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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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8861. WABASH PROPHET, Pretensions of.—
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8861. WABASH PROPHET, Pretensions of.—

The Wabash Prophet is more rogue than fool, if to be a rogue is not the
greatest of all follies. He arose to notice
while I was in the administration, and became,
of course, a proper subject of inquiry for me.
* * * His declared object was the reformation
of his red brethern, and their return to
their pristine manner of living. He pretended
to be in constant communication with the
Great Spirit; that he was instructed by Him
to make known to the Indians that they were
created by Him distinct from the whites, of
different natures, for different purposes, and
placed under different circumstances, adapted
to their nature and destinies; that they must
return from all the ways of the whites to the
habits and opinions of their forefathers; they
must not eat the flesh of hogs, of bullocks, of
sheep, &c., the deer and buffalo having been
created for their food; they must not make
bread of wheat but of Indian corn; they must
not wear linen nor woollen, but dress like their
fathers in the skins and furs of animals; they
must not drink ardent spirits, and I do not remember
whether he extended his inhibitions to
the gun and gunpowder, in favor of the bow and
arrow. I concluded from all this that he was
a visionary, enveloped in the clouds of their
antiquities, and vainly endeavoring to lead back
his brethren to the fancied beatitudes of their
golden age. I thought there was little danger
of his making many proselytes from the habits
and comfort they had learned from the whites,
to the habits and privations of savageism, and
no great harm if he did. We let him go
on, therefore, unmolested. But his followers
increased till the English thought him worth
corruption and found him corruptible. I suppose
his views were then changed; but his proceedings
in consequence of them were after I
left the administration, and are, therefore, unknown
to me.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 49. Ford ed., ix, 346.
(M. 1812)