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“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they
PUBLISHED BY J. F. WRIGHT AND L. SworMSTEDT,
R. P. Thompson, Printer.
Entered according to an Act of Congress, in the year 1840, by John F. Wright and Leroy Swormstedt, in the Clerk's Office for the District Court of Ohio.
THE Wyandott mission was the first established by the Methodist Episcopal Church on our frontier, for the benefit of the Indians, Here it was satisfactorily ascertained that the Gospel and grace of God could effectually change the heart of savage man—reclaim him from ignorance and sin, and confirm him in the practice of virtue and religion. And such was the signal and extraordinary success of this mission, that it encouraged the Church to devise extensive plans for the conversion of other Indian nations, and excited a confidence and liberality adequate for their accomplishment: so that all our missions now among the Indians may be said, in some sense, to have had their origin in the successful experiment made at Upper Sandusky. • As this work treats of subjects deeply interesting to the Christian public, especially to all the friends of missions; and as the author is generally and favorably known, we anticipate for it a very extensive circulation. It may be proper for us to say, in conclusion, the history we now present to the public has been revised for the press, under the direction of the publishers; and although the phraseology has been changed in some places, yet no change has been made to vary the sense of the facts, as narrated by the author. We trust this volume will be perused by many with much satisfaction; and that it will greatly subserve the interests of the missionary cause. - PUBLISHERs. Cincinnati, April 8, 1840.
PRE FAC E.
IN presenting this volume to the Christian public, the author claims no other merit than that of giving a plain narrative of facts which fell under his own observation, or which are derived from authentic sources. In early life he became acquainted with the Indian tribes bordering on our frontier, and acquired considerable knowledge of their history and traditions—their manners and customs—their religion and modes of worship; and having been subsequently several years a missionary to the Wyandotts, at Upper Sandusky, he is enabled to give a relation of all that pertains to the introduction and success of the Gospel among them. - * *
In undertaking this work the author has been influenced by the advice of several of his friends, as well as by his own desire to bring to the notice of the publie, the example furnished in the history of the Wyandott mission, of the divine efficiency of Christianity to civilize the heathen nations. He has not aimed at a polished style, and seeks no literary fame; his highest ambition being to advance the glory of God, and the influence of genuine religion among men.
That the historical narrative contained in this volume may edify his readers, and awaken their sympathies and stimulate them to greater efforts in sustaining the cause of missions, as well as afford encouragement to the missionary of the cross to renewed exertions in the great work of evangelizing the world, is the earnest prayer of
- CHAPTER I.
Indians, why so called—Their origin unknown—Supposed to be descendants of the Ten Tribes of Israel—Revolt of the Ten Tribes—Carried captive into Assyria—Scripture prophecies concerning them—Of their dispersion and final restoration—Their present existence and place unknown—Outcasts from the rest of the world—Their probable migration to this continent—Arguments to show this—Quotation from Esdras–Probable from Assyria to this continent—Comparison between the Indians and Jews, in their persons, dress, ornaments, &c.—The Indian languages derived from one root—Indians' opinion of their own origin—Hold themselves to be a distinct race. Page 13
The Wyandotts—Former extent of their territory—Strong and warlike—Division of the nation—Their bravery–Hospitality—Divide their lands with other nations—Diminution of their numbers—Gloomy reflections of the Indian in contemplating the extinction of his race— Ill treatment of them by the whites—The persons of the Indians described—Mental characteristics—Peculiar traits of character—Worship the Great Spirit—Their festivals—Medicine feast—Feast of dreams—Feast of giving names—War feast—The great feast— Wobbeno feast—Feast with the dead—Boys’ feast—Garangula–Autumnal feasts—Solemn feasts—Buffalo feasts—Wyandotts in two tribes—Change in the dynasty—Form of government—Manslaughter and the avenger of blood—A singular example—Towns of refuge– An example—Law about property sold—A case where the author was concerned—Law about theft—Theft formerly almost unknown–Sanguinary law against murder—Its beneficial effect—Witchcraft—Case of a young man bewitched by wolves—Stewart and a witch—Horrible death inflicted on her—Games—Their religion—Believe in two Gods— In future rewards and punishment-in inspiration—Seneca prophet–