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were bad runners, ignorant of every means of living in the woods, unable to bear either cold or hunger, knew neither how to build a cabin, take a deer, nor kill an enemy, spoke our language imperfectly—were therefore neither fit for hunters, warriors, nor counsellors; they were totally good for nothing. We are, however, not the less obliged by your kind offer, though we decline accepting of it; and, to show our grateful sense of it, if the gentlemen of Virginia will send us a dozen of their sons, we will take great care of their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them.'
6. Having frequent occasions to hold public councils, they have acquired great order and decency in conducting them. The old men sit in the foremost ranks, the warriors in the next, and the women and children in the hindmost. The business of the women is to take notice of what passes, imprint it on their memories—for they have no writing—and communicate it to the children. They are the records of the council, and they preserve traditions of the stipulations in treaties a hundred years back, which, when we compare with our writing, we always find exact.
7. He that would speak rises; the rest observe a profound silence. When he has finished and sits down, they leave him five or six minutes to recollect, that if he has omitted anything he intended to say, or has anything to add, he may rise again and deliver it. To interrupt another, even in common conversation, is reckoned highly indecent.
8. How different this is from the conduct of a polite British House of Commons, where scarce a day passes without some confusion that makes it necessary for the Speaker to call some member to order! and how different from the mode of conversation in many polite companies of Europe, where, if you do not deliver your sentence with great rapidity, you are cut off in the middle of it by the impatient loquacity of those you converse with, and never suffered to finish it! The politeness of these savages in conversation is indeed carried to excess, since it does not permit them to contradict or deny the truth of what is asserted in their presence. By this means they indeed avoid disputes, but then it becomes difficult to know their minds, or what impression you make upon them. per-fec'-tion
a-bund'-ance con-vinced' re-col-lect ci-vil'-i-ty leis'-ure
pro-pos'-al in-ter-rupt com-pel'
con-ver-sa'-tion ex-pe’-ri-ence in-de'-cent o-be'-dience la-bo'-ri-ous sci'-en-ces po-lite in-flict' prin'-ci-pal lan'-guage
con-fu'-sion in'-flu-ence bus'-(i)-ness ac-cept-ing com'-pan-ies em-ploy-ments ac-quaint-ed com-mun'-i-cate a-void' ac-count-ed col-lege com-pare
dif'-fi-cult hon'-our-a-ble in-struct'-ed pro-found' im-pres'-sion im-par-ti-al'-1-ty, fairness.
Vir-gin'-i-a, one of the eastern states coun'-sel-lors, persons who give of North America.
It was advice.
originally an English colony, sa'-ges, wise men.
founded in 1607. or'-a-tor-y, the art of speaking well. Six Na'-tions. These were six impos-ter'-1-ty, their children or de- portant Indian tribes, with scendants.
whom the early colonies in pub'-lic trans-actions, things done North America had frequently
in a public manner for the to do.
com-mis'-sion-ers, persons intrusted ar-ti-fi'-ci-al wants, acquired wants; with some important business.
opposed to wants that are pub’-lic pro-pos-i'-tion, a matter of
natural, as eating and drinking. public interest or welfare. es-teem', think.
de-ferred', put off ; delayed. friv'-ol-ous, trifling; silly.
main'-ten-ance, support. oc-curred', took place.
con-cep-tions, ideas; thoughts. Penn-syl-va'-ni-a, a large and pros- oc-ca'-sions, necessity.
perous eastern state of North ac-quired', gained.
con-tra-dict', speak in opposition to. 1681,
as-sert'-ed, said strongly.
EXERCISES.—1. The Saxon prefix for- means from, away, utterly ; as forbid, to bid from or away; forswear, to swear away ; forget, to put away from the memory; forlorn, utterly lost or wretched.
2. Analyse and parse the following : 'Savages we call them, because their manners differ from ours, which we think the perfection of civility
3. Make sentences of your own, and use in each one or more of the following words : Posterity, defer, maintain, acquire.
THE PASSENGER PIGEON. [This extract is from the Ornithological Biographies of Audubon, the celebrated American naturalist. ]
1. The multitudes of wild pigeons in our woods are astonishing Indeed, after having viewed them so often, and under so many circumstances, I even now feel inclined to pause and assure myself that what I am going to relate is a fact. Yet I have seen it all, and that, too, in the company of persons who, like myself, were struck with amazement.
2. On the banks of the Ohio, in the autumn of 1813, I observed the pigeons flying, from north-east to south-west, in greater numbers than I thought I had ever seen them before. Feeling an inclination to count the flocks that might pass within the reach of my eye in one hour, I dismounted, seated myself on an eminence, and began to mark with my pencil, making a dot for every flock that passed.
3. In a short time, finding the task which I had undertaken impossible, as the birds poured in in countless multitudes, I rose, and counting the dots then put down, found that one hundred and sixty-three had been made in twenty-one minutes. I travelled on, and still met more the farther I proceeded. The air was literally filled with pigeons; the light of noonday was obscured as by an eclipse; and the continued buzz of wings had a tendency to lull my senses to repose.
4. Whilst waiting at the confluence of Salt River with the Ohio, I saw, at my leisure, immense legions
still going by, with a front reaching far beyond the Ohio on the west, and the beech-wood forests directly on the east of me. Not a single bird alighted, for not a nut or acorn was that year to be seen in the neighbourhood. They consequently flew so high that different trials to reach them with a capital rifle proved ineffectual; nor did the reports disturb them in the least.
5. I cannot describe to you the extreme beauty of their aërial evolutions when a hawk chanced to press upon the rear of a flock. At once, like a torrent, and with a noise like thunder, they rushed into a compact mass, pressing upon each other towards the centre. In these almost solid masses, they darted forward in undulating and angular lines, descended and swept close
the earth with wonderful velocity, mounted perpendicularly so as to resemble a vast column, and, when high, were seen wheeling and twisting within their continued lines, which then resembled the coils of a gigantic serpent.
6. As soon as the pigeons discover food enough to entice them to alight, they fly round in circles, reviewing the country below. During their evolutions, on such occasions, the dense mass which they form exhibits a beautiful appearance, as it changes its direction, now displaying a glistening sheet of azure, when the backs of the birds come simultaneously into view, and anon suddenly presenting a mass of rich, deep purple.
7. They then pass lower, over the woods, and for a moment are lost among the foliage, but again emerge, and are seen gliding aloft. They now alight; but the next moment, as if suddenly alarmed, they take to wing, producing by the flappings of their wings a noise like the roar of distant thunder, and sweep through the forests to see if danger is near. Hunger, however, soon brings them to the ground.
8. When alighted, they are seen industriously throwing up the withered leaves in quest of the fallen mast. The rear ranks are continually rising, passing over the main body, and alighting in front, in such rapid succession, that the whole flock seems still on wing.