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superior to any thing of the kind among the moderns; nor will it suffer from a comparison with the best rhetorical compositions of the ancients. The first draft of this celebrated Speech is said to have been taken, in short-hand, in a council of the Creek Indians, about the year 1748. It came into the hands of a deputy of Sir William Johnson, Secretary for Indian Affairs, a gentleman of the name of Wraxal, in the year 1752; who communicated his notes of it to a gentleman (then living at New-York) who has long been honourably distinguished in the republic of letters, in Pennsylvania, who is particularly eminent in rhetorical compositions, and whose writings, even now, notwithstanding his advanced age, discover all the fire and energy of the most lively youthful imagination. After having been first published in a New-York Gazette, it was, by the same gentleman, republished with some other Indian compositions,* in London, about the beginning of the year 1754 ; and a very high character is given of the work in the Monthly Review for April, of that year.
The gentleman above mentioned has prefixed an Introduction to the work, in which he justly observes, that, “ Of all the vices which prevail in the world, none more degrades human nature, and dishonours the glorious image of the Deity, than immoderate drinking; and there is none against which more has been said, both from the press and pulpits yet still this vice rears its shameless front, and reels from street to street in broad day. Hence it was thought that the following Speech of a Creek Indian on this subject, might, at least, be acceptable to the curious : and should it have no good effect, it will be but one patriot-remonstrance more thrown away.”
« Charity bids us suppose, that our Laws, our Religion, and Civil Accomplishments, elevate the people of this country, far above the enormities that gave rise to this oration among a people we esteem barbarians; yet so frail is the texture both of public and private virtue, and so mutable the state of human affairs, that though we could think such a remonstrance unnecessary at pre
• Viz. This Speech of a Creek Indian ; a letter from Yariza, an Indian maid; Indian Songs of Peace; and an American Fable. See Monthly Review for 1754–p. 285, &c.
sent, it may be preserved as a beacon in time to come. The wise and good it cannot displease, and if there is one that wears the human form in these Christian realms, a slave to this enormous vice, let him be roused when he hears the following sentiments of a heathen."
FATHERS, BRETHREN, AND COUNTRYMEN,
In this solemn and important council, rising before the wisdom and experience of so many venerable Sachems, and having the eyes of so many heroic chieftains upon me; I feel myself struck with that awful diffidence, which I believe would be felt by any one of my years, who had not relinquished all the modesty of his nature.
Nothing, O ye Creeks! could enable me to bear the fixed attention of this illustrious assembly, or give to my youth the power of an unembarrassed utterance, but the animating conviction, that there is not one heart among us, that does not glow for the dignity, the glory, the happiness of his country. And in those principles, how inferior soever my abilities may otherwise be, I cannot, without violating my own consciousness, yield to any one the superiority.
FATHERS, FRIENDS, AND COUNTRYMEN,
We are met to deliberate-upon what? Upon no less a subject, Than whether we shall, or shall not, be a people? On the one hand, we are at war
with a nation of our own colour, brave, active, and sagacious. They bear us unquenchable hatred, and threaten us with all that prudence ought to fear, and valour be excited to repel.—On the other hand, we are surrounded and courted by three* powerful nations, of colour, laws, and manners, different from our own. Courted, I say; for though each is rival to the other, yet it is to be feared none of them mean our prosperity.
I do not stand up, O countrymen! to propose the plans of war, or to direct the sage experience of this assembly in the regulation of our alliances: your wisdom renders this unnecessary from me.
My intention is to open to your view a subject not. less worthy your deliberate notice; and though equally glaring, though equally involving your existence and happiness; yet, from the bewitching tyranny of custom, and the delusion of self-love, if it has not escaped general observation, it has eluded public censure, and been screened from the animadversions of our national council. I perceive the eye of this august assembly dwells
Oh! may every heart be unveiled from its prejudices, and receive, with patriot-candour, the disinterested, the pious, the filial obedience I owe to my country, when I step forth to be the accuser of my brethren,-not of treachery, not of cowardice, not of deficiency in the noblest of all passions, the love of the public. These, I glory in boasting, are incompatible with the character of a Creek!
• The Creeks were then at war with some other Indians; and an alli. ance with them had been solicited by the English, French, and Spaniards. VOL. II.
The traitor, or rather the tyrant, I arraign before you, O Creeks! is no native of our soil; but rather a lurking miscreant, an emissary of the evil principle of darkness. 'Tis that pernicious liquid, which our pretended WHITE FRIENDS artfully introduced, and so plentifully pour in among us.
I will spare myself the ungrateful task of repeating, and you the pain of recollecting, those shameful broils, those unmanly riots, and those brutal extravagances, which the unbounded use of this liquor has so frequently produced among us. I must, however, beg leave to assert, and submit to your impartiality my arguments to support this assertion, that our prevailing love, our intemperate use, of this liquid, will be productive of consequences the most destructive to the welfare and glory of the public, and the felicity of every individual offender. It perverts the ends of society, and unfits us for all those distinguished and exquisite feelings, which are the cordials of life, and the noblest privileges of humanity
I have already declined the mortification which a detail of facts would raise in every breast, when unpossessed by this Demon. Permit me then, in general, only to appeal to public experience, for the many violations of civil order, the indecent, the irrational perversions of character, which these inflammatory draughts have introduced amongst us. 'Tis true, these are past, and may they never be repeated.But tremble, Oye Creeks! when I thunder in your
ears this denunciation; that if this cup of perdition continues to rule among us with sway so intemperate, Ye will cease to be a nation! Ye will have neither heads to direct, nor hands to protect you.
While this diabolical juice undermines all the powers of your bodies and minds, with inoffensive zeal the warrior's enfeebled arm will draw the bow, or launch the spear, in the day of battle. In the day of council, when national safety stands suspended on the lips of the hoary Sachem, he will shake his head with uncollected spirits, and drivel the babblings of a second childhood.
Think not, O ye Creeks! that I presume to amuse or affright you with an imaginary picture. Is it not evident,(alas, it is too fatally so!) that we find the vigour of our youth abating; our numbers decreasing; our ripened manhood a premature victim to disease, to sickness, to death; and our venerable Sachems a solitary scanty number?
Does not that desertion of all our reasonable powers, which we feel when under the dominion of that deformed monster, that barbarian madness, wherewith this liquid inspires us, prove beyond doubt that it impairs all our intellectual faculties, pulls down reason from her throne, dissipates every ray of the divinity within us, and sinks us below the brutes?
hope I need not make it a question to any in this assembly, whether he would prefer the intemperate use of this liquor, to clear perceptions, sound judgment, and a mind exulting in its own reflections? However great may be the force of habit, how insinuating soever the influence of example, and howso