Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, in A Key into the Language of America, 1643
Roger Williams was the founder of Rhode Island. His book A Key into the Language of America is the first study of an Indian language, the Narragansett language.
I once traveled to an island of the wildest in our parts, where in the night an Indian (as he said) had a vision or dream of the sun (whom they worship for a god) darting a beam into his breast which he conceived to be the messenger of his death: this poor native called his friends and neighbors, and prepared some little refreshing for them, but himself was kept waking and fasting in great humiliations and invocations for ten days and nights; I was alone (having traveled from my bark, the wind being contrary) and little could I speak to them to their understandings especially because of the change of their dialect or manner of speech from our neighbors: yet so much (through the help of God) I did speak, of the true and living only wise God, of the creation: of man, and his fall from God, etc. that at parting many burst forth, “Oh when will you come again, to bring us some more news of this God?” . . .
Nature knows no difference between Europe and Americans in blood, birth, bodies, etc. God having of one blood made all mankind, Acts 17, and all by nature being children of wrath, Ephes, 2.
Boast not proud English, of thy birth and blood
Thy brother Indian is by birth as good.
Of one blood God made him, and thee, and all.
As wise, as fair, as strong, as personal.
By nature, wraith’s his portion, thine, no more
Till grace his soul and thine in Christ restore.
Make sure thy second birth, else thou shalt see
Heaven ope to Indians wild, but shut to thee.