The first form of government in West-Jersey, under the proprietors; The

first laws they made; The method of regulating land affairs; and a further

account of the Indians found in the first settled part of these provinces.

The western part of New-Jersey, was now become populous, by the accession

of many settlers. Jenings, who arrived last year, about this time,

received a commission from Byllinge, (whom the proprietors in England, as

mentioned before, had chosen governor) to be his deputy: He called an

assembly, and with them agreed upon certain fundamentals of government, as



"Province of West-New-Jersey, in America, the 25th of the 9th month

called November, 1681.


"Forasmuch as it hath pleased God to bring us into this province of West-

New-Jersey, and settle us here in safety, that we may be a people, to the

praise and honour of his name, who hath so dealt with us, and for the good

and wellfare of our posterity to come: We, the governor and proprietors,

freeholders and inhabitants of West-New-Jersey, by mutual consent and

agreement, for the prevention of innovations and oppression, either upon

us, or our posterity, and for the preservation of the peace and

tranquility of the same; and that all may be encouraged to go on

chearfully in their several places; we do make and constitute these our

agreements, to be as fundamentals to us, and our posterity, to be held

inviolable; and that no person or persons whatsoever, shall or may make

void or disannul the same, upon any pretence whatsoever.


"1. That there shall be a general free assembly for the province

aforesaid, yearly and every year, at a day certain, chosen by the free

people of the said province whereon all the representatives for the said

province shall be summoned to appear, to consider of the affairs of the

said province, and to make and ordain such acts and laws as shall be

requisite and necessary for the good government and prosperity of the

free people of the said province; and (if necessity shall require) the

governor for the time being, with the consent of his council, may and

shall issue out writs to convene the assembly sooner, to consider and

answer the necessities of the people of, the said province.


"2. That the governor of the province aforesaid, his heirs or successors,

for the time being, shall not suspend or defer the signing, sealing and

confirming of such acts and laws as the general assembly (from time to

time to be elected by the free people of the province aforesaid) shall

make or enact for the securing of the liberties and properties of the said

free people of the province aforesaid.


"3. That it shall not be lawful for the governor of the said province,

his heirs or suceessors, for the time being, and council, or any of them,

at any time or times hereafter, to make or raise war upon any account or

pretence whatsoever, or to raise any military forces within the province

aforesaid; without the consent and act of the general free assembly, for

the time being.


"4. That it shall not be lawful for the governor of the said province,

his heirs or successors, for the time being, and council, or any of them,

at any time or times hereafter, to make or enact any law or laws for the

said province, without the consent, act and concurrence of the general

assembly: And if the governor for the time being, his heirs or successors,

and council, or any of them, shall attempt to make or enact any such law

or laws, of him or themselves, without the consent, act and concurrence of

the general assembly; that from thenceforth, he, they, or so many of them,

as shall be guilty thereof, shall upon legal conviction, be deemed and

taken for enemies to the free people of the said province; and such act so

attempted to be made, to be of no force.


"5. That the general free assembly, from time to time, to be chosen as

aforesaid, as the representatives, of the people, shall not be prorogued

or dissolved, before the expiration of one whole year, to commence from

the day of their election, without their own free consent.


"6. That it shall not be lawful for the governor of the said province, his

heirs or successors, for the time being, and council, or any of them, to

levy or raise any sum or sums of money, or any other, tax whatsoever;

without the act, consent and concurrence of the general Assembly.


"7. That all officers of state or trust, relating to the said Province,

shall be nominated and elected by the general free assembly for the time

being, or by their appointment; which officer and officers, shall be

accountable to the general free assembly, or to such as the said assembly

shall appoint.


"8. That the governor of the province aforesaid, his heirs or successors,

for the time being, or any of them, shall not send ambassadors, or make

treaties, or enter into alliances, upon the public account of the said

province, without the consent of the said general free assembly.


"9. That no general free assembly hereafter to be chosen by the free

people of the province aforesaid, shall give to the governor of the said

Province for the time being, his heirs or successors, any tax or custom for

longer time than for one whole year.


"10. That liberty of conscience, in matters of faith and worship towards

God, shall be granted to all people within the province aforesaid, who

shall live peaceably, and quietly therein; and that none of the free

people of the said province, shall be rendered uncapable of office in

respect of their faith and worship.


"Upon the governor's acceptance and performance of the proposals herein

before expressed, we the general free assembly, proprietors and

freehohiers of the province of West New-Jersey aforesaid, do accept and

receive Samuel Jenings, as Deputy Governor.


In testimony whereof I have hereunto put my hand and seal, the day and

year above written,


"Samuel Jenings, Deputy Governor.


"Subscribed also Thomas Olive, Speaker."


This assembly was held from the 21st 'till the 28th of November, and passed

six and thirty laws (beside the above) many of which were repealed in a

few years afterwards: Some of them were in substance, - That it should be

the business of the governor and commissioners to see that all courts

executed their offices, and to punish such officers as should violate the

laws: - That lands legally taken up and held, planted and possessed seven

years, should not be subject to alteration: -That all officers of trust

should subscribe to do equal right and justice: - That no person should be

condemned or hurt, without a trial of twelve men; and that in criminal

cases, the party arraigned to except against thirty-five, or more upon

valid reasons: - That in every court, three justices or commissioners at

least, to sit and assist the jury, in cases of law; and pronounce the

judgment of the jury: -That false witnesses be fined, and disabled from

being after admitted in evidence, or into any public office in the

province: - That persons prosecuting for private wrong (murder, treason

and theft excepted) might remit the penalty or punishment either before or

after condemnation: - That juries should be summoned by the sheriff, and

none be compelled to fee an attorney to plead his cause: - That all wills

should be first proved and registered, and then duly performed: - That

upon persons dying intestate, and leaving a wife and child, or children,

the governor and commissioners for the time being, were to take security,

that the estate shonId be duly administered, and the administrator to

secure two thirds for the child or children, the other to the widow; where

there was no children, one moiety or half the estate, was to go to the

next of kin, the other half to the widow; always provided, such estate

exceeded one hundred pounds; otherwise the widow to have the whole; and in

cases of leaving children, and no provision, the charge of bringing them

up, to be paid out of the public stock: - That felons should make

restitution four fold, or as twelve of the neighbourhood should determine;

and such as hurt or abuse the person of any, be punished according to the

nature of the offence: - That whosoever presumed, directly or indirectly,

to sell any strong liquors, to any Indian or Indians, should forfeit for

every such offence, the sum of three pounds: - That ten men from

Burlington, and ten from, Salem, should be appointed to lay out and clear

a road from Burlington to Salem, at the public expence: - That two hundred

pounds should be equally levyed and appropriated for the charges of

government, upon the several tenths, twenty pounds each; every man to be

assessed according to his estate; and all handicrafts, merchants and

others, at the discretion of the assessors:


- Persons thinking themselves aggrieved, had the liberty of appealing to

the commissioners of the tenth they belonged to. These and other laws

agreed on, the commissioners next fixed the following method for

regulation of lands.


"The methods of the commissioners for settling and regulation of lands.


"We whose names are hereunder written, commissioners nominated, elected

and chosen by the free assembly, proprietors and freeholders of the

province of West-New-Jersey, the 23d day of November last past, for the

settling and regulating of lands, and other concerns within the said

province; do by and with the approbation and consent of the governor of

the said province, and council, in pursuance of the said trust in us

reposed, hereby fully agree upon these rules and methods herein after

following: (that is to say)


"1. That the surveyor shall measure the front of the river Delaware,

beginning at Assunpink creek, and from thence down to Cape May, that

the point of the compass may be found for the running the partition lines

betwixt each tenth.


"2. That each and every tenth, or ten proprieties, shall have their

proportion of front to the river Delaware, and so far back into the woods

as will make or contain sixty-four thousand acres for their first

settlement, and for the sub-dividing the Yorkshire and London two tenths.


"3. To allow three thousand and two hundred acres where the parties

concerned please to chuse it within their own tenth; to be taken up

according to the rules or methods following, viz. One eighth part of a

propriety, and so for smaller parts, to have their full proportion of the

said land in one place (if they please) and greater purchasers or shares

not to exceed five hundred acres, to one settlement.


"4. All lands so taken up and surveyed, shall be seated within six months

after it is so taken up; and if the same shall not be seated within the

said time, then such choice and survey shall be void, and the same lands

shall be free for any other purchaser to take up; provided he or they so

taking up the same, do, or shall seat it, within one month after it is so

taken up.


"5. That no person or persons shall take up lands on both sides of a

creek, to one settlement, except the commissioners for the time being,

shall see good cause for their so doing.


"6. That no person or persons shall have more than forty perches front to

the river, or navigable creek, for each and every one hundred acres,

except it fall upon a point, so that it cannot otherwise be avoided; and

in such cases it shall be left to the discretion of the commissioners then

for the time being.


"7. That all lands be laid out on straight lines, that no vacancies be

left between lands, but that they be joined one seat to another, except the

commissioners then for the time being, shall for good causes order it



"8. That all persons shall take their just proportions of meadow, which

shall be laid forth at the discretion of the commissioners then for the

time being.


"9. That all persons who are already seated, shall have liberty to make

his settlement his choice, if he please; provided he or they observe and

follow the rule or method herein prescribed.


"10. That every proprietor shall have four hundred acres to a propriety,

and so proportionably to lesser qnantities for their town lot, over and

above their aforesaid three thousand two hundred acres; which may be taken

any where within their own tenth, either within or without the town bounds.


"11. That no person or persons who have already taken up a town lot, shall

have liberty to leave it, and take a lot elsewhere, but shall keep the

same he hath taken up, as his town lot.


"12. That Thomas Wright shall keep his settlement, containing four hundred

acres; and that the commissioners for Yorkshire side, shall allow to the

town bounds, three hundred acres, to be taken up adjoining to the town

bounds, on Lazy Point, in lieu thereof.


"13. That no purchaser shall take up more land within the town bounds,

than belongs to his town lot, by virtue of his purchase.


"14. That no person or persons (who are not purchasers to whom town lot or

lots are given) shall dispose of; or sell his or their said lot or lots of

land, from their house or houses respectively; and that if any such person

or persons as aforesaid, shall dispose of; or sell such said lot or lots

apart from his or their said house or houses, then such said sale of lot

or lots shall be void and of no effect; and the same lot or lots shall from

thence become forfeit, to the use of the town of Burlington, to be

disposed of therein, at the discretion of the commissioners then for the

time being.


"15. That no person or persons from hence forward, shall take up any land,

without special order from two or more of the commissioners for the time

being, first had and obtained.


"16. That all and every settlement and settlements already made, which are

not consonant and agreeable to the rules and methods aforesaid, shall be

liable to regulation, according to the said rules and methods.


"17. That the proprietors who are yet remaining in England, shall have

notice, that we find it necessary for the speedy settlement of this

province, and for the interest of all concerned therein, to allow to every

propriety as aforesaid, three thousand two hundred acres for our first

choice; and in case much people shall come, as may be reasonably expected,

who have purchased no land in England, and desire to settle amongst us;

that then we reserve liberty to take up so much land more as shall fall to

every propriety, not exceeding five thousand and two hundred acres, which

was allowed to us for our first settlement: Provided nevertheless, that

none shall take up any proportion of land, but as they shall settle it, or

cause it to be settled; which is to be done after the aforesaid three

thousand two hundred acres shall be justly taken up and settled.


"18. That all publick highways shall be set forth, at any time or times

hereafter, at the discretion, of the commissioners for the time being, in

or through any lands taken up, or to be taken up; allowing the owners of

such lands where such publick highways shall be laid forth, reasonable

satisfaction at the discretion of the commissioners, in lieu thereof.


"19. Yet nevertheless, it is hereby commended and agreed by the authority

aforesaid, that the rules and methods herein before agreed on, shall not

make void or disannul, all or any settlement or settlements heretofore

made, in the Yorkshire tenth, who have seated according to a former

agreement, viz. Not having taken up more than fifty perches for each and

every hundred acres on the river or navigable creek, and having kept their

due breadth and bound from the river or creek.


"Signed and sealed the 5th December, 1681, by Samuel Jenings, governor,

Thomas Olive, Thomas Budd, Robert Stacy, Benjamin Scott, Thomas Gardiner,

Daniel Wills, Mahlon Stacy, Thomas Lambert.


"20. That all persons who have already taken up any lands, within the

first and second tenth in this province, shall bring in their deeds or

writings, to shew their title to such lands as they have taken up to

Benjamin Scott, Robert Stacy, Thomas Budd, and Thomas Gardiner, on or

before the twelfth day of this instant January, next ensuing the day of

the date hereof.


"21. That all person or persons hereafter to take up land within the said

first and second tenth, shall first make application to the said Benjamin

Scott, Robert Stacy, Thomas Budd, and Thomas Gardiner, or any two of them;

and shall also before the said commissioners solemnly declare and aver,

upon the penalty of the law of perjury, to pass against them, that the

quantity or portion of land contained in their respective Deeds or other

Writings, do really and in good conscience, belong and appertain to him or

them so requiring a warrant or warrants, for laying forth his or their

land; so as the said commissioners may be thereby satisfied with the

justness of his or their title thereto; then, and not before, the said

commissioners or any two of them, shall and may grant out a warrant to the

surveyor or his deputy, to lay out and survey the respective proportion of

land to him or them due and appertaining as aforesaid; enjoining the

surveyor or his deputy, to make return of his said warrant and survey, at

the next court after such warrant granted, to be held at Burlington; that

the same may be registered by order of the said court.


"22. That all proprietors and purchasers, within the said first and second

tenths, shall and may have liberty to take his and their full proportions

of land as before within is agreed upon, of the first and second choice in

one place; provided he or they so doing take not up more than five hundred

acres of land in one settlement.


"Witness our hands and seals, the 14th day of the eleventh month, 1681.









It would be vain to pretend to give a particular account of all the

different tribes or nations of Indians that inhabited these provinces

before the Europeans came among them, there being probably a tribe in some

parts, for every ten or twenty miles, which were commonly distinguished by

the names of creeks or other noted places where they resided; thus, there

were the Assunpink,1 the Rankokas,2 the Mingo,3 the Andastaka, the

Neshamine, and the Shackamaxon Indians; and those about Burlington were

called the Mantas;4 but these and others were all of them distinguished

from the back Indians, who were a more warlike people, by the general name

of the Delawares: The nations most noted from home, that sometimes

inhabited New-Jersey, and the first settled parts of Pennsylvania, were

the Naraticongs, on the North side of Rariton River, the Capitinasses, the

Gacheos, the Munseys, the Pomptons, the Senecas and the Maquaas;5 this

last was the most numerous and powerful: Different nations were frequently

at war with each other, of which husbandmen sometimes find remaining marks

in their fields: A little below the falls of Delaware on the Jersey side;

at Point-no-point in Pennsylvania, and several other places, were banks

that had been formerly thrown up for intrenchments, against incursions of

the neighbouring Indians, who in their canoes used sometimes to go in

warlike bodies from one province to another.


It was customary with the Indians of West-Jersey, when they buried their

dead, to put family utensils, bows and arrows, and sometimes money (wampum)

into the grave with them; as tokens of their affection. When a person of

note died far from the place of his own residence, they would carry his

bones to be buried there; they washed and perfumed the dead, painted the

face, and followed singly; left the dead in a sitting posture, and covered

the grave pyramidically: They were very curious in preserving and

repairing the graves of their dead, and pensively visited them; did not

love to be asked their judgment twice about the same thing:


They generally delighted in mirth; were very studious in observing the

virtues of roots and herbs, by which they usually cured themselves of many

bodily distempers, both by outward and inward applications: They besides

frequently used sweating, and the cold bath.6 They had an aversion to

beards, and would not suffer them to grow; but pluckd the hair out by the

roots: The hair of their heads was black, and generally shone with bear's

fat, particularly that of the women, who tied it behind in a large knot;

sometimes in a bag. They called persons and places, by the names of things

remarkable, or birds, beasts, and fish; as Per-hala, a duck; Cau-hawuk, a

goose; Quink-Quink, a tit; Pulluppa, a buck; Shingas, a wild-cat; and they

observed it as a rule, when the rattle-snake gave notice by his rattle

before they approachd, not to hurt him; but if he rattled after they had

passed, they immediately return'd and kill'd him. They were very loving to

one another; if several of them came to a christian's house, and the

master of it gave one of them victuals and none to the rest, he would

divide it into equal shares amongst his companions; if the christians

visited them, they would give them the first cut of their victuals; they

would not eat the hollow of the thigh of any thing they killed. Their

chief employment was hunting, fishing, and fowling; making canoes, bowls,

and other wooden and earthen ware; in all which they were, considering the

means, ingenious: In their earthen bowls they boiled their water.


Their women's business chiefly consisted in planting Indian corn, parching

or roasting it, pounding it to meal in mortars, or breaking it between

stones, making bread, and dressing victuals; in which they were sometimes

observed to be very neat and cleanly, and sometimes otherwise: They also

made mats, ropes, hats and baskets, (some very curious) of wild hemp and

roots, or splits of trees: Their young women were originally very modest

and shame-faced, and at marriageable ages distinguished themselves with a

kind of work'd mats, or red or blue bays, interspersed with small rows of

white and black wampum, or half rows of each in one, fastened to it, and

then put round the head, down to near the middle of the forehead: Both

young and old women would be highly offended at indecent expressions,

unless corrupted with drink. The Indians would not allow of mentioning the

name of a friend after death: They sometimes streaked their faces with

black, when in mourning; but when their affairs went well, they painted



They were great observers of the weather by the moon; delighted in fine

cloaths; were punctual in their bargains, and observed this so much in

others, that it was difficult for a person who had once failed herein, to

get any dealings with them afterwards. In their councils they seldom or

never interrupted or contradicted one another, 'till two of them had made

an end of their discourse; for if ever so many were in company, only two

must speak to each other, and the rest be silent 'till their turn: Their

language was high, lofty, and sententious: Their way of counting was by

tens, that is to say, two tens, three tens, four tens, &c. when the number

got out of their reach, they pointed to the stars, or the hair of their



They lived chiefly on maze, or Indian corn roasted in the ashes, sometimes

beaten and boiled with water, called homine; they also made an agreeable

cake of their pounded corn; and raised beans and pease; but the woods and

rivers afforded them the chief of their provisions: They pointed their

arrows with a sharpened flinty stone, and of a larger sort, with withs for

handles, out their wood; both of these sharpened stones are often found in

the fields. Their times of eating were commonly morning and evening; their

seats and tables the ground: They were naturally reserved, apt to resent,

to conceal their resentments, and retain them long; they were liberal and

generous, kind and affable to the English: They were observed to be uneasy

and impatient in sickness for a present remedy, to which they commonly

drank a decoction of roots in spring water, forbearing flesh, which if

they then eat at all, it was of the female. They took remarkable care of

one another in sickness, while hopes of life remained; but when that was

gone, some of them were apt to neglect the patient. Their government was

monarchical and successive, and mostly of the mother's side, to prevent a

spurious issue.7


They commonly washed their children in cold water as soon as born; and to

make their limbs straight, tied them to a board, and hung it to their

backs when they travelled; they usually walked at nine months old: Their

young men married at sixteen or seventeen years of age, if by that time

they had given sufficient proof of their manhood, by a large return of

skins: The girls married about thirteen or fourteen, but stay'd with their

mothers to hoe the ground, and bear burtheus, &c. for some years after

marriage: The women, in travelling, generally carried the luggage: The

marriage ceremony was sometimes thus; the relatious and friends being

present, the bridegroom delivered a bone to the bride; she an ear of Indian

corn to him, meaning that he was to provide meat, she bread: It was not

unusual notwithstanding, to change their mates upon disagreement; the

children went with the party that loved them best, the expence being of no

moment to either; in case of difference on this head, the man was allowed

the first choice if the children were divided or there was bnt one. Very

little can be said as to their religion; much pains were taken by the

early christian settlers, and frequently since, to inform their judgments

respecting the use and benefit of the christian revelation, and to fix

restraints; but generally with unpromising success, tho' instances have

now and then happened to the contrary: They are thought to have believed

in a God and immortality, and seemed to aim at publick worship; when they

did this, they sometimes sat in several circles one within another; the

action consisted of singing, jumping, shouting and dancing; but mostly

performed rather as something handed down from their ancestors, than from

any knowledge or inquiry into the serious parts of its origin: They said

the great king that made them, dwelt in a glorious country to the

southward, and that the spirits of the best should go there and live

again: Their most solemn worship was the sacrifice of the first fruits, in

which they burnt the first and fattest buck, and feasted together upon

what else they had collected; but in this sacrifice broke no bones of any

creature they eat; when done, they gathered and buried them very

carefully; these have since been frequently ploughed up: They

distinguished between a good and evil man-etta, or spirit; worshiped the

first for the good they hoped; and some of them are said to have been

slavishly dark in praying to the last for deprecation of evils they

feared; but if this be true in a general sense, some of the tribes much

conceal'd it from our settlers: They did justice upon one another for

crimes among themselves, in a way of their own; even murder might be

attoned for by feasts, and presents of wampum; the price of a woman kill'd

was double, and the reason, because she bred children, which men could not

do. If sober they rarely quarrelled among themselves; they lived to sixty,

seventy, eighty, and more, before rum was introduced, but rarely since:

Some tribes were commendably careful of their aged and decrepid,

endeavouring to make the remains of life as comfortable as they could; it

was pretty generally so, except in desperate decays; then indeed as in

other cases of the like kind, they were sometimes apt to neglect them.

Strict observers of property, yet to the last degree, thoughtless and

inactive in acquiring or keeping it: None could excel them in liberality

of the little they had, for nothing was thought too good for a friend; a

knife, gun, or any such thing given to one, frequently passed through many

hands: Their houses or wig-wams were sometimes together in towns, but

mostly moveable, and occasionally fixed near a spring or other water,

according to the conveniencies for hunting, fishing, basket making, or

other business of that sort and built with poles laid on forked sticks in

the ground, with bark, flags or bushes on the top and sides, with an

opening to the south, their fire in the middle;8 at night they slept on

the ground with their feet towards it; their cloathing was a coarse

blanket or skin thrown over the shoulder, which covered to the knee, and a

piece of the same tied round their legs, with part of a deer skin sewed

round their feet for shoes; as they had learned to live upon little, they

seldom expected or wanted to lay up much:9 They were also moderate in

asking a price for any thing they had for sale: When a company travelled

together, they generally followed each other in silence, scarcely ever,

two were seen by the side of one another; in roads the man went before

with his bow and arrow, the woman after, not uncommonly with a child at

her back, and other burdens besides; but when these were too heavy, the

man assisted. To know their walks again, in unfrequented woods, they

heaped stones or marked trees.


In person they were upright, and strait in their limbs, beyond the usual

proportion in most nations; their bodies were strong, but of a strength

rather fitted to endure hardships than to sustain much bodily labour, very

seldom crooked or deformed; their features regular; their countenances

sometimes fierce, in common rather resembling a jew than christian; the

colour of their skin a tawny reddish brown; the whole fashion of their

lives of a piece; hardy, poor and squalid:10


When they began to drink, they commonly continued it as long as the means

of procuring it lasted. In drink they often lay exposed to all the

inclemencies of weather, which introduced a train of new disorders among

them; They were grave, even to sadness upon any common, and more so upon

serious oceasious; observant of those in company, and respectful to the

old; of a temper cool and deliberate; never in haste to speak, but waited

for a certainty, that the person who spoke before them had finished all he

had to say: They seemed to hold European vivacity in contempt, because

they found such as came among them, apt to interrupt each other, and

frequently speak all together: Their behaviour in publick councils, was

strictly decent and iustructive, every one in his turn was heard,

aceording to rank of years or wisdom, or services to his country: Not a

word, a whisper, or a murmur, while any one spoke; no interruption to

commend or condemn; the younger sort were totally silent. They got fire by

rubbing wood of particular sorts, (as the antients did out of the ivy and

bays) by turning the end of a hard piece upon the side of one that was

soft and dry; to forward the heat they put dry rotten wood and leaves;

with the help of fire and their stone axes, they would fall large trees,

and afterwards scoop them into bowls, &c. From their infancy they were

formed with care to endure hardships, to bear derision, and even blows

patiently; at least with a composed countenance: Though they were

not easily provoked; it was generally hard to be appeased whenever it



Liberty in its fullest extent, was their ruling passion; to this every

other consideration was subservient; their children were train'd up so as

to cherish this disposition to the utmost; they were indulged to a great

degree, seldom chastised with blows, and rarely chided; their faults were

left for their reason and habits of the family to correct; they said these

could not be great before their reason commenced; and they seemed to abhor

a slavish motive to action, as inconsistent with their notions of freedom

and independency; even strong persuasion was industriously avoided, as

bordering too much on dependence, and a kind of violence offered to the

will: They dreaded slavery more than death: They laid no fines for crimes;

for they had no way of exacting them: The attonement was voluntary: Every

tribe had particulars in whom they reposed a confidence, and unless they

did something unworthy of it they were held in respect: What were

denominated kings, were sachems distinguished among these; the respect paid

them was voluntary, and not exacted or looked for; nor the omission



The sachems directed in their councils, and had the chief disposition of

lands. To help their memories in treaties, they had belts of black and

white wampum; with these closed their periods in speeches, delivering more

or less according to the importance of the matter treated of; this

ceremony omitted, all they said passed for nothing: They treasured these

belts when delivered to them in treaties, kept them as the records of the

nation, to have recourse to upon future contests; governed by customs and

not by laws, they greatly revered those of their ancestors, and followed

them so implicitly, that a new thought or action but seldom intruded. They

long remembered kindnesses, families or particulars that had laid

themselves out to deal with, entertain and treat them hospitably, or even

fairly in dealings, if no great kindness was received, were sure of their

trade: This also must undoubtedly be allowed, that the original and more

uncorrupt, very seldom forgot to be grateful, where real benefits had been

received. And notwithstanding the stains of perfidy and cruelty, which in

1755, and since, have disgraced the Indians on the frontiers of these

provinces, even these by an uninterrupted intercourse of seventy years,

had on many occasions, given irrefragable proofs of liberality of

sentiment, hospitality of action, and impressions 11 that seemed to

promise a continuation of better things: But of them enough at present.


Among a people so immediately necessary to each other, where property was

little, and the anxiety of increasing it less; the intercourse naturally

became free and unfettered with ceremony: Hence every one had his eye upon

his neighbour; misunderstandings and mistakes were easily rectified. No

ideas of state or grandeur; no homage of wealth, office, birth, rank or

learning; no pride of house, habit, or furniture; very little emulations

of any kind to interrupt; and so much together, they must be friends, as

far at least, as that term could be properly applied to them; this was

general in some of the tribes: Attachments of particulars to each other

were constant and steady; and in some instances far exceeding what might

be expected. Companies of them frequently got together to feast, dance,

and make merry; this sweetned the toils of hunting; excepting these toils,

and the little action before described, they scarcely knew any: A life of

dissipation and ease, of uncertainty and want, of appetite, satiety,

indolence and sleep, seemed to be the sum of the character, and chief that

they aim'd at. Notwithstanding their government was successive, it was,

for extraordinary reasons, sometimes ordered otherwise; of this there is

an instance in the old king Ockanickon, who dying about this time at

Burlington, declared himself to this effect:


"It was my desire, that my brother's son Iahkursoe, should come to me, and

hear my last words; for him have I appointed king after me.


"My brother's son, this day I deliver my heart into your bosom; and mind

me. I would have you love what is good, and keep good company; refuse what

is evil and by all means avoid bad company.


"Now having delivered my heart into your bosom, I also deliver my bosom to

keep my heart in; be sure always to walk in a good path, and if any

Indians should speak evil of Indians or christians, do not join in it, but

look at the sun from the rising of it to the setting of the same: In

speeches that shall be made between the Indians and the christians, if

any wrong or evil thing be spoken, do not join with that; but join with

the good: When speeches are made, do not you speak first; be silent and

let all speak before you, and take good notice what each man speaks, and

when you have heard all, join to that which is good.


"Brother's son, I would have you cleanse your ears, and take all foulness

out, that you may hear both good and evil, and then join with the good and

refuse the evil; and also cleanse your eyes, that you may see good and

evil, and where you see evil, do not join with it, but join to

that which is good.


"Brother's son, you have heard what has passed; stand up in time of

speeches; stand in iny steps, and follow my speeches; this do, and what

you desire in reason will be granted: Why should you not follow my

example? I have had a mind to be good and do good, therefore do you the

same: Sheoppy and Swampis were to be kings in my stead, but understanding

by my doctor, that Sheoppy secretly advised him not to cure me, and they

both being with me at John Hollinshead's house, I myself saw by them, that

they were given more to drink, than to take notice of my last words; for I

had a mind to make a speech to them, and to my brethren, the English

commissioners; therefore I refuse them to be kings after me, and have now

chosen my brother's son Iahkursoe in their stead to succeed me.


"Brother's son, I advise you to be plain and fair with all, both Indians

and christians, as I have been; I am very weak, otherwise I would have

spoken more."


After the Indian had delivered this counsel to his nephew, T. Budd, one of

the proprietors, being present, took the opportunity to remark, that there

was a great God, who created all things; that he gave an an understanding

of what was good and bad; and after this he rewarded the good with

blessings, and the bad according to their doings: He answered, it is very

true, it is so; there are two ways, a broad and a straight way; there are

two paths, a broad and a straight path; the worst and the greatest number

go in the broad, the best and fewest in the straight path. This king dying

soon afterwards, was attended to his grave in the Quakers burial place in

Burlington, with solemnity by the Indians in their manner, and with great

respect by many of the English settlers; to whom he had been a sure friend.


1 Stony Creek.


2 Lamikas, or Chichequas, was the proper Indian name; they did not

pronounce the "r" at all.


3 Indian knowledge about the weather were received topicks of onversation;

some of their maxims have been found as generally true, as things of that

kind commonly are. If Jacob Taylor's intelligence be right, they also

predicted: A sachem of this tribe (he says) being observed to look at the

great comet, which appeared the first of October 1680, and asked, what he

thought was the meaning of that prodigious appearance? answered gravely,

It signifies that we Indians shall melt away, and this country be

inhabited by another people. How this Indian came by his knowledge without

the learned Whiston's astronomical tables, or whether he had any

knowledge, is not so material. He will however  be allowed as good a right

to pretend to it, when the event is considered, as the other had in his

conjectures concerning the cause of Noah's flood: This at least 'till the

regularity of the comets motions are better, known. But we see greater

names have had their prognosticating sentiments concerning them. Hence Dr.

Young in his paraphrase on that chapter of Job, where the almighty

challenges the patriarch on the weakness of man,


Who drew the comet out to such a size

And pourd his flaming train o'er half the skies?

Did thy resentment hang him out, does he

Glare on the nations, and denounce from thee?


4 Frogs, a creek or two in Gloucester county, are called Manta or Mantau,

from a larger tribe that resided there; the Indians were probably both of

the same stock.


5 The Five Nations before the sixth was added; but few of these had their

residence in New-Jersey: They are supposed to have been sometimes in

fishing seasons among the others here; the Dutch called them Mahakuase

[prob. Mohawks - Ed. note].


6 The manner was to first inclose the patient in a narrow cabbin, in the

midst of which was a red hot stone, this frequently wet with water,

occasioned a warm vapour; the patient sufficiently wet with this and his

own sweat, was hurried to the next creek or river, and plunged into it;

this was repeated as often as necessary, and sometimes great cures

performed. But this rude method at other times killed, notwithstanding the

hardy natures of the patients; especially in the small pox and other

European disorders.


7 That is, the children of him now king, will not succeed, but his brother

by the mother, or children of his sister, whose sons (and after them the

male children of her daughters) were to reign; for no woman inherited.


8 "From the years 1300 to 1500, in the towns of France, Germany, and

England, they had scarce any but thatched houses; and the same might be

said of the poorer towns in Italy: And altho' those countries were over-

run with woods, they had not as yet learned to guard against the cold, by

the means of chimneys, (the kitchen excepted) an invention so useful and

ornamental to our modern apartments. The custom then was, for the whole

family to sit in the middle of a smoaky hall, round a large stove, the

funnel of which passed through the ceiling. Anderson's hist. and

chronological deduction of commerce.


9 Sir William Temple somewhere says, an Indian once put the question to a

christian, to give him a reason, why he should labour hard all his days to

mak his children idle all theirs?


10 Uncultivated as these people are, in many of their practices, when it

is considered how others have refined from circumstances equally low and

sordid, if not quite so savage; it seems to open a door of hope with

regard to some of these. If we look into Europe, we shall find that even

in their present state, they are not an absolutely singular character.

Vid. Hist. of Ireland, by F. Warner, L.L. D. lately published, &c.


11 Witness the first reception of the English, the purchases afterwards,

their former undeviating candor at treaties in Pennsylvania, and other



Extract of a letterfrom C. W. Indian interpreter of a neighboring

government, to C. S. printer.


"I write this to give an account of what I have observed amongst the

indians, in relation to their belief and confidence in a divine Being,

according to the observations I have made from 1714, in time of my youth,

to this day. If by the word religion, people mean an assent to certain

creeds, or the observance of a set of religious duties, as appointed

prayers, singing, preaching, baptism, &c. or even heathenish worship; then

it may be said, the Five Nations and their neighbours have no religion;

but if by religion, we mean an attraction of the soul to God, whence

proceeds a confidence in, and hunger after the knowledge of him; then this

people must be allowed to have some religion amongst them, notwithstanding

their sometimes savage deportment. For we find amongst them some tracts of

a confidence in God alone, and even sometimes (though but seldom) a vocal

calling upon him: I shall give one or two instances of this, that fell

under my own observation.


In the year 1737, I was sent, for the first time, to Onondago, at the

desire of the governor of Virginia; I set out the latter end of February,

very unexpectedly, for a journey of 500 English miles, through a

wilderness where there was neither road nor path, and at such a time of

year, when creatures could not be met with for food; there were a Dutchman

and three Indians with me. When we were 150 miles on our journey, we came

into a narrow valley, about half a mile broad, and thirty long, both sides

of which were encompassed with high mountains, on which the snow lay about

three feet deep; in it ran a stream of water, also about three feet deep,

which was so crooked that it always extended from one side of the valley

to the other; in order to avoid wading so often through the water, we

endeavoured to pass along on the slope of the mountain; the snow three

feet deep, and so hard froze on the top, that we could walk upon it: We

were obliged to make holes in the snow, with our hatchets, that our feet

might not slip down the mountain; and thus we crept on. It happened that

the old Indian's foot slipt, and the root of a tree by which he held,

breaking, he slid down the mountain as from the roof of an house; but

happily was stopt in his fall, by the string which fastened his pack

hitching to the stump of a small tree. The two Indians could not come to

his aid, but our Dutch fellow traveller did; and that not without visible

danger of his own life: I also could not put a foot forward, 'till I was

help'd; after which we laid hold of the first opportunity to go down again

into the valley; which was not 'till after we laboured hard for half an

hour, with hands and feet: We had observed a tree that lay directly off

from where the Indian fell, and when we were come down into the valley

again, we went back about one hundred paces, where we saw, that if the

Indian had slip'd four or five paces further, he would have fell over a

rock one hundred feet perpendicular, upon craggy pieces of rocks below.

The Indian was astonishd, and turn'd quite pale, then with out stretched

arms and great earnestness, spoke these words, I thank the great lord and

governor of this world, in that he has had mercy upon me, and has been

willing that I should live longer; which words I at that time sat down in

my journal: This happened the 25th of March, 1737.


"The 9th of April following, while we were yet on the journey, I found

myself extremely weak, through the fatigue of so long a journey, and the

cold and hunger I had suffered; and there having fallen a fresh snow of

about twenty inches deep, also being yet three days journey from Onondago,

in a frightful wilderness; my spirit failed, my body trembled and shook; I

thought I should fall down and die; I step'd aside, and sat me down under

a tree, expecting there to die: My companions soon missed me; the Indians

came back, and found me sitting there: I told them in one word, I would go

no further, I would die there. They remained silent a while, at last the

old Indian said, My dear companion, thou hast hitherto encouraged us, wilt

thou now quite give up? Remember that evil days are better than good days;

for when we suffer much we do not sin; and sin will be drove out of us by

suffering; but good days cause men to sin, and God cannot extend his mercy

to them; but contrarywise, when it goeth evil with us, God hath cempassion

upon us. These words made me ashamed; I rose up, and travelled on as well

as I could.


"The next year I went another journey to Onondago, in company with Joseph

Spanhenberg, and two others. It happened that an Indian came to us in the

evening, who had neither shoes, stockings, shirt, gun, knife, nor hatchet;

in a word, he had nothing but and old torn blanket, and some rags, upon

enquiring whither he was going? he answered to Onondago. I knew him, and

asked how he could undertake to go a journey of three hundred miles, so

naked and unprovided; having no provisions, nor any arms to kill

creatures, for his sustenance? he answered he had been amongst enemies,

and had been obliged to save himself by flight, and so had lost all. This

was true in part; for he had disposed of some of his things amongst the

Irish, for strong liquors. Upon further talk, he told me very chearfully;

that God fed every thing which had life, even the rattle snake itself tho'

it was a bad creature; and that God would also provide in such a manner,

that he should come alive to Onondago; he knew for certain that he should

go there; that it was visible God was with the indians in the wilderness,

because they always cast their care upon him; but that contrary to this,

the Europeans always carried bread with them. He was an Onondago, his name

was Anoniagketa. The next day we travelled in company; and the day

following I provided him with a knife, hatchet, flint and tinder also

shoes and stockings, and sent him before me to give notice to the council

at Onondago, that I was coming; which he truly performed; being got

thither three days before us.


"Two years ago I was sent by the governor to Shamokin, on account of the

unhappy death of John Armstrong, the Indian trader: After I had performed

my errand, there was a feast prepared, to which the governor's messengers

were invited: There were about one hundred persons present, to whom (after

we had in great silence devoured a fat bear) the eldest of the chiefs made

a speech, in which he said, that by a great misfortune, three of their

brethren the white men, had been killed by an Indian; that nevertheless

the sun was not set, (meaning there was no war) it had been only somewhat

darkened by a small cloud, which was now done away; he that had done evil

was like to be punished, and the land to remain in peace; therefore he

exorted his people to thankfnlness to God; and thereupon began to sing

with an awful solemnity, but without expressing any words; the others

accompanied him with their voices: After they had done, the same Indian,

with great earnestness, spoke these words, Thanks, thanks be to thee, thou

great lord of the world, in that thou hast again caused the sun to shine,

and hast dispersed the dark cloud; the Indians are thine.