McClure Advocates Methods of Civilizing Indians to Knox

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CollectionPierpont Morgan Library: Henry Knox Papers view image
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Document Information
Date October 22, 1792
Author Name Reverend David McClure (primary) Location: East Windsor
Recipient Name Henry Knox (primary)
Summary Letter, discusses frontiers and pioneer life; discusses Indians and Indian life; mentions publication on moral law; discusses racial intermarriage and Christianity to civilize Indians; discusses race issues. Proposes focusing on children, particularly boys, and immersing them in white culture. Mentions Indians in New England.
Document Format Autograph Letter Signed
Document Notes Partly illegible.
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Henry Knox; David McClure; Kirkland; Sargeant; Sergeant; poor; settlers; Indians; savages; white men; white women; British; children; citizens; Canada Indians; French; missionaries; boys; farmers; tribes; Narraganset; Mohegan; Stockbridge; Oneida; Onoida; Delaware; Ohio; ;
Related Places East Windsor; Ohio; Narraganset; Rhode Island; Boston; New England; frontiers; Canada; Indian Country; New Jersey; western posts; ;
Keywords alliance; arts; industry; morality; religion; husbandry; hostile disposition; implements; mechanical trades; intermarriage; law; civilization; language; pubic expense; spinning wheels; clothing; axes; hoes; annual donations; trading houses; school; legal claim; ;
Key Phrases honorable board of correspondents; insurmountable difficulties have frustrated the wisest plans that have been attempted; spirit of the country is high against Indian barbarity; spread the blessings of peace and security to the wilderness; attempt the extirpation of its inhabitants; nation suffer most in the tenderest and most vulnerable parts; list of brave men that must fall in the dreadful conflicts; thoughts in the present crisis; repel by utmost force their cruel & sanguinary purposes; result of reflections of long standing on Indian affairs; regard not the feeble shafts of malice; disappointed ambition; consciousness of integrity is our best defense; judicious men express most uneasiness that the western posts are still detained; hostile Indians receive supplies, comfort and assistance to annoy & distress us; wisdom of those who are at the helm of government; favored people of these states who now flourish on the soil that once supported their tawny ancestors; establishment of missions among the Ohio Indians; Indians have no legal claim to this attention; debt we owe to humanity; divine author of universal philanthropy who has by the luster of his example & the sublimest precepts taught us to feed and cloath our enemies; Indian farmer; removed into the country of the Oneidas; subsist primarily by husbandry; house was comfortable and his family hospitable living in the mode of white people; years past many Indian youths of both sexes have lived among the English and been instructed & have adopted our language and manners, but returning back to their own country they see nothing that they have learned among us; laughed out of their civil manners and again embraced the savage manners of their own people; stream has been too powerful were they disposed to struggle against it; cherish the principles of civilization; Six nations; Indians are most attached to those who supply their present wants; donations of cloathing; axes; horse; trading houses be established to supply the articles; custom invited by underselling especially all foreigners with whom they now traffic; tribes to whom we have access; happier condition would speedily open the eyes of those that are now hostile; incline them upon every principle of interest & happiness to ask our friendship and alliance; wild nature of indians may be civilized; they must be gradually and gently led along invited and assisted and feel a present advantage for they have little regard to futurity; habit of the savage state; remnants of Nanagansets, Mohegan & stockbridge indian tribes; cultivation of the ground; support themselves by husbandry; chief assistance they have had from the white people has been an exemption from public taxes and also a supply of missionaries; propagation of Christianity; schools for the instruction of their children might easily be introduced and being thus far induced to think favourably of civilization; prepared for their conversion to Christianity; labours of pious and judicious missionaries; habitations of cruelty become the dwelling places of righteousness; nations ready to perish rise up & bless the generous promoters of the divine charity; suggest but two impediments; number of steady and skillful farmers; sent into the Indian country; never claim as their property; furnished with spinning wheels and looms for domestic manufacture; prejudices subside and join to promote the work of reformation; hostile disposition of the indians; supposed dishonor; work might be gradual; intermarriages should be patronized by government and the adventures & their children deemed reputable by law & equally intitled to the privileges of citizens with the inhabitants of the states; proposed pension to the adventurers & provision for the education of their children; experiment would perhaps most successfully commence among the people bordering on the frontiers or in vicinity of the tribes who may now be in alliance with us; habits of familiar acquaintance may dispose the white people there to feel less aversion to the colour and the Indian manners; furnished with some of the most necessary implements of husbandry and their respective trades; produce of their labour be distributed among the indians; instances of intermarriages with the french; marriages in contemplation should be sanctioned by law and equally binding with those among ourselves; licencious intercourse would prevail and frustrate the good proposed; every family of Indians in a tribe or town what should have a certain number of such intermarriages within the same should perhaps be entitled to a donation to a certain amount annually; inclined to till the ground or learn mechanical trades furnished with necessary implements and tools; business should be managed without public notoriety and by judicious men; officers in the army; few among either the soldiers or frontier settlers of sober morals who would be willing to engage; New England Indians; instruct them in husbandry and the arts; plan you have hinted at in your letter; British or American people; incorporation of white men and women with them by intermarriages; entertain no reasonable doubt of the future attachment to us as friendly allies; extension of the blessings of civilization; young men of virtuous manners & industrious habits could be found willing to engage; persons of this character would answer the design proposed; connections among the tribes; tame & civilize the Indians and render them valuable members of society; communications on the subject of Indian affairs; contain much valuable information; thoughts appear to be extremely just and benevolent; humanize the savage dispositions of the Indians; dispose them to a peaceable and friendly alliance; embrace our useful arts; precepts of wisdom; glorious labor; attempts have been made heretofore by enlightened & liberal men to accomplish this; success has fell short of their expectations; national ground to hope that any valuable purpose can be answered; attempts to civilize; savage state; embracing the christian system; practice the wishes of that system; virtue of industry in the labours necessary to build up & support families & society; taught the principles of morality & religion; several discouragements have appeared in the way of their receiving the arts of civilization; inability in their state of poverty to furnish themselves with the necessary implements and means particularly of husbandry; want of sober and skillful men; received your kind & obliging letter; most hearty thanks for the indearing pledge of a friendship which my heart ardently reciprocates; strengthens with time; good wine grows better by age; under much obligation to you; favorable notice which you are pleased to shew my intended publication on the moral law; respect you more for the benevolent motives which excite you; distribution of a number of them; gone forth with a laudable zeal to settle the new country; fall short of your just expectations; acceptable and useful to those whose welfare you seek;
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