The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 3 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 265

me is
mere fable, fiction, and falsehood." The Indian, offended, replied,
"My brother, it seems your friends have not done you justice in your
education; they have not well instructed you in the rules of common
civility. You saw that we, who understand and practice those rules,
believed all your stories, why do you refuse to believe ours?"

When any of them come into our towns, our people are apt to crowd
round them, gaze upon them, and incommode them where they desire to
be private; this they esteem great rudeness, and the effect of the
want of instruction in the rules of civility and good manners. "We
have," say they, "as much curiosity as you, and when you come into
our towns, we wish for opportunities of looking at you; but for this
purpose we hide ourselves behind bushes, where you are to pass, and
never intrude ourselves into your company."

Their manner of entering one another's villages has likewise its
rules. It is reckoned uncivil in travelling strangers, to enter a
village abruptly, without giving notice of their approach. Therefore,
as soon as they arrive within hearing, they stop and hollow,
remaining there till invited to enter. Two old men usually come
out to them, and lead them in. There is in every village a vacant
dwelling, called the strangers' house. Here they are placed, while
the old men go round from hut to hut, acquainting the inhabitants,
that strangers are arrived, who are probably hungry and weary;
and every one sends them what he can spare of victuals, and skins
to repose on. When the strangers are refreshed, pipes and tobacco
are brought; and then, but not before, conversation begins, with
enquiries who they are, whither bound, what news, &c. and it usually
ends with offers of service, if the strangers have occasion for
guides, or any necessaries for continuing their journey; and nothing
is exacted for the entertainment.

The same hospitality, esteemed among them as a principal virtue,
is practised by private persons; of which _Conrad Weiser_, our
interpreter, gave me the following instance. He had been naturalized
among the Six Nations, and spoke well the Mohuck language. In going
through the Indian country, to carry a message from our governor to
the council at Onondaga, he called at the habitation of Canassetego,
an old acquaintance, who embraced him, spread furs for him to sit
on, and placed before him some boiled beans and venison, and mixed
some rum and water for his drink. When he was well refreshed, and
had lit his pipe, Canassetego began to converse with him: asked how
he had fared the

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