite others to join, from the Glory there is to be obtained ; and all who eat of the Dog's Flesh, thereby inlift themselves.
The Night before they set out, they make a grand Feast, to this all the noted Warriors of the Nation are invited ; and here they have their War Dance,
G to the Beat of a Kind of a Kettle-drum. - The Warriors are seated in two Rows in the House, and each rises up in his Turn, and fings the great Acts he has
W himself perforined, and the Deeds of his Ancestors; and this is always accompanied with a kind of a Dance, or rather Action, representing the Manner in which they were performed; and from Time to Time, all present join in a Chorus, applauding every notable Act. They
exaggerate the Injuries they have at any Time received from their Enemies, and extol the Glory which any of their Ancestors have gained by their Bravery and Courage ; so that they work up their Spirits to a high Degree of warlike Enthusiasm. I have sometimes persuaded some of their young Indians to act these Dances, for our Diversion, and to fhew us the Manner of them; and even, on these Occafions, they have work'd themselves up to sucha a Pitch, that they have made all present uneasy, Is it not probable, that such Designs as these have given the first Rise to Tragedy?
They come to these Dances with their Faces painted in a frightful Manner, as they always are when they go to War, to make themselves terrible to their Enemies; and in this Manner the Night is spent. Next Day they march out with much Formality, dressed in their finest Apparel, and, in their March, observe a profound Silence. An Officer of the regular Troops told me, that while he was Com. mandant of Fort-Hunter, the Mohawks, on one of these Occasions, told him, that they expected the usual military Honours as they passed the Garison. Accordingly he drew out his Garison, the Men presented their Pieces as the Indians passed, and the Drum beat a March ; and with less Respect, the Officer said, they would have been dissatisfied. The Indians passed in a single Row, one after another, with great Gravity and profound Silence; and every one of them, as he passed the Officer, took his Gun from his Shoulder, and fired into the Ground near the Officer's Foot : They marched in this Manner three or four Miles from their Caitle. The Women, on these Occasions, always follow them with their old Clothes, and they send back by them their Finery in which they marched from the Castle. But before they go from this Place, where they exchange their Clothes, they always peel 2. large Piece of the Bark from some great Tree į they commonly
chuse an Oak, as most lasting ; upon the smooth Side
After their Prisoners are secured, they never offer them the least Male-treatment, but, on the contrary, will rather starve themselves, than suffer them to want; and I have been always assured, that there is not one Instance, of their offering the least Violence to the Chastity of any Woman that was their Captive. But notwithstanding this, the
Prisoners afterwards undergo fevere Punishments before they
receive the last Doom of Life or Death. The Warriors think it for their Glory, to lead them through all the Villages of the Nations subject to them, which lie near the Road; and these, to Thew their Affection to the Five Nations, and their Abhorrence of their Enemies, draw up in two Lines, through which the poor Prisoners, stark naked, must run the Gauntlet ; and on this Occasion, it is always observed, the Women are much more cruel than the Men. The Prisoners meet with the same fad Reception when they reach their Journey's End ; and after this, they are presented to those that have lost any Relation in that or any former
Enterprize. If the Captives be accepted, there is an End to their Sorrow from that Moment; they are dressed as fine as they can make them ; they are absolutely free (except to return to their own Country) and enjoy all the Privileges the Person had, in whose Place they are accepted ; but if other wise they die in Torments, to satiate the Revenge of those that refuse them.
If a young Man or Boy be received in Place of a Husband that was killed, all the Children of the Deceased call that Boy Father ; so that one may sometimes hear a Man of thirty say, that such a Boy of fifteen or twenty is his Father.
Their Castles are generally a Square surrounded with Palisadoes, without any Bastions or Out-works; for, since the general Peace, their Villages lie all open.
Their only Instruments of War are Musquets, Hatchets, and long sharp pointed Knives; these they always carry about with them : Their Hatchet, in War-time, is stuck in their Girdle behind them; and besides what Use they make of this Weapon in their Hand, they have a dexterous Way of throwing it, which I have seen them often practise in their Exercise, by throwing it into a Tree at a Distance: They have, in this, the Art of directing and regulating the Motion, so that though the Hatchet turns round