Friday, January 20, 2012

Making Men

1784  by Benjamin Franklin in Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America : the Treaty of Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, anno  1744, between the Government of Virginia and the Six Nations...the Commissoners from Virginia acquainted the Indians by a Speech, that there was at Williamsburg a College, with a Fund for Educating Indian youth; and that, if the Six Nations would send down half a dozen of their young Lads to that College, the Government would take care that they should be well provided for, and instructed in all the Learning of the White People.  It is one of the Indian Rules of Politeness not to answer a public Proposition the same day that it is made ... they show it Respect by taking time to consider it ... They therefore deferr'd their Answer till the Day following; when their Speaker began by expressing their deep Sense of the kindness of the Virginia Government, in making them that Offer; 'For we know,' says he, 'that you highly esteem the kind of Learning taught in those Colleges, and that the Maintenance of our young Men, while with you, would be very expensive to you.  We are convinc'd, therefore, that you mean to do us Good by your Proposal; and we thank you heartily.  But you, who are wise, must know that different Nations have different Conceptions of things, and you will therefore not take it amiss, if our Ideas of this kind of Education happen not to be the same with yours.  We have had some Experience of it ; Several of our young People were formerly brought up at the Colleges of the Northern Provinces; they were instructed in all your Sciences; but, when they came back to us, they were bad Runners, ignorant of every means of living in the Woods, unable to bear either Cold or Hunger, knew neither how to build a Cabin, take a Deer, or kill an Enemy, spoke our Language imperfectly, were therefore neither fit for Hunters, Warriors, nor Counsellors;  they were totally good for nothing.  We are however not the less oblig'd by your kind Offer, tho' we decline accepting it; and to show our grateful Sense of it, if the Gentlemen of Virginia will send us a Dozen of their Sons, we will take great Care of their Education, instruct them in all we know, and make Men of them.'

 sharing poetry at Linda's space today. x

                                                   Celtic Memory Yarns - dyed by my pal Jo.
                                                  Who can resist such yarns? I couldn't...
                                                   psst.. go away nosey stash Leprechan !


  1. :) did I ever tell you that my dad was Cherokee Nation? I don't know much about it he was raised in a "Home for Boys"

  2. Gorgeous colours. So silky. (Its okay - I'm not a leprechan, so your stash is safe.)

  3. Oh, I adore this post and this reference (and the yarn). My husband remarks that the irony of the situation was that the Six Nations lost the war. My conclusion is that the sciences were the very thing they lacked - that, and numbers. But what an answer. And what a shaking out of perspective. You've made my day. In the middle of all this political wrangling and religious pointing of fingers and men trying to climb on the shoulders of other men, regardless to the cost of all, this paragraph was a joy. Thank you.