Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Letter to Peter Collinson

The entire letter from  Benjamin Franklin is rich and enlightening, but this excerpt says more worth laughing about than a weekend of comedy shows.

May 09, 1753

"...  The little value Indians set on what we prize so highly under the name of learning appears from a pleasant passage that happened some years since at a treaty between one of our colonies and the Six Nations; when every thing had been settled to the satisfaction of both sides, and nothing remained but a mutual exchange of civilities, the English commissioners told the Indians, they had in their country a college for the instruction of youth who were there taught various languages, arts, and sciences; that there was a particular foundation in favour of the Indians to defray the expense of the education of any of their sons who should desire to take the benefit of it.   And now if the Indians would accept of the offer, the English would take half a dozen of their brightest lads and bring them up in the best manner.  

The Indians after consulting on the proposal replied that it was remembered some of their youths had formerly been educated in that college, but it had been observed that for a long time after they returned to their friends, they were absolutely good for nothing being neither acquainted with the true methods of killing deer, catching beaver or surprising an enemy. The proposition however, they looked on as a mark of the kindness and good will of the English to the Indian Nations which merited a grateful return; and therefore if the English gentlemen would send a dozen or two of their children to Onondago the great Council would take care of their education, bring them up in really what was the best manner and make men of them.  ...."