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An Address, Delivered Before the Was-ah Ho-de-no-son-ne or New Confederacy of the Iroquois Also, Genundewah, a Poem   By: (1793-1864)

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AN ADDRESS, DELIVERED BEFORE THE WAS AH HO DE NO SON NE OR NEW CONFEDERACY OF THE IROQUOIS,

BY

HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT,

A MEMBER: AT ITS THIRD ANNUAL COUNCIL, AUGUST 14, 1845.

ALSO,

GENUNDEWAH, A POEM,

BY

W. H. C. HOSMER,

A MEMBER:

PRONOUNCED ON THE SAME OCCASION.

PUBLISHED BY THE CONFEDERACY.

ROCHESTER: PRINTED BY JEROME & BROTHER, TALMAN BLOCK, Sign of the American Eagle, Buffalo Street.

1846.

ADDRESS.

GENTLEMEN:

In a country like ours, whose institutions rest on the popular will, we must rely for our social and literary means and honors, exclusively on personal exertions, springing from the bosom of society. We have no external helps and reliances, sealed in expectations of public patronage, held by the hands of executive, or ministerial power. Our ancestors, it is true, were accustomed to such stimulants to literary exertions. Titles and honors were the prerogatives of Kings, who sometimes stooped from their political eminences, to bestow the reward upon the brows of men, who had rendered their names conspicuous in the fields of science and letters. Such is still the hope of men of letters in England, Germany and France. But if a bold and hardy ancestry, who had learned the art of thought in the bitter school of experience, were accustomed to such dispensations of royal favors, while they remained in Europe, they feel but little benefit from them here; and made no provision for their exercise, as one of the immunities of powers, when they came to set up the frame of a government for themselves.

No ruler, under our system, is invested with authority to tap, his kneeling fellow subject on the crown of his head, and exclaim, "Arise, Sir, Knight!" The cast of our institutions is all the other way, and the tendency of things, as the public mind becomes settled and compacted, is, to take away from men the prestige of names and titles; to award but little, on the score of antiquarian merit, and to weigh every man's powers and abilities, political and literary, in the scale of absolute individual capacity, to be judged of, by the community at large. If there are to be any "orders," in America, let us hope they will be like that, whose institution we are met to celebrate, which is founded on the principle of intellectual emulation, in the fields of history, science and letters.

Such are, indeed, the objects which bring us together on the present occasion, favored as we are in assembling around the light of this emblematic COUNCIL FIRE. Honored by your notice, as an honorary member, in your young institution, I may speak of it, as if I were myself a fellow laborer, in your circle: and, at least, as one, understanding somewhat of its plan, who feels a deep interest in its success.

Adopting one of the seats of the aboriginal powers, which once cast the spell of its simple, yet complicated, government, over the territory, a central point has been established HERE. To this central point, symbolizing the whole scheme of the Iroquois system, other points of subcentralization tend, as so many converging lines. You come from the east and the west, the north and the south. You have obeyed ONE impulse followed ONE principle come to unite your energies in ONE object. That object is the cultivation of letters. To give it force and distinctness, by which it may be known and distinguished among the efforts made to improve and employ the leisure hours of the young men of Western New York, you have adopted a name derived from the ancient confederacy of the Iroquois, who once occupied this soil. With the name, you have taken the general system of organization of society, within a society, held together by one bond. That bond, as existing in the TOTEMIC tie, reaches, with a peculiar force, each individual, in such society. It is an idea noble in itself, and worthy of the thought and care, by which it has been nurtured and moulded into its present auspicious form... Continue reading book >>




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