A Ramble of Six Thousand Miles through the United States of America eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 172 pages of information about A Ramble of Six Thousand Miles through the United States of America.

On the Osage fork of the Merrimack river, there are two settlements of the Delawares, to the neighbourhood of which these Indians intend to remove.

Near the Delaware reserve, I fell in with a young Indian, apparently about twenty years of age, and we journeyed together for several miles through the forest.  He spoke English fluently, and conformed as far as his taste would permit him, to the habits of the whites.  His dress consisted of a blue frock coat, blue cloth leggings, moccasins, a shawl tied about the head, and a red sash round his waste.  In conversation, I asked him if he were not a Cayuga—­:  “No,” says he, “an Oneida,” placing both his hands on his breast—­“a clear Oneida.”  I could not help smiling at his national pride;—­yet this is man:  in every country and condition he is proud of his descent, and loves the race to which he belongs.  This Oneida was a widow’s son.  He had sixteen acres of cleared land, which, with occasional assistance, he cultivated himself.  When the produce was sold, he divided the proceeds with his mother, and then set out, and travelled until his funds were exhausted.  He had just then returned from a tour to New York and Philadelphia, and had visited almost every city in the Union.  As Guedeldk—­that was the Oneida’s name—­and I were rambling along, we met a negro who was journeying in great haste—­he stopped to inquire if we had seen that day, or the day previous, any nigger-woman going towards the lake.  I had passed the day before two waggon loads of negros, which were being transported, by the state, to Canada.  A local law prohibits the settlement of people of colour within the state of Ohio, which was now put in force, although it had remained dormant for many years.

There was much hardship in the case of this poor fellow.  He had left his family at Cincinnati, and had gone to work on the canal some eighteen or twenty miles distant.  He had been absent about a week; and on his return he found his house empty, and was informed that his wife and children had been seized, and transported to Canada.  The enforcement of this law has been since abandoned; and I must say, although the law itself is at variance with the Constitution of the United States, which is paramount to all other laws, that its abandonment is due entirely to the good feeling of the people of Ohio, who exclaimed loudly against the cruelty of the measure.

FOOTNOTES: 

[1] De Witt Clinton, speaking of the Iroquois, or five nations, says, “Their exterior relations, general interests, and national affairs, were conducted and superintended by a great council, assembled annually in Onondaga, the central canton, composed of the chiefs of each republic; and eighty sachems were frequently convened at this national assembly.  It took cognizance of the great questions of war and peace; of the affairs of the tributary nations, and their negotiations with the French and English colonies.  All their proceedings were conducted with great deliberation, and were distinguished for order, decorum, and solemnity.  In eloquence, in dignity, and in all the characteristics of profound policy, they surpassed the assembly of feudal barons, and perhaps were not inferior to the great Amphictyonic Council of Greece.”

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A Ramble of Six Thousand Miles through the United States of America from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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