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race of men, whose happiness materially depends on the conduct of the United States, would be as honorable to the national character, as conformable to the dictates of sound policy.
I am clearly in sentiment with her Ladyship,* that Christianity will never make any progress among the Indians, or work any considerable reformation in their principles, until they are brought to a state of greater civilization. And the mode by which she means to attempt this, as far as I have been able to give it consideration, is as likely to succeed, as any other that could have been devised, and may, in time, effect the great and benevolent objects of her Ladyship's wishes. But that love of ease, impatience under any sort of control, and disinclination to any sort of pursuit but those of hunting and of war, would discourage any person, possessed of less piety, zeal, and philanthropy, than are characteristic of Lady Huntington.
In proportion as the general government of the United States shall acquire strength by duration, it is probable they may have it in their power, to extend a salutary influence to the Aborigines in the extremities of their territory. In the mean time, it will be a desirable thing, for the protection of the Union, to co-operate, as far as circumstances may conveniently
* The Countess of Huntington, who proposed to establish Christian settlements among the Indians.
admit, with the disinterested efforts of your Society,* to civilize and Christianize the savages of the wilder
If an event so long and so earnestly desired, as that of converting the Indians to Christianity, and consequently to civilization, can be effected, the Society of Bethlehem † bids fair to bear a very considerable part in it.
Impressed as I am with the opinion, that the most effectual means of securing the permanent attachment of our savage neighbors, is to convince them that we are just, and to show them, that a proper and friendly intercourse with us would be for our mutual advantage, I cannot conclude, without giving you my thanks, for your pious and benevolent wishes to effect this desirable end, upon the mild principles of religion and philanthropy. And when a proper occasion shall offer, I have no doubt that such measures will be pursued, as may seem best calculated to communicate liberal instruction, and the blessings of society, to their untutored minds.
* The Society of the United Brethren for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen.
A Moravian settlement in the State of Pennsylvania.
Archbishop Carroll, of the Roman Catholic Church, who pro
posed to Christianize the savages.
Should any efforts of mine, to procure information respecting the different dialects of the aborigines of America, serve to reflect a ray of light on the obscure subject of language in general, I shall be highly gratified. I love to indulge the contemplation of human nature, in a progressive state of improvement and amelioration; and, if the idea would not be considered visionary and chimerical, I could fondly hope, that the present plan of the great potentate of the North might, in some measure, lay the foundation for that assimilation of manners and interests, which should, one day, remove many of the causes of hostility from among mankind.
To know the affinity of tongues, seems to me to be one step towards promoting the affinity of nations.
*The Empress of Russia, Catharine the Second, who was compiling a Universal Dictionary. She obtained, through Washington, vocabularies of the Delaware and Shawnese languages.
5. CHRISTIAN CHARITIES.
Public Charities and benevolent Associations for the gratuitous relief of every species of distress, are peculiar to Christianity; no other system of civil or religious policy has originated them; they form its highest praise and characteristic feature. C. C. COLTON.
I had orders from General Washington, to fill a corn-house every year, for the sole use of the poor in my neighborhood, to whom it was a most seasonable and precious relief, saving numbers of poor women and children from extreme want, and blessing them with plenty. J. PEAKE.
Let the hospitality of the house, with respect to the poor, be kept up. Let no one go hungry away. If any of this kind of people should be in want of corn, supply their necessities, provided it does not encourage them in idleness. And I have no objection to your giving my money in charity, to the amount of forty or fifty pounds a year, when you think it well bestowed. What I mean by having no objection is, that it is my desire it should be done.
You must consider, that neither myself nor my wife is now in the way to do these good offices. In all other respects, I recommend it to you, and have no doubt of your observing the greatest economy and frugality, as I suppose you know that I do not get a
*This direction is addressed to the manager of his estates, Lund Washington.
farthing for my services here, more than my expenses. It becomes necessary, therefore, for me to be saving at home.
WIDOWS AND ORPHANS.
I am at a loss, for whose benefit to apply the little I can give, and in whose hands to place it; whether for the use of the fatherless children and widows, made so by the late calamity,* who may find it difficult, whilst provisions, wood, and other necessaries are so dear, to support themselves; or to other and better purposes, if any, I know not, and therefore have taken the liberty of asking your † advice. 1794.
I will direct my manager to pay my annual donation, for the education of Orphan Children, or the children of Indigent Parents, who are unable to be at the expense themselves. I had pleasure in appropriating this money to such uses, as I always shall have in paying it.
Mrs. H. should endeavor to do what she can for herself. This is the duty of every one. But you must not let her suffer, as she has thrown herself upon
* An epidemic fever at Philadelphia.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Wm. White, Protestant Episcopalian Bishop of Pennsylvania, and Rector of the church which Washington attended, when in Philadelphia.
+ His agent.