“I have been in the sentiment of your book , that the natives of our country are the outc asts of Israel. It cannot well be doubted by any one, who has become acquainted with the religious ceremonies of the Indians, but th at they have a manifest shadow of the Mosaic rituals. Most of the particulars y ou have mentioned in y our book , I kn ow to be facts; and were observed by the Seneca Indians. When I first came among them, the chi efs invited me to all their celebrations. For some time (when I could make it convenient) I attended in hopes of obtaining information concerning their ceremonies. All the information I could obtain from their interpreter was, that all related to the things their fathers taught them many y ears ago. “So our fathers worshiped the Great Spirit!” This was all the account th ey could give. I negl ected their meetings. After I read Dr. Boudinot’s ‘Star in the West,’ I again atten ded their r eligious ceremonies, to see if I could discern w hat he had represented. In 1818, a general religious excit ement commenced among the Senecas. They attempt ed to understand and reform their old religious rit es, rather than receive Christianity. This brought together their wise men, who were best acquainted with their my steries. They spent much time to investigate their religion, its origin and what it taught, and to what it would avail. They found themselves involved in darkness. Of the meaning of the words they used in their dances, and divine songs, they were wholly ignorant. They used the words, Y-O-He-Wah, and Hal-le-lu-yah, as Dr. Boudinot has represented of other Indians. They became dissatisfied with their old rit es, and consented that they would take the book which the white people call the wor d of God, to throw light o n the ir path. This was the commencement of Christianity among the Senecas. This in its progress brought in two who had officia ted as high pri est in their reli gious ceremonies. With these I have had frequent opportuniti es. They have given me, I believe, an un reserved account of all they know of their ancient religion. Their wish has been to obtain information whether any thing is found in our scriptures simil ar to their religion. They have been firmly persuaded that they are the people of God; but that they have lost their way , and are bewildered in darkness. They call themselves, Hung-gwa-o-way ;--i.e. the real people. p.vii In all their rit es whi ch I have learned from them, ther e is certainly a most striking similitude to the Mosaic rituals. Their feasts of first fru its; feasts of ingathering; day of atonement; peace offerings; sa crifi ces. They build an altar of stone before a tent cover ed with blankets; within the tent they burn tobacco for incense, with fire taken from the altar of burnt offering. All who have seen a dead human body are considered unclean eight days; which time they are excluded from the congregation. These Senecas observe their separations of females, as you noti ce of other Indians in your book. These Indians are well acquainted, that formerly places like cities of refuge existed among them. An old chief showed me the boundari es of one of them. I could fill sheets with details; but it would be unnecessary.“ (JABEZ B. HYDE. of Eden, Eri County, NY Feb.4 1825)
Fro m the Rev . Dr. PROUDFIT, of Salem , N.Y. SALEM, FEBRUARY 18, 1825. “Reverend and esteemed Brother: I have examined with no inconsiderable interest your ‘Vi ew of the Hebrews,’ and have been highly entertained, and instructed. From the view given of their Language, and from the similarity of their customs and religious rit es, with those of ancient Israel; from their belief in the existence of the one Great Spirit. as the Creator and Judge of the world; from their existing in tribes, during the lapse of so many ages; from the coincidence of their traditions with the events recorded in the inspired volume; we have in my opinion satisfactory evidence that the aborigines of our country are the remn ant of the ten tribes of Israel. I am much gratified to hear that y ou are prepa ri ng a second edition, with additional facts and evidences. If my name may have any influence to introduce this work to the patronage of the religious public, you have liberty to use it for the purpose. That the bl essings of Israel’s God may accompany exertions for the missionary cause, and ext ending the k ingdom of the Redeemer, in the gathering of the Jews, and the fulness of the Gentiles, and hastening the progress of the millennial glory, is the pray er of y our brother in the faith of Jesus, and fellow l abour er in the gospel. (ALEXANDER PROUDFIT.)
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