July 22, 2015

Speech by Farmer’s Brother at Genesse River, November 21, 1798


The following speech was delivered in a public council at Genesse River, November 21, 1798, by Ho-na-ya-wus, commonly called Farmer’s brother; and, after being written as interpreted, it was signed by the principal chiefs present, and sent to the legislature of the state of New-York.


“Brothers—As you are once more assembled in council for the purpose of doing honour to yourselves, and justice to your country ; we, your brothers, the sachems, chiefs, and warriors of the Seneca nation, request you to open your ears and give attention to our voice and witness.” 

“Broihers—You will recollect the late contest between you and your father, the great king of England. This contest threw the inhabitants of this whole island into a great tumult and commotion, like a raging whirlwind which tears up the trees, and tosses to and fro the leaves, so that no one knows from whence they come, or where they will fall.”

“Brothers—This whirlwind was so directed by the Great Spirit above, as to throw into our arms two of your infant children, Jasper Parrish, and ‘Horatio Jones, We adopted them into our families and made them our children. We loved them and nourished them. They lived with us many years. At length, the Great Spirit spoke to the whirlwind, and it was still. A clear and uninterrupted sky appeared. The path of peace was opened, and the chain of friendship was once more made bright. Then these our adopted children left us, to seek their relations. We wished them to remain among us, and promised, if they would return and live in our country, to give each of them a seat of land for them and their children to sit down upon.”

“Brothers—They have returned, and have, for Several years past, been serviceable to us as interpreiers. We still feel our hearts beat with elation for them, and now wish to fulfil the promise we made them, and to reward them foi’ their services. We have, therefore, made np onr minds to give them a seat of two square miles of land, lying on the outlet of Lake Erio, about three miles below Black Rock, beginning at the mouthof a creek known by the name of Scoy-gu-quoydes creek, ruHuing one mile from the river Niagara, up said creek, thence northerly, as the riverruns, two miles; thenc« westerly owe mile, to the river ; thence up the river, as the river runs, two miles, to the place of beginning, so as to contain two square miles.”

“Brothers—We have now made known to you our minds. We expect, and earnestly request, that you will permit our friends to receive this our gift, and will make the same good to them, according to the laws and customs of your nation.”

“Brothers—Why should you hesitate to make our minds easy with regard to this our request ? To you it is but a little tlilng, and have you not complied with the request, and confirmed the gift of our brothers the Oneidas, the Onondagas, and Cayugas, to their interpreters? And shall we ask and not be heard ?”

“Brothers—We send you this our speech, to which we expect your answer before the breaking up of your great council fire.”

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