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Full text of "History of the Indian tribes of North America : with biographical sketches and anecdotes of the principal chiefs. Embellished with one hundred portraits from the Indian Gallery in the War Department at Washington"

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University of California Berkeley 





RICE RUTTER&CO Publishers 








|hwd**d f ovtwitm turn the f ndiaw t&zttenj 









Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District 
of Pennsylvania. 




KEESHESWA, a Medicine Man, . . ... . . . . . .10 

THE CHIPPEWAY WIDOW, ........... 12 

MARKOMETTE, a Menominie, . . . . . 14 

A8SEOLA, a Seminole Leader, . . . . : . . . . > . . 16 

APPANOOSE, a Saukie Chief, . . . . ... . . . . 42 

LE SOLDAT DU CHENE, an Osaae Chief, . 44 

TOKAKON, a Sioux Brave, . .46 

TAHROHON, an loway Warrior, 48 

LAPPAWINSOE, a Delaware Chief, . . . . . . . .53 

TOOAN TUH, or SPRING FROG, a Cherokee, . . 55 

TISHCOHAN, . . . . .61 

WANATA, a Sioux Chief, ... . . . . . . . " . . 65 

SHAHAKA, a Mandan Chief, . . ... .71, 

CHITTEE YOHOLO, a Seminole Chief, 74 

MONKAUSHKA, a Sioux Warrior, . . . . . ." . . .78 

MAHASKAH, an loway Chief, . . .- . ... . . . . ' % 81 

RANTCHEWAIME, ... . . . 91 

YOUNG MAHASKHA, an loway Chief, . ,. -. . . '. . . ."95 

METAKOOSEGA . . . . .101 

NEOMONNI, an loway Chief, ... ... . . ' . . . . 104 

WAKAWN, a Winnebago Chief, . . . k . .. .... . .107 

POKE LUSTE HAJO, a Seminole Chief, 113 

WABISHKEEPENAS, a Chippeway, 116 

THAYENDANEGEA, or BRANT, Great Captain of the Six Nations, .... 120 

AHYOUWAIGHS, Chief of the Six Nations 153 



HOO WANNER A, a Winnebago Chief, 157 

JOHN ROSS, a Cherokee Chief, 169 

WAT-CHE-MON-NE, an loway Chief, 174 

NOT-CHI-MI-NE, an loway Chief, .181 

TAI-0-MAH, a Musquakee Brave, . 185 

WA-BAUN-SEE, a Pottawatimie Chief, 187 

PES-KE-LE-CHA-CO, a Pawnee Chief, ......... 192 


SHAU-HAU-NAPO-TINIA, an loway Chief, 198 

WAA-PA-SHAW, a Sioux Chief, . . . . . . . ... 201 


TUKO-SEE-MATHLA, a Seminole Chief, . . . . . . .226 


IN the sketches of other Seminole chiefs, and in the general 
Indian history, some account of this singular tribe of our aborigines 
has been given. HALPATTER Micco's history possesses peculiar 
interest, because he was among the very last few leaders of the 
fugitive race who were associated with the stirring scenes which 
transferred the remnant of it to the lands west of the Mississippi. 

His father, Secoffer, was an ally of the English, and cherished 
bitter hostility towards the Spaniards, taking the field against them 
in the troubles that followed the recession of Florida to their sov 
ereignty. When dying, at the age of seventy, he called to his side 
his two sons, Payne and Bowlegs, and solemnly charged them to 
carry out his unfinished plans ; and, at any cost, complete the sacri 
fice of one hundred Spaniards, of which number he had killed 
eighty-six. This bloody offering, he affirmed, the Great Spirit had 
required at his hand to open for him the gate of Paradise. We 
need scarcely add, that such requests were sacredly regarded by 
the Indians in their uncivilized state. Their fidelity to their vows 
and treaties was in sad and singular contrast with the faithless 
dealing of their white invaders. 

In 1821, Florida came into the possession of the United States, 
having within its limits four thousand Seminoles, including the 
women and children, and eight hundred slaves. The log cabins, 
environed by cultivated clearings, or grouped together in villages, 
dotted the country from St. Augustine to Apalachicola River, and 
attracted the covetous eye of emigrants flocking into the territory. 



The Seminoles' plea of right to the lands by possession had little 
weight so long as the Government did not recognize the claim. 

Two years later, the Indians were pressed into a relinquishment 
of lands by treaty, and restriction within certain original bound 
aries. Slaves ran away from white masters, and the Seminoles 
refused to send them back; property was stolen, and reprisals 
made; and the occasions of quarrel readily embraced by the 
settlers, until a sanguinary conflict seemed ready to open its hor 
rors upon the mixed population. Then came the celebrated 
'* Treaty of Payne's Landing," made on the 9th of May, 1832, 
which Mr. Gadsden, commissioned by Secretary Cass, after much 
difficulty, induced a part of the Seminole chiefs to sign. A dele 
gation was to visit the lands west of the Mississippi, and if the 
report was favorable, the Florida possessions were to be ceded to 
the whites, and the removal of the Indians was to follow. In this 
treaty, the name of HALPATTER Micco makes its first appearance in 
public affairs. A youthful sub-chief of Arpuicki, or " Sam Jones," 
he seems to have been bribed or nattered into giving his sign, while 
Micanopy's, who was the real head of the nation, and that of other 
well-known chiefs, were wanting on a document which, in the 
result, sealed the doom of the Seminoles. Indeed, the delegation 
repudiated the treaty, and Asseola, a sagacious, crafty, and daring 
Indian, determined to outgeneral the framers of the instrument. 
In private life, he nevertheless ruled the councils of the aged 
Micanopy, and laid a deep plot of resistance to the Government. 
A negotiation, and a feigned treaty of removal, were used as means 
of delay, to give time for preparation to make war. It was 
resolved that if a Seminole sold his property to go west, he should 
be slain. Months passed by, and as autumn ripened the fields, 
Charley-e-Mathla, a prominent chief, was waylaid and killed, 
because he had commenced the sale of his cattle, and the money 
in his possession forbidden by Asseola to be touched, he declaring 
that "it was the blood of the red man." December 28th, 1832, 


occurred the murder of General Thompson and Lieutenant Smith, 
as they walked on a sunny afternoon out of the Fort, by Indians 
in ambush, within sight of the fortress. A larger force was sent 
to meet Major Dade, who was advancing from Fort Brooke.^ On 
the same day that Asseola's band dispatched General Thompson, 
this body of savages, numbering one hundred and eighty, fired 
from behind forest-trees, without a sound of warning, the leaden 
hail bringing down half of the men at the first fire. Only four 
privates, out of the eight officers and one hundred and two troops 
in the ranks, escaped. This was the opening of the Florida war, 
whose havoc and death cost the nation not less than $40,000,000 
and three thousand brave soldiers. 

Asseola, who had himself broken treaty, was treacherously 
betrayed, arid sent to Fort Moultrie to die of broken heart. Coa- 
cochu, or Wild Cat, surrendered, and successively bands were scat 
tered, and the remnant of the tribe was driven toward the dark, 
impassable everglades. In July, 1839, HALPATTER Micco made 
himself conspicuous by a bold and daring exploit to retrieve the 
falling fortunes of his people. Under an arrangement by Com 
mander Macomb with " Sam Jones," a leading chief, assigning certain 
limits beyond which the Indians should not pass, and within which 
protection should be excluded, Colonel Harneywas sent to estab 
lish a trading-post. He encamped with thirty men on an open, 
desolate plain, near the Cooloosahatchee River, and held unsuspect 
ing intercourse daily with the Seminoles. As the dawn of the 22d 
of July fell on the white tents, HALPATTER Micco, at the head of 
two hundred warriors, rushed upon the sleeping inmates. The 
surprise was so complete, no resistance was offered. Twenty-four 
were killed ; the rest fled, Harney himself barely escaping by 
swimming from the river-bank to a fishing-smack anchored in the 
stream. From this successful raid dates the sudden and growing 
greatness of the leader, who was soon elevated to the position of 
principal chief, in place of " Sam Jones," deposed because of his 



advanced age and infirmities. The sovereignty was now a narrow 
one, including not more than two hundred and fifty souls, of whom 
eighty were warriors. HALPATTER Micco saw that the stake was 
lost, and treaty alone left for his people. He found this was pos 
sible, for the United States Government was weary of the terrible 
struggle, and appeared at headquarters to avail himself of the only 
hope. The result was, the allotment of a small territory, as a 
planting and hunting ground, and the announcement, August 14, 
1842, that the Florida war was closed. 

The peace thus secured continued more than half a score of 
years, when, in 1856, rumors were abroad that a reopening of the 
conflict was at hand. Skirmishes followed, and affairs were unset 
tled for two years. HALPATTER Micco, by money, "fire-water," 
and " parley," was induced to join his brethren in Arkansas. In 
the spring of 1858 he left his native Florida with thirty-three 
warriors, eighty women and children, and embarked for New Or 
leans. " Sam Jones," almost a century old, with thirty-eight 
warriors, refused at any price to leave ; the women following the 
departing chief, " King Billy," with shouts of derision, because he 
had sold his people to the pale faces. He was accompanied by his 
Lieutenant, Long Jack, a brother-in-law; Ko-Kush-adjo, his In 
spector-General, a fine-looking Indian; and Ben-Bruno, his Inter 
preter and adviser, an intelligent negro. 

At New Orleans he was the " lion " of the day. He illustrated 
the humiliating fact, that contact with the whites has been destruc 
tive to the sobriety of the Indian, and generally demoralizing ; 
an account to be adjusted at the last assize, before an impartial 
Judge. The libations were freely offered and accepted, until the 
Seminole Chief was a reeling inebriate in the streets of the 
Crescent City. 

He reached his lands in Arkansas, and, without any notable 
events in his history, a few years later, died, about fifty years 
of age. 


In personal appearance, he was called good-looking. His fore 
head was broad and high, and under it flashed a sharp black eye, 
indicating the shrewdness and sly cunning characteristic of the 
man. His height was above medium, and his person stout, though 
not corpulent. 

His immediate family comprised two wives, one of them com 
paratively young ; six children, of whom five were daughters ; and 
fifty slaves. He had, when he left Florida, a fortune of one hun 
dred thousand dollars. The costume he wore was national and 
picturesque. On his breast were two medals, bearing the like 
nesses of Presidents Van Buren and Fillmore. 

The name Bowlegs was simply a family cognomen, having no 
reference to any physical peculiarity. We believe there is no 
evidence that he renounced his native heathenism, and embraced 
the gospel of Christ; a sad but not a singular fact, with the 
lessons of his intercourse with the supplanters of his race. 


THE medicine men were formerly held in high repute among the 
Indians ; but in some of the tribes the faith in them has lately been 
much shaken. Imposture, however ingenious, exercises over the 
human mind a precarious sway, which is constantly liable to de 
tection ; and the influence of the medicine men is based on a com 
bination of imposture and superstition. They who practise the art 
are alike deceivers and deceived. To a certain extent they believe 
in the efficacy of their own spells; but as the fallacy of these 
practices becomes obvious to themselves, they are driven to inge 
nious contrivances to keep up the delusion, and sink into insignifi 
cance, or become artful impostors, just as they may happen to be 
cunning and successful, or the reverse. 

There are medicine men among all the tribes. Their ordinary 
business is to cure diseases, and their remedies are chiefly spells, 
although most of them resort also, in plain cases, to their knowledge 
of the qualities of medicinal plants. But the latter branch of their 
practice is limited by the acquaintance which the Indians generally 
possess of simple remedies, and by their habit of using them when 
occasion requires. The medicine men are also dreamers, and inter 
preters of dreams, employing, in this part of their profession, much 
the same degree of intellect and cunning which are practised b\ 
the fortune-tellers who practise upon the credulity of the vulgar in 
more civilized communities. Sometimes they rise to a higher pro 
ficiency in their art, and assume the name of prophets, mingling 
in the political affairs of their tribes, and assuming rank in the 



RICE, RUTTER&CO. Pubhth.r 


councils, in virtue of their supposed favor with the gods, and pre 
science of events. 

Keeshes-wa, The Sun, is a medicine man of note in the Musqua- 
kee tribe, and, so far as we can judge from appearances, is a devout 
believer in his science. Although in good health, and apparently 
a sound sleeper, he dreams very often, and very much to the pur 
pose. He adheres firmly to all the ancient superstitions of his 
people, and is a stickler for the usages of his forefathers. He is 
especially discreet and observant of form in his smoking, and never 
puts the pipe into his mouth without due solemnity, nor omits any 
of the little proprieties which should accompany this ceremony. 
While he enjoys his pipe with the complacency of a true lover of 
the weed, no one who has witnessed the initiatory forms with which 
he lights it, would suspect him of smoking for mere employment. 
He goes through it with a seriousness which shows that he con 
siders it a matter of no small moment; and that, however agreeable 
may be the sedative effect of the tobacco, the act of inhaling the 
smoke is closely connected with his religious opinions. He is a 
sincere and honest smoker. 

The reputation of Keesheswa, as a medicine man, is not so great 
as it was a few years ago. The more intelligent of the Sauks and 
Musquakees, in consequence probably of their intercourse with the 
whites, have become skeptical in regard to the efficacy of spells ; 
and, except when under strong excitement, treat their medicine men 
with an indifference amounting almost to levity. When threatened 
by danger, or blinded by passion, superstition regains its sway; but 
as a general fact, the juggler is less esteemed than formerly. 

Keesheswa is much respected as an individual. His deportment 
is inoffensive, and he is believed to be sincere in his own belief of the 
efficacy of his spells which we suppose to be true of but few of 
his class. At all events, it is a pleasure to see him smoke his pipe, 
and quite impossible to treat with levity an occupation in which he 
engages with a truly devout and edifying gravity of demeanor. 


THIS picture, which we copy from Colonel McKenney's Tour 
through the North- Western Lakes, is not the portrait of any indi 
vidual, but is intended to represent a singular custom which prevails 
among the Chippeway Indians, and we insert it to give variety to 
our pages. 

A Chippeway widow, on the death of her husband, selects from 
his scanty wardrobe, a complete suit of his best clothes, which she 
makes up into a bundle. This is placed near her while at work, 
and is carried wherever she goes. She calls it her husband, treats 
it with the respect which would be due to a living lord and mas 
ter, and would be considered as disgracing herself and treating 
his memory with disrespect, if she was to part with it even for a 

The custom is a beautiful and affecting one, which, had it pre 
vailed in the days of the Greeks or Romans, would have been im 
mortalized by the poet and historian, and been often quoted and 
referred to as a graceful instance of the classic taste of the ancients. 
It is the more remarkable as occurring in the most inhospitable 
region of our country, where the inclemency of the climate and 
the sterile nature of the soil impose upon the inhabitants the neces 
sity of constant exertion to procure a scanty subsistence. This 
state of penury falls especially hard upon the women, who are 
doomed to continual labor. From a class so wretchedly poor, and 
so severely tasked, we should scarcely expect the exhibition of so 
refined a sentiment as is indicated by the custom we have de- 





scribed ; nor is it less remarkable, that the wretched inhabitants of 
a frozen region should encumber their toils by an addition which 
must often be burdensome and inconvenient. But what will not 
woman do what does she not do, in every clime, in compliance 
with the laws of fashion, or in obedience to the dictates of the heart ? 
The Chippeway widow carries her " husband" during the season 
of mourning, which is one year, and during that time cannot marry 
without gross impropriety. If she does not marry at the close of 
the year, she usually continues to carry the badge of her widow 
hood until she is relieved of it by the nearest relatives of her de 
ceased husband, who may at any time, when they conceive she has 
mourned long enough, call upon her, and take away the bundle, 
after which she is at liberty to contract a second marriage. 


THIS is the first specimen we have presented of a small though 
very interesting tribe. The Menominies, or Folles Avoines, inhabit 
the countf j between the lakes and the Mississippi river, their prin 
cipal residence being west of Lake Michigan, whence they stray into 
the country of the Winnebagoes, who are their friends. Their lan 
guage is peculiar and difficult to be learned by white men. Char- 
levoix says they were not numerous in his time, and they are now 
reduced to a few thousand souls. The early writers all speak of 
them in favorable terms, not only as " very fine men, the best shaped 
of all Canada," but as possessing an agreeable personal appearance, 
indicative of more neatness, and of a greater taste for ornament 
than that of any other of our north-western Indians. But they are 
now greatly degenerated, as we have remarked in our historical 
introduction, in consequence of their intercourse with the whites, 
and their fatal propensity for ardent spirits. 

They are of a lighter complexion than the Indians around them, 
from whom also they differ in being less fierce and warlike. Though 
brave, they are peaceable, subsisting chiefly on the wild rice or false 
oats, from which they derive their French designation, and avoid 
ing, either from indolence or a dislike of war, the quarrels in which 
their neighbors are continually engaged. The women are patient, 
obedient, and laborious, and when introduced into the families of 
the traders residing in the wilderness, are preferred as domestics to 
those of the other Indian tribes. 

We know little of the history of this people. The whites as well 



RICE, RUTTEIR & 60 Publi.he 


as the Indians respect them for their inoffensive habits, but all admit 
that, when engaged in war, they have always borne themselves 
with exemplary courage. However their pride may be subdued 
by circumstances, it is not less than that of the kindred tribes of 
their race; and evinces itself in the same contempt of danger which 
marks the conduct of all the aborigines. It is the singular boast 
of this tribe, that no other nation holds a Menominie as a slave or 
prisoner. Their invariable rule has been to prefer death to capti 
vity, and when accidentally taken alive, to provoke their captors by 
the grossest insults to despatch them on the spot. 

Markomete, if still alive, is upwards of seventy years of age. His 
name, which signifies " Bear's Oil," may not seem, to our ears, to 
be appropriate or in good taste ; but as the fat of the bear is esteemed 
a great delicacy among the Indians, when used as food, besides 
being valuable for other purposes, the designation may be as honor 
able in their estimation as to us are those of Caesar or Napoleon. 
He has been well known as a warrior of excellent repute, a suc 
cessful hunter, and a man of fair character. He was one of a depu 
tation of his people who visited Washington a few years ago, and 
though not a chief, was a person of influence. 



WE have already, in our notices of Micanopy, and other Semi 
noles, touched in a cursory manner upon the history of that people, 
and the causes of the war between them and the United States. 
We have shown that the Seminoles were chiefly renegades from 
the Creek and other nations within the United States, who, tak 
ing refuge in the wilds of Florida, while that province was a de 
pendency of Spain, united in bands, and carried on a predatory war 
against the frontiers of the United States. During the war between 
this country and Great Britain, they joined our enemies, and after 
wards, in 1816, made war upon us. They not only, therefore, had 
no title to the lands of Florida, but their claims upon the generosity 
of our government were equally slender. In 1821, General Jackson, 
then Governor of Florida, urged upon the government at Washington 
the propriety of sending back to the Creek country all the refugees 
from that nation, as he foresaw the most disastrous consequences 
from their continuance in the territory. Colonel White, a represent 
ative in Congress from that territory, in a letter to the Secretary of 
War, written in 1822, pressed the same considerations upon the 
administration, and urged the removal of those intruders as the only 
efficient means of giving quiet to the country. Had those sugges 
tions been adopted, the restless spirits who have since given anima 
tion to these ferocious bands would have been removed, and we 



should have been spared the pain and expense of a protracted war 
A contrary policy was unfortunately pursued ; humanity dictated a 
temporizing course, which has proved eminently disastrous; the 
Seminoles were recognized as a separate people, and treaties were 
held with their chief men for the purchase of the wilds through 
which they roamed, and th removal of their people. By the treaty 
of Camp Moultrie, held on the 18th September, 1823, they were 
permitted to remain in the territory for twenty years, and were thus 
established in the country, and their claims acknowledged to lands 
to which they had not the shadow of a title. 

The forbearance of the American government towards the Semi 
noles was in accordance with the humane policy which has marked 
all its measures in regard to the aborigines. In no instance have the 
Indians been treated with cruelty or injustice by the deliberate action 
of the national Executive or legislature, whose whole course towards 
them has been beneficent and forbearing. When it has been found 
necessary to remove them from their hunting-grounds, the most 
ample remuneration has always been provided, and other lands 
assigned them, better suited to their condition. Their lands have 
never been taken from them, except by purchase ; and so careful 
has the government been to avoid even the appearance of injustice, 
that, where several tribes have claimed the s.ame lands, they have 
paid the full equivalent to each ; and in cases where the tribes have 
lefnsed to comply with the treaties made by their chiefs, the same 
lands have been purchased over and over from the same people, and 
as repeatedly paid for. 

But while the government and people of the United States have 
been actuated by the most benevolent intentions, their views have 
been signally frustrated by the inefficiency of the system by which 
their intercourse with Indians has been attempted to be regulated, 
by the weakness or misconduct of their own agents, and by a variety 
of causes inseparable from transactions conducted in a wilderness 
far distant from the seat of government. The wrongs perpetrated 


against the Indians have been numerous and flagrant. The wide 
scheme, of peculation and pillage practised by bands of expert 
knaves who infest the frontiers, has been shaped into a system, 
which has now become so complicated and enormous as almost to 
defy the hand of reform. The Indian Department is one of the 
most expensive branches of our government, consuming annually 
vast sums, liberally appropriated for the good of the red man, of 
which but a small portion ever reaches its destination ; and they are 
constantly subject to abuse and insult of the most ignominious 
character. The desperate and dissolute men who fly to the frontier 
as a place of refuge, or seek it as a theatre for intrigue or violence, 
find easy victims in the ignorant savage, who claims no protection 
from the law, and whose demand for protection or revenge cannot 
reach the ear of a distant government. 

In no part of our country were the Indians worse used than in 
Florida, where the most scandalous outrages were perpetrated upon 
their persons and property, provoked often by their own ferocity 
and bad faith, but, nevertheless, wholly inexcusable. Under the 
pretence of reclaiming property, alleged to have been stolen by the 
Indians, their country was entered by lawless persons, whose sole 
object was plunder, their houses pillaged, their cattle driven away, 
and themselves cruelly maltreated. Frauds in pecuniary transac 
tions, of gross criminality and enormous amount, were practised 
both upon the government and the Indians. Complaints of these 
abuses, and evidence of their existence have reached the ears of the 
Executive, and of Congress, but no sustained effort has ever been 
made to investigate or correct them; no patriot has been found 
who would devote himself to a cause so worthy of the highest efforts 
of the Christian and the statesman ; and thus has the political para 
dox been presented, of a people practically oppressed by a mag 
nanimous nation, entertaining towards them the kindest sympathies, 
and annually expending millions for their defence, support, ami 


The celebrated individual of whom we are about to give a brief 
account, is known to the public under the various appellations of 
Powell, Osceola, Oceola, Asseola, Osiniola, and Assini Yahola; but 
his true name is that which we have placed at the head of this 
article. Powell is the surname of a white man who married the 
mother of Asseola, after the death of his father, and whose name 
was very naturally given to the youth who had thus become one of 
his family. Osceola signifies the " Rising Sun," and has been 
erroneously adopted by many, as well on account of its similarity 
of sound to the true name, as from its supposed adaptation to the 
character and position of this daring leader. The true name is de 
rived from Asse, "the black drink," and Ola, "a waterfall." We 
have, in another place, mentioned a peculiar custom of the Creeks, 
who, previous to entering into council, assemble in groups, and 
drink freely of the decoction of a certain herb of their country, 
which operates as an emetic, and whose effect, they imagine, is to 
purify arid invigorate both the mind and body, so as to prepare them 
for the business of thought and debate. This beverage, which is 
taken warm, and in large quantities, is called the " Black drink," 
from its color, and among the several names applied to it, to ex 
press its quality or effects, are those of asse, assiniola, and assini 
ydhola. The name Asseola, when freely translated, signifies the 
plentiful drinker of the black drink, or, one who imbibes this fluid 
in torrents ; and it may, or may not, be descriptive of a peculiarity 
of this individual, as Indian names are given in childhood, as with 
us, for the mere purpose of convenience, while they are after 
wards often superseded by others, descriptive of a prominent 
feature in the character of the person, or of some of his exploits 
We have not been able to ascertain whether Asseola bore this name 
in infancy, or acquired it by his devotion to the nauseating draught, 
by which the Creek statesman makes a clean breast, preparatory to 
the solemn duties of the council. 

The paternal grandfather of Asseola was a Scotsman, who mar- 


ried a Creek woman ; his lather, therefore, was a half-breed, bat his 
mother w r as a Creek of the pure blood. He was born on the Talla- 
poosa river, in the Creek nation, somewhere between the years 1800 
and 1806, and must have been between thirty and thirty-five years 
of age at the time of his death. His European descent is said to 
have been distinctly indicated in his complexion and eyes, which 
were lighter than those of his people, as well as in the features and 
expression of his countenance. The following spirited description 
of him is from a work entitled " Notices of Florida and the Cam 
paigns," by M. M. Cohen. 

" When conversing on topics agreeable to him, his countenance 
manifests more the disposition of the white than of the red man 
There is great vivacity in the play of his features, and when excited, 
his face is lighted up as by a thousand fires of passion, animation, and 
energy. His nose is Grecian at the base, and would be perfectly 
Phidean, but that it becomes slightly arched. There are indomi 
table firmness and withering scorn in the expression of his mouth 
though the lips are tremulous from intense emotions, which seem 
ever boiling up within him. About his brow T , care, and thought, 
and toil have traced their channels, anticipating on a youthful face 
the work of time. 

" To those who have known Oceola long, his fame does not ap 
pear like a sun-burst, but as the ripening fruit of early promised 
blossoms. For years past he has enjoyed the reputation of being the 
best ball-player and hunter, and the most expert at running, wrest 
ling, and all active exercises. At such times his figure, whence 
all the superfluous flesh is worn down, exhibits the most beautiful 
development of muscle and power. He is said to be inexhaustible 
from the ball play, an exercise so violent, that the struggle for 
mastery has been known to cause the death of one of the combatants. 
When this occurs in a fair contest, the survivor is not punished for 
murder, as in all other cases of taking life. On one occasion Oceola 
acted as guide to a party of horsemen, and finding, at starting, that 


R1CE.RUTTER & CO Fuk>',. 


they proceeded slowly, inquired the cause. On being told that it, 
was on his account, with one of those smiles he alone can give, he 
bade them proceed more rapidly. They put spurs to their steeds, 
and he, afoot, kept up with them during the entire route, nor did he 
exhibit the slightest symptoms of fatigue at the close of day, but 
arrived at the point proposed as early as the mounted body." 

Another writer, the author of the " War in Florida," a late staff 
officer, speaks of this individual in the following terms : 

" It will be seen that the standing of Asseola, prior to the war, 
was much inferior to that of a number of the other chiefs, and 
although his influence was seemingly great, it was still less thap 
that of Micanopy, Jumper, Holata Mico, Coa Hajo, Arpiucki, Abra 
ham, and several others ; but he was with the mass of the warriors 
who were the anti-removal party, and themselves possessing as 
much influence as their chiefs; so that the marvellous reports ot 
him, and the influence which, it is supposed, he exerts over the In 
dians, are very exaggerated, and have their origin only in the bold, 
desperate, and reckless murders which have been perpetrated by 
the band of Micosukees, of which he is sub-chief. Holata Mico is 
the chief leader of that band, and decidedly superior to Asseola in 
every point of view. The latter is a Redstick, not a Micosukee, by 
descent, and prior to the breaking out of hostilities, was leader of 
but seven warriors. His talents are not above mediocrity, and he 
was never known, by those who were most intimate with him, to 
possess any of the nobler qualities which adorn the Indian character ; 
all his dealings have been characterized by a low, sordid, and con 
tracted spirit, which often produced difficulties with those with 
whom he had intercourse. Perverse and obstinate in his disposition, 
he would frequently oppose measures which it was the interest of 
his people that he should advocate. The principal chiefs were 
favorable to the project of emigration, but the mass of warriors 
were opposed to it; and as Holata Mico and his band, with Asseola, 
were the first to be removed by the provisions of the treaty, and 


these warriors having been averse to the treaty from the first, they 
sowed discord among the others by threatening to murder all who 
should advocate the measure ; and it was doubtless through fear 
that Asseola joined the hostile party, after the pledge he had made 
to leave the country. This description of Asseola may, perhaps, 
serve to disabuse the public mind as to the * noble character,' ' lofty 
bearing,' 'high soul,' 'amazing powers,' and 'magnanimity' of the 
' Micosukee chief.' ' 

It will be seen that there is some discrepancy in the views of the 
character of Asseola given by these writers, both of whom were 
witnesses of his conduct ; we apprehend that both are correct in 
the main, Differing chiefly in the coloring given to their pictures. 
Referring occasionally to these and some other authorities, we shall, 
in the remainder of this sketch, depend principally upon a manu 
script statement in our possession, prepared with much care by an 
intelligent officer of the United States army, serving in the Indian 
Department throughout the whole of the Florida war. 

The death of his father probably threw Asseola, at a very early 
age, upon his own guidance, and some of the strong points of his 
character, especially its vices, may be referred to this cause, the 
fruitful source of evil in the formation of ardent minds. While yet 
a boy, of not more than from twelve to fifteen years of age, he joined 
the Redsticks, or hostile Creeks, and fought against the Tennessee 
troops, commanded by Generals Jackson and Floyd. When peace 
was established, he was one of the many unruly spirits who emi 
grated to Florida, where the Redsticks became known as a party 
hostile to the United States. In 1817, when the repeated depreda 
tions of the Florida Indians caused the invasion of that country by 
General Jackson, he was in arms, and being driven across the Su- 
wanee, retreated with a small party of his companions down into the 
peninsula, and settled upon Peas' creek. Here he remained un 
known to fame, and probably engaged in no other pursuit than 
hunting, and occasionally participating in those athletic games in 


which he was so expert, until a few years ago, when he removed to 
the Big Swamp, in the neighborhood of Fort King, and united 
himself with the Micosukees, with whom he has since lived. 

It was at that time, probably about 1832, that Asseola, who was 
then somewhat more than twenty-five years of age, became known 
to the American officers. He had neither rank nor property, nor 
any followers, except two Indians, who had accompanied him from 
his late residence ; but his deportment and appearance were such 
as to point him out as a person likely to become important. He 
was of light frame, a little above the common stature, and finely 
formed, his complexion light, and the expression of his countenance 
cheerful and agreeable. His habits were active and enterprising, 
evincing an entire freedom from that indolence of mind which de 
grades the great mass of this race into merely sensual beings, who 
are only roused into action to indulge the appetites of hunger or re 
venge, and sink into apathy when those passions have been satiated. 
The mind of Asseola was active rather than strong, and his conduct 
that of a cunning and ambitious man, who was determined to rise 
by his own exertions. 

The frontier was at that time in a state of great excitement, and 
our intercourse with the Seminoles becoming daily more compli 
cated and uncertain. There was no war existing nor expected, but 
there was neither peace nor safety. The Indians had been advised 
of the determination of the government to remove them from Florida, 
and were holding a temporizing course with our agents, while 
divided among themselves as to the policy to be pursued. The 
most intelligent of their chiefs, and a minority of the braves, re 
spectable in number and character, were decidedly in favor of 
emigration, not merely as an unavoidable alternative, but as a mea 
sure positively advantageous in itself. Experience had demonstrated 
the impossibility of living in contact with the whites. The supe 
riority of the civilized over the savage man, however reluctantly 
admitted, was practically felt and acknowledged. The pressure of 


the white population was recognized as a continual and accumulat 
ing force, operating to the destruction of the Indian race, almost 
imperceptibly, yet with the swiftness and certainty of the laws of 
nature. They saw that the decree had gone out which compelled 
the weak to give place, and allowed the strong to possess. Those 
who had marked the signs of the times, and had reflected calmly 
upon the traditions of their ancestors, discerned but too clearly the 
gigantic growth of the white man's power, and saw its shadow ex 
tending over the land of the Indian, with a progress as irresistible 
as that of the shades of night. Wherever that shadow fell, the 
Indian felt its chilling influence, which thickened around him until 
he sunk under its blighting effect. They saw all this, and deter 
mined to seek safety in flight. Nor was this all : they were offered, 
not merely safety from present danger, but decided advantages a 
better climate, a more abundant country, a wider range of hunting- 
ground, and a permanent separation from the white man peace, 
and the protection of a powerful nation, instead of inevitable and 
hopeless war. In addition to these advantages, they were to be 
paid for the improvements they abandoned, to be supported for one 
year after their arrival in the new country, to receive an annuity of 
three thousand dollars for fifteen years, and their cattle and other 
property were to be sold for their benefit by the United States. 

The mass of the Seminoles, however, w r ere opposed to emigration. 
To many, the prospect of war was, in itself, a sufficient inducement 
to remain. The savage is habitually improvident, and seldom looks 
beyond the present. War gives him employment, excitement, and 
above all, plunder that fatal lure is not without its attraction, even 
among the armies and councils of the most refined nations, but to 
the savage mind, it is the first, the best, and the most irresistible of 
arguments. The love of war, the ardent lust for carnage, were not 
the least of the incitements operating on a people swift to shed 
blood. The passion of revenge, too, had its influence ; not only the 
national and general hatred against the whites, but the personal re- 


sentment rankling in the bosoms of individuals, for actual wrongs, 
for which they were eager to seek redress. Then there was am 
bition, the small ambition of the sub-chiefs, the captains of ten, and 
captains of twenty, who desired to increase their own importance, 
and to swell the numbers of their followers. Besides all which, the 
country they occupied suited them ; its peninsular conformation, its 
wild and tangled forests interspersed with swamps and hammocks 
impenetrable to the foot of the white man, and which to seemed bid 
eternal defiance to the approach of civilization, rendered this region 
the fit and favorite abode of savage men. 

There was also an objection to the removal, which was felt by all 
the Seminoles, and gave so much plausibility to the arguments of 
those opposed to emigration, that it is surprising the government 
should not have promptly removed it. By the treaty of Payne's 
Landing, it was provided that the Seminoles should remove west of 
the Mississippi, and there become a constituent portion of the Creek 
nation. They were to settle near the Creeks, and be placed under 
the charge of the same agent. To this arrangement they expressed 
a decided repugnance. A large number of those who had separated 
from the Creeks had private reasons for not desiring a reunion ; 
some were debtors, and some held property of which the ownership 
might be brought in question. They were refugees, who had out 
standing accounts and quarrels with those from whom they had 
fled. They asked, therefore, to have a separate territory, and 
especially, an agent of their own. Holata Amathla, in one of the 
councils, said, " If our father, the President, will give us our 
own agent, our own blacksmith, and our ploughs, we will go to 
this new country ; but if he does not, we shall be unwilling to 
remove : we should be among strangers ; they may be friendly, or 
they may be hostile to us, and we want our own agent whom 
we know, who will be our friend, take care of us, do us jusr 
tice, and see justice done us by others. We have been unfortu 
nate in the agents sent us by our father. General Thompson 



our present agent, is the friend of the Seminoles. We thought at 
first that he would be like the others, but now we know better. He 
has but one talk, and what he tells us is the truth ; we want him to 
go with us. He told us he could not go, but he at last agreed to do 
so, if our great father would permit him ; we know our father loves 
his red children, and will riot let them suffer for want of a good 
agent." General Clinch, the gallant and able commander of the 
troops then in Florida, in presenting this subject to the government, 
said, " It is a law of nature for the weak to be suspicious of the 
strong. They say the Creeks are much more numerous and power 
ful than they are ; that there is a question of property, involving 
the right to a great many negroes, to be settled between them and 
the Creeks, and they are afraid that justice will not be done them, 
unless they have a separate agent to watch over and protect their 
interests. The manly and straightforward course pursued towards 
them by General Thompson appears to have gained their con 
fidence, and they have again petitioned the President to make him 
their agent, and have requested me to forward their petition, w T ith 
such remarks as my long acquaintance with their views and 
interests would authorize me to make. The experiment they are 
about to make is one of deep interest to them. They are leaving 
the birthplace of their wives and children, and many of them the 
graves of those they hold most dear; and is it not natural they 
should feel, and feel deeply, on such a trying occasion, and wish to 
have some one that they have previously known, whom they could 
lean upon, and look up to for protection ?" To this rational appeal 
the government replied by a cold negative ; the preparations for the 
removal were going forward, the friendly chiefs were using their 
influence to urge on that desirable measure, while the disaffected 
stood aloof, or gave manifestations of their dissatisfaction in sudden 
and secret acts of violence, in pillaging by night, or murdering the 
solitary traveller in the wilderness. 

Such was the state of things when Asseola began to take an 


active part as a Tustennugge, or sub-chief, of the Micosukees, of 
which tribe Holato Micco, or the Bine King, was chief. The term 
sub-chief, which we use, is not descriptive of any actual office or 
formal appointment, but merely designates those individuals, who, 
by their talents or popular qualities, obtain followers, and become 
leaders or persons of influence. Those who are expert in war or 
hunting, are followed by the young braves, who desire to learn under 
them, at first, perhaps, only by their own relatives who depend on 
them ; but as their reputation increases, the train swells in number ; 
and there are, therefore, leaders of every grade, from those who head 
a few men, up to him who controls his hundred warriors, vies with 
the chief in influence and authority, and at last supplants him, or 
supersedes him in every particular except in name. Thus we have 
seen Powell, a young man with two followers, beginning to mingle 
in public affairs. He had carefully noted the path to popular favor, 
and pursued it with sagacity and boldness. His first step was to 
gain the confidence of the American officers, and by making himself 
useful, to gain employment, which would render him important in 
the eyes of his own people. He visited the fort frequently, and 
his services were always at the command of the officers, to suppress 
the depredations of those lawless Indians who would clandestinely 
cross the frontier to plunder, and arrest the offenders, as well as to 
apprehend deserters from the army. On these occasions, he would 
call on the neighboring chiefs for men, and having formed a party, 
placed himself at their head, and recommended himself, as well to 
his employers as to his own people, by his diligence and efficiency. 
He soon pushed himself into notice, and was continually engaged 
in some active service : he became a favorite with the military offi 
cers, and in consequence of the estimation in which he was held by 
them, rose rapidly in the eyes of his adopted tribe. He now gained 
adherents ; for the Indians are a fickle people, and there are always 
many among them who are ready to surround the banner of a rising 
leader; until at length, without apparently holding any positive 


rank, he became a leading man among the Micosukees. He con 
tinued for some time to cultivate with assiduity the good will of 
the whites, was quiet and unassuming in his deportment, submis 
sive even to humility towards the officers, and pacific in his senti 
ments, while he insinuated himself into the affections of his own 
people, by his courtesy and his martial qualities. 

But there was another source of popularity which he failed not 
to improve to the utmost, as it was that on which he chiefly de 
pended for promotion. The chiefs and more intelligent of the 
braves, were, as we have said, in favor of emigration, while the 
majority of the people, comprising all the ignorant and lawless por 
tions, were opposed to the removal. The conjuncture was one 
which offered a tempting opportunity to an aspiring demagogue. 
Asseola took the side of the majority, and while, at first, he did not 
venture openly to oppose the chiefs, he artfully fomented the dis 
contents of the people, and encouraged them in their obstinate re 
fusal to leave the country. He was always opposed to the treaty of 
Payne's Landing ; but at first, his tone with regard to it was quiet 
and unobtrusive, and it might have been inferred, that while his 
feelings revolted against the proposed arrangements, he was ready 
to sacrifice his own wishes to preserve peace and secure the welfare 
of his countrymen. With consummate art he continued to pay 
court to the chiefs, and the American officers and agents, and to 
affect a sympathy for the people, until he found himself sufficiently 
strong in the affections of the latter, to throw aside the mask. He 
grew into favor with the factious multitude, who* needed only an 
unscrupulous leader, who would play out the game of revolt, re 
gardless of consequences ; and when he felt that he was the leader 
and dictator of a party, he began to avow the principles he had long 
secretly cherished. His conduct now became as conspicuous for 
boldness and insolence, as it had been for the opposite qualities ; he 
was loud, querulous, and bitter in his opposition ; his language was 
coarse and inflammatory ; and his whole course was that of one who 


had resolved to bring on a crisis, which should draw a broad line 
of separation between the respective parties, oblige the neutral to 
take sides, and force on an issue of the contest. In his interviews 
with General Thompson, the agent for the removal of the Semirioles, 
he now openly avowed his opposition, declared that he never would 
be carried from the country alive, that rather than submit to such 
injustice, the Indians would fight, that he could kill two or three 
white men himself before he could be slain ; and finally, he de 
nounced, in the most vehement manner, the friendly chiefs, declar 
ing they should not go peaceably to another country, that the first 
who took a step towards emigration should be put to death, and 
that, if required, he would himself become the executioner. 

There can be little doubt as to the decision which history will re 
cord as to the conduct of Asseola. The line of distinction is clear and 
definite between the patriot who calmly and firmly places himself in 
the breach between his country and her oppressors, exposing him 
self to procure safety, or even a temporary advantage for her, and 
the demagogue, who, seizing for his own aggrandizement an occa 
sion of popular excitement, fans into a blaze the embers of discord, 
and affecting to administer that public will which he has secretly 
created, becomes the agitator and the soul of a bad cause. The one 
controls and gives a proper direction to the judgment of his people, 
while the other stimulates their worst passions, and leads them 
blindfold to their own destruction. The former course gives em 
ployment to talents and virtues of the highest grade, the latter may 
be successfully pursued by an instinct of no greater capacity than 
that of the fox or the wolf. There could scarcely be a difference of 
opinion as to the true interest of the Seminoles. Setting aside the 
question of the right of occupation, as between civilized and savage 
man, as having no direct bearing here, we must view the Seminoles 
as themselves intruders in a land previously occupied by the Euro 
peans, from whom the American government derived title by pur 
chase. They seized on this wilderness, while it was protected, as 


they supposed, by a foreign flag, as a strong-hold, from which they 
could with impunity annoy the American citizen. The United 
States having the right, as well as the power, to remove them, 
resistance could only lead to a war, wholly unjustifiable because 
hopeless. Under these circumstances it is scarcely probable that 
this aspiring leader was impelled by any higher motive than that 
of taking the side opposed to the chiefs, whom he desired to sup 
plant, and favored by the multitude, through whom he hoped to 
rule a course of which history affords but too many examples, and 
which the experience of every day shows to be the natural path 
of reckless ambition. 

Throwing aside entirely the mask he had worn, Asseola became 
more and more insolent, until at last he ceased to observe the 
common forms of courtesy. He either absented himself from the 
councils which were now frequently held, or disturbed the delibe 
rations by inflammatory speeches. He boldly threatened the chiefs 
with the vengeance of the people, and in his interviews with Gene 
ral Thompson, the agent, was so rude, and so undisguised in his 
threats of personal violence to that officer, that the latter was obliged, 
on one occasion, to order him to leave his presence, and his friends 
earnestly advised the arrest of the refractory partisan, as a measure 
due to his own safety. It is only to be regretted that this salutary 
step was not sooner adopted, and more effectually carried into exe 
cution. Asseola was not a chief, but a self-constituted leader, mis 
directing the ignorant to their ruin, disturbing the peace, arid de 
feating the benign intentions of the government. He was accord 
ingly arrested, by the orders of Colonel Fanning, at the request of 
the agent, and placed in close confinement. As he was dragged to 
the guard-house, he was heard, by one who understood the Creek 
tongue, to exclaim, " The sun," pointing to its position, "is so high; 
I shall remember the hour! the agent has his day I will have 
mine !" 

The conduct of Powell while in confinement, threw a new lighl 


upon his character, evincing the coolness and deliberation of his 
designs, and showing how completely he was master of the arts of 
dissimulation. At first sullen, and apparently alarmed, he seemed 
to abandon all hope. A new light seemed gradually to gleam upon 
him ; and then, as if convinced of his error, he requested to see the 
friendly chiefs, who were accordingly permitted to visit him. To 
them he figured a humility and contrition which completely de 
ceived them. He spoke of his past conduct in terms of regret and 
pointed self-condemnation ; depicted in glowing language the hopes 
he had entertained of uniting the several factions of the nation, so that 
by organizing a firm opposition, they might be permitted to occupy a 
little longer their present homes; and admitted the fallacy of these 
expectations. He spoke of himself as a martyr, whose vain efforts 
to unite the people for their common good, had brought upon him 
the vengeance of their oppressors, and bitterly deplored the weak 
ness and ingratitude of those who, he said, had deserted him in his 
hour of trouble ; but avowed a sincere determination to yield to 
what now appeared an unavoidable destiny, and remove peaceably 
to a new country. The chiefs, whom he had violently denounced 
and opposed, were so completely deceived by his ostensible con 
version, that a full reconciliation took place ; and Asseola, professing 
a conviction that his former course, though intended for the best, 
had been fatally erroneous, promised to become as active in promot 
ing the cause of emigration, as he had been zealous in retarding it- 
Satisfied of the sincerity of the change which they supposed had 
taken place, the chiefs interceded for him, pledged themselves for 
his faith, and Powell was set at liberty. This act of mistaken 
humanity was the cause of much evil ; for, had Asseola been kept a 
prisoner, the removal might have gone on, and the cruel war which 
succeeded, would never have taken place. 

For a while Asseola seemed to act in full accordance with his 
piomises. He not only signed the articles agreeing to emigrate 
himself, but brought over sixty or seventy Micosukees to do the 


same, assumed a conspicuous stand in the ranks of the party friendly 
to removal, was consulted on all measures leading to that object, and 
was always treated with the consideration due to an influential 
chief. Such was his position for some time ; but, as the season for 
emigration approached, his visits to the agent became less frequent, 
and various plausible reasons were assigned for his absence, until 
the friendly chiefs began to suspect, and then to declare openly, 
that Powell " had one talk for the white man and another for the 
red," that many of the Indians were bent on war, and that the 
removal must be effected by force. 

In the autumn of 1835, the negotiations with the Seminoles were 
brought to a crisis. The friendly party prepared to remove, and 
the hostile to resist, and the excitement on the border was increased. 
The following incident, recited in the " War in Florida, by a Staff 
Officer," will serve to illustrate the temper of the times. 

" The Long Swamp and Big Swamp Indians, principally the 
Micosukee tribe, were, from the causes heretofore stated, again re 
duced to the greatest distress for the want of provisions, and their 
depredations upon the neighboring settlements became daily more 
extensive. On one of these occasions three of the Long Swamp 
Indians were surprised, and two of them secured by the owner of 
the land, who tied them by the hands and feet with a rope, and 
carried them to his barn, where they were confined without suste 
nance for three days, unable to extricate themselves, and obliged to 
remain in one position. Not returning to their homes, their friends 
became alarmed for their safety, and the chief of the town where 
they resided, went forward and demanded them. Being refused, 
he returned to his town, and taking several of his people with him, 
again demanded the release of the prisoners, and was again refused, 
with a threat by the white fellows, that if the chief dared to effect 
their release, complaint should be entered against him. Upon this 
the whole party rushed to the barn, whence they heard the moaning 
of their friends, and where they beheld a most pitiable sight. The 


rope with which these poor fellows were tied, had worn through 
into the flesh they had temporarily lost the use of their limbs, 
being unable to stand or walk they had bled profusely, and had 
received no food during their confinement so it may be readily 
imagined that they presented a horrible picture of suffering. The 
owner of the barn in which they were confined, then fired upon the 
Indians, and slightly wounded one of the party, when their exaspe 
ration attained to such a height that, in retaliation for this brutal 
outrage, they set fire to the barn, and would not permit the owner 
to remove any thing therefrom, nor did they leave the spot until 
the whole was consumed." 

" These outrages continued to increase with each succeeding 

O <^ 

week, and the Indians, discovering the hopelessness of their situation, 
at once concluded to oppose the efforts of the government, and call 
for a general assemblage of the nation. This course was rendered 
the more imperative, at this particular period, in consequence of a 
demand having been made upon the Seminoles for a surrender of 
their cattle, ponies, hogs, &c., which were to be collected at some 
convenient depot, appraised and sold by the agent, and the Indians 
reimbursed therefor, on their arrival in their new country. Six of 
the principal chiefs, viz : Charley Amathla, Holata Amathla, Foke 
Luste Hajo, Otulkee Amathla, Conhatkee Micco, and Fushutchee 
Micco, having returned their cattle, ponies, and hogs, the agent 
publicly announced that a sale would take place on the first of the 
ensuing month, December, 1835 ; but, in consequence of the inter 
ference of the anti-removal party, the delivery of the others was 
prevented, and the sale necessarily postponed to an indefinite period. 
In the mean time, the great meeting of the nation at the Big 
Swamp resolved on retaining possession of their country, and con 
demned all who should oppose their views to instant death. This, 
therefore, was the signal for an immediate abandonment of the 
friendly towns, and no time was lost by those who had gone too far 
to retract, in seeking the protection of the forts. Accordingly, 


Holata Amathla, Otulkee Amathla, Foke Luste Hajo, Conhatkee 
Micco, and Fuslmtchee Micco, with about four hundred and fifty 
of their people, fled to Fort Brooke on the 9th of November, and 
encamped on the opposite side of the river." 

The war was commenced by a tragedy of deep and affecting 
interest. Charley Amathla, a noble, intelligent, and honest chief, 
was preparing to retreat to Fort Brooke, on the 26th of November, 
when his house was surrounded by four hundred warriors, led by 
Holata Micco, Abraham, and Asseola, who demanded of him a pro 
mise that he and his people would oppose the removal. He replied, 
that, having pledged his word to their great father, he would adhere 
to it even at the risk of his life. He said he had lived to see his 
people degraded, and on the verge of ruin, and their only hope of 
being saved from utter destruction depended on their removing to 
the West ; he had made arrangements for his people to go, and 
had now no excuse for not complying with his engagements. He 
was told that he must join the opposition or suffer death, and that 
two hours w r ould be allowed him to consult his people, and make 
his choice. He replied, that his mind was unalterable, and that his 
people could not make him break his word ; but if he must die, he 
desired time to make some arrangements, which were required for 
the welfare of his people. At this moment, Asseola raised his rifle, 
pointed it at the bosom of the unresisting chief, and would have- 
fired, had not Abraham arrested his arm, and called off the party to 
a council. They shortly after retired, having probably decided to 
defer, if not to retract, their murderous purpose ; and the chief pro 
ceeded to the agency to complete his preparations. He appeared 
cheerful, but said to some of his friends, that perhaps they might 
never see him again, as persons had been appointed to kill him. He 
left the agency, accompanied by his two daughters, and preceded 
by a negro, on horseback, and had travelled homewards a few miles, 
when Asseola, with twelve other Indians, rose from an ambush, 
gave the war-whoop, and fired upon him. The noble chief, com 


prehending instantly his situation, rose in his stirrups, sent back a 
whoop ot defiance, charged into the midst of his assassins, and fell 
like a hero, perforated by eleven bullets. Thus died the chief of 
the Witamky band, a gallant, high-minded leader, and a man of 
sterling integrity, by the hands of Asseola, whom he had delivered 
from prison but a few months before, and for whose good conduct 
he stood pledged. The ingratitude and bad faith of Asseola greatly 
aggravate the hetnousness of his participation in this cold-blooded 
murder, and stamp his character with a viciousness wholly incom 
patible with a great mind. 

This atrocious deed was succeeded by open hostilities, and on 
the 28th of December following, occurred the melancholy massacre 
of the detachment under Major Dade, which we have described in 
another place. On the same day, and while that melancholy scene 
of butchery was going forward in the hammock, General Thompson, 
the agent, was surprised and basely murdered. He had dined at 
the Agency Office, about one hundred yards from Fort King, and 
shortly afterwards was walking unguardedly near the woods, be 
yond the office, when a band of fifty or sixty Micosukees, led by 
Asseola, rushed upon him, and having slain himself, Lieutenant 
Smith, and several others, hastily retired. The body of General 
Thompson was perforated with fourteen bullets and a knife wound ; 
all the killed were shockingly mangled, and the whole affair evinced 
the worst feelings on the part of the perpetrators. The functions of 
the agent were not military, but civil, and his relation to the Indians 
such as should have rendered his person sacred. He had been their 
friend and advocate ; and, by their own evidence, had been kind 
and just in his dealings with them. Asseola especially, who had 
been employed by him, and whose intercourse with him had been 
intimate, was acquainted with the uprightness of his conduct, and 
was bound above all others to respect his character, and hold his 
person sacred from violence. But if such sentiments had ever made 
any impression on his vicious nature, that impression was eradicated 


by a single offence towards himself, which rankled in his bos< 1:1 
and instigated a brutal revenge. 

The writer last quoted, thus continues the narrative of these 
events. " Marauding parties now commenced their operations 
almost simultaneously, in various sections of the country, pillaging 
and destroying every thing of value. Those who had inflicted in 
juries on the Indians were forthwith repaid, and many -barely 
escaped with their lives. Conflagration succeeded conflagration, 
un iil the whole country from Fort Brooke to Fort King was laid 
waste ; while those 1 who lived in the interior, were compelled to 
abandon their crops, their stock, their implements of husbandry, 
and indeed every article of value, and seek protection within the 
forts, or concentrate themselves in the neighboring towns, around 
which pickets were erected for their better security." The war 
soon assumed the most appalling character; whole families were 
butchered, and wherever the war-whoop was heard, the most shock 
ing cruelties were perpetrated. 

We cannot pretend to follow the narrative of this war throughout 
its details ; the events are too numerous for the space to which we 
are confined, and are too similar to each other to be either interest 
ing or instructive. We have already, in this and other articles, 
given sufficient specimens of the horrors of Indian warfare. It is 
enough to say, that the war in Florida was one of unmitigated 
ferocity. The Seminoles were not numerous, but they were scat 
tered over a wilderness almost impenetrable, and surrounded by an 
atmosphere fatal to the white man. In their fastnesses they were 
secure from pursuit, while our troops could scarcely move without 
imminent danger, from ambuscades, from climate, from the im 
practicable nature of the country, and from the difficulty of trans 
porting supplies. The Seminoles kept up the war with unceasing 
activity and indomitable courage, acting continually on the offensive, 
and with the determination of men who were resolved to succeed or 
perish. Their system of tactics was the only one which the sav 


can practise with effect, and that which is most harassing to a regular 
army opposed to them. Divided into small parties, widely scattered, 
and constantly scouring the country striking by stealth, and chiefly 
at night surprising small parties, and cutting off supplies harass 
ing the settlements and giving no quarter to prisoners, they made 
the most of their own small force, and wearied the strength of their 
opponents. Our gallant army was continually on service, perform 
ing labors and exploits which, on a more conspicuous theatre, 
would have won for them unfading laurels. Many noble fellows 
perished miserably in this wretched service, and all who were en 
gaged in it fought and suffered with a heroism which should entitle 
them to the lasting gratitude of their country. 

Asseola engaged ardently in the war, of which he was one of the 
principal instigators, and was an influential and daring leader. 
How far his mind directed and controlled the movements of the 
Seminoles, is not fully known, but that he is entitled to a full share 
of whatever credit may be due to the leaders, there can be little 
doubt. He was present at most of the more important engagements, 
acting a conspicuous part, and was concerned in many of the out 
rages that were perpetrated by marauding parties. All who came 
in contact with this remarkable man, concede to him the possession 
of intellectual qualities superior to those of the people by whom he 
was surrounded ; while the public voice, too prone to exaggeration, 
has gifted him with moral attributes of the highest order. We have 
some difficulty in reconciling the dignified and noble traits of cha 
racter attributed to him, with the duplicity which unquestionably 
ran through the whole of his short but brilliant career. His martial 
qualities, his daring, his talent, and his commanding influence over 
the minds of his people, were as conspicuous as his double dealing 
towards both parties in producing hostilities, and his cruelty during 
their continuance. 

After prosecuting the war with vigor and various fortune, until 
the summer of 1837, the Seminoles intimated a willingness to sub- 


mit, and some negotiations took place, the result of which was, that 
a number of the chiefs declared their determination to emigrate, and 
requested a cessation of hostilities until they could collect and bring 
in their people. This was cheerfully granted ; and Micanopy, with 
some others, were delivered up as hostages for the faithful perform 
ance of the stipulations. The prospect of peace proved delusive. 
The hostages remained but a few days, when they were forcibly 
rescued, and the war renewed with all its former virulence. In the 
autumn of the same year, a similar stratagem was attempted. 
General Hernandez, a citizen of Florida, serving at the head of a 
gallant band of volunteers, having captured an active partisan, called 
Philip, the occasion was seized by the Seminoles to open another 
negotiation, which resulted in the captivity of Micanopy, Asseola, 
and several other leaders. 

General Jessup, the commanding general of the Florida army, in 
a letter dated Picolata, November 17, 1837, says : 

" Powell, Coacochee, the two Hickses, and several other sub- 
chiefs, organized the abduction of Micanopy and other hostages in 
June last. Coacochee, John Cavallo, (the latter one of the hostages,) 
with several others, carried the hostages off, and with them their 
people. I then resolved to take all who were concerned in the 
measure, whenever the opportunity might be found. The capture 
of Philip by General Hernandez, opened the way to effect my ob 
ject sooner than I had hoped. Coacochee carried off Micanopy by 
force, and if he had been a white man I would have executed him 
the moment he came into my hands. His father Philip, however, 
asked permission to send him out with messages to the chiefs and 
warriors. He returned with one of my hostages, John Cavallo, and 
with most of the sub-chiefs and warriors who were concerned in the 
abduction. I determined at once that they should be seized and 
held as hostages for the conduct of the chiefs and warriors out " 

The persons that thus accompanied John Cavallo to the neigh 
borhood of Fort Peyton, with a purpose avowedly friendly, could 


not be prevailed upon to enter the fort, but halting at some distance, 
sent a message to General Hernandez, desiring him to meet them at 
their camp, without an escort, with the assurance that he would be 
perfectly safe with them without troops. Knowing the perfidious 
character of these people, and of John Cavallo especially, General 
Jessup was satisfied that some treachery was intended, probably to 
seize a sufficient number of his officers to exchange for Philip and 
the Euchee chiefs, and directed General Hernandez to go to the 
meeting with a strong escort. He was also furnished with the heads 
of a conversation to be held with them, the result of which was to 
be communicated to the commanding general before the termination 
of the interview. The suspicions entertained were justified by the 
event. The answers of the Indians to all the questions put to them 
were evasive and unsatisfactory ; they stood warily on the defensive, 
evincing no frankness nor confidence, and obviously on the watch to 
gain advantages ; and it became sufficiently apparent that they had 
sought this interview for some sinister purpose. It became the 
duty of General Jessup to protect his own force, and disarm that of 
a perfidious enemy. He accordingly gave orders to have the place 
of meeting surrounded by a squadron of dragoons, under Major 
Ashby, who executed the measure with such skill and celerity, that 
although the Indians stood on the alert, with rifles loaded and primed, 
ready for action, they were all taken before a gun could be fired. 

The political excitement existing in the country, during the 
whole of the Florida war, has caused many of its events to be 
misrepresented, and in some instances has produced great injustice 
towards the gallant officers engaged in that arduous service. With 
regard to the transaction just related, we should suppose there could 
be but one opinion ; yet the capture of Asseola and his associates 
has been denounced as a flagrant breach of confidence, and a gross 
violation of the laws of war. A very slight examination of the facts 
will show the fallacy of such denunciations. 

The Indians were in arms to resist an attempt on the part of the 


government to remove them from a country in which it was alleged 
they were intruders; and if it was lawful to remove them, there 
could be no moral wrong in taking them wherever they could . be 
found. The military officer could not judge of the justice of the re 
moval. He was to effect the object by lawful means ; and the pur 
pose was as well effected by taking them when they came to parley, 
as it would be by seizing them when in arms, or shooting them 
down in battle. To insist on the observance of all the etiquette of 
military law, in conducting such an operation, would be as absurd 
as to hold a police officer to a nice observance of the rules of polite 
ness in his dealings with a fugitive from justice. 

It is also to be recollected, that the Indians do not acknowledge 
any international law, or military usage, as existing during a state 
of war. They do not recognize the sanctity of a flag of truce they 
steal upon the defenceless in the hour of sleep waylay the unarmed 
murder without respect to age or sex and consider every stratu- 
gem fair by which an advantage is gained. With what propriety, 
then, can the protection of the laws of war be claimed for them ? Those 
laws can only operate between parties who reciprocally acknowledge 
their obligation ; and to claim the advantage of them for those who 
habitually set them at defiance, would be unreasonable. 

But allowing that the Seminoles were entitled to the full benefit 
of the laws of war, as observed by civilized nations, there was no 
infraction of them on this occasion. The persons in question had 
violated those laws by rescuing hostages, and suffering themselves 
to be rescued w T hen held as hostages. The parties to the laws of 
war have no common tribunal to which to appeal ; if an infraction 
is alleged, there is but one mode of retribution ; the offending party 
is placed out of the pale of the protection of these laws by the other 
party, who, from the necessity of the case, becomes judge and exe 
cutioner. And after all, there was no trust violated by General 
Jessup. These Indians were not under the protection of a flag of 
truce ; they were not in the fort, nor under its guns. They halted 


at a distance from the fort, and, standing warily upon the defensive, 
requested that an officer be sent to them, and that he be sent without 
an escort. The only trust placed in the American commander, was 
in apprising him of the spot at which they awaited his decision. 
He took them, partly by stratagem, and partly by force ; and the 
use of the one was as justifiable as that of the other. The purpose 
was humane. By securing the most active of the agitators, the 
duration of the war was abridged, and its horrors decreased. The 
act was not only justifiable, but meritorious ; the national honor 
was not stained, nor did General Jessup tarnish the laurels he had 
gallantly won on nobler fields. 

The prisoners were immediately transferred to Charleston, South. 
Carolina, where they were confined upon Sullivan's Island, until 
arrangements were made for their removal to their new homes. 
While a prisoner there, Asseola was an object of much curiosity. 
His fame was widely extended ; he was not only considered as the 
hero of the war, but had been extravagantly praised in the news 
papers for brilliant and noble qualities, which probably existed only 
in the imaginations of the writers. He was visited by many per 
sons, arid among others by several artists, who took likenesses of 
him, one of the finest of which is that taken for the War Department. 

Asseola had two wives, both of whom were young and pretty, and 
one of them was particularly attractive in her personal appearance. 
They lived together in perfect harmony, having one table in com 
mon, to use our own phraseology, or, to speak more in accordance 
with the fact, sitting around the same kettle, but occupying separate 
lodges. They accompanied him in his confinement, and during his 
illness watched and nursed him with great solicitude and tender 
ness. He was attacked, in the spring of 1838, with an imflamma- 
tion of the throat, which hurried him rapidly to the grave. He died 
with the dignity of a brave warrior, and his remains were respect 
fully interred by those against whom he had fought with a courage 
and skill worthy of a nobler field and a better fate. 


THIS individual is one of the peace chiefs, and presides over a 
village of the Sauks. His name signifies "A chief when a child," 
and indicates that his station was inherited. He was one of the 
delegation sent to Washington, in 1837, and, when at Boston, was 
said to have made the most animated speech, both in manner and 
matter, that was delivered by the chiefs. He said, 

" You have heard just now what my chief has to say. All our 
chiefs and warriors are very much gratified by our visit to this 
town. Last Saturday they were invited to a great house, (Fanueil 
Hall,) and now they are in the great council-house. They are very 
much pleased with so much attention. This we cannot reward you 
for now, but shall not forget it, and hope the Great Spirit will 
reward you for it. This is the place which our forefathers once in 
habited. I have often heard my father and grandfather say they 
lived near the sea coast where the white man first came. I am glad 
to hear all this from you. I suppose it is put in a book, where you 
learn all these things. As far as I can understand the language of 
the white people, it appears to me that the Americans have attained 
a very high rank among the white people. It is the same with us, 
though I say it myself. Where we live, beyond the Mississippi, I 
am respected by all people, and they consider me the tallest among 
them. I am happy that two great men meet and shake hands with 
each other." As he concluded, Appanoose suited the action to the 
word, by extending his hand to Governor Everet, amid the shouts 


lPA- If C><B> - 


RICE. R UTTER & CO. Put>;,.hp.. 


of applause from the audience, who were not a little amused at the 
self-complacency of the orator. 

The newspaper account, from which we gather some of these 
facts, concludes with the following remark. " We have taken pains 
to give the speeches of the Indian chiefs with verbal accuracy, as a 
matter of high intellectual curiosity. History, romance, and poetry, 
have embodied the Indian character to our perceptions from child 
hood. It is pleasant, therefore, to see the original, and find how 
accurate the picture has been. The language, ideas, and style of 
these Indians are precisely such as have been ascribed to their race. 
There is much to admire in the simple and manly manner in which 
they convey their ideas. He must be but a churl who does not 
associate with their visit here, objects of philanthropy and protection 
to their race." 


THE name of this chief, as pronounced in the tongue of his own 
people, has not reached us ; we know it only in the French transla 
tion, which introduces him to us as " The Soldier of the Oak." 
The name refers, we understand, to a desperate fight, in which, 
having sheltered himself behind a large oak, he successfully de 
fended himself against several enemies. His portrait was taken in 
Philadelphia, in 1805 or 1806, while he was on a visit to the Presi 
dent of the United States, under charge of Colonel Choteau, of St. 
Louis, and was presented to the American Philosophical Society, in 
whose valuable collection we found it. 

He was an Osage chief of high reputation, and is mentioned by 
Pike in his travels. The Osages inhabit the prairies lying south 
of the Missouri river, and west of the states of Missouri and Arkan 
sas. The buffalo is found in their country, and the wild horse 
roams over the plains immediately beyond them. They are horse 
men, therefore, and not only manage the steed with dexterity, but 
bestow great pains upon the appearance and equipment of their 
horses. Living in a sunny climate, and roving over plains covered 
with rich verdure, and well stocked with game, they present a 
striking contrast to the unhappy Chippewa, to whom they are 
superior in stature, in cheerfulness, and in social qualities. The 
privations of the northern Indian subdue his spirit, while the Osage 
exhibits all the pride, and all the social elevation of which the 
savage is capable. The difference between them results solely out 




RICE, RUTTERatCQrubli^ierr 


of the disparity in their respective physical comforts ; but it is so 
great as to be obvious to the most casual observer, and goes far 
towards demonstrating how much of the savage character is the 
consequence of poverty, and the want of the common comforts of 


THE character of this brave is indicated by his name, which 
means, He that inflicts the first wound, and expresses the idea that 
he is foremost in battle. He is of the Yankton tribe, of the Sioux 
nation, and is one of two persons who officiate as a kind of conserva 
tors of order within the village or encampment of the band. This 
office is never executed except by warriors of high repute, who can 
command respect and obedience in consequence of their personal 
influence. Among savages, mere rank gives little authority unless 
it be sustained by weight of character. In each band of the Sioux 
several distinguished warriors are appointed, whose duty is to main 
tain order, and to notice every departure from the established dis 
cipline. These duties are not sufficiently well defined to enable us 
to describe them with any particularity ; they are of a discretionary 
nature, and depend much upon the temper and character of the in 
dividuals who discharge them, and who, to some extent, make the 
rules which they enforce. As those over whom it is necessary to 
exert their authority are chiefly the unruly and the young, the ill 
trained, rapacious, and idle, who hang loosely upon the community, 
the women, the children, and the stranger, they usually execute 
summary justice upon the spot, according to their own notions of 
propriety, and inflict blows without scruple when they deem it 
necessary. In case of resistance, or refusal to obey, they do not 
hesitate to put the offender to death. 

Tokacon and his colleague have long maintained the reputation of 


V V 


RICE, RUTTER&CO. Publ.herj 


strict disciplinarians, and their authority is greatly respected by 
their people. This is especially observable on the arrival of a 
white man, or a party of whites, at their village. If these persons 
take the strangers under their protection, no one presumes to molest 
them : if the sword or the war club of one of them is seen at the 
door of the white man's lodge, the sign is well understood, and no 
Indian ventures to intrude. 


THIS is an loway warrior, who lives at the village on the Missouri, 
above Fort Leavenworth. One of his earliest adventures was in an 
expedition against the Osages. They arrived in the vicinity of 
an Osage village, situated on the bank of a river; but the latter 
ran between them and their enemies, and was filled with ice. They 
were hungry, and chilled with cold. They heard the Osage drum 
beat, and supposing a dance or a feast was going on, were the more 
anxious to partake of their good cheer. But the captain could not 
prevail on any of his men to go into the water, until he came to 
Tahrohon, the youngest of the party, who consented, without hesi 
tation, and immediately stepped into the stream. A few others fol 
lowed him, and, on reaching the opposite shore, he said, " Come, 
let us go to the man who sings so well, and is beating the drum," 
when a dog barked, and they feared they were discovered, but, aftei 
a short consultation, determined to get into the village and kill an 
enemy. The brother of Tahrohon checked his impetuosity, think 
ing it imprudent to risk an attack at that time ; but breaking away 
from his companions, he rushed to the nearest lodge, and there found 
an Osage woman marked all over, indicating her birth, and dis 
tinguishing her as one of a family of note, whom he shot, and, sud 
denly retreating, recrossed the river. Satisfied with this achieve 
ment, the party returned home, where the announcement of their 
exploit filled the village with joy ; for the Osages, having killed an 
uncie and two sisters of Tahrohon, it was considered that he had 



taken revenge in a very happy and appropriate manner, the more 
especially as the feat was consummated in the midst of the enemy's 

The leader of the band then proclaimed that, having been so 
lucky in one expedition, they ought to proceed immediately upon 
another, while their good fortune continued to attend them, and 
proposed to lead a party to steal horses from the Osages. Fourteen 
warriors, of whom Tahrohon was one, agreed to follow him. Arriv 
ing near the Osage village, they remained concealed until night, 
then hid their guns, and cautiously proceeded towards the scene of 
action, sending Tahrohon forward as a scout, to seek their prey. 
Not succeeding in finding horses, they began to cast round them in 
search of food, for they had eaten nothing for two days, and were 
almost famished with hunger. But they could find no corn, and 
returned dispirited to the spot where they had deposited their guns. 
Tahrohon then proposed to go again in quest of horses, believing he 
should find some near a creek not far distant. Groping his way in 
the dark, with that sagacity that renders daylight almost superfluous 
to the Indian, he discovered an Osage lodge, and regretted that he 
had left his gun. While hesitating what course to pursue, the tall 
grass rustled near him, and he sat down. Presently all was still. 
He cautiously approached the camp, and discovered a piece of buffalo 
meat hanging at the opening of a lodge, barely visible in the dim 
light thrown upon it by an expiring camp fire. He determined to 
steal it, but remained for some time wistfully gazing at the spoil, 
and endeavoring to measure the danger to be encountered against 
the chances of success. Approaching nearer by degrees, he was 
at length in the act of reaching up to seize the spoil, when he 
discovered something on the ground, which he supposed to be 
two sacks of corn, a prize too tempting to be resisted, and stooping 
down he grasped not a bag of food but the nether limbs of an 
old woman, which, being wrapped in large leggins, presented, in 
the deceptive light of the decaying embers, the appearance which 


deceived the hungry prowler. When his hand rested on a human 
being, he sprang back terrified, and was about to run off, when he 
reflected that if he turned his back he would probably be shot by 
the warriors occupying the camp; and, drawing his knife, he boldly 
stepped forward to meet the danger, and slay the first who should 
oppose him. It turned out that the encampment comprised but 
one lodge, the sole occupant of which was an old squaw. 

As this party returned home they discovered a trail, such as is 
made by dragging over the grass the kind of sled on which the 
Indians carry off their wounded. As the track led towards their 
village, they followed it, and overtook a party of their own people, 
headed by Wahumppe, who had had a fight with the Osages and 
Kansas. Though surprised and surrounded by superior numbers, 
but one of the loways was killed. Hard Heart was wounded three 
times, and it was he who was drawn on the sled. 

Ten days after, another war party went out to revenge the death 
just mentioned ; for thus in savage life one deed of violence leads 
to another ; and whether we pursue the annals of a tribe, or the 
biography of an individual, the tale is but a series of assaults and 
reprisals. But although the Osages were the offending party in 
this instance, it was determined to wreak their vengeance upon the 
Sioux, probably because the latter were most likely to be unprepared 
for such a visit, When they reached the Sioux country, spies were 
sent out, The leader made a talk to his warriors, and concluded by 
inviting them to tell their dreams, upon which two individuals said 
they had dreamed that they had gone through a great country, and 
had seen many people, but no one molested them. This was con 
sidered a good dream. Presently the spies came in, and reported 
that they had discovered fifteen lodges of the Sioux. This intelli 
gence made them cautious, and they concealed themselves for 
twenty-four hours to consult and feel their way. Then the horses 
were hoppled, a guard put over them, and the main body marched 
to the attack. To avoid being discovered, as well as to prevent any 




one from straying off and being taken for an enemy, they moved in 
a close body, each man touching his fellow. The constraint im 
posed by this unusual movement displeased Tahrohon, who de 
termined, by a trick, to anticipate his companions, and strike the 
first blow. Accordingly he stepped aside from the main body, and 
threw himself on the ground, pulling down with him an Indian, 
who was his relative, and who, like himself, had been displeased by 
some neglect. These two, determining to seek honor in their own 
way, remained still until the war party passed, and then rushed into 
the village of the enemy, by the point at which it was supposed the 
inhabitants, when alarmed, would attempt to retreat. But the spies, 
with the true Indian craft, after communicating the truth to the 
leader of the band, had spread a false report among his followers, 
and our adventurers entered a deserted place, while the enemy was 
flying in an opposite direction. Thus disappointed, and placed in 
an equivocal position, they determined to return home, and to frame 
some plausible excuse for their desertion. They had not travelled 
far when they came suddenly on a Sioux camp, composed of several 
skin lodges that were new and white, and upon which the moon 
was shining clearly. Here was a chance to do something. " Let 
us take a smoke," said one to the other ; and sitting down among 
the tall grass, they lighted a pipe, and began to consider what 
act of mischief might be perpetrated upon the sleeping inmates 
by two desperate marauders, bent on distinguishing themselves 
at any hazard. After smoking and peeping awhile, they found a 
horse ; and their spirits being raised by this success, they groped 
about actively and soon discovered four more, which they led to a 
grove in a bend of the river, where they hid them, for they were 
not satisfied with what they had done. But before they could re 
turn to the lodges, day dawned, and a prophet was heard singing, 
shaking his gourd, and praying for the relief of a sick person. A 
Sioux Indian came to the river for water, and our hero stepped for 
ward to kill him, but just as he was about to fire, his companion ex- 


claimed, " Look, there is our army !" The young men stood for a 
moment stupified with surprise and terror ; for the danger now was 
that the loway band, rushing forward upon the Sioux lodges with 
loud yells, would not recognize these youths found thus in the 
enemy's camp ; nor was it likely they could make themselves known 
in the noise and smoke of the onset. They sprang, therefore, down 
the bank of the river, and attracted the attention of the prophet, who 
called on his people, who had not yet discovered the advancing 
loways, to fire on them. But at that instant the loways raised the 
war-whoop, and rushed forward. The two young men, in danger 
from both sides, attempted to mingle in the fight, but found the 
missiles of both parties hurled at them. At length our hero, seeing 
the two Sioux surrounded by several loways, who were pushing 
each other aside in their eagerness to strike a foe, rushed through 
the circle and shot one of the Sioux. He then mingled in the fight, 
and felt like one relieved from the horrors of a disagreeable dream, 
when he found himself fairly reinstated among his friends. In this 
fight twelve Sioux were killed, and four were taken prisoners 

3PA = WEB - 





THE preceding engraving, and the one which follows it, are taken 
from the original portraits, in the possession of the Historical Society 
of Pennsylvania. They were presented to that body by Granville 
Penn, Esq., of Stoke Park, England, a worthy descendant of the 
illustrious founder of the state which bears his name. These por 
traits are highly interesting to the antiquarian, because they preserve 
to him the only likenesses which exist of the famed Lenni Lennapi 
tribe of Indians. 

All that is known respecting their originals, is contained in the 
Report made by Mr. J. Francis Fisher and Mr. Job R. Tyson to 
the Historical Society, and published in a volume of the Society's 

The portraits were painted more than a century ago, (1737,) and 
even the name of the limner would now be a subject of curious but 
uncertain speculation. If a native, his work would show the skill 
employed and attention bestowed at that time, in British America, 
upon this department of the arts. Mr. Tyson and Mr. Fisher sug 
gest that the portraits were probably painted either by one Swede, 
named Cecilius, who executed a likeness of James Logan, or a later 
artist, named R. Feke, whose name appears on a picture of the year 

The fame of Lappawinsoe, whatever it was, has not been trans 
mitted to us. James Logan speaks of him as an honest old Indian ; 
and his name, " he is gone away gathering corn, nuts, or any thing 



eatable," according to Hecke welder's translation, implies the cha 
racter of an honest old hunter. He was a chief, and is ranked, by 
the last named writer, among those of the Forks of the Delaware. 
The act by which Lappawinsoe is chiefly known, is signing, at 
Philadelphia, the celebrated Treaty of 1737, commonly called The 
Walking Purchase. The character and effect of this negotiation are 
adverted to in another article 




THIS individual is a Cherokee of highly respectable character. 
He was born near the mouth of Chuckamogga Creek, in the vicinity 
of Lookout Mountain, about the year 1754, within the limits of the 
State of Tennessee. The place of his birth is no longer known as 
a wilderness tenanted by savage men, but is now a civilized 
country, inhabited by another race. The villages of his people, and 
the sepulchres of his fathers, have disappeared, the forests have 
been levelled, and the plough has effaced the scattered vestiges of 
their dwellings and places of assemblage. 

In early youth, and throughout his life, until old age had impaired 
the elasticity and vigor of his muscles, Spring Frog was remarkable 
for his activity in the chase, his skill in trapping and killing game, 
and his success in the athletic sports of his people. With little of 
the ferocity of the Indian, yet excelling in all the arts of sylvan life, 
brave, but not addicted to war, he was a fine specimen of the savage 
man. He loved to roam the forest in pursuit of game ; could sit 
patiently for hours by the sequestered stream, devising stratagems 
to entrap its tenants, or wander for whole days among the haunts of 
the deer, with no companions but his gun and dog. His mind, 
trained to these pursuits, was acute, and richly stored with observa 
tion on all subjects connected with his occupation. He watched the 
seasons, noted the changes of the weather, marked the hues of the 
water, and the appearances of the vegetation. Wherever he went, 
his keen eye rested, with a quiet but observant glance, on all the 



indications of the surrounding objects which might serve to forward 
the present purpose, or furnish information for future operations. He 
knew the habits of animals and their signals; the voices of birds were 
familiar to his ear ; and he could sit for hours in the lone wilderness, 
an interested listener to sounds, in which one unused to the forest 
could detect nothing but the rustling of leaves, the rush of the winds, 
or the creaking of boughs. His practised eye detected the footmarks 
of animals upon the ground, and his quick ear distinguished, even 
in the night, the difference between the tramp of the deer and the 
stealthy tread of the wolf. 

This is the poetry of savage life. If there be any real enjoyment 
apart from civilization, it is in this close communion with nature. 
The exposure, the perils, the extremes of hunger and satiety, which 
fill up the whole life of those who depend on the precarious supplies 
of the chase for subsistence, throw a forbidding gloom around this 
mode of existence; but there are rich and noble enjoyments com 
bined with the toils of the hunter, in the freedom from all restraint, 
and in the opportunities it affords for contemplating the beauties and 
the mysteries of nature. Few, especially among savages, have the 
heart and the intellect to appreciate such luxuries. The general 
tendency of the savage life is monotonous and debasing. But there 
are some gifted minds some of Izaak Walton's " fishermen and 
honest men" to be found in every region, whether civilized or 
savage, over whom such pursuits exercise an elevating and sooth 
ing influence. To this class belonged the subject of this notice; 
uniting with the keen and hardy character of the sportsman, the 
humane and meditative cast of the philosopher. He was an artless 
and harmless, but a shrewd and thoughtful man. 

Spring Frog was passionately fond of all the manly sports of his 
people, but was particularly remarkable for his love of ball playing, 
in which he greatly excelled. This game requires the greatest 
muscular strength, swiftness of foot, and clearness of vision. The 
ball, similar in materials and construction to that used by our own 



schoolboys, is played with two sticks, one in each hand. These 
sticks are bent at the end, with strings drawn across the bow, so as 
to form an implement resembling a battledoor. The ground on 
which the game is to be played is a plain, marked off by measuring 
a space of about three hundred feet in length, and placing two poles 
erect at each extremity, and one in the centre. The ball-players are 
divided, as nearly as possible, into two parties of equal skill, each 
of which has its leader, and its side of the play ground. The ball 
is thrown into the air, at the centre pole, and each party exerts it 
self to drive it through the poles on its own side. The party 
first carrying .the ball twelve times through its poles, wins the 
game. To effect this, it is considered fair to employ strength, ac^ 
tivity, and stratagem in every form, provided that the ball is always 
propelled by the use of the stick. The parties may strike, trip, or 
grapple each other, knock away each other's sticks, or take any 
advantage which strength or cunning may give them. 

These games are intensely exciting. The number engaged is 
often great, comprising the principal men, the most distinguished 
warriors, and the most promising young men of the band ; for this 
is the great theatre on which the ambitious and aspiring exhibit 
those personal qualities that are held in the highest repute by the 
savage warrior. The whole population of the village pours out to 
witness the inspiring spectacle, and like the spectators of a horse 
race in Virginia, all take sides, and feel as if the honor of the 
country was staked upon the contest. The excitement is often in-- 
creased by gambling to immense amounts immense for these poor 
savages, who have little to lose, and who freely stake all upon the 
game. The women and children share in the interest, watch the 
progress with intense anxiety, and announce the result by loud 
shouts. The contest is active, and even fierce. The parties exer 
cise great command over their tempers, and usually conduct their 
sports with good humor and great hilarity ; but the excitement is 
always high, and sometimes the deeper passions are awakened. The 


struggle then becomes fearful. A number of muscular men, inured 
to toil and danger, savage, irascible, and revengeful by nature and 
habit, are seen, with their limbs and bodies naked, and oiled, to 
enable them the more readily to elude the grasp of an adversary 
now rushing after the ball with uplifted sticks, now gathered round 
it, striking at it with rapid blows, darting upon each other, pulling, 
wrestling, and presenting a medley in which it seems hardly pos 
sible that heads and limbs must not be broken. Blows are received 
as if upon bodies of iron. Men are prostrated and trodden under 
foot. But none are killed ; the wounded soon forget their bruises, 
and the beaten bear their discomfiture without murmur. 

Though Spring Frog was an ardent and successful ball-player, 
and the most patient of anglers, he devoted much of his time to the 
more profitable, though less genteel employment, of raising cattle, 
trading in horses, and cultivating beans, corn, and pumpkins. His 
agriculture was not upon an extensive scale ; but it was enough to 
furnish the means of a comfortable subsistence, and a generous hos 
pitality ; his friends were always welcome to his cheerful fireside, 
and the stranger, to use the figure of one of the noblest spirits of our 
land, " never found the string of his latch drawn in." 

Gifted with a discriminating mind, he was a strong man in the 
council. Amiable, kind, placid in his disposition loving peace and 
pursuing it, he always advocated conciliatory measures, and was 
useful on many occasions in softening and restraining the fiercer 
passions of his warlike countrymen. But although his inclinations 
were pacific, he lacked neither energy nor courage, when the interest 
or honor of his nation required the exercise of those qualities. In 
1818, the Osages murdered several Cherokees in cold blood. Upon 
the reception of the news of this injury, the Cherokees flew to arms, 
and instantly adopted measures to revenge the outrage. Spring 
Frog,- although he was then in his sixty-fourth year, was among the 
h'rst to take up the war-club in this quarrel; and uniting himself 
with a party of his tribe, marched in pursuit of the murderers. So 


rapid and secret was the movement, that the track of the offenders 
was found and pursued, and they, ignorant that any pursuit was on 
foot, were scarcely arrived at their village when the avengers of 
blood were at their heels. The village was surprised and burned ; 
eighty of the Osages were killed and captured, all their provisions 
were destroyed, and the band, for the present, broken up. Thus 
Spring Frog and his party appeased, as they supposed, the manes 
of their slaughtered friends ; and thus dearly did the Osages atone 
for an outrage committed in mere wantonness, by one of their 
marauding parties. 

He served also under General Jackson in the campaign against 
the Creeks, and fought gallantly in the battle of Emuckfaw, and in 
that of the Horse Shoe. His coolness in battle, and his habits of 
discipline and obedience, on all occasions, were conspicuous. 

He was among the earliest of the emigrants to the country assigned 
the Cherokees, west of Arkansas, and we hope that he lived to be 
satisfied of the advantages of that movement. The change has thus 
far proved eminently successful. Many of the Cherokees have 
large farms, under a good state of cultivation, and large droves of 
cattle and horses. Their dwellings and other improvements are 
comfortable and well constructed. They have mills, schools, me 
chanics, and many other of the evidences and arts of civilized life. 
An intelligent traveller, who lately visi ed their country, says " We 
passed many fine farms on our way, and as evening fell, came to 
the missionary station of Dwight, with which we found ourselves 
much pleased. This institution has for its object the advancement, 
scientifically and morally, of the Cherokees. It was founded some 
twenty years ago, and has continued faithful to the Indians through 
all that long period. It was first commenced in the year 1821, in 
what is now called Pope county, on the waters of Illinois bayou, 
where suitable buildings were erected, farms opened, and schools 
established, in which were gathered the children of the then wild 
Cherokees, to the yearly number of one hundred. The Cherokees 


were a portion who had removed from their old country at an early 
period, and were denominated Western Cherokees, but are now dis 
tinguished as the old settkrs" 


Those missionaries have resided there for many years undisturbed, 
in the peaceful discharge of their duties, and on the kindest terms 
with the Cherokees. They have witnessed the commencement and 
whole progress of this interesting colony, and have been identified 
with its entire history. They have done great good to the Chero 
kees, and are entitled to their gratitude. 


TTHS-ffit - (B(D 



RICE. RUTTER&CO. Publuhers. 

OF Tishcohan, Tasucamin, Teshakomen, alias Tishekunk, little 
is known, except what is contained in Mr. Fisher and Mr. Tyson's 
Report. His name occurs in Heckewelder's Catalogue, and means, 
in the Delaware language, " He who never blackens himself" We 
may note, on referring to the likeness, the correctness of the de 
scription, in the absence of those dauhs of paint with which the 
Indian is so fond of deforming himself. 

Tasucamin and Lappawinsoe were both signers of the celebrated 
Walking Purchase of 1737. By this treaty was ceded to the pro 
prietaries of Pennsylvania, an extensive tract of country, stretching 
along the Delaware, from the Neshamany to far above the Forks at 
Easton, and westward " as far as a man could walk in a day and 
a half" This transaction has been stigmatized by Charles Thomson 
as one of the most nefarious schemes recorded in the colonial annals 
of Pennsylvania. It appears that the white men, employed to walk 
with the Indians, performed the task with a celerity of which the 
Indians loudly complained. They protested against its manner of 
performance as opposed to the spirit of their contract, and an en 
croachment on their ancient usages. They alleged that it had been 
usual, on other occasions, to walk with deliberation, and to rest and 
smoke by the way, but that the walkers, so called, actually ran, 
and performed, within the period, a journey of most unreasonable 

This purchase has been differently viewed by different writers. 



Logan claims the land for the proprietaries, on a two-fold title, inde 
pendent of the treaty. He claims it under a deed made, in 1686, 
with the predecessors of the Indians, who asserted a right to it in 
1737. He claims it under a release from the Five Nations, in the 
year 1736, who, at that time, exercised over the Delawares that in 
solence of superiority which the code of all nations has accorded to 
conquest. This duple right, the same excellent writer seeks further 
to confirm and establish, by denying to the Indians, with whom the 
Walking Treaty was concluded, any original title to the territory 
ceded, on the ground that they were new settlers from Jersey. 

On the other hand, Charles Thomson disputes the antecedent 
right of the proprietaries, under the deed of 1686, and the release 
of 1736, and places the whole question upon the honesty with which 
the stipulations of the contracting parties were performed in the 
Walking Purchase. And does it not at last repose here? The 
terms of the original deed are not known. Its authenticity rests 
only on tradition, and several authoritative legal writers speak 
dubiously of its ever having existed. One thing is certain, even if 
it did exist it had never been walked out. 

The release from the Five Nations can scarcely be thought to 
impart validity to a title, which is defective without it. The peculiar 
subjugation to which the vanquished tribe submitted, could only 
give to the conquerors the right of personal guardianship, not the 
power of expatriation. Besides, it is justly contended, that any 
territorial rights acquired by the Five Nations were confined to the 
land on the tributaries of the Susquehanna, and never extended to 
the waters of the Delaware. 

We may, therefore, return to the Treaty of 1737, and examine 
into the manner in which it was executed. If the Indians contracted 
with had no rights, why was a treaty entertained with them at all ? 
When the proprietaries entered into a compact with the Indians, 
they gave to them a right to inquire into the fidelity with which 
it, was performed, and pledged their own honors for its faithful 


observance. Was the speed of running a literal or honorable 
execution of a treaty to walk ? 

It was this departure from the terms and spirit of the contract 
which filled the Indians with so much dissatisfaction and heart 
burning. The execution of the treaty was viewed by them as a 
piece of knavery and cunning, and concurred with other potent 
causes of estrangement in bringing about the most unhappy results. 
The minds of the Indians became alienated, embittered, inflamed; 
and a perverse and heartless policy, on the part of their white neigh 
bors, made the breach irreconcilable. 

But this people, even when goaded to desperation by acts of high 
handed oppression and cruel selfishness, did not forget the days of 
William Penn, and were sometimes induced by the recollection, to 
abstain from visiting upon his successors that degree of retaliation 
which would have been just, according to their ideas of retributive 
justice. It was this same people, in the days of their valor and mar 
tial glory, that lived on terms of cordiality and friendship with that 
great man and his followers, in conferring and receiving benefits, 
for a period of forty years ! It was this people so actively kind, so 
unaffectedly grateful towards the unarmed strangers who sought 
refuge from persecution in their silent forests, that suffered from the 
descendants of these strangers, those keen griefs arising from a deep 
sense of unmerited injury, joined to a perception of meditated and 
the certainty of ultimate annihilation. Contemporaneously with 
the date of the portraits from which the two foregoing engravings 
are reduced, the amity and good neighborhood which had subsisted 
between the colonists of Pennsylvania arid the Delaware Indians, 
gave way to a state of feeling which ended in the departure of these 
sons of the soil from their long-enjoyed inheritance, to seek an abode 
in some distant wild, some unappropriated solitude of the western 
country. After the indignity they received from Canassatego, in 
1742, they retired to Wyoming and Shamokin, and finally pene 
trated beyond the Ohio, where the survivors live but to brood over 


their wrongs, and transmit them to their descendants. Pursued 
from river to river, they at last grew tired of retreat ; and, turning 
back upon their pursuers, inflicted upon them all those cruelties 
which are prompted by resentment and despair. 



RICE, BUTTER &CO. Publnher*. 


THIS is a fine picture, and represents a very distinguished per 
sonage. Although the Sioux are divided into several tribes, go 
verned by different leaders, this individual, in consideration of his 
paramount influence, is called the grand chief. His dress exhibits 
an air of state and dignity which is often assumed by the aboriginal 
chiefs, but is seldom so successfully displayed. It consists of a long 
robe of the skin of the buffalo, skilfully prepared by the Indian 
women, by a laborious process, which renders it at once soft and 
white. Figures are traced upon this material with paint, or worked 
into it with splinters of the quills of the porcupine, dyed with the 
most gaudy colors. The plumage of the bird is tastefully inter 
woven ; and the whole is so disposed as to form a rude, but appro 
priate dress for the powerful ruler of a savage people. 

Mr. Keating, in his narrative of the Expedition to the Source of 
the St. Peter's, describes an interview with this chief, and gives an 
account of his person and apparel, which nearly conforms \vith tho 
portrait in this number. " He was dressed in the full habit of an 
Indian chief; we have never seen a more dignified person, or a more 
becoming dress. The most prominent part of his apparel was a 
splendid cloak, or mantle of buffalo skin, dressed so as to be of a 
fine white color; it was decorated with small tufts of owls' featheis, 
and others of various hues, probably a remnant of a fabric, once in 
general use among the aborigines of our territory, and still worn in 
the north-east and north-west parts of this continent, as well as in 

p (65) 


the South Sea Islands. It was what was called by the first Eu 
ropean visiters of North America, the feather mantle and feather 
blanket, which were by them much admired. A splendid necklace, 
formed of about sixty claws of the grizzly bear, imparted a manly 
character to his whole appearance. His leggins, jacket, and moc- 
casons were in the real Dacota fashion, being made of white skins, 
profusely decorated with human hair; his moccasons were variegated 
with the plumage of several birds. In his hair he wore nine sticks, 
neatly cut and smoothed, and painted with vermilion ; these desig 
nated the number of gunshot wounds which he had received ; they 
were secured by a strip of red cloth ; two platted tresses of his hair 
were allowed to hang forward ; his face was tastefully painted with 
vermilion ; in his hand he bore a large fan of the feathers of the 
turkey ; this he frequently used. 

" We have never seen a nobler face, or a more impressive charac 
ter, than that of the Dacota chief, as he stood that afternoon, in his 
manly and characteristic dress, contemplating a dance performed by 
the men of his own nation. It would require the utmost talent of 
the artist to convey a fair idea of this chief; to display his manly and 
regular features, strongly stamped, it is true, with the Indian cha 
racter, but admirably blended with an expression of mildness and 
modesty ; and it would require no less talent to represent the 
graceful and unstudied folds of his mantle." 

Another interview with this chief is thus described : " As we ap 
peared upon the brow of the hill, which commands the company's 
fort, a salute was fired from a number of Indian tents, which were 
pitched in the vicinity, from the largest of which the American 
colors were flying ; and as soon as we dismounted from our horses, 
we received an invitation to a feast, which Wanata had prepared for 
us. The gentlemen of the company informed us that, as soon as 
the Indians had heard of our contemplated visit, they had com 
menced their preparations for a festival, and that they had killed 
thiee of their dogs. We repaired to a sort of pavilion which they 


had erected, by the union of several skin lodges. Fine buffalo robes 
were spread all around, and the air was perfumed by the odor of 
sweet-scented grass which had been burned in it. On entering the 
lodge, we saw the chief seated near the further end of it, and one 
of his principal men pointed out to us the place which was destined 
for our accommodation. It was at the upper end of the lodge ; the 
Indians who were in it taking no further notice of us. These con 
sisted of the chief, his son, a lad about eight years old, and eight or 
ten of the principal warriors. The chief's dress presented a mix 
ture of the European and aboriginal costume; he wore moccasons 
and leggins of splendid scarlet cloth, a fine shirt of printed muslin, 
over this a frock coat of fine blue cloth, with scarlet facings, some 
what similar to the undress uniform coat of a Prussian officer ; this 
was buttoned and secured round the waist by a belt. Upon his 
head he wore a blue cloth cap, made like a German fatigue cap. A 
very handsome Mackinaw blanket, slightly ornamented with paint, 
was thrown over his person." 

The writer describes the countenance of Wanata as prepossessing. 
The portrait before us indicates a thoughtful and resolute, if not a 
generous, disposition. He is, however, a very magnificent savage, 
and has an air of command which is sufficiently regal. 

The Dacotas are the Arabs of western America, Inhabiting the 
vast prairies which lie between the Mississippi and the Missouri, 
they wander extensively over those beautiful plains in search of 
game, or in pursuit of their enemies, roaming often beyond their 
proper limits, to the shores of the northern lakes, and to the banks 
of the Arkansas and Red rivers. The topography of their country 
makes them horsemen, the vast extent and even surface of the 
prairies rendering the service of the horse particularly desirable. 
Upon this noble animal they perform their long journeys, charge 
their enemies in battle, or chase the buffalo. They are expert anil 
fearless riders, managing their horses with a surprising degree of 
dexterity, and using them with equal success in the chase, and in war. 


Wanata is a chief of the Yanktonas, a tribe of the Sioux, or 
Dacota Indians, whose proper residence is on the waters of the 
River St. Peter, which empties into the Mississippi, a short distance 
below the falls of St. Anthony. They are divided into six bands, 
and have altogether about /our hundred and fifty lodges, which con 
tain a population of between five and six thousand, of whom thir 
teen hundred are warriors. Few chiefs can lead so many followers 
to battle. The whole Dacota nation is estimated to comprise sixty 
thousand souls. The Yanktona, or, as it is otherwise written, 
Yanktoanan, is one of the most important of the tribes, and may now 
be ranked as the first, in consequence of the influence of Wanata. 
The word Yanktona signifies fern leaf. They do not dwell in per 
manent houses, but in fine skin lodges, made of the hide of the 
buffalo, neatly dressed and decorated, and which they move with 
facility from place to place. 

At the early age of eighteen Wanata was distinguished as a war 
rior, and fought against the Americans under the command of his 
father, who was then chief of the tribe, and who cherished a mortal 
hatred against the American people. During the last war between 
Great Britain and the United States, he joined the former, and was 
one of a murderous band of savages collected by Colonel Dixon, 
under whom he fought at Sandusky, where he was wounded. He 
has since professed friendship towards the United States, but he is 
well known to be a crafty leader, who would favor or plunder any 
party, as his interest might dictate. His position, however, is now 
such as to place him in our power, and offers him little inducement 
to incur the displeasure of our government. On the other hand, he 
continues to cultivate a good understanding with his former friends. 
Ranging through all the country, from the tributary streams of the 
St. Peter's to Lake Winnepeg, he often comes in contact with the 
inhabitants of the British colony in that isolated region, who have 
endeavored to conciliate this powerful and wily savage by valuable 
presents, which he receives as the tribute due to his high reputation. 

WANATA. 6 9 

He has had the sagacity to render this intercourse a source of regular 
profit, by practising successfully on the fears of these colonists. 

There is an incident in the life of this chief which is highly 
illustrative of the superstition as well as the fortitude of the Indian 
character. On the eve of a journey which he made in 1822, in 
which he was likely to be exposed to great danger from the Chip- 
pewas, he made a vow to the sun that, if he should return safe, he 
would abstain from food and drink for four days and nights, and 
would distribute among his people all his property of every descrip 
tion. Returning, without accident, his first care was to celebrate 
the dance of the sun a ceremony so shockingly painful and revolt 
ing, that we can scarcely imagine a sufficiently strong inducement 
for its voluntary performance. Deep incisions were made in the . 
breast and arms, so as to separate the skin from the flesh, in the 
form of loops, through which a rope was passed, and the ends fast 
ened to a tall vertical pole, erected for the purpose in front of his 
lodge. He began the horrid exercise at the commencement of his 
fast, and continued it throughout the four days, sometimes dancing, 
and frequently throwing his whole weight upon the cord which was 
passed through his skin, and swinging to and fro in this painful 
position. At the conclusion he sunk exhausted, and was relieved 
by his friends. After the ceremony was over, he distributed among 
his people all his property, consisting of his lodges, dogs, guns, 
trinkets, robes, and several fine horses ; and he and his two wives, 
abandoning their tent, with its furniture, took up their lodging in 
the open air. 

When the Rickara villages, on the Missouri, were burned in 1823, 
by the troops under Colonel Leavenworth, in retaliation for some 
acts of depredation committed by them, that tribe retired from the 
place, but returned in 1824. Wanata seized this occasion to 
strengthen his power ; and, encouraged by traders who had been 
ill treated by the Rickaras, he made war upon that tribe, which, 
weakened and dispirited by the chastisement recently inflicted on 


them, made but a feeble resistance. He burned their villages again, 
aid drove them from the country. Here he established himself, 
between the Rickaras and Mandans ; and he has ever since retained 
his conquest. 

Wanata was only twenty-eight years old when visited by the 
party under Colonel Long, whose description of him we have copied. 
Our portrait was taken some years later. He is a tall and finely 
formed man, more than six feet in height. His manners are digni 
fied and reserved, and his attitudes, though studied, are graceful. 
He is now about forty-five years of age, and commands more in 
fluence than any other Indian chief on the continent. His rule over 
his own tribe is absolute. He has no rival or compeer. He resorts 
neither to presents nor to persuasion to secure obedience, but issues 
his peremptory mandates, which are never disputed. 

The traders speak of him as one who may be trusted, because it 
is policy to be at peace with the whites ; but they place no confidence 
in his friendship, and have little faith in his integrity. Brave, skil 
ful, and sagacious, he is grasping, artful, and overbearing ; it is 
safer to secure his interest than to trust to his generosity or mercy. 



RICE, BUTTER &CO.Pjbliher. 


THIS portrait is not included in the Indian gallery at Washington 
city, but is of an older date, and equally authentic with those con 
tained in the national collection. It was kindly pointed out to us in 
the hall of the American Philosophical Society, in Philadelphia, by 
the venerable and accomplished librarian of that institution, John 
Vaughan, Esq., who permitted us to take this copy. Our information 
concerning the original is chiefly gleaned from the travels of Lewis 
and Clark, a work compiled with singular fidelity, and replete with 
valuable information. 

In the ascent of the Missouri, in the year 1804, the enterprising 
travellers above mentioned, halted at the Mandan villages, situated 
far beyond the frontier settlements, at a point to which but few 
white men had penetrated. They were kindly received by the 
Mandans, who, having 'had no direct intercourse with the white 
people, had not experienced the oppression which has ever fallen 
upon the weaker party, in the contact of the two races. The leaders 
of the exploring expedition were so well pleased with their recep 
tion, that, finding they could not proceed much further before their 
progress would be arrested by the excessive cold of this high lati 
tude, they determined to spend the winter among the hospitable 
Mandans. Huts were accordingly erected, and they remained 
here, during the inclement season, enjoying an uninterrupted inter 
change of friendly offices with the natives. 

On their arrival, a council was held, at which, after smoking 


the pipe of peace, a speech was delivered, explaining the objects of 
the exploring party, and giving assurances of friendship and trade. 
" This being over," says the narrative, " we proceeded to distribute 
the presents with great ceremony : one chief of each town was 
acknowledged by a gift of a flag, a medal with the likeness of the 
President of the United States, a uniform coat, hat, and feather ; to 
the second chiefs we gave a medal representing some domestic ani 
mals, and a loom for weaving : to the third chiefs, medals with the 
impression of a farmer sowing grain." The account proceeds : " The 
chiefs who were made to-day are, Shahaka, or Big White, a first 
chief, and Kagohami, or Little Raven, a second chief of the lower 
village of the Mandans, called Matootonha," &c. The making a 
chief, alluded to in this sentence, consisted simply in recognizing 
that rank in those who previously held it, by treating with them in 
that capacity, and giving them presents appropriate to their station. 
On a subsequent occasion, we find this individual noticed in the 
following manner : " The Big White came down to us, having 
packed on the back of his squaw about one hundred pounds of very 
fine meat, for which we gave him, as well as the squaw, some pre 
sents, particularly an axe to the woman, with which she was very 
much pleased." If the measure of this lady's affection for her lord 
be estimated by the burden which she carried on her back, we 
should say it was very strong. 

On the return of Lewis and Clark to the Mandan villages, after 
an interval of nearly eighteen months, during which they had 
crossed the Rocky Mountains, and penetrated to the shores of the 
Pacific ocean, these enterprising travellers were cordially received 
by the friendly Indians with whom they had formerly spent a winter 
so harmoniously. Anxious to cement the friendly disposition which 
existed into a lasting peace, they proposed to take some of the chiefs 
with them to Washington city, to visit the President, This invita 
tion would have been readily accepted, had it not been for the 
danger to which the Indians imagined such a journey to be exposed. 


Between them and the United States frontier were the Arickaras, 
their enemies, whose towns must of necessity be passed by the de 
scending boats ; the roving bands of the Sioux also frequently com 
mitted depredations along the left shore of the Missouri, while the 
right bank was accessible to the Osages ; and although the Ameri 
can officers promised to protect those who should accompany them, 
and to bring them back to their homes, they could not overcome the 
jealous and timid reluctance of any of the chiefs, except Le Grand 
Blanche, or the Big White, who agreed to become their companion. 
Our gallant explorers have unfortunately given a very brief account 
of their journey after leaving the Mandan villages, on their return 
voyage, and we find no record of the conduct of the Big White, 
under such novel circumstances. It would have been very interest 
ing to have heard from those gentlemen, who had just visited the 
Indians in their own abodes, an account of the remarks and beha 
vior of an Indian chief, under similar circumstances. We, however, 
only know that he visited our seat of government, and returned in 
safety to his friends. 



CHITTEE YOHOLO, or The snake that makes a noise, is a Seminole 
uf some note, although but twenty-eight years of age. He was born 
in Florida, in that region of inaccessible swamps, which our gallant 
troops have found to be any thing but a land of flowers. His com 
plexion, which is of a darker hue than that of our other Indians, 
marks his descent ; and there is an expression of fierceness in the 
countenance indicative of a race living in perpetual hostility. Such 
has been the history of the Seminoles, who are, as their name indi 
cates, wanderers, or outcasts, from other tribes. A few restless in 
dividuals, who separated themselves from the southern nations, 
either from dislike against the modified habits introduced into those 
communities by their contact with the whites, or from impatience 
of the restraints even of savage life, strayed off to the wilds of 
Florida, and connected themselves with some feeble remnants of the 
ancient population, who lingered in that remote region. While that 
province remained in possession of the Spaniards, the jealousy of 
that government, as well as the peculiar character of the country, 
and the savage nature of the people, rendered it comparatively in 
accessible to American curiosity or enterprise ; and we knew little 
of the savage tribes within its limits, except from their occasional 
depredations upon our frontier, and from the protection afforded by 
them to runaway slaves from the southern states. These evils be 
came enhanced during the late war with Great Britain, and one of 
the chief inducements to the purchase of Florida, by our government. 




RICE. RUTTERiCO Pufcli.Ker* 


was the hope of either taming or driving away such troublesome 
neighbors. We merely touch the subject in this place for the pur 
pose of showing what we suppose to be the main cause of the fero 
cious and obstinate character of the hostilities that have recently 
rendered that region a scene of wide-spread desolation. In the his 
tory of wars of aggravated malevolence, it will generally be found 
that some ancient grudge, festering in the passions of the frontier 
population, gives a secret rancor to the dispute which it could 
scarcely have attained from the political differences that are alone 
apparent to the public eye. 

The first occasion on which Chittee Yoholo was engaged, was 
when General Gaines was surrounded by the Seminoles ; he was 
one of the hostile party, and declares that he fought hard, and tried 
his best to kill the white men. Soon after, he was engaged in 
another fight, in which he killed a white man, and taking the scalp, 
he carried it to the council-house of his tribe, and threw it at the 
feet of an aged warrior thus invoking the approbation of one who 
was experienced in the wiles and dangers of warfare. The men of 
the village assembled, danced all night, recounted their recent ad 
ventures, especially that which they were now celebrating, and, 
instead of honoring the lion of the occasion with a toast,, and requir 
ing a speech in return, as we should have done, they gave him a 
new name, Chewasti Emathla Emathla meaning, next to the war 
rior, and Chewasti being a kind of surname, thrown in for 
euphony. After that, he killed and scalped another white man, car 
ried in the bloody trophy, and again the warriors danced in honor 
of his success ; and now they called him Olocta Tuscane Hadja, 
which means, The blue crazy warrior; and again, on bringing in 
another scalp, they danced round it all night, and called him Olocta 
Tustennugge, The Hue warrior. All these were stealthy feats 
performed in the night. The Indians regard such with peculiar 
gratification, from the high estimate which they place on achieve 
ments conducted with cunning, and won without exposure. He was 



constantly out, and usually without companions, stealing upon the 
sleepnig inmates of the cabin, or waylaying the straggler in the 
forest ; so that we may infer that the Snake that makes a noise, like 
the reptile whose name he bears, crouched in silence until the 
moment when he was about to spring upon his prey. 

He was lying in the coverts around Fort Mellon, while Paddy 
Carr was there with the friendly Indians, of whom he counted one 
hundred and twenty, as he gazed at them from his lurking-place. 
After he had watched a whole night, he joined an assailing party 
of his people, who fired upon the fort in the morning, and of whom 
ten were killed ; he received a spent ball in his hand, and being 
unable to manage his gun, retired. He was in a battle with the 
Tennessee volunteers, in which three Seminoles were killed, 
whose bodies were dragged to the nearest bushes and hidden, as 
there was not time to bury or to carry them off. He participated 
in the battle of Wahoo Swamp, where the Indians lost two war 
riors, and killed several of the whites. The next day the whites 
came again, and a skirmish ensued. Acee Yoholo was present in 
all these fights. On one occasion Chittee Yoholo drove off a hun 
dred cattle from the settlements of the white people ; and he tells 
of various other battles that he was engaged in, in addition to those 
we have mentioned. 

Having stated that he had seen and recognized Jim Boy at the 
head of the Indians friendly to the whites, he was asked why he 
had not killed that chief, whose unusual height made him a conspi 
cuous object. He replied that it was not the will of the Great Spirit ; 
and added that he had been in many battles, and not having lost 
his life, he concluded he should die of sickness, and he supposed 
that Jim Boy would die in the same way. The allusion to the 
latter was made in consequence of his being present at this con 

After the adventures related, and many others, this chief listened 
to the overtures of the Creek Indians, who invited him to a council, 


and gave him, as he expresses it, a good talk. He accompanied 
them to St. Augustine, and gave himself up to the commanding 
officer, by whom he was kindly treated. He has a wife and two 
children in Arkansas. 


THIS portrait represents a young man of the Yankton tribe, of the 
Sioux nation, who, but a few years ago, occupied an obscure and 
menial rank. The distinction of grade seems to be a law of human 
nature, and occurs to some extent even in the least artificial state of 
society. It is observable among all the Indian tribes. The sons of 
chiefs and distinguished warriors stand aloof from menial employ 
ments, and are early trained to the exercises of war and hunting, 
while the offspring of indolent or inefficient men receive less con 
sideration, and are apt to be thrown into degrading offices. But in 
either case, the individual, on arriving at maturity, becomes the 
artificer of his own fortune, because, in a state of existence, sur 
rounded by danger and vicissitude, where boldness, cunning, and 
physical qualities are continually called into action, he must rise or 
sink, in the proportion that he displays the possession or the want 
of those qualities. 

Monkaushka, or The Trembling Earth, while a boy, was employed 
as a cook, horse guard, &c., and had not met with any opportunity 
to distinguish himself, until near about the time when he arrived at 
manhood, when he forced himself into notice by a single act. A 
small party of young men of the Yankton tribe fell in with an 
equal number of voyageurs, who were travelling through the prairies 
from St. Louis to some trading establishment in the interior of the 
Indian country. One of the Yanktons requested permission to ride 
on the same horse with one of the whites, which the latter declined 





as his horse was much fatigued, and the journey was still far from 
being finished. The Indian, being offended, resolved, with the 
capricious resentment of a savage, to take revenge upon the first 
opportunity, and shortly after shot an arrow through the unfor 
tunate white man. The remainder of the party fled in alarm, and 
reached the Yankton camp the next day. 

When the news of this outrage reached the Yankton village, 
Monkaushka, though a mere youth, declared himself the avenger of 
the white man. The Indian rule is, that the nearest relative of the 
deceased may put the murderer to death, but he must do it at his 
peril. If there be no relative who will take up the quarrel, a friend 
may do it ; and in this instance, whatever may have been the 
motive of the young Indian, the act was, according to their notions, 
highly generous, as he took up the cause of a deceased stranger, 
without the prospect of reward, and at the risk of his own life He 
was, however, laughed at by his companions, who did not give him 
credit for the courage necessary to carry out such a design, and 
supposed that he was only indulging in an idle boast. But he was 
in earnest ; and, having loaded his gun, he deliberately walked up 
to the offender, when he entered the village, and shot him dead. 

The impunity with which such an act might be done, would de 
pend much on the manner of its execution. Had not the most de 
termined intrepidity been displayed throughout the whole proceed 
ing, it is probable that the deed would have been prevented, or 
avenged. Although done under color of an acknowledged usage, it 
was not required by the Indian rule, and might have been con 
sidered an exception to it. The injured party was a stranger, 
and there was no tie of consanguinity or friendship which author 
ized Monkaushka to claim the office of his avenger. It might even 
have been an odious act to volunteer on such an occasion. It is 
most likely that a latent spirit that had been suppressed by the cii- 
cumstances under which he had grown up, was glowing within 
him, and that he grasped at an opportunity, thus fortuitously pre 


sented, to emancipate himself from his humble condition. The 
occasion would recommend itself to a mind thus situated, by its 
novelty, and would make a greater impression than a common-place 
achievement, which required only an ordinary effort of courage. If 
such was the reasoning of Monkaushka, it showed a sagacity equal 
to his spirit ; and that it was, is rendered probable by the successful 
event of the affair. He rose immediately to distinction, and, having 
since shown himself a good warrior, was, although a very young 
man, one of the chief persons in his tribe, and was sent to Washing 
ton, in 1837, as one of their delegates. During their stay in Wash 
ington, Monkaushka became sick. He was suffering under the in 
fluence of fever when he sat for his portrait but recovering a little, 
he was supposed able to proceed with the delegation on their tour 
to the East. On arriving at Baltimore, however, it was found im 
practicable for him to proceed further. He was left in charge of a 
faithful interpreter, and, although surrounded by all that was re 
quired for his comfort, he gradually sunk under his disease, and, 
after a few days of suffering, died. 



RICE.RUTTER & CO Publih R r 


MAHASKAH, or White Cloud, the elder, was the son of Mauhaw- 
sjavv, or the Wounding Arrow, who was principal chief of the Pau- 
hoochee, or pierced-nose nation of Indians. Mauhawgaw emigrated, 
some hundred and fifty years ago, from Michillimacinac to the west 
bank of the loway river, and selected a position near its mouth, 
where his band kindled their fires and smoked their pipes to the 
Great Spirit. The name given to this river, by Mauhawgaw, was 
Neohoney. or the Master of Rivers. Having built his village, he 
was greeted with a salutation from the Sioux. A pipe was sent 
to him by that tribe, with an invitation to a dog feast, made in honor 
of the Great Spirit. He accepted the invitation, and joined in the 
ceremony. Whilst at the feast, and, no doubt, reposing in the most 
perfect security, he was suddenly attacked ; but, though surprised, 
he succeeded in killing one man and three women, before he was 
slain. This outrage upon the national honor has never been forgiven. 

The portrait before the reader is that of the son of Mauhawgaw, 
who was thus treacherously slain. The loways, indignant at the 
conduct of the Sioux, resolved immediately on revenge. They 
raised a war party. Of this party, the son, Mahaskah, was the 
legitimate chief; but. being young, and having never distinguished 
himself in battle, he declined taking the command, but, by virtue of 
his right, he conferred upon a distinguished and tried warrior the 
authority to lead his warriors against the Sioux stating, at the 
time, that he would accompany the expedition as a common soldier. 

11 ( 81 ) 


and fight till he should acquire experience, and gain trophies enough 
to secure to him the confidence of his people. Arrangements being 
made, the party marched into the Sioux country, and gained a great 
victory, taking ten of the enemy's scalps. The young Mahaskah 
brought home, in his own hand, the scalp of the Sioux chief, in 
whose lodge the life of his father had been so treacherously taken. 

Having thus shown himself a brave, he assumed the command of 
his warriors and of his tribe. His war adventures were numerous 
and daring. He was in eighteen battles against various bands, and 
was never defeated. In one of his expeditions against the Osages, 
with whom his conflicts were many, he arrived on the north bank 
of the Missouri, and while there, and engaged in trying to stop an 
effusion of blood from his nose, he espied a canoe descending the 
river, in which were three Frenchmen. Wishing to cross over with 
his party, he called upon the Frenchmen to land and assist him. 
The Frenchmen not only refused, but fired upon the Indians, 
wounding one of White Cloud's braves. The fire was instantly 
returned, which killed one of the Frenchmen. White Cloud had, 
so far, taken no part in this little affair, but, on seeing one of his 
braves wounded, he called for his gun, saying " You have killed 
one of the rascals, I'll try if I cannot send another along with him 
to keep him company to the Chee" Chee means the house of the 
Black Spirit. 

As usual, the whites raised a great clamor against the loways, 
giving out, all along the borders, that they were killing the settlers. 
A party was raised and armed, and marched forthwith against 
Mahaskah and his warriors. They were overtaken. White Cloud, 
not suspecting their designs, and being conscious of having com 
mitted no violence, was captured, and thrust into prison, where he 
remained many months. He finally made his escape, and suc 
ceeded in reaching his own country in safety. He then married 
four wives. It is the custom of the tribe, when husbands or 
brothers fall in battle, for a brave to adopt their wives or sisters. 


White Cloud found, on his return, four sisters who had been thus 
deprived of their protector, all of whom he married. Of these, 
Rantchewaime, or the Female Flying Pigeon, was one, and the 
youngest. Her fine likeness, with a sketch of her character, will 
succeed this narrative. 

Often, after White Cloud had thus settled himself, was he known 
to express his regret at having permitted his warriors to fire upon 
the Frenchmen. On these occasions he has been seen to look upon 
his hand, and heard to mutter to himself " There is blood on it." 
He rejoiced, however, in the reflection, that he had never shed the 
blood of an American. And yet his father's death, and the manner 
of it, made him restless, and rendered him implacable against the 
perpetrators of that outrage, and their allies. Not long after his 
escape from prison, and return to his home, and soon after his mar 
riage, he planned an expedition against the Osages. He resolved 
to march with a select party of ten braves to the Little Osage plains, 
which lie south of the Missouri river, and about two hundred and 
fifty miles above St. Louis. Arriving at the plains, a favorable 
opportunity soon offered, which was seized by Mahaskah, and' the 
battle commenced. It was his misfortune, early in the conflict, to 
receive a rifle ball in his leg, just above the ankle. He had suc 
ceeded, however, before he was wounded, in taking three of the 
enemy's scalps, when he sought a retreat, and found one under a 
large log that lay across a water-course. The Osages followed 
close upon him being guided by the blood that flowed from his 
wound ; but they lost the trail on arriving at the water-course, for 
Mahaskah had taken the precaution to step into the water some dis 
tance below the log, by which stratagem he misled his pursuers, for 
they supposed he had crossed over at the place where they last 
saw blood. He remained under the log, which lay on the water, 
with just so much of his nose out as to enable him to breathe. 

In the night, when all was silence, save the tinkling of the bells 
of the Indian horses in the plains below, Mahaskah left his place 


of concealment, and coming up with one of the horses, mounted 
him and made off in the direction of his home, which was on the 
river Des Moines. Arriving at the Missouri, he resorted to the 
Indian mode of crossing, which is, to tie one end of the halter 
around the head or neck of the horse, and, taking the other end 
between his teeth, he drives the animal into the water, and unites 
his own exertions, as a swimmer, to those of the horse, and is by 
this means carried over in safety. In all these difficulties he took 
care not to part with either his gun or his scalps. On arriving at 
home he paraded his trophies, and ordered the scalp dance to be 
danced. Not being able, on account of his wound, to lead the 
dance himself, he placed the scalps in the hand of Inthehone, or the 
Big Axe, who, being the first brave of his band, was entitled to the 
distinction. Mahaskah accompanied the presentation of the scalps 
to Big Axe with these words : " I have now revenged the death 
of my father. My heart is at rest. I will go to war no more. I 
told Maushuchees, or Red Head, (meaning General Clark,) when I 
was last at St. Louis, that I would take his peace talk. My word 
is out. I will fight no more." 

In the year 1824, Mahaskah left home, being one of a party on an 
embassy to Washington, leaving his wives behind him, their number 
having increased to seven. When about one hundred miles from 
home, and near the mouth of the river Des Moines, having killed a 
deer, he stopped to cook a piece of it. He was seated, and had just 
commenced his meal, when he felt himself suddenly struck on the 
back. Turning round, he was astonished to see Rantchewaime 
standing before him with an uplifted tomahawk in her hand. She 
thus accosted him " Am I your wife ? Are you my husband ? 
If so, I wijl go with you to the Mawhehunneche, (or the A merican 
big house,) and see and shake the hand of Incohonee," which 
means great father. Mahaskah answered " Yes, you are my wife ; 
I am your husband ; I have been a long time from you ; I am glad 


to see you ; you are my pretty wife, and a brave man always loves 
to see a pretty woman." 

The party arrived at Washington. " A talk" was held with 
President Monroe ; the present of a medal was made to Mahaskah, 
arid a treaty was concluded between the United States and the 
loways. It was a treaty of cession, of limits, &c., and of considera 
tions therefor. These considerations include a payment, in that 
year, of five hundred dollars, and the same sum annually, for 
ten years thereafter. Provision is made for blankets, farming 
utensils, and cattle ; and assistance is promised them in their 
agricultural pursuits, under such forms as the President might 
deem expedient. 

The following occurrence happened at Washington during that 
visit. Mahaskah would occasionally indulge in a too free use of 
ardent spirits. On one of these occasions he was exercising one of 
an Indian husband's privileges on the Flying Pigeon. The agent, 
hearing the scuffle, hastened to their room. Mahaskah, hearing 
him coming, lifted up the window sash and stepped out, forgetting 
that he was two stories from the ground. In the fall he broke his 
arm ; yet so accustomed had he been to fractures and wounds, that 
he insisted on riding the next day, over rough roads and pavements, 
a distance of at least two miles, to see a cannon cast. A few days 
after, he sat to King, of Washington, for his portrait. The reader 
will remark a compression of his eyebrows. This was caused by 
the pain he was enduring whilst the artist was sketching his 

On his return to his country and home, Mahaskah began in 
earnest to cultivate his land he built for himself a double log 
house, and lived in great comfort. This, he said, was in obedience 
to the advice of his great father. 

Soon after his return to his home, it was his misfortune to lose his 
favorite wife, and under very painful circumstances. They were 
crossing a tract of country. Mahaskah, having reason to apprehend 


that hostile bands might be met with, kept in advance. Each was 
on horseback ; the Flying Pigeon carrying her child, Mahaskah the 
younger, then about four years old. Turning, at a certain point, to 
look back to see what distance his wife was from him, he was sur 
prised, his position being a high one, enabling him to overlook a 
considerable extent of country, not to see her. He rode back, and, 
sad to relate, after retracing his steps some five or six miles, he saw 
her horse grazing near the trail, and presently the body of his wife, 
near the edge of a small precipice, with her child resting its head 
upon her body. The horror-stricken chief, alighting near to the 
spot, was soon assured of her death ! Standing over her corpse, he 
exclaimed, in his mother tongue, " Wau-cunda-menia-bratuskunnee, 
shungau-menia-nauga-nappo !" which being interpreted, means 
" God Almighty ! I am a bad man. You are angry with me. The 
horse has killed my squaw !" At the moment, the child lifted its 
head from the dead body of its mother, and said " Father, my 
mother is asleep !" 

The inference was, that the horse had stumbled and thrown her. 
The occurrence took place about four days' journey from his home. 
Mahaskah, within that time, was seen returning to his lodge, bear 
ing the dead body of Rantchewaime, with his child in his arms. 
He proceeded at once to dispose of the corpse. His first business 
was to gather together all the presents that had been made to her at 
Washington ; also whatever else belonged to her, and to place them, 
with the body, in a rude box; and then, according to the custom 
of the Indians of that region, the box was placed upon a high 
scaffold. This mode of disposing of the dead has a twofold object 
one is, to elevate the body as high as possible in the direction of 
the home of the Great Spirit ; that home being, according to their 
belief, m the sky ; the other is to protect the corpse from the wolves, 
whose ravages would disfigure it, and render it unsightly in the 
eyes of trie Great Spirit. This much of the ceremony over, the 
'. hief killed a dog, made a feast, and called his braves together. A 


second dog, and then a horse were killed. The dog was fastened, 
with his head upwards, to the scaffold, while the tail of the horse 
had a position assigned to it on that part of the scaffold nearest the 
head of the deceased. On the head of the dog was placed a twist 
of tobacco. 

These ceremonies have their origin in a superstition of the 
nation, which attributes every death to the anger of the Great 
Spirit, who is supposed to be always in motion, searching for the 
spirits of those who have recently died, with the calumet, or pipe of 
peace in his mouth. As the scaffold is approached by the myste 
rious being, the watchful dog is expected to see and address him - 
inform him of the locality of the body, and invite him to take the 
tobacco, and smoke. This offer the Indian believes is always 
accepted. The Great Spirit then proceeds to reanimate and 
remodel the dead body ; to restore the trinkets and property of the 
deceased ; impart vitality to the dog and the horse, and commis 
sion them, forth with, the one to bear the deceased to the land of 
game and of plenty the other, to hunt the deer in the regions of 
the blessed. 

In 1833, the son of an loway chief of distinction, named Crane, 
was killed by the Omahas. A party of loway s applied to 
Mahaskah to head them in the pursuit of the enemy. He replied, 
"I have buried the tomahawk; I am now a man of peace." He 
added; "the treaty made with our great /ather provides for the 
punishment of such outrages." The party, however, resolved that 
they would punish the aggressors. They made an incursion into 
the enemy's country, and returned, bringing with them six scalps. 
The customary feast was prepared, and all was made ready f or the 
scalp dance ; but Mahaskah refused to partake of the one, or par 
ticipate in the other. 

The murders, on both sides, having been reported to the govern 
ment, General Clark was directed to cause the loways to be 
arrested. This duty was assigned to their agent, General Hughes 


who called on the chief, Mahaskah, to whom he made known the 
order. Mahaskah answered, "It is right; I will go with yon." 
The offenders were arrested and conveyed to Fort Leavenworth. 
While confined there, one of the prisoners called Mahaskah to the 
window of his dungeon, and looking him full in the face, said ; 
" Inca, (father,) if ever I get out of this place alive, I will kill you. 
A brave man should never be deprived of his liberty, and confined 
as I am. You should have shot me at the village." 

Unfortunately for Mahaskah, that Indian succeeded in making 
his escape from prison. He forthwith went in pursuit of the object 
of his revenge. Mahaskah was found encamped on the Naudaway, 
about sixty miles from his village. His pursuer and party attacked 
him with guns, tomahawks, and clubs, and slew him. After he 
was dead, one of the party remarked, that " he was the hardest man 
to kill he ever knew." This was in 1834, Mahaskah being then 
about fifty years old. 

The tidings of Mahaskah's death soon reached his village. One 
of the murderers escaped, arid sought refuge among the Ottoes ; but, 
on learning the cause of his visit to them, they shot him in their 
camp. The other, with the utmost indifference, returned to the 
village of the murdered chief. Young Mahaskah, now the suc 
cessor of his father, and principal chief of the nation, on hearing the 
news of his father's death, and that one of the murderers had re 
turned to the village, went immediately to his lodge, killed his dogs 
and horses, and with his knife cut and ripped his lodge in every 
possible direction. This last act, especially, is an insult to which 
no brave man will submit. Having hurled this defiance at one of 
the murderers of his father, and expressed his contempt for him 
under every possible form, he turned to the assassin, who had ob 
served in silence the destruction of his property, and, looking him 
sternly in the face, said *' You have killed the greatest man who 
ever made a moccason track on the Naudaway; you must, therefore, 
be yourself a great man, since the Great Spirit has given you the 


victory. To call you a dog would make my father less than a dog." 
The squaw of the murderer exclaimed to her husband, " Why don't 
you kill the boy ?" He replied, " He is going to be a great brave ; 
I cannot kill him." So saying, he handed the young chief a pipe, 
which he refused, saying, "I will leave you in the hands of the 
braves of my nation." To which the inflexible murderer replied, 
" I am not going to run away ; I'll meet your braves to-morrow." 
The Indian knew full well the fate that awaited him. He felt that 
his life was forfeited, and meant to assure the young chief that he 
was ready to pay the penalty. 

The next day a general council was convened. The case was 
submitted to it. The unanimous voice was, "He shall die." It 
was further decreed, that young Mahaskah should kill him ; but he 
declined, saying, " I cannot kill so brave a man ;" whereupon he 
was shot by one of the principal braves. His body was left on the 
ground, to be devoured by wolves, as a mark of the disgust of the 
tribe, and of their abhorrence of the assassin of their chief. 

It is customary among the loways, and the neighboring tribes, 
for the wives and children of the deceased to give away every thing 
which had belonged to him and his family. This custom was 
rigidly adhered to on the occasion of Mahaskah's death. His sur 
viving squaws went into mourning and poverty. The mourning is 
kept up for six moons, and consists, in addition to the blacking of 
the face, in much wailing, and in the utterance of long and melan 
choly howls. At its expiration, the tribe present the mourners with 
food and clothing, and other necessaries of savage life. One of Ma- 


haskah's widows, however, named Missorahtarrahaw, which means, 
the Female Deer that bounds over the plains, refuses to this day to 
be comforted, saying, her husband " was a great brave, and was 
killed by dogs" meaning, low, vulgar fellows. 

The subject of this memoir was six feet two inches in height, 
possessed great bodily strength and activity, and was a man of 
perfect symmetry of person, and of uncommon beauty. 


The loways were once the most numerous and powerful, next to 
the Sioux, of all the tribes that hunt between the Mississippi and 
Missouri rivers. They have been reduced by wars, by the small 
pox, and by whisky, to about thirteen hundred souls. 




THIS portrait is a perfect likeness of the wife of Mahaskah, a 
sketch of whose life precedes this. Rantchewaime means, Female 
Flying Pigeon. She has been also called, the beautiful Female 
Eagle that flies in the air. This name was given to her by the 
chiefs and braves of the nation, on account of her great personal 

We have already, in the sketch of her husband's life, made the 
reader acquainted with the tragic end of this interesting woman. It 
remains for us to speak of her character. General Hughes, the 
agent of the tribe, who was well acquainted with her, speaks of her 
in terms of unmixed approbation. She was chaste, mild, gentle in 
her disposition, kind, generous, and devoted to her husband. A 
harsh word was never known to proceed from her mouth ; nor was 
she ever known to be in a passion. Mahaskah used to say of her, 
after her death, that her hand was shut when those who did not 
want came into her presence ; but, when the poor came, it was like 
a strainer, full of holes, letting all she held in it pass through. In 
the exercise of this generous feeling she was uniform. It was not 
indebted for its exercise to whim, or caprice, or partiality. No 
matter of what nation the applicant for her bounty was, or whether 
at war or peace with her tribe, if he were hungry, she fed him ; if 
naked, she clothed him ; and if houseless, she gave him shelter. 
The continual exercise of this generous feeling kept her poor. She 
has been known to give away her last blanket all the honey that 



was in the lodge, the last bladder of bears' oil,* and the last piece 
of dried meat. 

Rantchewaime was scrupulously exact in the observance of all the 
religious rites which her faith imposed upon her. Her conscience 
is represented to have been extremely tender. She often feared 
that her acts were displeasing to the Great Spirit, when she would 
blacken her face, and retire to some lone place, and fast and pray. 
The loways, like all other Indians, believe in a Great Spirit, and in 
future rewards and punishments ; and their priests make frequent 
sacrifices of dogs and horses, to appease the anger of their God. 
For their virtue, which, with these Indians, means courage, kind 
ness, honesty, chastity, and generosity, they believe most sincerely 
they will be rewarded ; and, for bad actions, they as fully believe 
they will be punished. Among these they enumerate dishonesty, 
laziness, the sacrifice of chastity, &c. But they do not view the 
stealing of a horse in the light of a dishonest act they class this 
among their virtues. 

Rantchewaime has been known, after her return from Washing 
ton, to assemble hundreds of the females of her tribe, and discourse 
to them on the subject of those vicious courses which she witnessed 
during that journey, among the whites, and to warn them against 
like practices. The good effect of such a nice sense of propriety 
has been singularly illustrated among the loways. It is reported, 
on unquestionable authority, that an illegitimate child has never 
been known to be born among them. It is true, uncles (parents do 
not interfere, the right being in the uncle, or the nearest relative) 
sometimes sell their nieces for money or merchandise, to traders and 
engagees. Marriages thus contracted frequently produce a state of 
great connubial happiness ; but, if the purchaser abandon his pur 
chase, she is discarded, and never taken for a wife by a brave, b-t 

* Bears' oil is kept in bladders, and used by the Indians in cooking, for the same 
purposes for which we use lard' or butter. 



is left to perform all the drudgery of the lodge and the field, and is 
treated as an outcast. 

An affecting incident occurred in 1828, on the Missouri. A con 
nection, by purchase, had been formed between a trader and an 
loway maid. They lived together for some time, and had issue, 
one child, The trader, as is often the case, abandoned his wife and 
child. The wife, agitated with contending emotions of love and 
bereavement, and knowing how hard would be her fate, strapped 
her child to the cradle, and throwing it on her back, pursued her 
faithless husband. She came within sight of him, but he eluded 
her. Arriving at the top of a high bluff that overlooked the 
country, and after straining her eyes by looking in every direction 
to catch a glimpse of him, or to see the way he was travelling, in 
vain, she stepped hastily to a part of the bluff that overhung the 
Missouri, and exclaiming, " O God ! all that I loved in this world 
has passed from my sight; my hopes are all at an end; I give 
myself and child to thee !" sprang into the river, and with her 
child was drowned. 

We have spoken of the firm belief of the loways in a future state. 
What that state is, in their view of it, we will now briefly state. 
They believe that, after death, and after they are found by the 
Great Spirit who, as we have said in a preceding sketch, is con 
stantly going about with a pipe of peace in his mouth, seeking the 
bodies of the dead they are guided by him to a rapid stream, over 
which always lies a log that is exceedingly slippery. Those who 
are destined to be happy are sustained by the Good Spirit in cross 
ing upon this slippery log. The moment they reach the opposite 
shore, they are transported to a land filled with buffalo arid elk, the 
antelope and beaver; with otters, and raccoons, and muskrats. 
Over this beautiful land the sun always shines ; the streams that 
irrigate it never dry up, whilst the air is filled with fragrance, and 
is of the most delightful temperature. The kettles are always slung, 
and the choicest cuts from the buffalo, the elk, &c., are always in a 


state of readiness to be eaten, whilst the smoke of these viands 
ascends for ever and ever. In this beautiful and happy country, 
the departed good meet, and mingle with their ancestors of all 
previous time, and all the friends that preceded them, all recog 
nizing and saluting each other. 

But when the wicked die, they are guided to this slippery log, 
and then abandoned, when they fall into the stream, and, after being 
whirled about in many directions, they awake and find themselves 
upon firm ground, but in the midst of sterility, of poverty, and of 
desolation. All around them are snakes, lizards, frogs, and grass 
hoppers ; and there is no fuel to kindle a fire. This barren land is 
in full view of the beautiful country, and of all its delights, whilst 
over it constantly pass the odors of the viands ; but from a partici 
pation in any thing there, they are for ever debarred. 

In this belief Rantchewaime grew up. It was to gain admission 
into this heaven, and to avoid this place of punishment, she so often 
went into retirement to pray ; and all her virtues and good works, 
she believed, were put down as so many titles to this beautiful 
heaven. There can be little doubt, that a mind thus formed, and a 
conscience thus tender, would, under the guidance of the Christian 
faith, and the enlightening influence of our most holy religion, have 
carried their possessor to the highest attainments, and made her a 
bright and a shining light. It is impossible to contemplate a child 
of nature so gifted in all that is excellent, without feeling a regret 
that the principles of a more rational religion had not reached Rant 
chewaime, and that she had not participated in its enjoyments. But 
He to whom she has gone will know how to judge her. Certain 
it is, of those to whom a little has been given, but little will be 
required; and although Rantchewaime may not have found the 
heaven she aspired to reach, she has found one far more delightful, 
and as eternal. 


N 80. 

RICE,RUTTER&CO Publishers 


THIS is the son of Mahaskah the elder and Rantchewaime. On 
the death of his father, young Mahaskah took charge of his family. 
Inheriting by birth the title and prerogatives of chief, it was sup 
posed he would assume the authority of one ; but this he refused to 
do, saying, he would not occupy the place of his father unless 
called to that station by a majority of his people. This decision 
being made known to the nation, a general council was called, by 
which he was elected chief without a dissenting voice. He was 
then in the twenty-fourth year of his age. The decision of the 
council being announced to him, he thus addressed it : " One of 
my sisters, and other young squaws, have been taught to spin and 
weave. My father approved this and encouraged it. He also 
taught the lessons of peace, and counselled me not to go to war, 
except in my own defence. I have made up my mind to listen 
always to that talk. I have never shed blood ; have never taken a 
scalp, and never will, unless compelled by bad men, in my own 
defence, and for the protection of my people. I believe the Great 
Spirit is always angry with men who shed innocent blood. I will 
live in peace." 

This talk clearly indicated the policy he had resolved to pursue , 
and, that the force of example might be added to his precept, he 
immediately engaged in agricultural pursuits. He has now under 
cultivation about sixteen acres of land, on which he raises corn 
pumpkins, beans, squashes, potatoes, &c., all which are well 



attended, and cultivated with great neatness the plough being the 
principal instrument; and this he holds in his own hand. The 
surplus produce he distributes with great liberality among his 
people. This, and his father's example, have had a most beneficial 
effect upon his tribe. Mahaskah not only follows, thus practically, 
the example set by his father, but he also counsels his people, on all 
suitable occasions, to abandon war and the chase, and look to the 
ground for their support. He is, literally, the monarch of his tribe 
Naucheninga, or No Heart, his father's brother, acts in concert 
with, and sustains him nobly, in these lessons of industry and peace. 
Young Mahaskah considered that great injustice had been done 
by the United States government to his people, in failing, by a 
total disregard of the stipulations of the treaty of 1825, to keep off 
intruders from his lands, and in overlooking the obligations of that 
treaty in regard to the conduct of the Sauks and Foxes of the Mis 
sissippi, who had not only made large sales of the mineral regions 
about what are called De Buque's mines, without consulting the 
loways, who, by the treaty, are entitled to an equal portion of that 
country, but who also threatened, in their talks, to advance within 
the limits of the Grand and Des Moines rivers, and take possession 
of the country. In view of these things, young Mahaskah called 
on the United States agent, and made known his grievances. The 
agent replied, that his will was good to see justice done to the 
loways, but that he had no power to enforce it. Mahaskah resolved 
to proceed immediately to Washington, and appeal, in person, to 
his great father, and ask for redress. This intention of the chief 
was made known to the government. The answer was, in sub 
stance, " There is no appropriation to pay his expenses." He then 
determined to make the visit at his own cost, which he did in the 
winter of 1836-7, selecting for his companion a notable brave, 
called the Sioux Killer, whose portrait is given in this work, and of 
whose life and actions we have something to say. The loways en 
gaged the services of Major Joseph V. Hamilton and Major Morgan, 



and invested them with full power to adjust their difficulties with 
the government Major Morgan declined, Major Hamilton con 
sented; when, in company with their long-tried and faithful agent, 
General Andrew H. Hughes, the party started for Washington. 

Mahaskah had indulged the hope that these difficulties might be 
adjusted at St. Louis, and thereby save the trouble and expense of 
pursuing his journey to Washington. With this view, he visited 
the old and constant friend of his people, General William Clark, 
who received the chief and his party with all the kindness which 
has so long characterized his intercourse with the Indians of the far 
West. But he was unable to redress the grievances complained of, 
and, therefore, declined to interfere in the adjustment of their claims. 
He, however, gave Mahaskah a letter, which was addressed to 
Major Hamilton, to be laid before the President, together with a 
very able petition which had been prepared. The petition was ad 
dressed to Andrew Jackson, President of the United States, or his 
successor; and also to the Congress of the United States; the object 
being that, if the President had no authority to interfere, Congress 
might confer it. 

The young chief and his party were received with great kindness 
by the authorities at Washington. He told, in his own simple but 
eloquent style, the story of his wrongs, and claimed the interposition 
of the government. He was promised, in reply, that his business 
should be attended to, and his grievances redressed. Reposing 
entire confidence in these promises, he was satisfied. A medal was 
presented to him, and other testimonials of respect shown him- 
After remaining about ten days, he returned, in February, 1837, to 
his own country. The portrait before the reader was taken during 
that visit, by that celebrated artist, King, the same who had taken, 
previously, a large portion of those which embellish this work. 

In person, young Mahaskah is about five feet ten inches high, 
and so finely proportioned as to be a model, in all respects, of a per 
fect man. The reader will see, on turning to his portrait, how 



striking is its resemblance to his father's, and how clearly it indi 
cates the character of the man. Around his neck are seen the same 
bear's claws which his father had long worn before him. 

It happened, when Mahaskah was at Washington, that the agent 
for this work was there also. He waited on the party, and exhibited 
the specimen number. As he turned over the leaves bearing the 
likenesses of many of those Indians of the far West, who were known 
to the party, Mahaskah would pronounce their names with the same 
promptness as if the originals had been alive and before liim. 
Among these was the likeness of his father. He looked at it with 
a composure bordering on indifference. On being asked if he did 
not know his father, he answered, pointing to the portrait, "That 
is my father." He was asked if he was not glad to see him. He 
replied, ' It is enough for me to know that my father was a brave 
man, and had a big heart, and died an honorable death in doing 
the will of my great father" referring to the duty he was engaged 
in, as stated in his father's life, which resulted in his death. 

Another leaf being turned over, he said, " That is Shaumone- 
kusse, the Ottoe chief," and added, "he is a brave and sensible 
man, and I am glad to see him." They had long been friends; in 
fact, ever since Mahaskah was a boy, they had smoked the calumet 
together. The portrait of the Eagle of Delight, wife of Shaumone- 
kusse, was then shown to him. "That," said he, "is my mother." 
The agent assured him he was mistaken. He became indignant, 
and seemed mortified that his mother, as he believed her to be, 
should be arranged in the work as the wife of another, and 
especially of a chief over whom his father had held and exercised 
authority. The colloquy became interesting, until at last, some ex 
citement, on the part of Mahaskah, grew out of it. On hearing it 
repeated by the agent, that he must be mistaken, Mahaskah turned 
and looked him in the face, saying, " Did you ever know the child 
that loved its mother, and had seen her, that forgot the board on 
which he was strapped, and the back on which he had been carried, 


or the knee on which he had been nursed, or the breast that had 
given him life ?" So firmly convinced was he that this was the 
picture of his mother, and so resolved that she should not remain 
by the side of Shaumonekusse, that he said, " I will no; leave this 
room until my mother's name, Rantchewaime, is marked over the 
name of Eagle of Delight." The agent for the work complied with 
his demand, when his agitation, which had become great, subsided, 
and he appeared contented. Looking once more at the painting, he 
turned from it, saying, " If it had not been for Waucondamony" 
the name he gave the agent for the work, which means Walking 
God, so called, because he attributed the taking of these likenesses 
to him " I would have kissed her; but Waucondamony made me 

Soon after this interview, the party went to King's gallery, where 
are copies of many of these likenesses, and among them are both 
the Eagle of Delight and the Female Flying Pigeon. The moment 
Mahaskah's eye caught the portrait of the Female Flying Pigeon, 
he exclaimed, " That is my mother ! that is her fan ! I know her 
now. I am ashamed again." He immediately asked to have a 
copy of it, as also of the Eagle of Delight, wife of Shaumonekusse, 
saying, of this last, " The Ottoe chief will be so glad to see his 
squaw, and he will give me one hundred horses for it." 

It was most natural that Mahaskah should have mistaken the 
Eagle of Delight for his mother, and no less so, when they were 
seen together, that he should become convinced of his error. His 
mother, it will be recollected, was killed when he was only four 
years old. She and the Eagle of Delight were neighbors and friends, 
and much together; and were particular in braiding their hair 
alike, and dressing always after the same fashion, and, generally, in 
the same kind of material. He knew, moreover, that the Eagle of 
Delight was of royal birth, and, though a child, he recollected she 
had a blue spot on her forehead, which is the ensign of royalty. In 
the portrait before him, the colorer had omitted the spot; not seeing 


this, and seeing the braided hair and the dress, and the strong re 
semblance to the features of his mother as they remained impressed 
upon his memory, he was easily deceived. The moment, however, 
he came into the presence of his mother's likeness, and had both 
before him, he knew her on whose back he had been carried, the 
knee on which he had been nursed, and the breast that had given 
him life ; and even the fan in her hand served to recall the mother 
he had loved, and painfully to remind him of her melancholy death 
for he said that she had that same fan in her hand when the 
horse fell with her. In the other painting before him, he saw the 
blue spot. He was no longer mistaken, and rejoiced in once more 
beholding so good a mother. It is scarcely necessary to add, that 
copies of both were sent to him, and that both he and Shaumone- 
kusse, the husband of the Eagle of Delight, were made happy; the 
one in receiving back, as from the dead, a mother so beloved the 
other, a wife whose loss he deeply deplores. 




METAKOOSEGA, or Pure tobacco, is one of the Lac du Flambeau 
band, of the Chippeway, or, more properly, Objibway nation, and 
resides on the borders of Trout Lake. This man was one of a war 
party, raised in 1824, to go against the Sioux. They descended 
the Chippeway river to the Mississippi, and unfortunately fell in 
with a trader named Finley, from Prairie du Chien, whom, together 
with the crew of his boat, they murdered. 

It is provided, by our treaties with the Indian tribes, that, upon 
the commission of such outrages, the offenders shall be given up by 
their tribes, to be tried and punished under our laws; and the prac 
tice of our government has been, to insist upon a rigid observance 
of this regulation. When the usual demand was made for the 
murderers of Finley, twenty-nine of the party voluntarily sur 
rendered themselves to the agent at the Sault de St. Marie. They 
were examined, seven of them committed for trial, and confined at 
Mackinaw, and the remainder discharged. At the ensuing term of 
the court, the judge of the district declined trying the prisoners, in 
consequence of some objection which had been raised against his 
jurisdiction : and, during the following winter, they cut their way 
out of the log jail, and escaped. 

In the mission of Governor Cass and Colonel McKenney to the 
Upper Lakes, in 1826, it was made part of their duty to ascertain 
and demand the real perpetrators of the aggression on the party of 
Mr. Finley. This has always been a difficult and delicate subject, 



in the relations of our government with the Indians, in consequence 
of the very wide difference between their moral code and our own. 
They admit the obligation of the lex taUonis to its fullest extent, but 
they cannot understand that any other than the injured party has a 
right to claim the penalty. Had any of the near relatives of Mr. 
Finley, for instance, gone to the Lac du Flambeau, to revenge 
themselves upon his murderers, they would have been considered 
as in the praiseworthy performance of an act of duty, and would 
have been permitted to put the guilty parties to death, if they could 
and none would have interfered, either to aid or prevent them. 
But they view the interference of the government with jealousy ; 
and while, on the one hand, they often refuse obstinately to betray 
the offender, or shield him by evasion and delay, they as often, on 
the other, when their fears of the resentment of our government 
become awakened, deliver up some innocent party, who volunteers 
his life as a peace-offering, to satisfy what they deem a kind of 
national thirst for the blood of one of the tribe which has insulted us. 
The following extract from Colonel McKenney's account of this 
transaction will be interesting: "The council met; when, ac 
cording to arrangement, I made the demand for the surrender of 
the murderers. This being done, and there being one Indian 
present belonging to the Lac du Flambeau band, and who was of 
the party who committed the murder, he was called up, and 
formally examined. He is clearly innocent. Indeed his presence 
here demonstrates that fact. It was in proof, that .he dissuaded the 
murderers from committing the act. We told him, if he had been 
guilty, we would have taken him with us, and tried him by our 
laws ; and if, on proof, he had turned out to have had a hand in the 
bloody act, he should have been hanged. During the examination, 
his brother came up to the table, greatly agitated. He showed 
great anxiety, and said he knew the murderers had upbraided his 
brother because he would riot join them. Another Indian declared 
he knew he was innocent. The governor said, ' Will you put your 


hand on your breast, and say that in the presence of the Great 
Spirit ?' The moment the interpreter put this question, the Indian 
looked him full in the face, and answered, 'Am I a dog, that I should 
lie?' This reply is somewhat remarkable, not only on account of 
its resemblance to the scriptural expression ' Is thy servant a dog ?' 
&c. but because there is hardly any thing on which an Indian 
sets so high a value as his dog. This is proverbial ; yet he is con 
stantly referred to as an object of contempt ! Indians never swear 
I mean until they learn it of their white brothers and their most 
degrading epithet is to call their opponents dogs. Here is a strange 
union of respect and contempt." 

Metakoosega was implicated in the murder, but did not surrender 
himself. He is a tall, well-made man, with a stern countenance ; 
and is a jossekeed, or medicine worker, much respected by his band 
for his supposed skill in necromancy. 


THIS is the fifth chief, in grade, in the loway tribe. In attempt 
ing to describe his own age, he said that he was born when his 
tribe made war, the first time, upon the Osages, and that, he 
believed, was about forty years ago. This is as near as the Indians 
usually approach to accuracy in regard to their own ages. He de 
scribes himself as having had a pacific disposition in childhood, and 
as having no desire to kill any thing until he was ten years old. 
At that time a great flight of wild pigeons covered the country, and 
he went out with other boys to kill them. Having been employed 
for some days in this way, he became fond of the sport, and then 
killed a squirrel. After that his brothers offered him a gun, of 
which at first he was afraid, but, being induced to receive it, he 
went out and shot a turkey. He remembers that, while yet a boy, 
being one day in the village, some warriors returned from an expe 
dition, shouting, and making a great noise. The people collected 
around them, while the warriors sung and danced, and exhibited 
the scalps they had taken. His father took him by the hand, and 
said to him, " Son, listen to me. Look at those scalps, and at those 
great warriors ! This is what I like to see. Observe those braves, 
and learn to follow their example-. Go to war and kill too, and the 
chiefs will look upon you as a brave man." Such teaching would 
not be lost upon a boy, and least of all upon the Indian lad, whose 
first lesson inculcates the shedding of blood, and whose innate de 
structiveness, practised in the beginning upon the lesser animals, 
is rapidly developed and improved as his strength increases, by the 


; :% : 


RICE, RUTTtR* CO Publishers. 


strongest incentives, until it attains its maximum in the great 
exploit of manslaughter. He was soon after permitted to accom 
pany a war-party, and, being too young to bear arms, was employed 
in carrying the cooking utensils and other burdens. It is thus that 
the Indian boys, like the pages and squires of chivalry, are trained 
for the business of war. He was in the rear, when an onset was 
made upon a camp of the Kansas, and, running eagerly forward to 
indulge his curiosity, witnessed the killing of a woman, struck his 
knife into the expiring victim, and had the fortune to seize upon 
two children, who became his prisoners, and were afterwards given 
up by him to General Clark, the superintendent of Indian affairs, 
at St. Louis. 

When about seventeen, he was at a hunting lodge with a small 
party, under his uncle, the Hard Heart, who left them, for a short 
time, to go to procure powder and lead. While lounging about the 
camp he espied an Omaha, who was peeping at him, and endea 
voring at the same time to avoid observation. Neomonni called 
the stranger to him, and invited him to spend the night at the 
lodge. The Omaha, who probably could not readily escape, came 
to them, and they watched him all night. His death was resolved 
upon, but as the Indian seldom acts except by stratagem, the 
tragedy was deferred until morning. At the dawn they began to 
move their camp. While on the march, one of the party shot the 
Omaha, and Neomonni, after he had fallen, discharged an arrow 
into his body and scalped him. An old man of the party, whose 
son had been killed by the Omahas, exclaimed, " Now I'll be 
captain !" by which he meant, that, having a cause for revenge 
against the Omahas, he had the best right to take the lead in the 
savage gratification of exulting over a fallen enemy. 

As our readers would not probably be edified by a particular 
detail of the sanguinary deeds of this chief, we shall not pursue the 
minute recital with which he was good enough to favor us. How 
ever interesting such adventures might be to the spectators of a war- 



dance, or the grave members of a council, we fear they might not 
be equally pleasing to civilized ears, and shall, therefore, abridge a 
narrative which contains but a repetition of such deeds as those 
already repeated. 

The cloud out of which the rain comes for such is the significa 
tion of the compound word Neomonni is a warrior of repute. In 
one of his adventures he accompanied the celebrated Otto chief 
letan, to the river Platte ; and when shown the portrait of that 
warrior, in a former number of this work, he immediately recog 
nized his old -comrade. In summing up his various exploits, he 
claims to have taken three scalps of the Kansas, two of the Omahas, 
one of the Missouris, one of the Sioux, one of the Sauks, and two 
of the Osages. In the reputable business of horse-stealing he has 
been engaged thirteen times, and has taken forty horses. On four 
expeditions he has acted as captain ; and he has presented sixty- 
seven horses and twenty rifles, on different occasions, to individuals 
or tribes other than his own. These acts of liberality are recounted 
with much complacency, because, while they show on the one 
hand a wealth gained by daring and successful stratagem, they 
evince on the other a generosity, public spirit, and zeal for the 
honor of the tribe, highly becoming the character of a great chief. 



RICE. ROTTER &CO- Publ.shP8. 



WAKAWN, the Snake, was a war-chief of the Winnebagves. 
He was born on St. Mary's river, near Green Bay, in the Michigan 
territory, and died in 1838, at the age of nearly sixty years. He 
was of the middle stature, but athletic in form, and was exceeded 
by none of his nation in ability to endure fatigue. Although his 
countenance displayed but an ordinary intellect, the expression was 
mild, and he had an honest eye, such as is not often seen among 
his people, who are among the most fierce and treacherous of their 
race. The Snake was a well-disposed man, who maintained a good 
character through life. 

In 1811, and previously to that time, the Winnebagoes, under 
the influence of the British agents and traders, were unfriendly to 
the United States, and were actively engaged in the depredations 
committed upon the frontier settlements. The broad expanse of 
wilderness which intervened between them and the settlements in 
Ohio and Indiana, afforded no protection to the latter, whose log 
cabins were burned and sacked by savages who travelled hundreds 
of miles to enjoy the gratification of murdering a family, and plun 
dering the wretched homestead of a hunter whose whole wealth 
consisted in the spoils of the chase. The prospect of a war between 
Great Britain and the United States, to which they had long been 
taught to look forward as an event which would give them tem- 



porary employment, and great ultimate advantage, stimulated this 
warlike people into a high state of excitement ; and when the Sha- 
wanoe Prophet raised his standard, they were among the first of 
the deluded band who rallied around it. Wakawn and some of 
his people formed a part of the motley assemblage collected at the 
Prophet's town in the autumn of 1811, and agai ; whom was 
directed the campaign of General Harrison, which eventuated so 
honorably to the American arms, and to the personal fame of that 
distinguished leader. Wakawn was in the battle of Tippecanoe, 
where he was slightly wounded, and is said to have borne himself 
bravely on that occasion. He was occasionally on the war-path 
during the remainder of the war, at the close of which he buried 
the hatchet, and has since been uniformly friendly to the American 

Since the establishment of friendly relations between his nation 
and the United States, the Snake has been conspicuous for his 
faithful observance of the existing treaties ; and after the several 
cessions of lands made by the Winnebagoes to the American 
government, he always led the way in abandoning the ceded terri 
tories, while a majority of the tribe were disposed to rescind the 
contract. In the late removal of his people to the west of the Mis 
sissippi, he was the first Winnebago, of any note, who crossed the 
river, when a great portion of the nation, including most of the 
influential men, were inclined to remain upon the lands they had 
sold to the United States. The readiness with which the Indians 
sell their titles to large tracts of country, contrasted with their sub 
sequent reluctance to deliver the possession, may be attributed in 
part to the fickleness of the savage character, in which notions of 
property, of obligation, or of abstract right are but feebly developed, 
if indeed they can be said to have palpable existence. But the 
immediate causes of those breaches of faith may be usually traced 
to the intrigues of unprincipled traders, who seek pecuniary profit 
in fomenting dissension. The refusal of an Indian nation to com- 

WAKAWN. 109 

ply with its engagements, affords an occasion for a new Irea \ , 
attended with all the parade and expenditure of the original con 
vention, with new stipulations, additional presents, and increased 
disbursements of money for various purposes, all which afford 
opportunities for peculation to those rapacious men. No subject 
has been more greatly misunderstood, or has afforded a more pro 
lific theme for vituperation towards the American government and 
people, than the oppression supposed to have been exercised in 
removing Indians from their ceded lands, and which has been 
inferred from their reluctance to abandon them ; when, in fact, the 
only fault on the part of the government is, that in effecting a laud 
able object, and with humane intentions towards the Indian, they 
have unwisely adopted a system which is liable to gross abuses. 

In 1834, the government established at Prairie du Chien, a 
school and farm for the instruction of the Winnebagoes, under the 
direction of the Rev. David Lowry, who engaged assiduously in 
the duty of instructing that tribe in the rudiments of an English 
education, as well as in the labors of agriculture, combining with 
these, such religious information as his opportunities enabled him 
to inculcate. The Snake was the first of the chief men to appre 
ciate the value of this establishment ; he applied himself to the 
study of husbandry, and placed his family under the tuition of Mr. 
Lowry. His example was the more valuable, as the Indians gene~ 
rally are opposed to all such innovations ; and the Winnebagoes 
were obstinately hostile to the efforts made to induce them to adopt 
the habits of civilized life. The decision of Wakawn, and the zeal 
with which he advocated the benevolent views of the government, 
brought him into collision with the other chiefs, who viewed his 
predilection for the knowledge and habits of the w T hite men, as an 
alien and degenerate partiality, inconsistent with the duty which 
he owed to his own race ; and on one occasion he defended his 
opinions at the risk of his life. 

Notwithstanding the disgrace attached to the practice of manual 


labor among the Indian braves, the Snake often threw aside his 
blanket, and joined his wife in her rude but persevering attempts 
to support the family by tilling the soil. The fertile prairies of 
Wisconsin, where the soil has never been exhausted by culture, 
yields abundant returns, and he soon became convinced that he 
could more easily obtain a livelihood in this manner, than by the 
fatiguing and precarious labors of the chase. But when urged by 
the Superintendent of the school to give the full weight of his 
character and influence to the proposed reformation, by laying 
aside the character of the brave, and adopting entirely the habits 
of the civilized man, he replied that he was too old that the 
Indians who had been reared in the free and roving pursuits of 
savage life, could not abandon them, but that their children might; 
and while he declined doing what would be a violence to his own 
nature, he strongly advocated the employment of means to civilize 
the youth of his nation. 

The difficulty of changing the habits of a people was exemplified 
in an amusing manner, in the family of this chief. At his own 
request a log-house, such as constitutes the dwelling of the Ameri 
can farmer in the newly settled parts of the country, was erected 
for him, at the expense of the government, under the expectation 
that, by giving his family a permanent residence, one step would 
be taken towards their civilization. The house was arranged in 
the ordinary way, with a chimney and fire-place ; the operations of 
cooking were commenced in due form, at the fire-place, and the 
family assembled round the hearth, pleased and amused, no doubt, 
with this new form of social economy. But it was not long before 
the newly adopted contrivance was abandoned the floor was 
removed, and a fire kindled in the centre of the house the family 
gathered in a circle about it a hole was cut in the roof for the 
smoke to pass through and the mansion of the Snake family 
became once more, thoroughly and completely, an Indian lodge. 

Nor could Wakawn himself resolve to abandon the superstition^ 


of his race: while he recommended civilization to others, he clung 
to the customs of his forefathers. Believing in the existence, and 
the superiority of the true God, he could not sever the tie that 
bound him to the ideal deities of his people. He continued to join 
his tribe in their religious feasts and dances, and usually presided 
at the exercises. He probably had the faculty of veneration strongly 
developed, for his grave and solemn demeanor, on such occasions, 
is said to have rendered them interesting, and to have given an 
imposing effect to the ceremonies. 

Unfortunately this respectable chief, who possessed so many 
estimable qualities, and so just a sense of the true interests of his 
people, was subject to the weakness which has proved most fatal 
to them. He was addicted to intoxication ; and unhappily there is 
nothing in the religion or the ethics of the savage, nothing in their 
public opinion or the economy of their domestic life, to impose a 
restraint upon this vice. When a fondness for ardent spirits is 
contracted, it is usually indulged, with scarcely any discredit to the 
individual, and without a limit, except that imposed by the want 
of means to gratify this insatiable appetite. Wakawn lived in the 
neighborhood of Prairie du Chien, where the temptation was con 
tinually before him, and where ardent spirits were easily procured ; 
and he was often drunk. This vice was the cause of his death. 
In November, 1838, after receiving their annuities from the United 
States, the Winnebagoes indulged themselves in a grand debauch, 
a kind of national spree, in which all engaged, without distinction 
of age, sex, or condition ; and scenes of drunkenness, of violence, 
and of disgusting indecency were exhibited, such as had never 
before been witnessed among this people. Wakawn indulged 
freely, and becoming entirely helpless, wandered off, and threw 
himself on the ground, where he slept without any protection from 
the weather, during the whole of a very cold night. The next 
day he was attacked with a pleurisy, which soon terminated his 


The Snake was buried according to the Indian customs. A pipn, 
and several other articles of small value were deposited with his 
remains in the grave. As those had been intended for the use of 
the spirit, in the happy hunting-grounds of the blessed, his wife 
was desirous of adding some other articles, and brought them to 
the place of interment, but they were claimed by a rapacious chief, 
in remuneration of his services in doing honor to the deceased, arid 
actually carried away. Previous to rilling up the grave, the family 
and relations of Wakawn stepped across it, uttering loud lamenta 
tions, and then, after marching from it, in single file, for several 
hundred yards, returned by a circuitous route to their several 
lodges. This custom, which the Winnebagoes usually pursue, is 
practised from a regard for the living, and is supposed to be effica 
cious in diverting the hand of death from the family of the deceased. 

The grave of this chief is often visited by convivial parties of his 
friends, who gather around it and pour whisky on the ground, for 
the benefit of the departed spirit, which is supposed to return and 
mingle in their orgies. It would not be difficult to point out, in the 
bacchanalian lyrics of the most refined nations, some ideas more 
absurd and less poetical than this. 

The wife of this chief still survives, and is a pattern to her 
nation, in point of morality and industry. She had the sagacity 
to see the advantages which civilization offered to her sex, and 
became an early advocate for extending its benefits to her children. 
She has uniformly resisted the temptation to which most of the 
Indian women yield, and has never been known to taste whisky. 
Always industrious, she contributed largely to the support of her 
family, during her husband's life, by cultivating the soil, and since 
liis decease has maintained them decently by the same means 
Shortly after she became a widow, a brother of her late husband 
offered to marry her, in conformity with a custom of the tribe, but 
she declined the proposal. 




THIS distinguished individual was at one time the principal wai 
chief of the Seminoles, but being friendly to the United States, was 
superseded in that post by Holato Mico, the Blue King. His name, 
Foke Luste Hajo, signifies black craggy clay, but he is usually 
called Black Dirt, an epithet which seems to have no reference to 
his character, for he is described as a brave and high-minded man, 
of more than ordinary abilities. 

He was one of the chiefs who assisted at the council of Payne's 
Landing, and assented to the celebrated treaty of which the results 
have been so disastrous to the country, and so ruinous to the Semi 
noles ; and he was one of the seven who were appointed to visit 
and explore the country offered to his people for their future resi 
dence. His associates were Holata Amathla, Jumper, Charley 
Amathla, Coa Hajo, Arpiucki, and Yaha Hajo. Having examined and 
approved the country, the delegation proceeded to ratify the treaty 
of Payne's Landing, at Fort Gibson, on the 28th of March, 1 833. 
This was one of the several fatal mistakes committed in the course 
of this unfortunate negotiation; for the chiefs were only deputed to 
examine the country, and should have reported the result of their 
inquiries to a council of the nation, who alone were competent to 
ratify the treaty. Colonel Gadsden, the commissioner who nego 
tiated the treaty, in a letter to the Secretary of War, says : " There 
is a condition prefixed to the agreement, without assenting to which, 
the Florida Indians most positively refused to negotiate for their 
removal west of ihe Mississippi. Even with the condition annexed, 

15 (113) 


there was a reluctance which with some difficulty was overcome 
on the part of the Indians, to bind themselves by any stipulations 
before a knowledge of the facts and circumstances would enable 
them to judge of the advantages or disadvantages of the disposition 
the government of the United States wished to make of them. 
They were finally induced, however, tc assent to the agreement." 

The same gentleman remarks further : " The payment for pro 
perty alleged to have been plundered, was the subject most press 
ed by the Indians, and in yielding to their wishes on this head, a 
limitation has been fixed in a sum, which I think, however, will 
probably cover all demands which can be satisfactorily proved. 
Many of the claims are for negroes, said to have been enticed away 
from their owners, during the protracted Indian disturbances, of 
which Florida has been for years the theatre. The Indians allege 
that the depredations have been mutual, that they have suffered in 
the same degree, and that most of the property claimed, was taken 
as reprisal for property of equal value lost by them. They could 
not, therefore, yield to the justice of restitution solely on their part; 
and probably there was no better mode of terminating the difficulty 
than by that provided for in the treaty now concluded. The final 
ratification of the treaty will depend upon the opinion of the seven 
chiefs selected to explore the country west of the Mississippi river. 
If that corresponds with the description given, or is equal to the 
expectations formed of it, there will be no difficulty on the part of 
the Seminoles." 

The 1 mistake made by the agents of our government, in accepting 
the ratification of an important treaty, by a few chiefs, instead of 
requiring the action of the whole Seminole nation, properly con 
vened in council, was a fatal one for the country. 

We have stated, in another place, the conduct of this chief at the 
council held on the 23d of April, 1835, where he boldly and 
eloquently advocated the treaty of Payne's Landing. We find him 
also assisting at a council on the 19th of August, in the same year 


and stil] adhering firmly to the pacific policy which he had, from 
the first, embraced. 

At the close of the year 1835, a general council of the Seminoles 
was held, at which they resolved to retain possession of their country 
at all hazards, and condemned all who opposed their views to death. 
This was in effect a declaration of war; and all who had taken 
sides with the United States were admonished by it to seek safety 
in flight. Accordingly, Holata Amathla, Otulke Amathla, Foke 
Luste Hajo, Conhatkee Mico, Foshutchee Mico, and about four 
hundred and fifty of their followers, fled to Fort Brook, and 
encamped under the protection of its guns. Since that time this 
chief has remained with our troops, using his best efforts to put an 
end to this unhappy war, which is rapidly wasting away the 
strength of the Seminoles, while to the American army it has been 
a field of gallant and untiring effort, filled with daring and brilliant 
events, but equally fraught with disaster and fruitless of good 

THIS portrait is not embraced in the gallery at Washington, but, 
being authentic, is added to our collection, in consideration of the 
interesting illustration which it affords of a remarkable, though not 
unusual, feature in the Indian character. 

During the visit of Governor Cass and Colonel McKenney, at 
Fond du Lac Superior, in 1826, they met with this individual, who 
was pining in wretchedness and despondency under the influence 
of a superstition, which had rendered him an object of contempt in 
the eyes of his tribe. " An Indian opened the door of my room to 
day," says Colonel McKenney, in his journal, " and came in, under 
circumstances so peculiar, with a countenance so pensive, and a 
manner so flurried, as to lead me to call the interpreter. Before 
the interpreter came in, he went out with a quick but feeble step, 
looking as if he had been deserted by every friend he ever had. I 
directed the interpreter to follow him, and ascertain what he wanted, 
and the cause of his distressed appearance. I could not get the 
countenance of this Indian out of my mind, nor his impoverished 
and forlorn looks." 

It seems that, in 1820, when Governor Cass and Mr. Schoolcraft 
made a tour of the tipper lakes, they were desirous of visiting the 
celebrated copper rock, a mass of pure copper of several tons weight, 
which was said to exist in that region, but found some difficulty 
in procuring a guide, in consequence of the unwillingness of the 



RICE. R UTTER ft C Pubhshers. 


Indians to conduct strangers to a spot which they considered sacred. 
The copper rock was one of their manitos it was a spirit, a holy 
thing, or a something which, in some way, controlled their destiny 
for their superstitions are so indistinct that it is, in most cases, 
impossible to understand or describe them. The White Pigeon 
was prevailed upon to become their guide, but lost his way, to the 
great disappointment of the travellers, who were anxious to inspect 
a natural curiosity, the character of which was supposed to have 
been mistaken, if, indeed, its existence was not wholly fabulous. 
How it happened that an Indian of that region failed to find a spot 
so well known to his tribe, is not explained. The way might have 
been difficult, or the guide confused by the consciousness that he 
had undertaken an office that his people disapproved. The band, 
however, attributed his failure to the agency of the manito, who, 
according to their belief, guards the rock, and who, to protect it 
from the profanation of the white man's presence, had interposed 
and shut the path. Under the impression that he had offended the 
Great Spirit, he was cast off by the tribe, but would probably have 
soon been restored to favor, had not further indications of the dis 
pleasure of the Deity rendered too certain that the crime of this 
unhappy man was one of the deepest dye. A series of bad luck 
attended his labors in the chase. The game of the forest avoided 
him ; his weapons failed to perform their fatal office ; and the con 
viction became settled that he was a doomed man. Deserted by 
his tribe, and satisfied in his own mind that his good spirit had 
forsaken him, he wandered about the forest a disconsolate wretch, 
deriving a miserable subsistence from the roots and wild fruit of 
that sterile region. Bereft of his usual activity and courage, desti 
tute of confidence and self-respect, he seemed to have scarcely 
retained the desire or ability to provide himself with food from day 
to day. 

The American Commissioners, on hearing the story of the White 


Pigeon's fault and misfortunes, became interested in his fate. They 
determined to restore him to the standing from which he had fallen, 
and, having loaded him with presents, convinced both himself and 
his tribe that his offence was forgiven him, and his luck changed 
Governor Cass afterwards procured a better guide, and succeeded 
in finding the copper rock, which is really a curiosity, as will be 
seen on reference to our life of Shingaba W'Ossin. 

Another incident, which occurred at Fond du Lac, may be men 
tioned, as exemplifying the superstitions of this race. An Indian, 
having killed a rnoose deer, brought it to the trading post for sale. 
It was remarkably large, and Mr. Morrison, one of the agents, was 
desirous to preserve the skin as a specimen. For this pur pose, a 
frame was prepared, and the skin, properly stuffed, was sti etched 
and supported so as to represent the living deer in a standing pos 
ture. About this time, the Indians were unsuccessful in taking 
moose, but were wholly ignorant of the cause of their ill fortune, 
until one of them, happening to visit the post, espied the stuffed 
deer, and reported what he had seen to his companions. The band 
agreed at once that their want of success was attributable to the 
indignity which had been offered to the deceased deer, whose spirit 
had evinced its displeasure by prevailing on its living kindred not 
to be taken by men who would impiously stuff their hides. Their 
first business was to appease the anger of this sensitive spirit. 
They assembled at the post, and with respectful gravity marched 
into the presence of the stuffed moose. They seated themselves 
around it, lighted their pipes, and began to smoke. The spirit of 
the deer was addressed by an orator, who assured it that the tribe 
was innocent of the liberty which had been taken with its carcass, 
and begged forgiveness. In token of their sincerity, the pipes were 
placed in the deer's mouth, that it might smoke too; and they 
separated at last, satisfied that they had done all that a rcasc nable 
spirit of a moose deer could ask, arid fully assur- that \ '* inger 


was appeased. But they were not willing that the exhibition 
should be continued. Mr. Morrison, to pacify them, took down the 
effigy, and when they saw the horns unshipped, the straw with 
drawn, the frame broken, and the hide hung on a peg, as hides are 
wont to be hung, they were satisfied that all was right 


THERE are few names in Indian history so conspicuous as that 
of Thayendanegea, or, as he was more commonly called, Joseph 
Brant. He was for many years the scourge of the frontier settle 
ments of New York and Pennsylvania, whose inhabitants asso 
ciated with him, in their excited imaginations, all that was fierce 
and relentless in the savage character. That they had ample 
reasons for the dread and hatred connected with his name, is but 
too well attested by the many deeds of rapine and slaughter which 
stand inseparably united with it upon the pages of history ; and not 
withstanding the able and benevolent attempt which has recently 
been made to erase those stains from his memory, it will be diffi 
cult for any American ever to look back upon the sanguinary cata 
logue of his military achievements without a shudder. In the 
hasty sketch that we shall give, we shall avail ourselves freely of 
the valuable labors of Mr. Stone, whose voluminous life of that 
chief, recently published, contains all the facts which are necessary 
for our purpose, and to whose kindness we are indebted for the 
use of the admirable portrait from which our engraving was taken. 
But while we compile the facts from that authentic source, and 
make the due acknowledgment, candor requires us to say that, 
differing materially from that ingenious writer, in our estimate of 
the character of his hero, we must be held solely responsible for so 
much of this sketch as is merely matter of opinion. 

The parents of Brant were Mohawks, residing at the Canajohane 
castle, in New York ; but he is said to have been born on the banks 





of the Ohio, in 1742, during an excursion of his parents to that 
region. He was not a chief by birth, although his family seems to 
have been one of some consideration ; and it is affirmed that he was 
the grandson of one of the five chiefs who visited England, in 
1710, during the reign of Queen Anne. 

In his youth, Brant became a favorite and protege of Sir William 
Johnson, the most celebrated of all the agents employed by the 
British government in the management of their Indian affairs; and 
who, by his talents, his conciliatory manners, and his liberality, 
enjoyed an unbounded popularity among the native tribes. A well- 
known circumstance, in the history of this gentleman, is thus related 
by Mrs. Grant, of Laggan, in her very agreeable " Memoirs of an 
American Lady." " Becoming a widower in the prime of life, he 
connected himself with an Indian maiden, daughter to a sachem, 
who possessed an uncommonly agreeable person, and good under* 
standing ; and whether ever formally married to him according to 
our usage or not, continued to live with him in great union and 
affection all his life." Mary Brant, or, as she was called, Miss 
Molly, was the person here alluded to. She was the sister of the 
subject of this notice, and to that union he owed the patronage of 
Sir William Johnson, and the favor of the British government, 
which placed him in the road to promotion. The successful man 
ner in which he availed himself of these advantages is attributable 
to his own abilities. 

At the age of thirteen, he is said to have been present with Sir 
William Johnson at the battle of Lake George, in which the French 
were defeated, and their commander, the Baron Dieskau, mortally 
wounded. He served under Sir William Johnson in 1756, and 
again in 1759, when that commander gained a high reputation by 
a brilliant campaign. 

Among the facts most honorable to the memory of Sir William 
Johnson, was the attention which, at that early day, he paid to the 
moral improvement of the Mohawks. The political agents of Euror 



pean governments have seldom concerned themselves further m the 
affairs of the Indians than to use them in war, or make them a 
source of profit. Sir William selected a number of Mohawk youths, 
and sent them to an Indian missionary school, which was esta 
blished at Lebanon, in Connecticut, under the direction of the Rev. 
Doctor E. Wheelock, afterwards President of Dartmouth College, 
which grew out of this small foundation. Thayendanegea, the 
promising brother of Miss Molly, was one of the lads thus selected, 
and the only one who is known to have derived any benefit from 
the discipline of the school-room, except Samson Occum, who be 
came a preacher and an author. The date of this transaction is riot 
known, but it is supposed, with reason, to have immediately ensued 
the campaign of 1759. One of these lads, being directed by Dr. 
Wheelock's son to saddle his horse, refused, on the ground that he 
was a gentleman's son, and not obliged to do a menial office. "Do 
you know what a gentleman is?" inquired young Wheelock. "I 
do," replied the aboriginal youngster; "a gentleman is a person 
who keeps race-horses, and drinks Madeira wine, which neither you 
nor your father do therefore saddle the horse yourself." 

The education of Brant must have been quite limited, for, in 
1762, we find him employed as an interpreter, in the service of 
Mr. Smith, a missionary, who visited the Mohawks in that year ; 
and a war breaking out shortly after, he engaged eagerly in a pur 
suit more consonant to his taste and early habits. He probably 
served one campaign, and returned in 1764. In the following year, 
he was living at Canajoharie, having previously married the daughter 
of an Oneida chief, and here he remained peaceably for three years. 
" He now lives in a decent manner," said a writer of that day, "and 
endeavors to teach his poor brethren the things of God, in which 
his own heart seems much engaged. His house is an asylum for 
the missionaries in that wilderness." Being frequently engaged as. 
an interpreter by the missionaries, his opportunities for acquiring 
religious instruction were considerable, and he is supposed to have 


assisted Dr. Barclay, in 1769, in revising the Mohawk Prayer Book. 
About the year 1771, he was frequently employed by Sir William 
Johnson both at home and upon various distant missions. He also 
assisted Dr. Stewart in translating the Acts of the Apostles into the 
Mohawk tongue. 

In 1772 or 3, Thayendanegea became the subject of serious reli 
gious impressions. He attached himself to the church, and was a 
regular communicant; and from his serious deportment, and the 
great anxiety he manifested for the introduction of Christianity 
among his people, hopes were entertained that he would become a 
powerful auxiliary in that cause. In a brief space, those impres 
sions were erased, and Brant resumed the trade of war, with all its 
savage horrors, with the same avidity with which the half-tamed 
wolf returns to his banquet of blood. 

Sir William Johnson died in 1774, when the storm of the Ame 
rican Revolution was lowering in the political horizon, and on the 
eve of bursting. He was succeeded in his title and estates by his 
son, Sir John Johnson, and in his official authority, as superintend 
ent of the Indian department, by his son-in-law, Colonel Guy John 
son neither of whom inherited his talents, his virtues, or his popu 
larity. They continued, however, with the aid of Brant and " Miss 
Molly," who was a woman of decided abilities, to sway a considera 
ble influence over the Six Nations, and in connection with Colonel 
John Butler, and his son Colonel Walter N. Butler, became leaders 
in some of the darkest scenes of that memorable epoch. 

We are not permitted to enter minutely upon the complicated 
intrigues of these individuals, nor to detail the atrocities committed 

o ' 

under their auspices. Through their active agency, the Indians, 
within the sphere of their influence, were not only alienated from 
the American people, but brought forward as active parties in the 
war. The American Congress, and the authorities of New York, 
endeavored in vain to dissuade the Johnsons from enlisting the 
Indians in this unhappy contest; but they persisted, with a full 



knowledge of the horrors attendant on the warfare of savages ; and 
it is now ascertained that Sir Guy Carleton gave the sanction of his 
great and worthy name to this unnatural and dishonorable form of 
hostility. The consequence was that the Indians were turned loose 
upon the frontiers, and that a war of the most cruel and exterminating 
character ensued between those who had once been neighbors. 

These outrages were the more to be deplored, as they might, to 
a <*reat degree, have been prevented. The American Revolution 
was not a sudden ebullition of popular fury, nor were the leaders 
mere adventurers, reckless of consequences. It resulted from the 
deliberate resolves of a whole people, seeking the redress of griev 
ances, and who desired to purchase political freedom with the 
smallest possible expenditure of human life. It was directed 
throughout by men of the highest character for talents and moral 
worth men who risked every thing in the contest, and who had 
too much reputation at stake to be careless of public opinion. 
They knew that a civil war, under the best auspices, is usually 
fruitful of scenes of private revenge and vindictive outrage; and 
from the first they endeavored, by their counsels and example, to 
exclude from this conflict all unnecessary violence, and to give it a 
tone of magnanimity and forbearance Especially did they depre 
cate the employment of the savage tribes, whose known rule of 
warfare is extermination, without regard to age or sex who acknow 
ledge none of those humane regulations which, in modern times, 
have disarmed war of many of its horrors ; and who, having no inte 
rest in the event of this contest, would only increase the effusion 
of blood without strengthening the hands or gaining the friendship 
of either party While, therefore, they declined the assistance of 
the Indians, they earnestly besought the British authorities to 
pursue a similar policy. It was greatly to be deplored that other 
counsels prevailed The British officers, in the zeal of their loyalty, 
and from contempt for those whom they considered as traitors, were 
by no means choice in the measures they adopted to suppress the 


rebellion ; and not being inhabitants of the colonies, having neither 
property nor families exposed to violence, they did not feel the 
same personal interest which the colonists felt in the prevention of 
lawless outrage. 

About the year 1776, Thayendanegea became the principal war 
chief of the confederacy of the Six Nations it being an ancient 
usage to confer that station upon a Mohawk. He had not, at that 
time, greatly distinguished himself as a warrior, and we are at a loss 
to account for his sudden elevation, unless we suppose that he owed 
it, in some degree at least, to the patronage of the Johnsons, and to 
the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed. It was deemed 
important by the British to secure the alliance of the Six Nations. 
Little Abraham, the chief of the Mohawks, was friendly to the 
colonists; other of the older warriors may have felt the same predi 
lection, while Brant, whose ambition was equal to his ability and 
address, may have been less scrupulous in regard to the service 
that would be expected from the partisan who should lead the 
Indian forces. With the office of leader, he acquired the title of 
" Captain Brant," by which he was afterwards known. 

Mr. Stone, in his " Life of Brant," remarks, in reference to this 
appointment : " For the prosecution of a border warfare, the officers 
of the crown could scarcely have engaged a more valuable auxiliary. 
Distinguished alike for his address, his activity, and his courage ; 
possessing, in point of stature and symmetry of person, the advan 
tage of most men even among his own well-formed race tall, erect, 
and majestic, with the air and mien of one born to command 
havmer, as it were, been a man of war from his boyhood his name 
was a tower of strength among the warriors of the wilderness. Still 
more extensive was his influence rendered, by the circumstance 
that he had been much employed in the civil service of the Indian 
department, under Sir William Johnson, by whom he was often 
deputed upon embassies among the tribes of the confederacy, and 
to those yet more distant, upon the great lakes and rivers of the 


north-west, by reason of which his knowledge of the whole country 
and people was accurate and extensive." 

Immediately after receiving this appointment, Brant made his 
first voyage to England ; and his biographer suggests that this visit 
may have resulted from a hesitation, on the part of the chief, in 
regard to committing himself in the war with the colonies. A por 
tion of the confederacy inclined to the colonial side of the contro 
versy ; others were disposed to be neutral. Brant and some of h's 
friends favored the British, while some brilliant successes, recently 
gained by the Americans, "presented another view of the case, 
which was certainly entitled to grave consideration." By making 
the voyage, he gained time, and was enabled to observe for himself 
the evidences of the power and resources of the king, and to judge 
how far it would be wise to embark his own fortunes on the side 
of his ancient ally. He was well received in England, and admitted 
to the best society. Having associated with educated men all his 
life, and having naturally an easy and graceful carriage, it is pro 
bable that his manners arid conversation entitled him to be thus 
received ; and as he was an " Indian King," he was too valuable an 
ally to be neglected. Among those who took a fancy to him was 
Boswell, "and an intimacy seems to have existed between him and 
the Mohawk rhief, since the latter sat for his picture at the request 
of this most amiable of egotists." We can imagine that a shrewd 
Indian chief would have been a rare lion for Boswell. He also sat 
to Romney for a portrait for the Earl of Warwick. 

After a short visit, during which he received the hospitality of 
many of the nobility and gentry, and was much caressed at court, 
he returned to America, confirmed in his predilection for the royal 
cause, and determined to take up the hatchet against the Americans, 
agreeably to the stipulations of a treaty which he had made with 
Sir Guy Carleton. He landed privately somewhere in the neigh 
borhood of New York, and pursued his journey alone and secretly 
through the woods to Canada, crossing the whole breadth of the 


State of New York, by a route which could not have embraced a 
shorter distance than three hundred miles. 

The determination of the Mohawk chief to take up arms caused 
great regret in the neighboring colonies, where every exertion had 
been made to induce the Six Nations to remain neutral ; and many 
influential individuals continued to the last to use their personal 
efforts to effect that desirable object. Among others, President 
Wheelock interfered, and wrote a long epistle to his former pupil, 
in which he urged upon him, as a man and a Christian, the various 
considerations that should induce him to stand aloof from this con 
test between the king and his subjects. " Brant" we quote again 
from Mr. Stone " replied very ingeniously. Among other things, 
he referred to his former residence with the doctor recalled the 
happy hours he had spent under his roof and referred especially 
to his prayers, and the family devotions to which he had listened. 
He said he could never forget those prayers ; and one passage in 
particular was so often repeated, that it could never be effaced from 
his mind. It was among other of his good preceptor's petitions, 
' that they might be able to live as good subjects to fear God, and 
honor the King ' 

The first occasion on which we find Brant conspicuously men 
tioned as a commander, is at "the Cedars," a post held by Colonel 
Bedell, with three hundred and ninety provincials, which was 
assailed by Captain Forster, with six hundred British troops and 
Indians, the latter led by Brant. The American commander could 
easily have defended his position, but was intimidated by a threat 
from the enemy, " that, should the siege continue, and any of the 
Indians be slain, it would be impossible, in the event of a surrender, 
for the British commander to prevent a general massacre ;" and 
were induced, by " these deceptive and unjustifiable means," as 
they are correctly termed by General Washington, to surrender. 
Brant is praised by his biographer for having exerted himself, after 
the surrender, to prevent the massacre of the prisoners, and particu- 



larly for rescuing from torture Captain John McKinstry, whom the 
Indians were preparing to burn. We confess that we see nothing 
to approve in the whole transaction. The British and Indian 
commanders were both bound by the capitulation to protect the 
prisoners they were bound by the plainest dictates of humanity, 
as well as by the code of military honor and we cannot afford to 
praise men for doing merely a duty, the neglect of which would 
have covered them with infamy. The allegation that the Indians 
could not be controlled, which we find repeated on many occasions, 
was well characterized, by the pure and high-minded Washington, 
as " deceptive," for there are no troops whose leaders exercise over 
them a more absolute control. But there can be no apology offered 
for the employment of savages who could not be restrained from 
the murder of prisoners; and Sir Guy Carleton, in using this 
species of force, has left an indelible blot on his name. Nor can 
we excuse Brant for deliberately engaging in such a warfare. He 
had received the education of a civilized man, had read the Scrip 
tures, and professed to be a disciple of Christ, and he knew that the 
atrocities practised by the Indians were unjustifiable. The Mo 
hawks had no interest in this quarrel ; it was wholly indifferent to 
them whether the government should be royal or republican ; and 
they engaged in it as mercenaries, employed by a distant govern 
ment to fight against their own neighbors. The principle involved 
was beyond their comprehension : Brant might have had some idea 
of it, but if he had any actual knowledge on the subject, he must 
have known that neither party acknowledged the Indians as having 
any rights at stake. They could have had no inducement to take 
either side but the lust for blood and plunder. We must clearly, 
therefore, draw a broad line of distinction between such men as 
Philip, Pontiac, and Tecumthe, who fought in defence of their 
native soil, animated by a high-toned patriotism, and Thayenda- 
negea, who was hired to fight in a quarrel in which he had no 


Among the various efforts made to induce the Indians to remain 
neutral, and to soften the horrors of this war, by excluding the 
dreadful agency of the tomahawk and fire-brand, was a conference 
with Brant, sought by General Herkimer. The latter was a sub 
stantial citizen, residing on the Mohawk river, near the Little Falls, 
and in that part of the country most exposed to the incursions of 
the Six Nations. He was a man of sagacity and courage, whose 
abilities had recommended him to his countrymen as a leader in 
their border wars; and having taken up arms in the sacred cause 
of liberty, and in defence of the firesides of his neighbors, he was 
chosen a general officer. He had been the friend and neighbor of 
Brant, and now sought a meeting with that chief for the purpose 
of using his personal influence to detach him from the war; or per 
haps to drive him from the equivocal position he then occupied, by 
bringing out his real views, so that he might be trusted as a friend 
or treated as an enemy. 

They met near Unadilla. The parties were encamped two miles 
apart, and about midway between them a temporary shed was 
erected, sufficiently large to shelter two hundred persons. It was 
stipulated that thrir arms were to be left at their respective encamp 
ments. Here they met, each attended by a few followers, and a 
long conversation ensued, in the course of which Brant became 
offended at some remark that was made, " and by a signal to the 
warriors attending him at a short distance, they ran back to their 
encampment, and soon afterwards appeared again with their rifles, 
several of which were discharged, while the shrill war-whoop rang 
through the forest." What means were used by Herkimer to 
counteract this treachery, we are not told ; but it appears that the 
parties separated without bloodshed. 

A singular version is given of the meeting between these leaders, 
which occurred on the following morning, by appointment. Ge 
neral Herkimer, we are told, selected a person named Waggoner, 
with three associates, to perform " a high and important duty." 



" His design, the General said, was to take the lives of Brant and 
his three attendants, on the renewal of their visit that morning. 
For this purpose, he should rely on Waggoner and his three asso 
ciates, on the arrival of the chief and his friends within the circle, 
as on the preceding day, each to select his man, and at a concerted 
signal to shoot them down on the spot. There is something so 
revolting so rank and foul in this project of meditated treachery, 
that it is difficult to reconcile it with the well-known character of 
General Herkimer." Had the author from whom we quote nar 
rated the simple facts, without the comment so injurious to the 
memory of a venerated patriot of the Revolution, there would have 
heen no difficulty in reconciling them with the character of a brave 
soldier; for in the sequel no attempt was made on the life of Brant, 
and the orders of Herkimer if such orders were ever given were 
doubtless precautionary, and intended only to be executed in defence 
of himself and his companions. Herkimer sought the friendship 
of Brant, not his life. His mission was peaceful : he sought to 
conciliate the Indians, not to irritate them by an act of rash violence. 
He was met in an overbearing spirit by the savage chief, who, 
having already hired out his tribe to the officers of the king, had 
not the candor to admit that he was no longer free to treat with the 
king's enemies, but endeavored, like the wolf in the fable, to fix a 
quarrel on his proposed victim. He came to the meeting on the 
second day, as on the first, followed by his warriors, in violation of 
the express terms of the conference. " I have five hundred war 
riors with me," said he, " armed and ready for battle. You are in 
my power ; but, as we have been friends and neighbors, I will not 
take advantage of you." " Saying which," continues his biogra 
pher, " a host of his armed warriors darted forth from the contiguous 
forest, all painted and ready for the onslaught, as the well-known 
war-whoop but too clearly proclaimed." The interview ended 
without bloodshed. We are wholly at a loss to find any evidence 
upon which to throw the slightest blame upon Herkimer, or to pal 


liate the conduct of Brant, who evidently sought to provoke a quar 
rel which might afford a pretence for bloodshed. 

From this time we contemplate with less pleasure the character 
of the highly gifted Mohawk, who, from the lofty and noble emi 
nence on which he had placed himself, as an example and teacher 
of civilization, descended suddenly into a common marauder. 
Throwing aside all profession of neutrality, he now attended a 
council held by British commissioners, and pledged himself and 
his people to take up the hatchet in his Majesty's service. 

" From that day," says his biographer, Mr. Stone, " Thayenda- 
negea was the acknowledged chief of the Six Nations, and he soon 
became one of the master spirits of the motley forces employed by 
Great Britain in her attempts to recover the Mohawk Valley, and 
to annoy the other settlements of what then constituted the north 
western frontier. Whether in the conduct of a campaign, or of a 
scouting party, in the pitched battle, or the foray, this crafty and 
dauntless chieftain was sure to be one of the most efficient, as he 
was one of the bravest, of those engaged. Combining with the 
native hardihood and sagacity of his race, the advantages of educa 
tion and civilized life in acquiring which he had lost nothing of 
his activity and power of endurance he became the most powerful 
border foe with whom the provincials had to contend, and his name 
was a terror to the land. His movements were at once so secret 
and so rapid, that he seemed almost to be clothed with the power 
of ubiquity." 

One of his earliest military movements was a descent upon the 
defenceless settlement of Cherry Valley, undertaken for the pur 
pose of killing and capturing the inhabitants, and devastating their 
property. An accident saved them, for that time, from the blow. 
It happened, that as Brant and his warriors were about to issue 
from a wood in which they lurked, to attack a private house, the 
residence of Colonel Campbell, some children, who had formed 
themselves into a military corps, were seen parading with their 


wooden guns in front of the mansion, and the Indians, mistaking 
them for real soldiers, retired. Balked of their prey, they slunk 
into the wood, and lay concealed, brooding over their schemes of 
malevolent mischief. Unhappily at this moment a promising young 
American officer, Lieutenant Wormwood, travelling on horseback, 
with one attendant, reached the spot, and was shot down by the 
Indians, and scalped by Brant's own hand. His biographer adds, 
that the chief " lamented the death of this young man. They were 
not only acquaintances, but friends." Yet he took the scalp with 
his own hand. 

A most melancholy illustration of the wickedness of employing 
savages in war is afforded in the tragic fate of Miss McCrea a 
lovely young woman, engaged to a British officer, and on her way 
to meet and be united with him, when she was captured, murdered, 
and mangled in the most shocking manner, by the Indians attached 
to the British army. This occurred on the northern frontier, and 
at about the period to which we have brought this sketch. About 
the same time, an Indian secretly entered the house of the American 
General Schuyler, for the purpose of assassinating that illustrious 
person, whose life was saved by the fidelity of his servants. 

We notice these events merely to show the character of the war 
which was waged upon the frontiers, and in which Brant was a 
conspicuous man an unsparing warfare against private individuals 
and private property. But we cannot, in a brief outline like this, 
enter upon a minute narrative of the exploits of that chieftain, who 
was constantly in the field, sometimes with the British forces, but 
more frequently leading parties of Indians and Tories against the 
settlements. His most important service, about this period, was at 
the battle of Oriskany, where General Herkimer, with a small body 
&f provincials, came into conflict with an Indian force led by Brani. 
The latter had selected a position with admirable skill, and formed 
an ambuscade in a defile, through which the Americans were to 
pass, and fell suddenly upon the troops while they were crossing a 


ravine. The Americans were thrown into irretrievable disorder, 
but fought with courage. General Herkimer was desperately 
wounded early in the engagement, but caused himself to be seated 
on his saddle, at the foot of a tree, against which he leaned for sup 
port, and in this position continued to direct the battle, with una 
bated coolness and judgment. The conflict was fierce, and the 
slaughter great. The Tories and savages, superior in numbers, 
closed around the Americans, fighting hand to hand, and the gal 
lant little army of Herkimer seemed doomed to destruction, when 
a violent storm, bursting suddenly upon them, separated the com 
batants for about an hour. The Americans availed themselves of 
this respite to prepare to renew the action, and in the event effected 
a masterly retreat, under the orders of their intrepid commander, 
who was brought off on a rudely constructed litter. Of this brave 
and excellent man it is told, that, during the hottest period of the 
battle, while sitting wounded upon his saddle, and propped against 
a tree, he deliberately took a tinder-box from his pocket, lighted 
his pipe, and smoked with perfect composure; and when his men, 
seeing him exposed to the whole fire of the enemy, proposed to 
remove him to a place where there would be less danger, he said, 
" No, I will face the enemy." He did not long survive the battle. 
Both parties claimed the victory. It was a well-fought field, in 
which Brant showed himself a consummate leader. 

At the opening of the campaign, in 1778, Mr. Stone relates that 
" Thayendanegea returned to his former haunts on the Susque- 
hanna, Oghkwaga, and Unadilla. He soon proved himself an act 
ive and dreaded partisan. No matter for the difficulties or the 
distance, whenever a blow could be struck to any advantage, Joseph 
Brant was sure to be there. Frequent, moreover, were the instances 
in which individuals, and even whole families, disappeared, with 
out any knowledge, on the part of those who were left, that an 
enemy had been there. The smoking ruins of the cabins, the 
charred bones of the dead, and the slaughtered carcasses of domes- 


tic animals, were the only testimonials of the cause of the catastrophe, 
until the return of a captive, or the disclosure of some prisonei 
taken from the foe, furnished more definite information. But there 
is no good evidence that Brant was himself a participator in secret 
murders, or attacks upon isolated individuals or families; and there 
is much reason to believe that the bad feelings of many of the 
loyalists induced them to perpetrate greater enormities themselves, 
and prompt the parties of Indians whom they often led, to commit 
greater barbarities than the savages would have done had they 
been left to themselves." 

We have given the whole of the above paragraph fact and infe 
rence in order that the character of Brant may have the full bene 
fit of the defence set up by his biographer. Negative proof is, at 
best, unsatisfactory ; and it would not be strange if there were in 
fact no evidence of the participation of the leader in deeds so secret 
as those alluded to. That he was the master spirit of the predatory 
warfare waged against the frontier settlements of New York, is dis 
tinctly asserted in the commencement of the paragraph, and that 
warfare consisted almost entirely of " secret murders, and attacks 
upon private individuals or families." And we see no reason for 
drawing a distinction between himself and the Johnsons and But 
lers who directed the measures of the loyalist inhabitants of that 
region. The sin and the shame of these men consisted in warring 
at all upon the homes of the peasantry in carrying the atrocities 
of murder and arson to the firesides of the inhabitants in turning 
loose bands of savages, whether red or white, to burn houses, devas 
tate fields, and slaughter women and children. There can be no 
apology for such inhuman deeds ; and it is in vain to attempt, by 
nice distinctions, to discriminate between the heads that planner!, 
and the brutal hands that perpetrated, schemes so fraught with 
horror unless it be to pronounce the heavier malediction on the 
former upon those who originated the plan with a full knowledge 
of the fearful outrages which must attend its execution, and who 


persevered in such a warfare after having witnessed, even in one 
instance, its direful effects. 

We have not room to enter into a detailed account of the murders 
and burnings of this energetic marauder; a general statement, from 
the pages of the biographer already quoted, will be sufficient for 
our purpose. " The inhabitants around the whole border, from 
Saratoga north of Johnstown, and west to the German Flats, thence 
south stretching down to Unadilla, and thence eastwardly crossing 
the Susquehanna, along Charlotte river to Harpersfield, and thence 
back to Albany were necessarily an armed yeomanry, watching 
for themselves, and standing sentinels for each other, in turn; 
harassed daily by conflicting rumors ; now admonished of the ap 
proach of the foe in the night by the glaring flames of a neighbor's 
house ; or compelled suddenly to escape from his approach, at a 
time and in a direction the least expected. Such was the tenure 
of human existence around the confines of this whole district of 
country, from the spring of 1777 to the end of the contest in 1782." 

The destruction of the settlement of Wyoming by a British force 
under Colonel John Butler, of three hundred regulars arid Tories, 
and five hundred Indians, has been recorded in the histories of the 
Revolution, and rendered immortal in the verse of Campbell. It 
was signalized by cruelty and perfidy such as have never been 
excelled ; and although it now appears that many exaggerations 
were published in relation to it, the melancholy truths that remain 
uncontradicted are sufficient to stamp this dark transaction with 
everlasting infamy. 

The participation of B.ant in this expedition is denied by Mr. 
Stone, who says, " Whether Captain Brant was at any time in com 
pany with this expedition, is doubtful ; but it is certain, in the face 
of every historical authority, British and American, that, so far from 
being engaged in the battle, he was many miles distant at the time 
of its occurrence. Such has been the uniform testimony of the 
British officers engaged in that expedition, and such was always 


the word of Thayendanegea himself." He also alludes to a letter 
written after the death of Brant, by his son, to the poet Campbell, 
in which the younger Brant is said to have " successfully vindi 
cated his father's memory from calumny," and to one received by 
himself from a Mr. Frey, the son of a loyalist, who was engaged 
in that atrocious affair. 

We do not think the point placed in issue by this denial of suffi 
cient importance to induce us to spend much time in its examina 
tion. The character of Brant would not be materially affected by 
settling it one way or the other, for the massacre at Wyoming dif 
fers in no essential particular from a number of sanguinary deeds 
in which that chief was the acknowledged leader; and it was part 
of a system which unavoidably led to such cruelties. It is not 
improbable that Brant himself took this view of the question, for, 
although he lived thirty years after tliat affair, during the whole 
of which time he was mentioned by British and American writers 
as one of its leaders, and the chief instigator of the cruelties com 
mitted, he does not appear to have ever publicly disclaimed the 
connection with it imputed to him. " Gertrude of Wyoming," one 
of the noblest monuments of British genius, was familiarly known 
wherever the English language was spoken, and the American 
people were soothed by the circumstance that the " Monster Brarit" 
and his deeds were denounced by an English bard of the highest 
standing. Campbell undertook to spurn from the national character 
the foul stain of those dastardly and wicked murders, and to place 
the opprobrium on the heads of certain individuals and none 
denied the justice of the decree. Brant was an educated man, who 
mingled in the best provincial society, and corresponded with many 
gentfemen in Europe and America He certainly knew the posi 
tion in regard to public opinion which he occupied, and had the 
means to rectify the wrong, if any existed. It would be a singular 
fact, too, if " every historical authority, British and American,'' 
concurred in a statement which the "uniform testimony of the 


British officers engaged in the battle" contradicted, and " that such 
was always the word of Thayendanegea himself," and yet that 
no formal refutation should have been attempted in the lifetime 
of the chief, nor until forty-five years after the event. The 
testimony of the British officers would have been satisfactory; but 
we apprehend that the mere hearsay evidence of two of the sons 
of the actors in these events, will hardly be received now in oppo 
sition to the unanimous and uncontradicted statements of contem 
porary writers. 

The destruction of the delightful settlement of the German Flats, 
in 1778, was the admitted exploit of Brant. The inhabitants, pro 
videntially advised of his secret march upon them, were hastily 
gathered together -men, women, and children into two little forts, 
Herkimer and Dayton. The chief crept upon them with his 
usually stealthy pace, " unconscious that his approach had been 
notified to the people in season to enable them to escape the blow 
of his uplifted arm. Before the dawn he was on foot, and his war 
riors sweeping through the settlement, so that the torch might be 
almost simultaneously applied to every building it contained. Just 
as the day was breaking in the east, the fires were kindled, and 
the whole section of the valley was speedily illuminated by the 
flames of houses and barns, and all things else combustible." Such 
is the account of the writer who contends " that there is no good 
evidence that Brant was himself a participator" in such transac 
tions. There were burnt, on this occasion, sixty-three dwelling- 
houses, fifty-seven barns, three grist-mills, and two saw-mills 
What the fate of the inhabitants would have been, had they remained 
in their houses, as Brant supposed them to be when he ordered the 
firebrands to be applied, our readers may readily imagine. It does 
not appear that the forts were molested, nor does Brant seem, on 
this occasion, to have sought collision with armed men. The 
marauders retired, chagrined "that neither scalps nor prisoners 
were to grace their triumphs ;" and the settlement, which but the 



day before, for ten miles, had smiled in plenty and beauty, was now 
houseless and destitute." 

In the same year Cherry Valley was again ravaged, and those 
enormities repeated, of which we have perhaps already related toe 
many. Among the numerous murders perpetrated on this occasion 
were those of the w.hole family of Mr. Wells, except a boy whr 
was at school, at Albany, and who afterwards became a distinguished 
member of the bar. " The destruction of the family of Mr. Wells 
was marked by circumstances of peculiar barbarity. It was boasted 
by one of the Tories that he had killed Mr. Wells while engaged in 
prayer certainly a happy moment for a soul to wing its flight to 
another state of existence ; but what the degree of hardihood that 
could boast of compassing the death of an unarmed man at such a 
moment ! His sister Jane was distinguished alike for her beauty, 
her accomplishments, and her virtues. As the savages rushed into 
the house, she fled to a pile of wood on the premises, and endea 
vored to conceal herself. She was pursued and arrested by an 
Indian, who, with perfect composure, wiped and sheathed his drip 
ping knife, and took his to.i ahawk from his girdle. At this instant 
a Tory, who had formerly been a domestic in the family, sprang for 
ward and interposed in her behalf, claiming her as a sister. The 
maiden, too, who understood somewhat of the Indian language 
implored for mercy but in vain. With one hand the Indian 
pushed the Tory from him, and with the other planted the hatchet 
deep in her temple !" 

In the valley where these atrocities were committed, there was 
a small fort, defended by a few men ; but the Indians, " being 
received by a brisk fire of grape and musketry from the garrison, 
avoided the fort, and directed their attention chiefly to plundering 
arid laying waste the village, having sated themselves in the outset 
with blood." Such is the warfare of the Indian cool, patient, and 
brave, when compelled to face danger; but always, when acting 


from choice, shunning the contest with armed men, and seeking 
out the weak and unprepared. 

In the biography of Brant, from which we select these iacts, we 
find an attempt to vindicate his conduct on this occasion. It is 
said he was " not the commander of this expedition, and if he had 
been it is not certain he could have compelled a different result. 
But it is certain that his conduct on that fatal day was neither bar 
barous nor ungenerous. On the contrary, he did all in his power 
to prevent the shedding of innocent blood." We are at a loss to 
know what blood was shed on that occasion that was not innocent 
blood. The expedition was not directed against any military post, 
nor any body of armed men, but against the homes of peaceful 
farmers, whose houses and barns were burnt, and whose wives and 
children were slaughtered. The torch was applied indiscrimi 
nately to every dwelling-house, and, in fact, to every building in the 
village. The country was desolated for miles around; and human 
life was extinguished without regard to the form in which it existed, 
however reverend, or beautiful, or innocent. Those of the inha 
bitants who were not slain, were driven away like a herd of 
beasts. At night they were huddled together, under the charge of 
sentinels, and forced to lie half naked on the ground, with no cover 
but the heavens. Of two of these unfortunate beings, the follow 
ing heart-rending anecdote is told. " Mrs. Cannon, an aged lady, 
and the mother of Mrs. Campbell, being unfitted for travelling by 
reason of her years, the Indian having both in charge despatched 
the mother with his hatchet, by the side of her daughter. Mrs. 
Campbell was driven along by the uplifted hatchet, having a child 
in her arms eighteen months old, with barbarous rapidity, until the 
next day, when she was favored with a more humane master." 

These are but a few of a long list of similar atrocities which, in 
our apprehension, were both barbarous and ungenerous. Butler . 
and Brant each endeavored, subsequently, to cast the stigma of these 
cruelties on each other ; the one alleging that he was not the com- 


iiiander in the enterprise, and the other that the crafty Mohawk 
had secretly instigated his people to these excesses to advance his 
own ends; but impartial history will not attempt to trace the ima- 
o-inary line of distinction between the leader in such an inroad and 
the second in command in a case, too, where both were volunteers, 
and neither had any legal or actual control over the other. Neither 
of them were natives of Great Britain both were mercenaries, 
serving occasionally for the emolument, or the gratification to be 
earned in that service. The murder of women, and the devastation 
of fields, formed their chosen path to honor the smoking ruins of 
cottages, and the charred bones of infants, were the monuments of 
their warlike deeds. Nor can we admit the validity of the often 
repeated apology for Brant that he could not control his warriors. 
There are no troops in the world that are more completely under 
the command of their leaders than the Indians. Their discipline 
is exact and uncompromising. From infancy, the Indian is taught 
self-control, and obedience to his superiors; and death on the spot, 
by the hand of the leader, is the usual punishment of contumacy. 
But Brant and Butler knew when they set out on these enterprises, 
that the sole object was to burn dwellings, to fire barns, to slaughter 
unarmed men, women, and children; and if it was true, that, having 
turned loose their savages to the work of blood, they could no 
longer control them, we do not see what they gain by this excuse. 
The savages did the work which had been planned for them ; and 
we fancy there is little room for casuistry to scan nicely the degrees 
of barbarity which marked the conduct of the different actors. 

In an action near Minnisink, in 1779, in which his opponents 
were armed men, Brant deserved the credit of having adroitly 
planned and boldly executed an attack. The usual cruelties, how 
ever, were perpetrated, and seventeen wounded men, who were 
under charge of a surgeon, perished by the tomahawk. 

Brant fought again at the battle of the Chemung, in the same 
year, where fifteen hundred Tories and Indians, commanded by him- 


self, the Butlers, and the Johnsons, were beaten by the Americans 
under General Sullivan. 

It was during the campaign of Sullivan that Red Jacket first 
made his appearance as a conspicuous man among the Indians, and 
a feud commenced between him and Brant, which continued 
throughout their lives. Brant accused Red Jacket, not merely of 
cowardice, but also of treachery, and asserted that he had discovered 
a secret correspondence between the latter and the American Ge 
neral. Red Jacket, it was said, was in the habit of holding secret 
councils with a number of young warriors, and with some timid 
and disaffected leaders, and at length sent a runner with a flag to 
General Sullivan, to advise him that a spirit of discontent prevailed 
among the Indians. Brant, who was confidentially informed of 
these proceedings, privately despatched two warriors to waylay 
and assassinate the runner, which, being effected, put an end to the 


In 1780, Brant led a party of forty-three Indians and seven Tories 
against the settlement of Harpersfield, which was surprised and 
destroyed ; and he then bent his steps towards Scoharie, which he 
supposed to be undefended. On his way he encountered Captain 
Harper and fourteen men, who were making sugar in the woods, 
of whom three were killed, and the remainder taken. Harper, a 
brave man, famed for more than one hardy exploit, determined to 
save the settlement of Scoharie from the dreadful calamity of a 
visit from Brant, and, on being questioned as to its defences, coolly 
stated that three hundred continental troops had just been stationed 
there, and persisted in this story until the Indians were induced to 
retrace their steps to Niagara. On their way they fell in with an 
old man and his two youthful grandsons, who were also captured ; 
but finding the old man unable to keep pace with the party, he 
was put to death, and his scalp added to the trophies of the expe 
dition. It was intended that, on the arrival of the party at Niagara, 
the prisoners should be subjected to the barbarous torture of run- 


ning the gauntlet, but Brant frustrated this plan by sending a mes 
sage secretly to the commander of the fort at that place, in conse 
quence of which they were received, on their arrival at the outposts, 
by a party of regulars, who took possession of them. We cheer 
fully accord the praise due to this act of humanity. 

We shall not pursue the Mohawk chief through all the windings 
of his crafty and sanguinary career. He continued until the close 
of the war in 1782 to harass the settlements by such incursions as 
we have described. Those who delight in recitals of tragic interest, 
may find a series of such events well told in Mr. Stone's work. 
They are too numerous to be related at length in such a sketch as 
this, and too much alike in their general outlines to be abridged 
with advantage. In perusing this history, the heart sickens at the 
oft-repeated tale of domestic agony the tearing of husbands, wives, 
and children, from each other's embrace the captivity of delicate 
females the driving of half-clad and bare-footed women and chil 
dren through the wilderness, exposed to all the vicissitudes of cli 
mate the torture of prisoners the thousand varieties of savage 
cruelty. All these deeds, which we contemplate with comparative 
composure, when told of untaught savages stung to rage by the 
invasion of their hunting-grounds, awaken a lively sensation of 
horror when we behold them deliberately planned and executed 
under the flag of a great nation, by persons of European descent, 
and by a sagacious chief who had felt and acknowledged the advan 
tages of civilization, who had reaped honor and advantage through 
an intercourse with the whites, which, previous to this unhappy 
war, had been characterized by mutual confidence and kindness. 
Brant had no wrongs to avenge upon the American people he had 
nothing to gain by the part he acted but the pay of a mercenary 
and the plunder of a marauder, while the effect of these hostilities 
upon his tribe was demoralizing and destructive of that reform 
which he professed to be endeavoring to introduce among them. 

It is not to be denied that this dark picture is occasionally re 



lieved by acts of merry on the part of the Mohawk chief. But we 
are not inclined to accord much praise to isolated acts of generosity, 
that glimmer, at distant intervals, through a long career of brutal 
violence. The rniser who devotes all his life to the hoarding of gold, 
gains no applause for an occasional freak of generosity ; nor does 
the' savage, who pauses, in the midst of a prolonged series of mur 
ders, to spare a woman, or a trembling child, deserve the laurel of 
the hero. We estimate the character of a man by his general con 
duct, and while we forgive the little errors of a good man, we must, 
on the same principle, pass over the accidental departures of a de 
praved mind from its habitual wrong doing. It is a common but 
sound objection against fictitious writings, that characters essen 
tially bad are tricked out in a few redeeming virtues which recom 
mend them to the thoughtless reader; and with still stronger reason 
should this grave argument of the moralist be applied to the per 
sonages of history, whose habitual crimes should not be lost sight 
of amid the lustre of a few bright actions. 

In 1785, the war being over, Brant made another visit to England, 
where he was well received. On being presented to the king, he 
declined kissing his majesty's hand, but observed that he would 
gladly kiss the hand of the queen. The Bishop of London, Fox, 
Boswell, Earl Percy, Earl Moira, and other distinguished persons, 
admitted him to their society ; and it is no small proof of his 
talent and address that he sustained himself well in the best circles 
of the British metropolis. The Prince of Wales is said to have 
taken delight in his company, and sometimes took him, as the chief 
afterwards remarked, "to places very queer for a prince to go to." 
Jt is also asserted that the scenes of coarse dissipation which be 
witnessed at the prince's table, and the freedom with which the 
leading Whigs spoke of the king, had the effect of greatly weak 
ening his respect for royalty, as well as his regard for the king's 

The ostensible object of Brant's visit was to obtain for his tnbe 


some remuneration for their services during the war; but as the 
Canadian authorities had already made them a large grant of land 
in Upper Canada, to which they removed, and where they still 
reside, it. is probable that his mission had relation chiefly to another 
subject. After the war, Great Britain retained possession, for several 
years, of certain military posts, south of the lakes, and within the 
limits of the United States. The tribes at war with the United 
States made these posts their rallying points, and received from 
them constant supplies. The British ministry, who had never 
formed any adequate judgment of the extent of this country, or of 
the enterprise and energy of the people, vainly supposed that Great 
Britain, by uniting with the savage tribes, might restrain the Ame 
ricans from extending their settlements beyond the Ohio and Mis 
sissippi rivers, and by possessing herself of that region, and ulti 
mately of the whole Mississippi plain, acquire an ascendency on 
the continent which would enable her to recover her lost colonies. 
The crafty and intriguing character of Brant rendered him a will 
ing and an able actor in these schemes ; and he passed frequently 
from Canada to the North- western Territory, to hold councils with 
the Indians. But as the British government did not avow these 
proceedings, and as the Indians might have been doubtful how far 
the agents who tampered with them were authorized, it was desir 
able that some more direct communication should be had with the 
ministry ; and the chief purpose of Brant's visit was to ascer 
tain whether, in case of a general war between the Indians and the 
United States, the former nfight rely upon the support of Great Bri 
tain. Such is the clear import of numerous letters collected in Mr. 
Stone's work, some of which are published for the first time, and 
which throw light upon points of this history which have been ob 
scure. The British government, however, would not commit itself 
on so delicate a matter, and Brant was referred to the Governor ot 
Canada, with general assurances of his majesty's friendship. 

While in London, Captain Brant attended a masquerade, at 


which many of the nobility and gentry were present appearino- m 
the costume of his tribe, with one side of his face painted. A Turk, 
who was of the company, was so struck with the grotesque figure 
of the chief, and especially with his visage, which he supposed to 
be formed by a mask, that he ventured to indulge his curiosity by 
touching the Mohawk's nose ; but no sooner did he make this 
attempt, than the chief, much amused, but affecting great rage, 
uttered the terrific war-whoop, and drawing his tomahawk, flourished 
it round the head of the astonished Turk, creating a panic which 
sent the ladies screaming for protection in all directions 

Brant translated the Gospel of Mark into the Mohawk language 
during this visit; and as the Prayer Books given to the Indians 
had mostly been lost or destroyed during the war, the Society for 
the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, chose the opportu 
nity to bring out a new edition under his supervision, including 
the Gospel of Mark, as translated by him. The book was elegantly 
printed in large octavo, under the patronage of the king, and em 
bellished with a number of scriptural scenes engraved in the best 
style of that day. The date of his return is not exactly known, 
but his visit was not prolonged beyond a few months, as he was at 
home in July, 1786. 

Brant was now placed in a position which required the exercise 
of all his address. The Mohawks had withdrawn into Canada, 
and were under the jurisdiction of Great Britain ; the other five of 
the Six Nations resided in the United States ; yet the confederacy 
remained unbroken, and Thayendanegea continued at its head. 
The Mohaw r ks were embittered against the American people, to 
whom their recent cruelties had rendered them justly odious, while 
some of the other tribes were decidedly friendly. It required all 
his attention to keep together a confederacy thus divided. He is 
supposed, and with little doubt, to have been at the same time 
engaged in extensive conspiracies against the peace of the Ameri 
can frontiers, and is known to have been frequently in council 


with the hostile Indians. But while thus engaged, he sought every 
opportunity of professing his love of peace, his friendship towards 
thf United States, and his desire to heal the existing differences. 
The mantle of Christianity, which he had thrown aside during the 
war, was again assumed ; and the chief was now engaged in cor 
respondence on religious and benevolent subjects with several dis, 
tin^uished Americans. He affected an earnest desire to civilize his 


own tribe, and to teach them the Gospel ; but there is too much 
reason to believe that his real sentiments accorded w r ith those 
of his friend the Duke of Northumberland, who had served in 
America as Lord Percy, and having been admitted as a warrior into 
the Mohawk tribe, wrote to Brant, in 1806, as follows: "There 
are a number of well-meaning persons here, who are very desirous 
of forming a society to better (as they call it) the condition of our na 
tion, by converting us from warriors and hunters into husbandmen. 
Let me strongly recommend it to you, and the rest of our chiefs, not 
to listen to such a proposition. Let our young men never exchange 
their liberty and manly exercises to become hewers of wood and 
drawers of water. If they will teach our women to spin and weave, 
this would be of use, but to endeavor to enervate our young men 
by doing nothing but tilling the earth, would be the greatest injury 
they could do the Five Nations." 

But such was the reputation of Brant for abilities, and such the 
confidence in his professed desire " to accomplish the desirable end 
of civilization and peace-making," that the government of the 
United States earnestly sought his mediation with the hostile 
tribes. A correspondence was opened, in which he was appealed 
to as a man of high-toned benevolence, and as a friend of the red 
race, to save them from the inevitable destruction to which their 
perseverance in unnecessary wars must bring them. His replies 
show that his judgment approved these sentiments, and in them he 
repeatedly promised to do all in his power to make peace. The 
war, however, continued for several years longer, the Indians be- 


corning more and more audacious in their hostilities, and unreason 
able in their demands. 

Besides a number of lesser engagements, several battles were 
fought, the most disastrous of which was the defeat of St. Clair, by 
a large Indian force, aided by several hundred Canadians. " Their 
leader, according to the received opinion," says Mr. Stone, " was 
Meshecunnaqua, or Little Turtle, a distinguished chief of the Mia- 
mis. He was also the leader of the Indians against General Har- 
mer, the year before. It is believed, however, that, though nomi 
nally the commander-in-chief of the Indians on this occasion, he was 


greatly indebted both to the counsels and the prowess of another 
and an older chief. One hundred and fifty of the Mohawk war 
riors were engaged in this battle ; and General St. Clair probably 
died in ignorance of the fact that one of the master spirits against 
whom he contended, and by whom he was so signally defeated, was 
none other than Joseph Brant Thayendanegea. How it happened 
that this distinguished chief, from whom so much had been ex 
pected as a peace-maker, thus suddenly and efficiently threw him 
self into a position of active hostility, unless he thought he saw an 
opening for reviving his project of a great north-western confede 
racy, is a mystery which he is believed to have carried in his own 
bosom to the grave." 

We do not doubt that Mohawk braves were engaged in this bat 
tle, nor that Brant, during the whole of this unhappy war, so dis 
tressing to the frontier settlements, and so ruinous to the deluded 
savages, was secretly engaged in fomenting discord, while affecting 
the character of a peace-maker. But we cannot suppress our 
scepticism as to his alleged participation in the battle of November 
4, 1791, now first announced upon the authority of his family. We 
do not undertake to prove a negative, but we aver that the whole 
weight of the evidence contradicts this novel assumption. It is 
barely possible that he was there, and if so, his counsels would 
doubtless have had great influence. But we think it altogether 


improbable that a leader of such distinction could take part in a 
general engagement, so important and so decisive, and the fact 
remain concealed for nearly half a century especially under the 
circumstances connected with that disastrous event. The defeat 
of St. Clair caused great excitement, and led to keen inquiry, and 
its circumstances were investigated by a military court. Subse 
quently, the scene of the battle, and the lands inhabited by most 
of the tribes engaged in it, have become settled by Americans. 
Treaties have been made with those tribes. They have become 
dependent on the American government, whose agents have been 
planted among them constantly, from a period immediately succeed 
ing the battle of Wayne, in 1794. There has been a constant 
intercourse between our people and all the tribes of that region, 
during the entire period that has elapsed since that war ; and many 
Americans, who were prisoners among those Indians, at the time 
of the battle, as well as before and since, have, on their return 
home, communicated a variety of minute information touching an 
affair which caused even a greater excitement among the Indians 
than among us. It was a great and an unexpected triumph, the 
honor and spoils of which were divided among many tribes, who 
would each discuss all the circumstances, and claim their portion 
of the glory. It is hardly possible that if Brant was present his 
name could have been concealed, or that all the individuals of all 
the tribes engaged should have concurred in yielding to Little 
Turtle the laurels that belonged to Thayendanegea. No one but 
himself could have been interested in keeping such a secret, while 
the fact, if it existed, must have been known to* many to Cana 
dians, British officers, and the chiefs and warriors of various tribes, 
besides the one hundred and fifty of his own people who were in 
the engagement. We deem it an act of justice to the memory of 
Brant to suggest these objections ; for although we, as Americans, 
have little reason to admire his military career, we are aware that 
much might be said* and indeed much has been said, in defence of 


his conduct while at open war with us, which could not avail in 
regard to hostilities committed by him while professing to be at 

He continued, after the events just related, to correspond with the 
officers of the American government, in the character of a mediator, 
keeping up without interruption the intercourse commenced before 
St. Glair's campaign, and still professing his ardent desire " to ac 
complish the desirable end of civilization and peace-making." 
These sentiments accorded so well with the pacific views of the 
President, and were received with such confidence, that he was 
several times invited, in urgent and complimentary terms, to visit 
the government at Philadelphia ; and after declining more than 
once, he at last, in June, 1792, commenced a journey to the metro 
polis of the United States. It is creditable to the moral character 
of our people that, although he passed through the Mohawk Valley, 
whose inhabitants had been so severely scourged by his hand, and 
although threats of vengeance were thrown out by indiscreet indi 
viduals, he was unmolested. He was kindly and respectfully re 
ceived at Philadelphia. The true causes of the war with the 
western Indians were explained to him; and great pains were 
taken by the President and Secretary of War to impress upon his 
mind the sincere desire of the United States to cultivate the most 
amicable relations with all the Indian tribes, and to spare no exer 
tions to promote their welfare. In the end, he was induced to 
undertake a mission of peace to some of the tribes, and was fur 
nished with full powers for that purpose. But however sincere 
were his intentions they were changed on his return home; and 
the auspicious results anticipated from his mediation were never 
realized. The United States, wearied out by ineffectual attempts 
to make peace, were at last compelled to prosecute the war with 
vigor, and found in General Wayne a negotiator who soon brought 
the enemy to terms. 

We turn with pleasure to a more agreeable part of the life of 


this remarkable person. After the campaign of 1794 he was not 
again engaged in war, and devoted his attention to the interests and 
moral improvement of his tribe. He was not in the slightest de- 
o-ree tinctured with the habitual indolence of his race, and did not 


sink into mere apathy when sated with bloodshed. He labored for 
years to get a confirmation of the title of his tribe to the land 
granted them on Grand River, which proved a source of vexation 
to him during the remainder of his life. He claimed for his tribe 
a complete right to the land, with power to sell and grant titles in 
fee simple ; while the government alleged the title to be imperfect, 
giving to the Indians only the right of occupancy, and reserving 
the pre-emption. " Council after council was holden upon the sub 
ject, and conference after conference; while quires of manuscript 
speeches and arguments, in Brant's own hand, yet remain to attest 
the sleepless vigilance with which he watched over the interests of 
his people, and the zeal and ability with which he asserted arid 
vindicated their rights." Two deeds were successively framed and 
offered to the Mohawks, and rejected, and the land continued to be 
held by the same tenure by which the Indians in the United States 
occupy their territory. 

Before their removal from the Mohawk Valley, some of the tribe 
had turned their attention to agriculture. Brant himself cultivated 
a large farm near the residence of General Herkimer. No man 
ever estimated more truly the advantages of civilization ; and had 
he been sincere in his professions upon that subject, and avoided 
all connection with the wars of England and America, his tribe 
would probably have afforded the earliest and most complete ex 
ample of Indian civilization. His own attainments were consider 
able ; he spoke and wrote the English language correctly, and his 
compositions are highly respectable in point of thought and style. 
He was a close observer, and made himself well acquainted with 
the arts and customs of the whites. 

In his own house, Brant was a hospitable and convivial man. 


and those who visited him were kindly received. He erected a 
spacious dwelling in Upper Canada, where he lived in handsome 
style, and his children were all well educated, two of them under 
the charge of President Wheelock, son of the preceptor of Brant. 
One son, Isaac, fell a victim to the besetting vice of his race ; in a 
fit of intoxication he assaulted his father, and the stern chief, draw 
ing a dirk, inflicted a wound upon his own son which proved mortal. 
A mutual dislike existed between this chief and Red Jacket. 
They were rival politicians ; each was the leading man among his 
own people ; and as the Senecas and Mohawks were the principal 
tribes of the confederacy, each sought the first place in the nation. 
Their claims were nearly balanced, and they appear to have gained 
the superiority in turn. In the year 1803, Red Jacket succeeded 
in procuring the deposition of Brant from the chieftainship of the 
confederacy, in consequence of some alleged speculations in land, 
by which it was thought the chief had advanced his own personal 
interest at the expense of his nation ; but at a subsequent council, 
Brant procured the reversal of this sentence. Both were artful and 
eloquent men; but Brant had the advantages of education and 
travel, while Red Jacket was superior in genius and in devotion to 
his people. Neither of them w r as scrupulous as to the means 
employed to compass his ends; but the one was selfish, while the 
other was ambitious. Brant sought to advance himself by means 
of his people, and was ever regardful of his private interests, while 
Red Jacket, though he claimed the first place among the Senecas, 
neglected his private interests and labored incessantly for his tribe. 
Brant was an able warrior; he was cool, sagacious, and bold; but 
he was also cruel, vindictive, and rapacious ; Red Jacket, though 
not a coward, disliked war, and abhorred bloodshed. They dif 
fered as much in policy as in character. Brant delighted in the 
society of civilized and even refined persons. Red Jacket sternly 
adhered to the language and customs of his own people, and 
snunned and discountenanced any familiar intercourse with the 



whites. The latter considered that the Indians could only be free 
so long as they remained savages that every art and custom of 
civilization which they adopted weakened the line of separation, 
while it introduced a new want to be supplied by the labor or the 
charity of white men, and increased the dependency of the Indians. 
Brant maintained through life a friendly intercourse with the 
English, and favored the introduction of agriculture and the useful 
sirts. He professed, in early life, to be converted to the Christian 
faith, and though he afterwards departed widely in practice from 
the meek and merciful deportment of a true believer, he always 
favored the teaching of the Word, and an outward support to reli 
gion, in his public capacity. Red Jacket opposed the missionaries, 
the Christian religion, and every thing that emanated from the op 
pressors of his race. On the whole Brant was one of the most 
remarkable men of his time ; a person of brilliant parts, of great 
vigor and strength of intellect, full of energy and perseverance, and 
exceedingly subtle in compassing any object he had in view. 

He died in November, 1807, at the age of nearly sixty-five years, 
at his own house, near Burlington, on Lake Ontario, arid was 
buried at the Mohawk village, on Grand River, by the side of the 
church he had built there. His last words to his adopted nephew 
were, " Have pity on the poor Indians : if you can get any influence 
with the great, endeavor to do them all the good you can." 


ft" 87 



THAYENDANEGEA, chief of the Mohawks, and head of the Iro 
quois confederacy, was married three times. By his first wife he 
had two children, by his second none, and by the third seven. His 
widow, Catharine Brant, was the eldest daughter of the head of the 
Turtle family the first in rank in the Mohawk nation ; and accord 
ing to their customs, the honors of her house descended to either 
of her sons whom she might choose. By her nomination, her 
fourth and youngest son, John Brant, Ahyouwaighs, became the 
chief of the Mohawks, and virtually succeeded his father in the 
office, now nominal, of chief of the Iroquois or Six Nations. 

This chief was born on the 27th of September, 1794 ; he received 
a good English education and is safa to have improved his mind 
by reading. In the war of 1812-15, between the United States 
and Great Britain, he espoused the cause of the latter, and partici 
pated in the dangers of the earliest part of the contest, but had not 
the opportunity to acquire distinction. 

After the war, John Brant and his sister Elizabeth took up their 
abode at the family residence, at the head of Lake Ontario, where 
they lived in the English style; their mother having, after the 
death of Thayendanegea, returned to the Mohawk village, and re 
sumed the customs of her fathers. Lieutenant Francis Hall, of 
the British service, who travelled in the United States and Canada, 
in 1816, visited "Brant House," and described John Brant as a 
"fine young man, of gentlemanlike appearance, who used the En 
glish language correctly and agreeably, dressing in the English 

20 ( 153 ) 


fashion, excepting only the moccasons of his Indian habit." He 
says, in reference to Thayendanegea, " Brant, like Clovis, and 
many of the Anglo-Saxon and Danish Christians, contrived to 
unite much religious zeal with the practices of natural ferocity. 
His grave is seen under the walls of his church. I have mentioned 
one of his sons; he has also a daughter living, who would not dis 
grace the circles of European fashion. Her face and person are 
fine and graceful : she speaks English not only correctly, but 
elegantly, and has, both in her speech and manners, a softness ap 
proaching to oriental languor. She retains so much of her native 
dress as to identify her with her people, over whom she affects no 
superiority, but seems pleased to preserve all the ties and duties 
of relationship." 

This family is also favorably mentioned by James Buchanan, 
Esq., British consul for the port of New York, who made a tour 
through Canada in 1819. He describes the same young lady as (( a 
charming, noble-looking Indian girl, dressed partly in the English, 
and partly in the Indian costume;" and adds, "the grace and 
dignity of her movements, the style of her dress and manner, so 
new, so unexpected, filled us with astonishment." 

In 182J., John Brant visited England for the purpose of settling 
the controversy in regard to the title of the Mohawks to their land, 
which had caused his father so much vexation. The Duke of 
Northumberland, son of him who was the friend of the elder Brant, 
espoused his cause, as did other persons of influence, and he 
received assurances that the government would grant all that was 
asked. Instructions, favorable to the demands of the Mohawks, 
were transmitted to the colonial government ; but difficulties were 
thrown in the way by the provincial authorities, and no redress has 
yet been granted. 

During this visit, the young Brant addressed a letter to the poet 
Campbell, in which he remonstrated against the injustice alleged 
to have been done to his father's character,' in " Gertrude of Wyo 


ming." The stanzas complained of purport to form a part of a 
speech uttered by an Oneida chief, who came to warn a family 
that the forces of Brant and Butler were at hand. 

" But this is not the time" he started up, 

And smote his heart with war-denouncing hand 
" This is no time to fill the joyous cup ; 

The mammoth comes the foe the monster Brant 
With all his howling, desolating band. 

These eyes have seen their blade and burning pine ; 
Awake at once, and silence half your land- 
Red is the cup they drink, but not with wine : 
Awake and watch to-night, or see no morning shine. 

" Scorning to wield the hatchet for his tribe, 

'Gainst Brant himself I went to battle forth. 
Accursed Brant ! he left of all my tribe 

Nor man nor child, nor thing of living birth- 
No ! not the dog that watched my household hearth 

Escaped that night of blood upon our plains! 
All perished I alone am left on earth, 

To whom nor relative, nor blood remains, 

No ! not a kindred drop that runs in human veins !" 

The appeal made to Campbell by a son who was probably sin- 
cere in the belief that his father had been misrepresented, touched 
his feelings, and induced him to write an apologetic reply, which ,is 
more honorable to his heart than his judgment. The only objec 
tion to the stanzas, in our opinion, is the bad taste of the plagiarism 
upon the speech of Logan, contained in the last three lines. No 
one who has read the melancholy fate of the Wells family, can 
hesitate to acquit Campbell of injustice ; nor is there the slightest 
doubt that the same language would be true of numerous scenes 
in the life of that bold desolator of the fireside, Thayendanegea. 
Chief Justice Marshall, who is above all reproach as a historian, 


and as a gentleman of pure and elevated sentiments, was not con 
vinced by the letter of John Brant, but, in his second edition of the 
" Life of Washington," which was published several years after the 
appearance of that letter, reiterates the account of the massacre at 
Wyoming, in which Brant is stated to be the leader of the Indians. 

On his return from England, the Mohawk chief seems to have 
given his attention to the moral condition of the tribe, which had 
been greatly neglected during the war between Great Britain and 
the United States; and in the year 1829, the " New England Cor 
poration," established in London, by charter A. D. 1662, for the 
civilization of the Indians, presented him with a splendid silver 
cup, bearing an inscription, purporting that it was given " In 
acknowledgment of his eminent services in promoting the objects 
of the incorporation." 

In 1 832, John Brant was returned a member of the Provincial 
Parliament for the county of Haldimand, which includes a portion 
of the territory granted to the Mohawks. The election was con 
tested upon the ground that the laws of Upper Canada require a 
freehold qualification in the voters, and that many of those who 
voted for Brant held no other titles to real estate than such as were 
derived from the Indians, who had no legal fee ; and the seat of 
John Brant was vacated. It was not long after this decision that 
Brant and his competitor, Colonel Warren, both fell victims to the 

Elizabeth Brant, the youngest daughter of Thayendanegea, was 
married, some years ago, to William Johnson Kerr, Esq., a grand 
son of Sir William Johnson, and resides at the family mansion at 
the head of Lake Ontario. 

The widow of Thayendanegea, upon the death of her favorite 
son John, conferred the title of chief upon the infant son of her 
daughter, Mrs. Kerr, and died on the 24th of November, 1837, 
thirty years to a day after the death of her husband, at the good 
old age of seventy-eight years. 




HOOWANNEKA, the Little Elk, was a chief of the Winnebago 
nation, who served with some reputation on the side of the British, 
in the last war between Great Britain and the United States. At 
the termination of hostilities, when it was found that the British 
had made peace for themselves, leaving their Indian allies, residing 
within the United States, at the mercy of the latter government, 
the Winnebagoes reluctantly sought protection under the American 
flag. Hoowanneka was among the first who became convinced that 
his nation had been seduced by specious promises into an unnatural 
war against those whose enmity must be fatal to their existence, 
and under whose friendship alone they could continue to have a 
resting-place or a name. United with those who held similar 
opinions, he exerted a salutary influence over his fierce associates, 
in restraining them from further outrage upon the American 
frontiers ; and he remained afterwards a friend of our people and 

The Little Elk was descended from the Caramanie family, the 
most distinguished band of his nation. He was a tall, fine-looking 
man, and had some reputation as a speaker, but has left no specimen 
of his eloquence upon record. In the portrait which accompanies 
this sketch, he appeared in the costume in which he presented 
himself before the President of the United States, at Washington, 
in 1824, when he visited the seat of government as a delegate from 
his nation. It must have been a singular scene, which exhibited 
the savage orator, painted in fantastic style, and clad in these wild 



and picturesque habiliments, addressing the grave and dignified 
head of the American people, in one of the saloons of the White 
House. The President and his cabinet, with the diplomatists and 
other visitors who are usually invited when a spectacle of this kind 
is presented, must have afforded a striking contrast to the war 
chiefs and orators of a savage horde decked out in all the barbarian 
magnificence of beads, paint, and feathers, with their war-clubs, 
pipes, and banners. 


NO. 8S-/2 


JOHN Ross, on his mother's side, was of Scotch descent. His 
grandfather, John McDonald, was born at Inverness, Scotland, 
about 1 74 7. Visiting London when a youth of nineteen years, he met 
a countryman who was coming to America, and catching the spirit 
of adventure, he joined him, landing in Charleston, S. C., in 1766. 
While here, he heard of a mercantile house in Augusta, Georgia, 
which attracted him thither, and he entered it as clerk. His suc 
cess in business inspired confidence in his employers, who sent him 
to Fort Loudon, on the frontier of the State, built by the British 
Government in 1756, to open and superintend trade among the 
Cherokees. These lived in little towns or villages, a few miles apart 
for mutual protection, and to preserve the hunting-grounds around 
them. He soon "set up for himself" in business, and married 
Ann Shorey, a half-blood Cherokee. It was customary with the 
tribe to colonize a company pushing out into the wilderness often 
many miles, and opening a new centre of traffic. McDonald went 
with one of the migratory colonies, in 1770, to Chickamauga. 
Here, the same year, was born " Mollie McDonald." A few years 
later the family removed to Lookout Valley, near the spot conse 
crated to Liberty and the Union by the heroic valor of General 
Hooker's command, in the autumn of 1863. While residing in 
this romantic region, among the natives, Daniel Ross, originally 
from Sutherlandshire, Scotland, and left an orphan in Baltimore 
soon after peace was declared with Great Britain, had accompa 
nied a Mr. Mayberry to Hawkins County, Tennessee, and came 
down the river in a flat-boat built by himself for trading purposes. 



There is an obstruction in the Tennessee River below Lookout 
Mountain, compelling the boats to land above, at a point known 
as " Brown's Ferry." The Indian town was called Siteco. The 
arrival of the strange craft at Siteco, on the way to the Chickasaw 
country, navigated by Ross, and having on board, besides valu 
able merchandise, " Mountain Leader," a chief, spread excitement 
at once through the Cherokee settlement, and the people rallied to 
inquire into the designs of the unexpected traders. 

A consultation was held, in which " Bloody Fellow," the Cherokee 
Chief, advised the massacre of the whole party and the confisca 
tion of the goods. McDonald, who lived fifteen miles distant, was 
sent for, he having a commanding influence over the natives. He 
came, and urged them not to harm the strangers ; saying, among 
other arguments, that Ross was, like himself, a Scotchman, and he 
should regard an insult to him as a personal injury. McDonald's 
address calmed the wrath of the Cherokees, and they changed 
their tone to that of persuasion, offering inducements to remain 
there and establish a trading-post. The proposition was accepted. 

Daniel Ross soon after married " Mollie McDonald." He was a 
gentleman of irreproachable and transparent honesty, and carried 
with him the entire confidence of all who knew him. He also 
migrated to different portions of the wild lands, during the next 
twenty years or more, and became the father of nine children. 
JOHN was the third, and was born at Turkeytown, on the Coosa 
River, in Alabama, October 3d, 1790. Returning to Hillstown, 
Lewis was born there, who is associated with him in labors and 
trials at the present time. Subsequently Chick am auga, and still 
later Chattanooga, became his place of residence. 

When about seven years of age, he accompanied his parents to 
Hillstown, forty miles distant, to attend the " Green-Corn Festi 
val." This was an annual agricultural Fair, when for several 
days the natives, gathering from all parts of the nation, gave 
themselves up to social and public entertainments. The tribe was 

JOHN ROSS. ^ 161 

divided into clans, and each member of them regarded an associate 
as a kinsman, and felt bound to extend hospitality to him; and 
thus provision was always made for the gathering to the anniver 
sary. On this occasion, JOHN'S mother had dressed him in his first 
suit after the style of civilized life made of nankeen. No sooner 
was he at play with boys of his clan, than the loud shout of ridi 
cule was aimed at the " white boy." The next morning, while his 
grandmother was dressing him, he wept bitterly. Inquiring the 
cause, she learned it was the fear of a repetition of the previous 
day's experience. The tears prevailed, and arrayed in calico 
frock and leggings, and moccasins, with a bound and shout of joy, 
he left his tent, in his own language, " at home again." As the 
large family were old enough to attend school, JOHN'S father 
bought land in Georgia, to remove there that he might educate 
them ; but gave up the plan and went to Mary ville, in Tennessee, 
six hundred miles from his residence, and fifteen miles from Knox- 
ville, and employed a Mr. George Barbee Davis to come and 
instruct his children. To have this privilege, however, he must 
obtain permission of the General Council of the nation. The 
application was opposed by some, on the ground of an unwilling 
ness to introduce any of the customs or habits of the whites. 
Others urged the necessity of having interpreters and persons 
among them acquainted with the improvements of their civilized 
neighbors. This reasoning prevailed, and Mr. Ross had the honor 
of giving to the Cherokee nation the first school, the beginning 
of a new era in the history of the American aborigines. 

After a few years' culture at home, John and Lewis were sent to 
Kingston, Tennessee, to enjoy the advantages of a popular school 
there. John boarded with a merchant named Clark, and also acted 
as clerk in his store. Kingston was on the great emigrant road 
from Virginia, Maryland, and other parts, to Nashville, and not 
far from South West Point, a military post. At Chattanooga, 

Joiix's mother died and was buried, a great loss to him, to whom 


she was a counsellor and a constant friend. His grandfather 
lavished his partial affection upon him, and at his death left him 
two colored servants he had owned for several years. After a 
clerkship of two years for a firm in Kingston, young Ross returned 
home, and was sent by his father in search of an aunt in Hagers- 
town, Md., nine hundred miles distant, of whom, till then, for a 
long time, all traces had been lost. 

On horseback and without a companion, he commenced his long 
and solitary journey. He encamped at night wherever he could 
find a shelter, and reached safely the home of the recently dis 
covered aunt. Furnishing her a horse, they recrossed Tennessee, 
and returned, after several weeks of pilgrimage, to the desolate 
home in Chattanooga. The grandfather soon after removed to 
Brainard, the early missionary station of the American Board 
among the Cherokees, situated on the southern border of Tennessee, 
only two miles from the Georgia line, upon the bank of Chicka- 
mauga Creek, and almost within, the limits of the bloody battle-field 
of Chickamauga, being only three miles distant from its nearest 
point, (The name is derived from the Chickasaw word Chucama, 
which means " good," and with the termination of the Cherokee 
Kah, means Good place.) . 

In anticipation of the war with Great Britain, in 1812, the 
Government determined to send presents to the Cherokees who 
had colonized west of the Mississippi, and Col. Meigs, the Indian 
Agent, employed Riley, the United States Interpreter, to take 
charge of them. The voyage was commenced, but hearing at Fort 
Massas, ten miles below the mouth of the Tennessee, that the 
earthquake shocks which had been felt had sunk the land at New 
Madrid, the party were alarmed and returned, leaving the goods 
there. Col. Meigs then deputed JOHN Ross to go with additional 
gifts, and see them all delivered to the Cherokees. With John 
Spears a half-blood, Peter a Mexican Spaniard, and Kalsatchee an 
old Cherokee, he started on his perilous expedition, leaving his 
father's landing on Christinas. 


At Battle Creek, afterward Laurie's Ferry, he met Isaac Brown- 
low, uncle of Parson Brownlow, a famous waterman. When he 
saw Ross in his small craft, bound on the long and dangerous 
voyage, his boat being a clapboarded ark, he swore that 
Colonel Meigs was stupid or reckless, to send him down the rivers 
in such a plight. He went with him eighty miles, and to within 
ten miles of Knoxville, exchanging a keel-boat for his crazy craft, 
and taking an order on the Government for the difference, declar 
ing, even if he lost it, JOHN should not venture farther as he came. 
At Fort Pickering, near Memphis, he learned that the Cherokees 
he was seeking had removed from St. Francis River to the Darde- 
nell, on the Arkansas, which then contained no more than 900 
w r hites, and he directed his course thither. 

The narrative of the entire expedition, -the sixty-six days on 
the rivers ; the pursuit by settlers along the banks, who supposed 
the party to be Indians on some wild adventure ; the wrecking of 
the boat ; the land travel of two hundred miles in eight days, often 
up to the knees in water, with only meat for food ; and the arrival 
home the next April, bringing tidings that the Creeks were having 
their war-dance on the eve of an outbreak; these details alone 
would make a volume of romantic interest. 

The Creek war commenced among the tribe on account of hostile 
views, but soon was turned upon the loyal whites and Cherokees. 
Of the latter, a regiment was formed to cooperate with the Ten 
nessee troops, and Mr. Ross was made adjutant. General White 
commanded in East, and General Jackson in West Tennessee. 
The Cherokees concentrated at Turkeytown, between the two 
forts Armstrong and Strauthers. The Creeks were within twenty- 
five miles. A Creek prisoner had escaped, and informing his 
people of the Cherokee encampment, they could be restrained no 
longer, but dashed forward to meet the enemy. Upon reaching 
the place of encampment, they found only the relics of a deadly 
fight, in which General Coffee, under Jackson, had routed the 


Creeks. The Cherokees returned to Turkey town the same night 
by 10 o'clock, having inarched fifty or sixty miles (many on foot) 
since the early morning. 

The terrible battle at Horseshoe, February 27th, 1814, which 
left the bodies of nine hundred Creeks on the field, was followed 
by a treaty of peace, at Fort Jackson, with the friendly Creeks, 
securing a large territory to indemnify the United States. In 
making it, Mclntosh, a shrewd, unprincipled chief, represented the 
Creeks, and Colonel Brown, half-brother of Catharine the first 
Cherokee convert at the Missionary Station, the Cherokees, to fix 
their boundary. Mclntosh had his conference with General Jack 
son in his tent; and the treaty was made, so far as Brown was 
concerned, pretty much as the former desired, in reality infring 
ing upon the rights of the Cherokees ; the line of new territory 
crossing theirs at Turkeytown. Consequently a delegation, of 
which JOHN Ross was a prominent member, was sent to Wash 
ington to wait on President Madison and adjust the difficulty. 
Mr. Crawford, Secretary of War, decided the question in favor of 
the Cherokees. 

The next treaty which involved their righteous claims was made 
with the Chickasaws, whose boundary-lines were next to their 
own. General Jackson was against the Cherokee claim, and 
affirmed that he would grant the Chickasaws their entire claim. 
He offered the former an annuity of $6000 for ten years, although 
they had refused before, the offer of a permanent annuity of the 
same amount. This negotiation was conditional upon the con 
firmation of it at a meeting of the Cherokees to be held at Turkey- 
town. 'The Indians came together, and refused to recognize the 
treaty ; but finally the old Chief Pathkiller signed it. At every 
step of dealing with the aborigines, we can discern the proud and 
selfish policy which declared that "the red man had no rights 
which the white man was bound to respect." 

In 1816, General Jackson was again commissioned to negotiate 


with the Cherokees, and JOHN Ross was to represent his people. 
But before any result was reached, Ross, having gone into busi 
ness with Timothy Meigs, son of Colonel Meigs, went with him 
on horseback to Washington and Baltimore, to purchase goods 
and have them conveyed to Rossville, on the Georgia line, at the 
foot of Missionary Ridge. In a few months Mr. Meigs died, and 
Lewis Ross became partner in his place. 

After a long and interrupted passage having deer-skins and 
furs for traffic from Savannah to New York, and then to Balti 
more, he returned to find that General Jackson had prepared the 
celebrated treaty of 1817. A council being called to explain the 
treaty, Ross determined to go as a looker-on. 

The national affairs of the Cherokees had been administered by 
a council, consisting of delegates from the several towns, appointed 
by the chiefs, in connection with the latter. A National Com 
mittee of sixteen, to transact business under the general super 
vision of the chiefs, was also a part of the administrative power 
of the nation. 

On the way to the council referred to, which was called at 
their capital by Governor McMinn, who had charge of the treaty 
of 1817, Judge Brown, of the Committee, meeting Ross at Van's, 
Spring Place, Georgia, said to him, " When we get to Oosteanalee, 
I intend to put you in hell I " When Ross objected to such a fate, 
not guessing the import of the apparently profane expression, 
Judge Brown added, that he " intended to run him for President 
of the National Committee," giving his views of the comfort of 
office-holding, in the language employed. 

The council met in the public square. Soon after, JOHN Ross, 
then twenty-seven years of age, was called in, when Major Ridge, 
the speaker of the council, announced, to the modest young man's 
surprise and confusion, that he was elected President of the 
.National Committee. 

When the treaty came up for discussion, Governor McMinn 


explained it as meaning, that those who emigrated west of the 
Mississippi were to have lands there; and those who remained 
came under the laws of the State, giving up to the United States there 
as much soil as was occupied west. Charles H. Hicks, a chief, and 
Ross, went into the woods alone, and, seated on a log, conferred 
sadly together over a form of reply to the terms of treaty as 
expounded. Hicks was very popular with his people, and was one 
of the earliest converts under the missionary labors of the Moravians. 
Ross made replies in opposition to the governor's construction. 

Governor McMinn made another appointment for a meeting of 
the chiefs, and other men of influence, at the Cherokee Agency on 
Highnassee River. The time arrived; the firing of a cannon 
opened the council daily for three long weeks, McMinn hoping to 
wear out the patience of the Cherokees and secure the ratification 
of the treaty, never as yet formally granted. The result was the 
appointment of a delegation to Washington, of which Hicks and 
Ross were members, always the last resort. Mr. Monroe was 
President, and John C. Calhoun Secretary of War. This was in 
February, 1819. 

Meanwhile, Governor McMinn allowed the time designated for 
the census to elapse without taking it, leaving the exchange of 
lands ^with no rule of limitation, while he bought up improve 
ments as far as possible, to induce the natives to emigrate ; and 
then rented them to white settlers to supplant the Cherokees, con 
trary to express stipulation that the avails of the sales were to be 
appropriated to the support of the poor and infirm. 

In this crisis of affairs it was proposed at Washington to form a 
new treaty, the principal feature of which was the surrender of 
territory sufficient in extent and value to be an equivalent for all 
demands past and to come ; disposing thus finally of the treaty of 
1817. The lands lay in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. 

The Government also assumed the responsibility of removing all 
the " squatters " McMinn had introduced by his undignified and 


unjust management. Andrew Jackson, then Major-General in the 
regular army, was called upon to execute the condition of the new 
compact. He wrote in reply, that he had no troops to spare ; and 
said that the Cherokee Light-Horse companies should do the work. 
Colonel Meigs, the Indian Agent, feared the effect of employing 
Indians to remove the white intruders, but applied to the chiefs 
Hicks and Pathkiller, who consented to let them take the field. 
The command was given to Mr. Ross, because it was urged by 
Colonel Meigs that a preeminently prudent man was needed. 

Colonel Meigs ordered the horsemen to simply warn the settlers 
to leave. Ross protested against a powerless attempt of the kind ; 
and they were reluctantly granted authority to remove those who 
refused to go, burning cabins and corn. 

The first settlement to be purged of intruders was near the 
Agency, and these, at the approach of Ross with his troopers, fled. 
Finding a house closed, and believing the owner within prepared 
to resist, his men surrounded it, and the commander made 
an entrance down the chimney, but the object of pursuit was 

The Light-Horse troops, though the chieftain had been unused 
to military life, did their work well, necessarily marking their way 
with fire and ruin. At Crow Island they found a hundred armed 
men, who, upon being approached by messengers with peaceful 
propositions, yielded to the claims of Government and disbanded. 
In Brown's Valley, Ross might have been seen at dead of night, 
Deputy Agent Williams keeping sentry at the tent-door, writing 
by torchlight his despatches to General Jackson. The General 
sent Captain Call with a company of regulars to the Georgia 
frontier; the latter passing round Lookout Mountain, a solitary 
range eighty or ninety miles long, while Ross went directly over 
it. Upon joining Call, Mr. Ross surrendered to him the military 
command, and returned to Rossville. In 1818 he was elected by 
Colonel Meigs to go in search of a captive Osage boy, about 190 


miles distant, in Alabama. He mounted his horse and started ; 
managing his mission as detective so well, that in a few days he 
returned with the boy on behind, and placed him in the Brainard 
Mission, where he took the name of John Osage Ross. 

About this time New Echota was selected for the seat of govern 
ment, a town on the Oosteanalee, two miles from the spot where 
he was elected President of the National Committee. In 1812 the 
National Council was held there. "The Cherokee Phoenix," a 
weekly paper, was started in 1821. 

In 1823, Congress appropriated money to send commissioners 
to make a new treaty with the Cherokees, and secure lands for 
Georgia. The State had also two representatives in the delega 
tion, to assert old claims and attain the object. They argued that 
the Almighty made the soil for agricultural purposes. The Chero 
kees replied, that, while they did not pretend to know the designs 
of Jehovah, they thought it quite clear that He never authorized 
the rich to take possession of territory at the expense of the poor. 
Mclntosh, a shrewd Creek chief with a Cherokee wife, who had. 
betrayed his own people, now tried his art on his neighbors. He 
wrote to JOHN Ross, offering $18,000 from the United States Com 
missioners for a specified amount of land, using as an argument 
the affair with the Creeks. Mr. Ross kept the secret till the 
council were assembled, then sent for Mclntosh, who had pre 
pared an address for it ; and when he appeared, exposed the plot. 
The council reported him a traitor, and his "white-bench," or 
seat of honor, was overthrown. Mclntosh in alarm mounted his 
steed and rode eighty miles, killing two horses, it is said, in a 
single day. He was afterward slain by his own people, according 
to their law declaring that whoever should dispose of lands without 
the consent of the nation, should die. He was speaker of the 
Creek Council. 

In 1827, Chiefs Hicks and Pathkiller died. JOHN Ross was now 
President of the Committee, and Major Ridge speaker of council, 


the two principal officers of the Cherokee nation. The new con 
stitution, similar to that of the Republic, was adopted in the follow 
ing manner : The council proposed ten candidates, three of which 
were to be elected from each district to meet in convention. Mr. 
Ross was one of them ; and the instrument, accepted then, with his 
warmest interest urging it, was the following year approved by the 
council. It became necessary to fill, till the constitution went into 
effect, the vacancies made by death, and JOHN Ross and William 
Hicks were elected chiefs for a year 

At the expiration of the term, Mr. Ross was elected Principal 
Chief of the nation, and George Lourey Second Chief, each to 
hold the office four years. The extraordinary honor has been 
bestowed unsought upon Mr. Ross, of reelection to the high posi 
tion without an interval in the long period, to the present. 

We have reached, through the career of JOHN Ross, the lawless 
development of covetousness and secession in the treatment of the 
Cherokees by Georgia. Andrew Jackson favored the doctrine of 
State rights, which settled the claim of legalized robbery in the face 
of the constitution of the Commonwealth. This was understood 
before his election to the Presidency by politicians who waited 
upon him. He further stated, it is reported authoritatively, that 
he affirmed the three great measures he desired should mark his 
administration now, legislating the Cherokees out of the State ; 
the death of the National Bank ; and the extinguishment of the 
public debt. 

We are not criticising politically, or condemning this or any 
other executive officer, but stating matters of accredited history. 

We need not repeat the events that followed, briefly nar 
rated in the preceding sketch of the Cherokee nation, till it 
rises from suffering and banishment to power again west of the 

When the dark and wrathful tide of secession set westward, the 

disloyal officials at once took measures to conciliate or frighten the 


Indians into an alliance with them. In regard to the Cherokees, 
they partially succeeded, making an alliance principally with weal 
thy half-breeds. The Creek chief Opotohleyohola, whose memory 
of past wrongs was bitter, said he must " fight the Georgians ; " 
and he did, with the aid of loyal Cherokees, by a successful and 
daring attack. JOHN Ross was consulted by Governor Ruter, of 
Arkansas, but evaded the question of Cherokee action in the con 
flict ; and when Colonel Solomon marched into the Indian coun 
try, the Cherokees, who before the battle of Bird Creek formed a 
secret loyal league, held a meeting at night, took Rebel ammuni 
tion stored near, and fought the enemy the next day; relieved 
from the terror of Rebel rule, they hailed the Federal army with 
joy, and flocked to the standard of the Union. Scarcely had this 
loyalty been declared, before Solomon marched with recruits and 
all. 2,200 men again out of the territory, without any apparent 
reason, leaving the Cherokees and the country he was to defend in 
a more exposed condition than before. 

Park Hill, the residence of Mr. Ross, was forty miles from the 
road Solomon took in his retreat, for this was practically the 
character of the movement. Colonel Cooper, the former United 
States Agent, having under his command Texan s, Choctaws, 
Chickasaws, and Creeks, was ready to sweep down on Park Hill, 
where around the Chif were between two and three hundred 
women and children. Colonel Cloud, of the Second Kansas Regi 
ment, while the enemy were within twenty miles, marched forty 
miles with five hundred men, half of whom were Cherokees, reach 
ing Park Hill at night. He said to Mr. Ross, " I have come to 
escort you out of the country, if you will go." The Chief inquired, 
" How soon must I leave ? " The reply was, " To-morrow morning 
at six o'clock." 

With a couple of camp-wagons, containing a few household effects, 
family pictures cut from their frames, and other valuable articles 
at hand, Mr. Ross, with about fifty of the whole number there, 


hastened toward our lines, hundreds of miles away. August 4th, 
1861, he reached his brother Lewis' place, and found his furniture 
destroyed and the house injured. At midnight they resumed the 
flight of terror, crossing Grand River, where they would have been 
cut off, had the enemy known their condition. The next day a 
courier came from Park Hill, bringing the sad tidings that the 
mansion of the Chief had fallen into Cooper's hands. The work 
of plunder and ruin soon laid it in ruins, and the country desolate. 
The Cherokees were robbed of horses and everything that could be 
used by the Rebels. They were scattered over the plains, shelter 
less, famishing, and skirmishing with the enemy. Mr. Ross and 
his company, after weeks of perilous travel and exposure, suffering 
from constant fear and the elements, reached Fort Leavenworth ; 
but, as he feelingly remarked, " the graves of the Cherokees were 
scattered over the soil of Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas." 

Mr. Ross spends much of his time in Washington, watching for 
the favorable moment, if it shall ever come, to get the ear of the 
Government, and secure the attention to the wants and claims of 
his people, demanded alike by justice and humanity. 

A public meeting was held in Concert Hall, Philadelphia, in 
March, 1864, which drew together an immense crowd, and was 
addressed by Mr. Ross ; ex-Governor Pollock ; Colonel Downing, a 
full-blood Cherokee, a Baptist minister, and a brave officer ; Captain 
McDaniel ; Dr. Brainard ; and others. The interest was deep and 
abiding, but the difficulty in the way of appeal for redress by the 
aborigines has ever been, the corruption, or, at best, indifference of 
Government officials. For, whatever the natural character of the 
Indian, his prompt and terrible revenge, it is an undeniable fact, as 
stated by Bishop Whipple in his late plea for the Sioux, referring to 
the massacres of 1862, that not an instance of uprising and slaugh 
ter has occurred without the provocation of broken treaties, fraudu 
lent traffic, or wanton destruction of property. It is also true, 
that when kindly treated as a ward, instead of an outlaw fit only 


for common piunder, life and property have been safe in his keep 
ing. He has had no redress for injuries, no reliable protection 
from territorial or any other law. 

Fortunately for Mr. Ross, he had a comfortable dwelling, pur 
chased several years since, on Washington Square, Philadelphia, 
to which he retired in exile from his nation. 

He has been twice married. His first wife, Elizabeth, was a 
Cherokee woman, who bore hiin one daughter and four sons. The 
former married Return John Meigs, who died in 1850; and her 
second husband was Andrew Ware, who was shot at his own house 
at Park Hill, while making a flying visit there from Fort Gibson, 
to which he had gone for refuge from Rebel cruelty. His boy 
escaped by hiding in the chimney, while the house was pillaged, 
and the terror-smitten wife told she would find her husband in the 
yard, pierced with bullets. Of the four sons, three are in the 
army and one a prisoner, besides three grandsons and several 
nephews of the Chief in the Federal ranks. Two nephews have 
been murdered by the enemy. Mrs. Ross died, as stated in 
another place, on the journey of emigration to the west, in 1839. 

September 2d, 1844, Mr. Ross married Mary B. Stapler, of 
Philadelphia, a lady of the first respectability in her position, and 
possessed of all the qualities of a true Christian womanhood.* A 
son and daughter of much promise cheer their home amid the 
severe trials of the civil war. It was a singular coincidence, that 
just eighteen years from the day of his marriage he returned in 
his flight from impending death to the Washington Bouse, in which 
the ceremony was performed. 

By none in the land was the President's proclamation of free 
dom more fully and promptly indorsed than by Mr. Ross and the 
Cherokees; indeed, they took the lead in emancipation. His 

* This estimable lady died with the serenity of Christian faith during the 
summer of 1865. 


sacrifice, so far as the commercial estimate is concerned, in slaves 
which had come to him from those left him by a grandfather, of 
whom he was a great favorite, was $50,000. Besides this, the product 
of three hundred acres of cultivated land, just gathered into barns, 
and all the rich furniture of his mansion, went into the enemy's 
hands, to be carried away or destroyed, making the loss of pos 
sessions more than $100,000. 

Chief JOHN Ross, who, in the hope and expectation of seeing 
his people elevated to a place beside the English stock, cast in his 
lot with them in early youth, when worldly prospects beckoned 
him to another sphere of activity, has been identified with their 
progress for half a century, and is still a "living sacrifice" 
on the altar of devotion to his nation. His moral and religious 
character is unstained, his personal appearance venerable and 
attractive, and his name will be imperishable in the annals 
of our country. 

Mr. Ross has labored untiringly, since his return to Philadel 
phia, to secure justice and relief for his suffering people. 

As the last bitter cup of affliction pressed to his lips amid 
domestic bereavement which removed from his side his excellent 
companion, enemies have sought to deprive him of his office, and 
stain his fair fame with the charge of deception and disloyalty. 

The Chief still holds his position of authority, and his good 
name will remain under no permanent eclipse; while all true 
hearts will long for deliverance to his nation, and that he may 
live to see the day. 


WATCHEMONNE, or, The Orator, the third chief of the loways, 
was born at the old loway village, on Des Moines River, at this 
time occupied by Keokuk, and, in 1838, was about fifty-two 
years of age. In recalling his earliest recollections, he tells, as the 
Indians mostly do, that he began in boyhood to kill small game 
with the bow and arrow. When he became large enough to use 
firearms, he procured a fowling-piece, or, as the phrase is upon 
the border, a shot-gun a weapon considered of far inferior dignity 
to the more deadly rifle. But such was the awe inspired in his 
mind by the effects of gunpowder, that he was at first afraid to dis 
charge his gun, and threw a blanket over his breast and shoulder 
before he ventured to level the piece. His first experiment was 
upon a wild turkey, which he killed, and after that he hunted 
without fear. This occurred before he was thirteen, for at that 
age he killed deer with his gun. At sixteen, he went to war, killed 
an Osage, and took a piece of a scalp. His leader, on that occasion, 
was Wenugana, or, The man who gives his opinion. After a long 
time, he again went out with a war-party under ^SJotoyaukee, or 
One rib. Approaching a camp of the Missouris, some of their 
swiftest young men went forward, dashed into the camp, despatched 
three men, and returned, saying they had killed all. He was in 
the same affair with Notchemine, when the eleven were killed, 
and remembers that among the slain was a great chief. He slew 
none himself, but struck the dead and took three scalps, which is 
regarded as the greater exploit. 



RICE, RU"TCR&CO P..olinr* 



After these events, the Orator had the misfortune to lose a brother, 
who w s slain by the Osages, and whose death it became his duty, 
as a warrior, and a man of spirit, to avenge. On such occasions, 
the Indian does not act upon the principle of the civilized duellist, 
whose chief aim seems to be to vindicate his own courage, by 
making a show of resentment. His object is to appease the spirit 
of his deceased friend by the death of the slayer, and, if that be 
not practicable, by shedding the blood of some other enemy of his 
family or tribe ; and he prepares himself for the exploit with every 
care and solemnity which is conceived necessary to insure success 
Every aid suggested by superstition is invoked, while a studied 
attention is given to every circumstance indicated by the more 
rational sagacity and experience of the warrior, as tending to render 
the meditated blow swift and fatal. He accordingly fasted and 
prayed a long time ; then he went out and killed a deer and a bear, 
and made a feast in honor of the Great Spirit, to which all the 
warriors of his village were invited. He now became very angry, 
and professed to mourn greatly for his brother, whose spirit was 
very unhappy, and could find no rest so long as the murderer lived 
to boast in triumph over him. He called upon his friends who 
were willing to follow him, and all warriors who loved the war 
path, and all young men who thirsted for distinction, to gather 
around his war-pole; and, when the volunteers were collected, he 
sang for them, and they danced he recounting the virtues of the 
deceased, and imprecating vengeance, and they responding by 
grunts of approbation, and yells of passion. Then he sang to the 
women, who also danced and all united in hoping the Great 
Spirit would prosper his praiseworthy undertaking. Finally, he 
told his party that, at the end of thirteen days, he would lead them 
out to seek the foe that in a dream he had seen an old man, and 
was told that, if he succeeded in killing him, he would also slay 
many others. He believed the vision, and accordingly they had not 
one far when they met an aged Missouri, who was very bald ; and, 


as he was recognized as one who had slain many loways, they at 
tributed his baldness to the numerous murders he had committed. 
Him they slew ; but the rest of the dream was not fulfilled, though 
the Orator comforted himself with the belief that it would prove 
true in the end. He, therefore, called his young men together 
again ; but they were dispirited by his former ill success, and only 
one agreed to follow him. With this companion, he went to the 
west fork of Grand River, and, having collected some of his tribe 
whom he met by the way, found himself, at length, at the head 
of twenty^two men. Meeting with a party of Osages, they attacked 
them, and killed one man, which seems to have been considered 
satisfactory by the living, if not by the dead, for the party returned 
in good spirits. He states that, previous to his going out on this 
expedition, it was understood that, if an enemy was killed, he was 
to be considered as a general or leader ; and he accordingly received 
his present name, Watchemonne, which signifies roar leader, or, as 
we should say, general. The title of Orator, by which he is known 
more commonly, was given him by the whites, because he speaks 
well in council, and is usually appointed to receive visitors and 

On one occasion, when this warrior was engaged in an expedi 
tion against the Sioux, he conceived that he should not have luck 
to kill, and, quitting his companions, he wandered off by himself in 
search of adventure. His object seems to have been to fall in with 
some individual of the enemy, whom he could slay either by stealth 
or courage, so that, by shedding blood, his evil destiny might be 
changed. The notions of the Indians on these subjects are so con 
fused that they do not give any very distinct account of their 
superstitions; but we apprehend that, on occasions like this, they 
imagine there are bad spirits, who may be propitiated by bloodshed, 
and tnat it matters not how the victim is slain. The only Sioux 
that he met with was a little girl. Had it been a boy, he would 


have killed him; but he captured the girl, and made her a present 
to his captain, who, in return, gave him a string of wampum. 

Besides these warlike incidents, we are happy to record other 
anecdotes which we have received of this chief. The first one he 
calls the beginning of his making presents. The Sauks had killed 
two loways, and, to avert the accustomed vengeance on the part 
of the latter, a deputation was sent to offer a compensation for the 
injury. The deputies, fearful that they might not be well received, 
halted near the loway village, sent for the Orator to come to them, 
and solicited his interposition. Having consented to become the 
peacemaker, he made a present of seven Mackinaw blankets to 
the loway chief, and then gave the Sauks a keg of whisky to 
revive their spirits, and enable them to enter the village without 

The loways being at war with the sages, one of the war-parties 
of the former nation, returning home from an unsuccessful expe^ 
dition, passed an American settlement on the frontier of Missouri, 
and, with that desperate propensity for mischief which the Indian 
always evinces under those circumstances, they stole four horses. 
The danger of such an act arose, not out of the value of the pro 
perty taken, but from the alarm the outrage would create, and the 
retribution that the men of the frontier would be sure to visit upon 
what they would consider the preliminary act of an Indian war. 
The chief, therefore, desired the young men to return the horses; 
but this they declined, and Watchemonne immediately bought 
them, and sent them back to the owners. This act gained him 
great credit among the people of the border, who have ever since 
treated him with confidence, and spoken in his praise. Aftei 
that, a number of the Sauks came on a visit of ceremony to the 
loways probably on one of the occasions alluded to in the life of 
Keokuk when the Orator, for the credit of his tribe, presented 
them with two horses. At another time, an Otto paying him a 
visit, he gave his guest, at his departure, a horse and a fine chief 



coat, such as the government distributes annually among the lead 
ing men of the tribes; and he has always, when it has been in 
his power, displayed this kind of liberality to those who visit him. 
This chief says he has no knowledge of any tradition of his tribe 
beyond Lake Pepin that is, before they crossed that lake a very 
expressive form of speech, indicating the migratory character of the 
people, and their own conviction that they are strangers in the land 
they inhabit. He only knows that, on the shores of that water, 
dwelt his nation before it had become divided into the Winnebagoe, 
the Omaha, the Missouri, and the loway tribes, and this he was 
told by his father, who derived it through eight preceding ances 
tors. It was the will of the Great Spirit that they should not be 
stationary, but travel from place to place, cultivating different 
ground ; and they believe that they will only continue to have good 
crops and healthy children so long as they obey this law of their 
nature. They had better corn, and were more prosperous, before 
the division of their nation than since. They have a secret among 
them about the Great Spirit, which it would be unlucky to tell. 
They have a number of medicine bags, containing the herbs and 
other articles used in juggling, and in propitiating the Great 
Spirit, and other spirits, which they keep in a lodge, t';at is 
usually shut up, and that no woman is permitted to enter. Before 
they go to war, they engage, for four days, in religious ceremonies, 
during which time they practise entire abstinence. A deer or a 
bear having been provided beforehand, a feast is made when the 
fasting is over, and a general invitation given to all who choose 
to attend. The old men are invited to pray. Those who are going 
out to war engage frequently in secret prayer ; and they believe 
that those who pray insincerely will have bad luck. When any 
disagreement occurs in the tribe, a similar feast is made for the 
purpose of effecting a reconciliation, and the chief offers to the 
parties, between whom the quarrel exists, a pipe filled with a mix 
ture of dried herbs, which they call the Great Spirits tobacco. It 


is believed that death would speedily follow a refusal to smoke the 
pipe thus tendered. A singular example of superstition occurred 
in this tribe recently. A man, having lost three children by sick 
ness, thought it his duty to go to war and shed blood, in order to 
change his luck. The chief, White Cloud's brother, assembled the 
people of his band, and endeavored to prevail on the unfortunate 
person to smoke the pipe of peace, by which he would be pledged 
to forego his sanguinary purpose. Finding him obstinate, and 
fearing, perhaps, that the tribe would be involved in a war by the 
infatuation of one individual, he presented the bereaved father with 
seven horses as a compensation for his loss. Still the pipe was 
refused ; and, a few days afterwards, the poor man lost his wife, in 
consequence, as the tribe believed, of his non-compliance with an 
ancient usage ; but in punishment, as he thought, of his having 
delayed to shed the blood of an enemy. He went out, therefore, 
and killed an Omaha, and was satisfied. They consider themselves 
authorized, and sometimes constrained, to avenge the death of 
friends who die a natural death. 

This chief is a cousin of White Cloud, whose biography was 
given in a former volume. He was a good man, and greatly be 
loved by his tribe ; and Watchemonne was much struck with our 
picture of him, which he declared to be an excellent likeness. 
When a copy of that portrait was sent to the tribe, they were 
grieved so much that they could not bear to look at it. Even the 
children remember him well, although several years have elapsed 
since his death, and he is still mourned. They have never been 
accustomed to pictures of their friends, and are pained to see those 
they have loved thus exhibited. 

Shortly after the death of a chief, it is usual to hold a meeting 
lor the purpose of consoling the surviving family. The whole 
company is formally seated, the chiefs in one place, the braves in 
another, and the relatives of the deceased in a third, while the 
women and children of the tribe form a circle around. Presents 


are then made to the family, one giving a horse, another a blanket, 
and so on ; after which, the chiefs and braves speak of the virtues 
of the departed, and narrate his exploits, each speaker rising in 
turn, and the whole auditory listening with great decorum. The 
one who pronounces the most satisfactory eulogy is treated to some 
thing to drink. Two or three such meetings have been held in 
honor of the White Cloud. Watchemonne relates that, after his 
brother, the Crane, died, when he thought they had mourned long 
enough, he led the warriors to the grave, and seated them around 
it. He told them they had mourned long enough, and that it was 
time to rub the black paint off of their faces, and to resume the red 
paint. He then distributed red paint among them, and afterwards 

In 1838, this chief had but one wife, and several children. One 
of his sons, then about nineteen years of age, had been for six years 
at the Choctaw academy; and a daughter, whose Indian name 
signifies the Rainbow, was, at that time, under the care of the 
missionaries, who called her Mary. 



RICE, BUTTER aco. p u biihr 


THIS individual is a village chief, or peace chief, of the loways, 
and resides at Snake Hill, on the Missouri, about five hundred miles 
above the confluence of that river with the Mississippi. He was 
about forty years of age when this portrait was taken, in 1837, His 
brief history, like many others contained in this series, was taken 
from his own recital through the medium of an interpreter, and 
adds another to the many evidences afforded in these volumes of 
the sameness of the tenor of an Indian warrior's life. Whatever may 
have been his vicissitudes, his joys or his sorrows, he tells only of 
his warlike exploits. The touching episodes of domestic life, which, 
in the autobiography of a civilized man, afford such varied and 
agreeable pictures of human thought and experience, have scarcely 
a place in the narrative of the savage. He may have a relish for 
home, and a strong love for those who surround his camp fire 
friendship, and paternal love, and conjugal affection may have inter 
woven their tendrils with the fibres of his heart, and his bosom 
may have often throbbed in joy or in sorrow, but he is silent in 
regard to all such emotions. Whatever may have been his expe 
rience, he has not observed, attentively, the lights and shadows of 
domestic life, or scorns to narrate them, but delights in depicting 
the storms that he has braved in the chase or on the war-path. 

Notchimine, or, No Heart, remembers that, when a boy, he killed 
squirrels and other small game with the bow and arrow, and that, 
when he grew to be a young man, he used a gun, and pursued the 
deer and the elk. While yet a youth, he joined a war-party, anc 3 



M em against the Otoes, but the expedition was unsuccessful. His 
next adventure was with a party under the Orator, when the only 
trophy gained was the scalp of an old Indian. Again he went 
against the Osages, with a large war-party, of which his father, 
Mauhawgaw, was leader, and Wanathurgo was second in com 
mand : they killed ten Osages, of whom Notchimine, though still a 
boy, scalped one. The next time, he went under his brother, the 
White Cloud, against the Sioux. Having discovered an encamp 
ment of the enemy, who were sleeping around four fires, they crept 
stealthily upon them, spending the whole night in watching and 
approaching the foe. At daybreak, they rushed with sudden onset 
and loud yells upon the encampment, Notchimine being mounted 
on the same horse with White Cloud. A lad about his own age 
struck down with a club the first of the enemy who fell. The 
Sioux scattered themselves over the prairie, and the fight became 
general. The White Cloud, abandoning his horse, dashed into the 
battle on foot, and took a woman prisoner. This expedition was 
undertaken to revenge the death of the father of White Cloud, who 
had been killed by the Sioux. 

Notchimine now took command of a party of twenty-five war 
riors, and went against the Osages, but did not succeed in meeting 
with any of the latter. An unsuccessful war-party is always dan 
gerous to friend or foe; disappointed in their purposes of revenge 
or plunder, they become more than ordinarily -ferocious, and wreak 
their fury upon any helpless wanderers who may fall in their way. 
It was so with this party. Meeting two Kansas, a man and his 
wife, they murdered them ; the leader taking upon himself the dis 
tinguished honor of killing, with his own hand, the woman, who 
was very handsome. The spoil gained by this exploit was six 
horses, of whom they killed four, and retained the others. Nor did 
the gallant adventures of this courageous band end here. Five 
years previously, the Omahas had killed a son of the Crane, an 
loway leader, who had marched against them, and now, finding an 


Omaha squaw at the house of a trader, they endeavored, with pim:s 
zeal, to appease the spirit of the dead by whipping her ; and again, 
by killing a Pawnee squaw, who was so unfortunate as to fall into 
their hands. These facts throw a strong light upon the principle, 
or, rather, impulse, of revenge, which constitutes so prominent a 
feature in the Indian character, and in the history and policy of the 
savage tribes. If it was a sense of honor, a desire to wipe out an 
insult, or any other feeling usually comprehended under the term 
chivalric, which stimulated the Indian to the pursuit of vengeance, 
the lives of women and children would be secure from his resent 
ment. But we find that the Indian, when seeking revenge, and 
especially when foiled in an attempt upon the primary object of his 
hatred, becomes possessed of an insatiate and insane thirst for blood, 
which impels him to feed his passion, not only with the carnage of 
the helpless of the human race, but even by the slaughter of domes 
tic animals. 

Still prosecuting the ancient feud with the O sages, our hero was 
subsequently one of a party of twelve who went against that tribe 
under Totanahuca, the Pelican. They captured fifty-six horses. 
Then he went against the Omahas, and, on this occasion, distin 
guished himself by rushing into a lodge, in which were horses as 
well as people, and capturing seven horses, three of which he 
carried home, leaving four that were of little value. His next 
expedition against the O sages was bloodless, eventuating in the 
capture of a few horses. 

Two years ago, he endeavored, unsuccessfully, to make peace 
with the Omahas, whose village he visited for that purpose. He 
afterwards went to St. Louis to effect the same object through 
the intervention of General Clark, when it was arranged that he 
should visit Washington. 

He says that the practice of his people has been, previously to 
goir.g to war, to send out hunters to kill a deer, which is eaten, and 
a prayer for success made to the Great Spirit. On such occasions, 


he has had dreams, and, according to the belief of his fathers, put 
full faith in them. Previous to going out as leader of a party, he 
dreamed of taking two prisoners ; in the event, one of the enemy 
was taken, and one killed, which he deemed a sufficient fulfilment. 
In some instances, possibly, the wanton cruelty of the Indians, dis 
played in the slaughter of women, or of chance captives not taken 
in battle, may be the result of a desire, or a fancied necessity, to 
fulfil a dream. The faculty of dreaming is, in many respects, so 
important to the leader of an ignorant and superstitious band, and 
is so frequently exerted for the purpose of quelling or directing the 
savage mind, that the chiefs have a strong inducement to bring 
about events in accordance with their real or pretended visions. 

This chief has but one wife and three children living. Since 
killing the Pawnee woman, he has inclined to peace, and has been 
fiiendly towards the whites. 



RICE, PUTTER &CO. Publishers. 


THE name of this brave, when interpreted, signifies " The bear 
whose voice makes the rocks to tremble." He is of the Musquakee 
tribe, and has always borne a good character, especially in refer 
ence to his uniform friendship and good faith towards the United 
States. He is at the head of a secret society which has long existed 
among the Sauks and Foxes, and may be considered as a national 
institution. The meetings of this body are held in a spacious lodge, 
erected for the purpose, the entrance to which is guarded by a sen 
tinel, who admits none but the initiated. They are understood to 
have a ceremony of initiation which is solemn and protracted, and 
a secret that may not be divulged without fatal consequences. Can 
didates for admission are subjected to careful trial and scrutiny, 
and none are received but such as give undoubted evidence of 
courage and prudence. Women are eligible to membership ; but, 
as those only are admitted who are exemplary for discretion, and 
have sustained characters wholly unblemished through life, we 
regret to say that the number of females who have attained this 
honor is very small. They have a peculiar dress, and mode of 
painting, and, like our free masons, from whom the institution may 
have been derived, exhibit themselves to the public in costume on 
certain great occasions. Taiomah is also called " the medicine man" 
in virtue of his office as the presiding functionary of this society, 
by means of which he is supposed to have acquired some valuable 
occult knowledge. The members are all considered as more or less 
expert in such information, and are called medicine men. When a 

24 ( 185 ) 


young man proposes to join this society, he applies to a member to 
propose and vouch for him. The application is communicated to 
the head man of the order, who, in a few days, returns an answer, 
which is simply affirmative or negative, without any reason or ex 
planation. If accepted, the candidate is directed to prepare him 
self. Of this preparation we have no knowledge; but we are 
informed that a probation of one year is imposed previous to initia 
tion. The society is sometimes called the Great Medicine of the 
Sauks and Foxes ; it is said to embrace four roads or degrees 
something is to be done or learned to gain the first degree ; a further 
progress or proficiency leads to the second ; and so on. Admission 
is said to cost from forty to fifty dollars, and every subsequent step 
in the four roads is attended with some expense. There are few 
who have attained to the honors of the fourth road. These particu 
lars have been gathered in conversation with intelligent Indians, 
and embrace all that is popularly known, or, rather, believed, on 
this curious subject. The traders have offered large bribes for the 
purpose of obtaining information in regard to the mysteries of the 
society ; but these temptations, and the promises of secrecy failed 
alike to lead to any disclosures. Many of the tribes have similar 

Taiomah was one of the delegation led to Washington, in 1824, 
by General William Clark, and signed the treaty of that year. He 
was then in very infirm health, as his portrait indicates, and died, 
soon after his return to his people, as is believed, of consumption. 



RICE, rtUl :tR&CO. Publishers. 


IN the portrait which accompanies this sketch, we are happy to 
have it in our power to exhibit an excellent likeness of a very dis 
tinguished man. It is to be regretted that so few anecdotes of him 
have been preserved; but his general character, which is well 
known, is that of a warrior of uncommon daring and enterprise, ' 
and a chief of great intelligence and influence. His tribe take pride 
in recounting his numerous feats in war; and the agents of our 
government, who have met him in council, speak in high terms of 
his capacity for business. Though cool and sagacious, he was a 
bold orator, who maintained the interests of his people with untiring 
zeal and firmness. He was the principal war-chief of the Pottawati* 
mies of the Prairie, residing on the Kankakee River, in Illinois. 

The following anecdote, while it marks the daring spirit of this 
chief, is more especially characteristic of his race, and is one of the 
numerous instances of individual exploit with which the tradition- 
ary lore of the frontier abounds. Some years ago, a small hunting' 
party of Pottawatimies, having wandered far to the west, were dis 
covered by a band of O sages, who surprised them, and slew two 
or three of their t number. It seems almost marvellous that such 
transactions should so frequently occur in the story of Indian life 
that, in a country of such immense breadth, with a savage popula 
tion so comparatively small, and with the melancholy proofs before 
their eyes of a decrease in numbers so rapid as to threaten a speedy 
extermination of the race, the individuals of different tribes seldom 
meet without bloodshed. The propensity for carnage seems to be 



an innate and overmastering passion, which no reflection can 
chasten, nor the saddest experience eradicate. Even their dread 
and hatred of the white man, and the conviction of the common 
fate which impends over the whole race, in consequence of the supe 
rior numbers of those who are daily usurping their places, have no 
restraining effect upon their wanton prodigality of blood. Although 
it is obvious, even to themselves, that the most fruitful source of 
their rapid decay is to be found in their own unhappy dissensions, 
their destructive habits continue unrestrained <md so many are 
their feuds, so keen their appetite for blood, so slight the pretence 
upon which the tomahawk may be lifted, that two hunting-parties 
from opposite directions can scarcely meet in the wilderness with 
out suggesting a stratagem, and leading to the spilling of blood. 

But, common as such deeds are, they do not pass off without 
important consequences. Although murder is an everyday occur 
rence in savage life, the Indian resents it as a crime, and claims the 
right to avenge the death of his friend. On the occasion alluded 
to, one of the slain Was the friend of Wabaunsee, and he deter 
mined to revenge the violence. It was long, however, before an 
opportunity offered, the distance between the lands of the Potta- 
watimies and Osages being so great that the individuals of the 
respective tribes seldom came in collision. But no interval of time 
or distance cools the passion of revenge in the Indian bosom. At 
length, while on one of his hunting expeditions, Wabaunsee heard 
that some Osages were expected to visit one of the American 
military posts not far distant, and thither he bent his steps, intent 
upon the completion of his purpose. On his arrival, he found the 
Osages there, and they met coldly, as strangers, without friendship, 
and without feud. But smothered fires burned under that exterior 
apathy. Wabaunsee was determined to imbrue his hand in the 
blood of the tribe in whose lodges the scalp of his friend was hung ; 
and the Osages no sooner learned the name of the newly-arrived 
visitor than they guessed his purpose, and took counsel with each 


other how they might avert or anticipate the blow. Wabaunsee 
pitched his camp without the fort, while the O sages thought to 
secure their safety by sleeping within the fortress. But neither 
breastworks nor sentinels afford security from the hand of the 
savage, who is trained to stratagem, who finds no impediment in 
the obscurity of the thickest darkness, and can tread the forest with 
a step so stealthy as not to alarm the most vigilant listener. In the 
night, Wabaunsee crept towards the fort, and, evading the sentries, 
scaled the ramparts, and found admission through an embrasure. 
Alone, within a military post, surrounded by men sleeping on their 
arms, he glided swiftly and noiselessly about, until he found his 
victim. In an instant, he despatched one of the sleeping Osages, 
tore the scalp from his head, and made good his escape before the 
alarm was given. As he leaped from the wall, a trusty companion 
led up his horse, and the triumphant chief mounted and dashed off, 
followed by his little band; and, before the sun rose, they had 
ridden many miles over the prairie, and shouted often in exultation 
and derision over this bold, but impudent exploit. 

In the war of 1812, this chief and his tribe were among the allies 
of Great Britain, and were engaged in active hostilities against the 
United States. But, at the treaty held at Greenville, in 1814, he 
was one of those who, in the Indian phrase, took the Seventeen 
Fires by the hand, and buried the tomahawk. He has ever since 
been an undeviating friend of the American government and 

He was one of the chiefs who negotiated the treaty of the 
Wabash, in 1826. At the close of the treaty, while encamped en 
the bank of the river, near the spot where the town of Huntingdon 
now stands, he engaged in a frolic, and indulged too freely in 
ardent spirits. A mad scene ensued, such as usually attends a 
savage revel, in the course of which a warrior, who held the station 
of friend, or aid, to Wabaunsee, accidentally plunged his knife deep 
in the side of the chief. The wound was dangerous, and confined 


him all winter ; but General Tipton, the agent of our government 
in that quarter, having kindly attended to him, he was carefully 
nursed, and survived. His sometime friend, fearing that he might 
be considered as having forfeited that character, had fled as soon as 
he was sober enough to be conscious of his own unlucky agency in 
the tragic scene. Early in the spring, General Tipton was sur 
prised by a visit from Wabaunsee, who came to announce his own 
recovery, and to thank the agent for his kindness. The latter 
seized the occasion to effect a reconciliation between the chief and 
his fugitive friend, urging upon the former the accidental nature of 
the injury, and the sorrow and alarm of the offender. Wabaunsee 
replied instantly, " You may send to him, and tell him to come 
back. A man that will run off like a dog with his tail down, for 
fear of death, is not worth killing. I will not hurt him." We are 
pleased to be able to say that he kept his word. 

At the treaty held in 1828, at which he assisted, one of the chiefs 
of his tribe, who was thought to be under the influence of a trader, 
after the treaty had been agreed upon by the chiefs and braves, 
refused to sign it unless the commissioners would give him a large 
-sum of money. Wabaunsee was very indignant when he heard of 
this circumstance. "An Indian," said he, "who will lie, is not 
worthy to be called a brave. He is not fit to live. If he refuses 
to sanction what we agreed to in council, I'll cut his heart out." 
It was with some difficulty that he was prevented from putting his 
threat in execution. 

In 1 832, when the faction of Black Hawk disturbed the repose 
of the frontier, it was feared that the Winnebagoes and Pottawatimies 
would also be induced to take up the hatchet ; and it is supposed 
that they were tampered with for that purpose. They were too 
sagacious to listen to such rash counsels ; and Wabaunsee relieved 
his own conduct from doubt by joining the American army with 
his warriors. 

In 1833, the Pottawatimies sold their lands in Illinois and Indiana, 


to the United States, and accepted other territory west of the Mis 
sissippi, to which they agreed to remove; and, in 1835, he visited 
the city of Washington, for the purpose, as he said, of taking his 
Great Father by the hand. The next year, he led his people to 
their new home, near the Council Bluff, on the Missouri, where, in 
1838, he was still living. 


WE regret that so few particulars have been preserved of the life 
of this individual, who was one of the most prominent men of his 
nation, and whose character afforded a favorable specimen of his 
race. He was a person of excellent disposition, who, to the qualities 
proper to the savage mode of life, added some of the virtues which 
belong to a more refined state of society. But such is the evanes 
cent nature of traditionary history, that, while we find this chief 
invariably spoken of with high commendation, we have been 
scarcely able to trace out any of the circumstances of his life. 

Peskelechaco was a noted war-chief of the Pawnees, who visited 
Washington City as a delegate from his nation in 18 . We 
have had frequent occasions of remarking the salutary effect pro 
duced upon the minds of the more intelligent of the Indian chiefs 
and head men, by giving them the opportunity' of witnessing our 
numbers and civilization ; our arts, our wealth, and the vast extent 
of our country. The evidences of our power, which they witness, 
together with the conciliatory effect of the kindness shown them, 
have seldom failed to make a favorable impression. Such was 
certainly the case with this chief, who, after his return from Wash 
ington, acquired great influence with his tribe, in consequence of 
the admiration with which they regarded the knowledge he had 
gained in his travels. He had spent his time profitably in observ 
ing closely whatever passed under his notice, and, in proportion to 
his shrewdness and intelligence, his opinions became respected. 

He spoke frequently of the words he had heard from his great 



RICE, PUTTER & CO. Publl.her. 


father, the President of the United States, who had, in pursuance 
of the benevolent policy which has governed the intercourse of the 
administration at Washington with the Indians, admonished his 
savage visitors to abandon their predatory habits, and cultivate the 
arts of peace. Peskelechaco often declared his determination to 
pursue this salutary advice. He continued to be uniformly friendly 
to the people of the United States, and faithful to his engagements 
with them, and was much respected by them. He was a man of 
undoubted courage, and esteemed a skilful leader. 

The only incident in the active life of this chief, which has been 
preserved, was its closing scene. About the year 1826, a war-party 
of the sages marched against his village with the design of steal 
ing horses, and killing some of his people. The assailants were 
discovered, and a severe battle ensued. The chief, at the head of 
a band of warriors, sallied out to meet the invaders, and the conflict 
assumed an animated and desperate character. Having slain one 
of the enemy with his own hand, he rushed forward to strike the 
body, which is considered the highest honor a warrior can gain in 
battle. To kill an enemy is honorable ; but the proudest achieve 
ment of the Indian brave is to strike, to lay his hand upon, the 
slain or mortally wounded body of his foeman, whether slain by 
himself or another. To strike the dead is, therefore, an object of 
the highest ambition ; and, when a warrior falls, the nearest warrior 
of each party rushes forward, the one to gain the triumph, and the 
other to frustrate the attempt. Peskelechaco was killed in a gallant 
endeavor to signalize himself in this manner. 



IN a preceding volume, we have exhibited a sketch of an Indian 
mother on a journey, with her child on her back. We present, now, 
a mother in the act of suckling her infant. The reader will sup 
pose the cradle before him to have been, only a moment before, 
leaning against a tree, or a part of the wigwam. The mother, 
having seated herself on the ground, and disengaged her breast 
from its covering, has taken the cradle at the top, and is drawing 
it towards her ; while the child, anxious for its nourishment, sends 
its eyes and lips in the direction of its breast. This is one mode 
of suckling infants among the Indians. When the child has attained 
sufficient strength to sit alone, or to walk about, the cradle is dis 
pensed with. Then it is taken by the mother and placed on her 
lap, she being in a sitting posture ; or, if she have occasion to make 
a journey on foot, a blanket, or part of a blanket, is provided two 
corners of which she passes round her middle. Holding these with 
one hand, she takes the child by the arm and shoulder with the 
other, and slings it upon her back. The child clasps with its 
arms its mother's neck, presses its feet and toes inward, against, 
and, as far as the length of its legs will permit, around her waist. 
The blanket is then drawn over the child by the remaining two 
corners, which are now brought over the mother's shoulder ; who, 
grasping all four of these in her hand, before her, pursues her way. 
If the child require nourishment, and the mother have time, the 
blanket is thrown off, and the child is taken by the arm and 
shoulder, most adroitly replaced upon the ground, received upon 





the lap of the mother, and nourished. Otherwise, the breast is 
pressed upward, in the direction of the child's mouth, till it is able 
to reach the source of its. nourishment, while the mother pursues 
her journey. This is the cause of the elongation of the breasts of 
Indian mothers. They lose almost entirely their natural form. 

The cradle, in which the reader will see the little prisoner, is a 
simple contrivance. A board, shaven thin, is its basis. On this 
the infant is placed, with its back to the board. At a proper dis 
tance, near the lower end, is a projecting piece of wood. This is 
covered with the softest moss, and, when the cradle is perpendicu 
lar, the heels of the infant rest upon it. Before the head of the 
child there is a hoop, projecting four or five inches from its face. . 
Two holes are bored on either side of the upper end of the board, 
for the passage of a deer skin, or other cord. This is intended to 
extend round the forehead of the mother, as is seen in a previous 
volume, to support the cradle when on her back. Around the 
board, and the child, bandages are wrapped, beginning at the feet, 
and winding around till they reach the breast and shoulders, bind 
ing the arms and hands to the child's sides. There is great security 
in this contrivance. The Indian woman, a slave to the duties of 
the lodge, with all the fondness of a mother, cannot devote that 
constant attention to her child which her heart constantly prompts 
her to bestow. She must often leave it to chop wood, build fires, 
cook, erect the wigwam, or take it down, make a canoe, or bring 
home the game which her lord has killed, but which he disdains to 
shoulder. While thus employed, her infant charge is safe in its 
rude cradle. If she place it against a tree, or a corner of her lodge, 
it may be knocked down in her absence. If it fall backwards, then 
all is safe. If it fall sideways, the arms and hands being confined, 
no injury is sustained. If on the front, the projecting hoop guards 
the face and head. The Indian mother would find it difficult to 
contrive any thing better calculated for her purpose. To this early 
discipline in the cradle, the Indian owes his erect form ; and to the 


practice, when old enough to be released from the bandages, of 
bracing himself against his mother's waist, with his toes inward, 
may be traced the origin of his straightforward gait, and the posi 
tion of his foot in walking ; which latter is confirmed afterwards by 
treading in the trails scarcely wider than his foot, cut many inches 
deep by the travel of centuries. 

It is but justice, in this place, to bear our testimony to the 
maternal affection of the Indian women, in which they fall nothing 
behind their more civilized and polished sisters. We have often 
marked the anxiety of an Indian mother, bending over her sick 
child ; her prompt obedience to its calls, her untiring watchfulness, 
her tender, and, so far as a mother's love could make it so, refined 
attentions to its claims upon her tenderness. In times of danger, 
we have witnessed her anxiety for its security, and her fearless 
exposure of her own person for its protection. We have looked 
upon the rough-clad warrior in the solitude of his native forests, 
attired in the skins of beasts, or wrapped round with his blanket, 
and realized all our preconceived impressions of his ferocity, and 
savage-like appearance but, when we have entered the lodge, and 
beheld, in the untutored mother, and amid the rude circumstances 
of her condition, the same parental love and tender devotion to her 
children we had known in other lands, and in earlier years, we 
have almost forgotten that we stood beside the threshold of the 
ruthless savage, whose pursuits and feelings we had supposed to 
have nothing in common with ours, and have felt that, as the chil 
dren of one Father, we were brothers of the same blood heirs of 
the same infirmities victims of the same passions ; and, though in 
different degrees, bound down in obedience to the same common 
feelings of our nature. Persecuted and wronged as he has been, 
the Indian has experienced the same feelings ; and, on more than 
one occasion, in the rude eloquence of his native tongue, has given 
them vent, in words not far different from those of Cowper, with 
which we will conclude this sketch : 


" I was born of woman, and drew milk 
As sweet as charity from human breasts. 
I think, articulate, I laugh, and weep, 
And exercise all functions of a man. 

Pierce my vein ; 

Take of the crimson stream meand'ring there, 
Search it, and prove now if it be not blood, 
Congenial with thine own ; and, if it be, 
What edge of subtlety canst thou suppose 
Keen enough, wise and skilful as thou art, 
To cut the link of brotherhood by which 
One common Maker bound me to the kind ?" 



THE import of this name is, the Man who killed three Sioux. 
Why he is so called will appear in the sequel. He i&. also called 
Moanahonga, which means Great "Walker. Shauhauiiapotinia is 
an loway; and was, when his likeness was taken, in 1837, twenty- 
one years old. 

It is customary among the loways for boys, when they arrive at 
the age of eight or ten years, to select companions of about the 
same age. A companionship, thus formed, ripens into a union 
which nothing but death is ever permitted to dissolve. The parties 
become inseparable; are seen together in their sports, and, in riper 
years, in the chase ; and, when in battle, they are side by side. 
Their most confidential secrets are told without reserve to each 
other, and are afterwards treated as if confined but to one breast. 
Shauhaunapotinia had formed a fellowship of this abiding sort with 
an loway boy, which lasted till his companion had reached his 
nineteenth, and himself his eighteenth year, when the Sioux de 
stroyed this endearing relationship by killing Shauhaunapotinia's 
companion. This occurrence took place about one hundred miles 
from the nearest Sioux village. The moment the tidings of his 
friend's death reached Shauhaunapotinia, he resolved on revenge. 
He went into mourning by blacking his face, and secretly left his 
village, and sought the enemy. Coming upon the Sioux in their 
encampment, of about four hundred lodges, he rushed in among 
them like a maniac, and, with his knife, stabbed a brave, whom he 
instantly scalped; then, rushing from the encampment in tne 






direction of his village, he fell in with, and killed and scalped two 
squaws, bringing to his home three scalps ; and all this was the 
work of twenty-four hours, the distance travelled in that time 
being one hundred miles! Hence his name the Sioux Killer, 
because of his success in killing and scalping three Sioux and the 
Great Walker, because of his having travelled over such an extent 
of country in so short a time. 

On reaching his village, he made known where he had been, 
and what was his object, and showed the scalps in testimony of his 
triumph. On hearing his statement, and seeing his trophies, the 
chiefs and braves of his nation immediately bound round his legs, 
just below his knees, skins of the polecat, these being the insignia, 
of bravery. Young Mahaskah immediately adopted him as his 
friend, companion, and counsellor; hence his presence with him 
at Washington city. To his bravery, Shauhaunapotinia added 
the qualities of a wit, and is represented as having no equal in 
the nation. His waggeries are so numerous, and so diversified, 
as to leave him master of all the circles of fan and frolic in which 
he mingles. 

Shauhaunapotinia, when he joined Mahaskah, was destined, fbr 
the first time in his life, to see and be among white people. On 
arriving at Liberty, Clay county, Missouri, he gave signs of great 
uneasiness. On one occasion, he came running to the agent in 
great trepidation, without his blanket, saying, " Father, these white 
people are fools." " Why do you call them fools ?" asked the 
agent. " Why," replied the Sioux Killer, " they make their fires 
in the wrong part of their wigwams ; why don't they make them, 
as we do, in the middle? I am almost frozen. And that," he con 
tinued, "is not all; the white people look at me; may be they 
want to kill me. I want to go home." The agent explained to him 
that the fire was built where all white people build it, at one end 
of their wigwam ; and, assuring him that the whites were only 
carious, and had no unkind intentions towards him, he became 


icconciled, and agreed to proceed. He gave signs, however, of 
affliction, by blacking his face, and sitting quietly by himself in 
some lone place for two days. 

We have, in this anecdote, an illustration of the truth, that, before 
the mind can bring itself to stand unappalled before danger, it 
must become accustomed to it; and, not only to danger in the 
abstract, but to its variety, and under all its forms. Now, here 
was an Indian, who, to revenge the death of his friend, could travel, 
alone and undismayed, a hundred miles into the enemy's country, 
rush into an encampment of four hundred lodges, strike down a 
brave and scalp him, and return, killing two other Indians by the 
way ; and yet, when placed in a new country, amidst other than 
his forest scenes, and among a people of another color, of whom he 
knew nothing, he was made to tremble and be afraid at a look ! 
The same knowledge of the white man, the same acquaintance 
with his habits, and mode of warfare, and especially the opportunity 
of measuring arms with him in a fight or two, would have elevated 
this Indian's courage to an equal height to which it proved itself 
capable of rising when he made that desperate attack upon the 
Sioux in their own encampment. Some writer, we remember, in 
speaking of the fearless character of the British seamen, says, 
" Brave, because bred amidst dangers great, because accustomed 
to the dimensions of the world." It is highly probable that, were 
a seaman taken from the bravest of the brave, and conveyed away 
fiom the ship, with whose strength and power he had become 
familiar, and placed in a wilderness, among savages, he would 
shrink from their scrutiny, and realize a depression in the scale of 
his courage, as did the Sioux Killer when removed from the theatre 
of his victories, and conveyed among a people who were new to 
him, and of whom he knew nothing. 




THIS distinguished man is head chief of the Keoxa tribe, of tho 
Dacotah nation. His father was a great warrior ; the present chief 
is a wise and prudent man, who holds his station by hereditary 
tenure, while he sustains himself in the estimation of his people by 
his talents. He devotes a portion of his time to agriculture. The 
name by which this tribe is distinguished signifies, " relationship 
overlooked ;" because, in their marriages, they unite between 
nearer relations than the other Sioux. First cousins, uncles, and 
nieces, and even brothers and sisters, intermarry. 

We extract, from the account of Long's Second Expedition, art 
anecdote in reference to a curious and much vexed question, in 
which the name of this chief is honorably mentioned. It is a matter 
of some doubt, to what extent the practice of cannibalism has pre 
vailed among the North American Indians. It is certain that some 
of the tribes have been guilty of this outrage upon decency ; it is 
probable that most of them have participated in it; but we are 
inclined to believe that there is no evidence of the eating of human 
flesh by our Indians, from choice, as an article of food ; but that 
they have devoured the flesh of victims, sacrificed in their war- 
feasts, in obedience to some principle of revenge, or of superstition. 
The Dacotahs repel the imputation of cannibalism with great 
horror; they assert that they have never been guilty of it, but 
charge their neighbors with the crime. The following incident is in 
the work to which we have referred, stated, on the authority of Ren- 
ville, an interpreter, to have taken place at Fort Meigs, in 1813. 

2(i (201) 


" The fort was besieged by General Proctor, at the head of the 
British army, attended by a corps of about three thousand Indians, 
consisting of Dacotahs, Pottawatimies, Miamis, Ottowas, Wolves, 
Hurons, Winnebagoes, Shawanoes, Sauks, Foxes, Menominies, &c. 
They had all shared in the battle, except the Dacotahs, who had 
not yet engaged against the Americans, and who were then on 
their way to Quebec. While Renville was seated, one afternoon, 
with Waapashaw and Chetauwakoamane, a deputation came to 
invite them to meet the other Indians, the object of the meeting not 
being stated ; the two chiefs complied with the request. Shortly 
after, Frazier, an interpreter, came, and informed Renville that the 
Indians were engaged in eating an American, and invited him to 
walk over to the place. He went thither, and found the human 
flesh cut up, and portioned out into dishes, one for each nation of 
Indians. In every dish, in addition to the flesh, there was corn. 
At that moment, they called upon the bravest man in each nation 
to come and take a portion of the heart and head ; one warrior from 
each nation was allowed a fragment of this choice morsel. In the 
group of Indians present, there was a brave Dacotah, the nephew 
of Chetauwakoamane, known by the name of the * Grand Chasseur.' 
They invited him to step forward, and take his share ; and, among 
others, a Winnebago addressed him, and told him that they had 
collected their friends to partake of a meal prepared with the flesh 
of one of that nation that had done them so much injury. Before 
the Sioux warrior had time to reply, his uncle arose, and bade his 
nephew to depart thence ; he then addressed himself to the Indians. 
' My friends,' said he, ' we came here, not to eat the Americans, 
but to wage war against them ; that will suffice for us ; and could 
we even do that, if left to our own forces ? We are poor and desti 
tute, while they possess the means of supplying themselves with 
all they require; we ought not, therefore, to do such things.' 
Waapashaw added, * We thought that you, who live near to white 
men, were wiser than we who live at a distance; but it must, 



indeec , be otherwise, if you do such deeds.' They then rose and 

It appears that, on this occasion, human flesh was not resorted to 
for want of provisions, as the camp was plentifully supplied ; nor 
did fondness for this species of food lead to the dreadful repast, 
which seems to have been regarded with a natural aversion. The 
Dacotahs speak of that case in terms of the most decided reproba 
tion. But one instance of cannibalism is known to have occurred 
among them ; when, during a famine, three women, urged by a 
necessity which few could have controlled, partook of the flesh of 
a man who had died of hunger; but, two of them dying shortly 
after, the Indians attributed their decease to this fatal meal. The 
third lived in degradation, induced by this single act; the nation 
regard her with horror, and suppose that a state of corpulence into 
which she has grown, has been induced by that food, which, they 
predict, will eventually prove fatal to her. 

During the war between the United States and Great Britain, 
which commenced in 1812, the British took possession of the out 
post which had been established at Prairie du Chien, for the con 
venience of our intercourse with the Indians, but afterwards aban 
doned it. The little village, consisting of a few houses, occupied 
by French Canadians, was left defenceless, and the Winnebago 
Indians, a fierce and restless tribe, who occupied the surrounding 
country, seemed disposed to create a quarrel, which might afford 
them an opportunity for plunder. Although the whites had long 
been established there, and had lived in amity with them, they 
came to the village, took some articles of private property by force, 
and threatened to massacre the inhabitants, and plunder the town. 
The alarmed villagers, intimately acquainted with the reckless and 
desperate character of their neighbors, and aware of their own dan 
ger, immediately despatched a messenger to Waapashaw, at his 
residence on the opposite shore of the Mississippi, not far above 
Prairie du Chien. His interposition was claimed on account of his 



great influence, as well in his own tribe as among his neighbors ; 
he was at peace with the surrounding Indians, and with the whites ; 
and there was, between his own band and the Winnebagoes, a long 
standing friendship. These tribes had intermarried, and there 
were then at Prairie du Chien many individuals, the offspring of 
these marriages, who stood in an equal degree of relationship 
to both, and some of whom were nearly allied to Waapashaw. 
Obeying the request, he went down to the village immediately, 
attended by but one person. The inhabitants, seeing him thus, 
without the imposing train of warriors by which they had expected 
to see him followed, gave themselves up as lost; justly appre 
hending that the Winnebagoes, ascertaining that no force would 
be opposed to them, would now put their sanguinary threats into 
execution. To an intimation of their fears, and an earnest appeal 
which they had made to him, the chief, with the characteristic taci 
turnity of his race, gave no reply ; but sent his attendant to the 
Winnebagoes, with a message, requiring them to meet him in 
council, during that day, at an hour and place which he appointed. 
In the mean while, he remained silent and reserved, apparently 
wrapped in deep thought. 

The Indian chief is careful of his reputation, and never appears 
in public without the preparation which is necessary to the dignity 
of his personal appearance, and the success of any intellectual effort 
he may be called upon to make. His face is skilfully painted, and 
his person studiously decorated ; his passions are subdued, his plans 
matured, and his thoughts carefully arranged, so that, when he 
speaks, he neither hazards his own fame nor jeopards the interest of 
the tribe. At the appointed hour, the Winnebago chiefs assembled, 
and Waapashaw seated himself among them ; the warriors formed a 
circle around their leaders, and the individuals of less consequence 
occupied the still more distant places. A few minutes were passed 
in silence; then Waapashaw arose, and, placing himself in an atti 
tude of studied, though apparently careless, dignity, looked round 


upon the chiefs with a menacing look. His countenance was fierce 
and terrible ; and cold and stern were the faces upon which his 
piercing eye was bent. He plucked a single hair from his head 
held it up before them and then spoke in a grave and resolute 
tone : " Winnebagoes ! do you see this hair ? Look at it. You 
threaten to massacre the white people at the Prairie. They are 
your friends, and mine. You wish to drink their blood. Is that 
your purpose ? Dare to lay a finger upon one of them, and I will 
blow you from the face of the earth, as I now" suiting the action 
to the word " blow this hair with my breath, where none can find 
it." Not a head was turned at the close of this startling and unex 
pected annunciation ; not a muscle was seen to move the keen, 
black, and snake-like eyes of that circle of dusky warriors remained 
fixed upon the speaker, who, after casting around a look of cool 
defiance, turned upon his heel and left the council, without waiting 
for a reply. The insolent savages, who had been vaporing about 
the village in the most arrogant and insulting manner, hastily broke 
up the council, and retired quietly to their camp. Not a single 
Winnebago was to be seen next morning in the vicinity of the 
village. They knew that the Sioux chief had the power to exter 
minate them, and that his threats of vengeance were no idle words, 
uttered by a forked tongue ; and, taking counsel from wisdom, they 
prudently avoided the conduct which would have provoked his 

The Keoxa tribe have two villages on the Mississippi, one near 
Lake Pepin, and the other at the Iowa River ; and they hunt on 
both banks of the Great River. 


THE annals of profane history, civilized and savage, may be 
challenged to produce a parallel to the story of Pocahontas. It has 
all the stirring elements of romance genially blended with the grave 
simplicity of truth and nature. Like an unexpected oasis in the 
midst of the interminable desert like a solitary star of the first 
magnitude, beaming suddenly out from a cloudy sky the person 
and history of the daughter of Powhatan stand out in bold and sur 
prising beauty on the severe page of aboriginal life. Her story, as 
an eloquent writer has said, is " that exquisite episode in the history 
of the New World, which, appealing equally to the affections and 
the imagination, has never lost the charm of its original loveliness 
and freshness, even though a thousand iterations have made it the 
most familiar of all our forest stories. It is one of those tales, which, 
combining several elements of the tender and the tragic like that 
of the Grecian daughter like that of the Roman Virginius more 
certainly true than either of these legends, and not less touching 
and beautiful, the mind treasures up, naturally and without an 
effort, as a chronicle equally dear to its virgin fancies and its 
sweetest sensibilities." 

History has not furnished. a full-length delineation of the life of 
Pocahontas. She appears, in the scanty chronicles of Virginia's 
first settlement, not in a continuous drama, of which every act and 
scene is made to develop some new grace of person, or trait of cha 
racter, till, at the fall of the curtain, the whole stands out in com 
plete and life-like symmetry ; but in e series of bold and striking 





tableaux vivants, in each one of which she is revealed in full-length 
life and completeness. 

We are first introduced to her, in the heroic act of saving the 
life of Captain John Smith. She was then a child about twelve 
years old. Smith, having been taken captive by some of the sub 
jects of Powhatan, carried from place to place, and feasted and 
fatted for sacrifice, is brought into the presence of the forest mo 
narch, to be tried as an enemy. The hall of judgment is an open 
area in the forest. Its columns are the tall majestic oaks and pines, 
which centuries of thrifty growth have been rearing and shaping 
to be fitting supporters of its " o'erarching dome of blue." Reclin 
ing upon his couch, in the midst, and surrounded by his warriors 
and his household, the aged monarch maintains a most dignified 
and royal bearing. Threescore suns have passed over his head. 
But his figure is nobly erect and athletic, and his eye keen, search 
ing, and severe. His prisoner is before him. His story is familiar 
to all the counsellors of the king. He is known as the master 
spirit of that band of intruders, which has recently landed on their 
shores, and taken forcible possession of a portion of their territory. 

The consultation is brief and decisive. The prisoner is doomed 
to death, and the execution is ordered to take place on the spot. 
Two great stones are brought in, and placed in the midst. Upon 
these he is laid and bound as upon an altar. The monarch alone 
is deemed worthy to strike down so distinguished a foe. His war 
riors and counsellors await his action. The victim composes him 
self to die like a Christian hero. Why does the royal executioner 
delay? He attempts to rise from his couch, but is held back by a 
tiny arm embracing him, and a gentle voice whispering in earnest 
entreaty in his ear. It is Pocahontas, his eldest daughter. But 
she pleads in vain. Shaking her gently off, he takes his huge war- 
club, and, advancing to the block, raises Ms arm for the fatal blow. 
With a shriek of agony, and an impulse of energy and devotion 
known only to woman's heart, Pocahontas rushes forward, throws 


herself between the victim and the uplifted arm of the impassioned 
avenger, beseeching him to spare, for her sake, that doomed life. 

In what page of her voluminous annals does history record a 
spectacle of such exquisite beauty? What grace, what femi 
nine tenderness and devotion, what heroic purpose of soul wh^ 
self-sacrificing resolution and firmness ! And that in a child of 
twelve years old and that child an untaught savage of the wil 
derness, who had never heard the name of Jesus, or of that gos 
pel which teaches to love our enemies, and do good to them that 
hate us ! 

Forgiveness was never an element in the red man's creed. Every 
article breathed the spirit of revenge. The attitude of the royal 
princess is an inexplicable anomaly. It has no precedent in 
Indian law or legend. It comes upon the assembly like a revela 
tion a voice from the Great Spirit, which they dare not resist. 
Awe subdues rage. Admiration takes the place of savage ferocity. 
The deadly weapon drops from the hand of the monarch, his arm 

falls powerless to his side, and he turns to his couch, 

" Like a sick eagle fainting in his nest." 

The victim is unbound, and given to his deliverer. His sentence 
of death is commuted, by royal prerogative, to that of perpetual 
bondage ; and that again, a short time after, is fully remitted. The 
doomed enemy is pardoned and loaded with favor. The captive is 
set free. 

After an absence of nearly seven weeks, the brave Smith was 
permitted to return to Jamestown, with many promises of favor from 
the hitherto hostile chieftain of Werowocomo. For a time, these 
promises were faithfully observed an amicable intercourse between 
the parties being attended, as usual, with a profitable interchange 
of commodities. In this traffic, the women of the natives took part 
as well as the men, and the preserver of Captain Smith was often 
seen at Jamestown, in company with her female attendants. 



Whether any special notice was taken of her, or any favor shown 
to her, in consequence of her heroic act, does not appear. The 
first days of an infant colony, on a wild shore, are not likely to be 
much more distinguished by the refinements of etiquette than by 
the comforts and luxuries of civilized life. But gratitude for such 
a deliverance would require neither courtly phrase nor public pa- 
geant. It is often expressed, in the course of his various letters and 
journals, in terms that sufficiently testify, at the same time a grate 
ful affection, and a deep paternal regard. Of the depth and power 
of this sentiment Powhatan was fully aware, and he made free use 
of it, with the art of an experienced diplomatist, in much of his sub 
sequent intercourse with the English. Though but a child, Poca- 
hontas was the principal ambassadress between her wily father and 
his more practised and sagacious neighbors. 

During seasons of scarcity, when the struggling colony was in 
fearful danger of being cut off by famine, her angel visits were 
neither few nor far between. Unsent, if not forbidden, of her own 
heaven-born impulse, she traversed the woods, day after day, with 
her train of attendants and companions, bearing to the hungry 
strangers supplies of corn and meat, regarding neither the hardships 
and dangers of the way, nor the frowns and threats of her own un 
forgiving, implacable race, in the sweet satisfaction of relieving 
human distress, and saving the life of a suffering fellow-creature. 
It is the testimony of Captain Smith, in his Annals, as well as in his 
letter to the Queen, that, during a period of two or three years, the 
child, Pocahontas, " next under God, was the instrument of preserv 
ing the colony from death, famine, and utter confusion." 

With a strong presentiment, a sort of prophetic foresight, that the 
success and growth of the English colony could only be secured by 
the destruction of himself and his people, Powhatan, notwithstand 
ing his promises of friendship, had never ceased to meditate its 
overthrow. Believing that its chief strength was in the prowess 
and skill of Captain Smith, who had hitherto baffled all his plans 


for the mastery, lie resolved, by some means, fair or foul, once more 
to get possession of his person. To this one object all his thoughts 
and energies were directed. 

Smith, on the other hand, knowing the reverence of the Indians 
for their king, and feeling the necessity of establishing with them 
such new relations as would secure to the colony a steady supply 
of food, was equally resolved on seizing the person of Powhatan, 
and holding him as a hostage a means of exacting the supplies 
which, with all his persuasions, he could not induce them to sell. 

The fire-arms of the English captain gave him such an immea 
surable advantage over the dusky monarch of the forest, that the 
latter could never be induced, though often persuaded, to visit the 
fort, or, in any way, expose his person to the power of the enemy. 
Conscious of his superiority in this respect, and naturally fearless 
of personal danger, Smith sought an interview with Powhatan, in 
his own forest home. The wily king was prepared for his coming, 
and resolved that he should never go back alive. Gathering many 
hundreds of his warriors about him, and concealing them in the 
neighboring forest, he endeavored, by fair speeches and flattering 
promises, to disarm the vigilance of his visitor, and thus to over 
whelm him with a sudden blow. Coming up, one by one, with 
stealthy tread, they surrounded the place of conference, where 
Smith, with only one attendant, had been exchanging courteous 
speeches with the king. Powhatan withdrew, for a moment, and 
Smith, looking about him, perceived his danger, and the snare that 
had been drawn imperceptibly around him. Nothing daunted by 
the fearful odds that stood against him, he faced that tawny 
multitude, and laying about him, right and left, with his trusty 
sword, broke through their ranks unharmed, and made his escape 
to the shore, where his boats were in waiting. 

Declaring that the assemblage which Smith had looked upon as hos 
tile was occasioned only by the curiosity of his people to see and hear 
so great a chief, Powhatan made a new effort to detain him, sending 


him a large quantity of provisions, and preparing a great feast, with 
the intention of attacking his whole company while they were eating 
From this plot he was delivered by the interposition of Pocahontas, 
warning him of his danger. Smith's own account of this interview 
is simple and eloquent : " The eternal, all-seeing God did prevent 
him, and by a strange meanes. For Pocahontas, his dearest Jewell 
and daughter, in that darke night came through the irksome woods, 
and tolde our captaine great cheare should be sent us by and bye ; 
but that Powhatan, and all the power he could make, would aftei 
come and kill us all, if they that brought it could not kill us with 
our owne weapons when we were at supper. Therefore, if we would 
live, she wished us presently to be gone." 

Grateful to God, and to his youthful deliverer, for this second 
interposition to save his life, at the hazard of her own, the fall- 
hearted captain would have loaded her with presents, of "such 
things as she delighted in. But, with the teares running downe 
her cheekes, she said she durst not be seene to have any ; for, if 
Powhatan should know it, she were but dead ; and so she ranne 
away by herself as she came." 

" Nothing of its kind," says the eloquent Mr. Simms, " can well 
be more touching than this new instance of deep sympathy and 
attachment, on the part of the strangely interesting forest child, for 
the white strangers, and their captain. To him, indeed, she seems 
to have been devoted with a filial passion much greater than that 
which she felt for her natural sire. The anecdote affords a melan 
choly proof of the little hold which power, even when rendered 
seemingly secure by natural ties, possesses upon the hearts of human 
beings. Here we find the old monarch, who had just declared him 
self the survivor of three generations of subjects, betrayed by his 
own child, and by one of his chiefs, while in the pursuit of his most 
cherished objects. We have no reproaches for Pocahontas, and her 
conduct is to be justified. She obeyed the laws of nature and hu 
manity, of tenderness and love, which were far superior, in their 


force and efficacy, in a heart like hers, to any which spring simply 
from the ties of blood. But, even though his designs be ill, we can 
not but regard the savage prince, in his age and infirmities, thus 
betrayed by child and subject, somewhat as another Lear. He, too, 
was fond of his Cordelia. She was ' the Jewell,' ' the nonpareil,' 
we are told, of his affections. Well might he exclaim, with the an 
cient Briton, in his hour of destruction, 

* How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is 
To have a thankless child !' " 

But, of her humane treason, for its motive was beyond reproach, 
Powhatan knew nothing. Smith kept her secret. He profited by 
her intelligence, and escaped. 

Newport had returned to England, and Smith was President of 
the Colony. While absent from Jamestown, on a foraging, or rather 
a trading expedition, an accident occurred, in which eleven of the 
colonists were drowned, including Captain Waldo, Vice President 
in the absence of Smith. A calamity so serious must be imme 
diately communicated to the President, and Richard Wyffin volun 
teered to go alone on the difficult and dangerous mission. Going 
directly to the dwelling of Powhatan, he found them making the 
greatest preparation for war. His own life was in imminent danger. 
He was not to be permitted to return, to bear tidings of what he 
had seen and heard. His doom was sealed, and he would have 
fallen a victim to his generous zeal in the public service, if Smith's 
good angel had not been near to protect him. Silently, and unno 
ticed, he was drawn aside by Pocahontas, concealed in a place of 
safety, guarded and fed with tender care. The alarm was given, 
the most diligent search was made for their victim by men trained 
and practised in the arts of concealment, detection, and escape, arid 
urged to their utmost diligence by the strenuous command of the 
king. But all in vain. They were baffled and outwitted by the 
sagacity and coolness of a mere child. She put them upon the 


wrong scent. She sent his pursuers off in one direction, while, 
under cover of the night, she directed him, in the other, how to find 
his friends. 

Sick, weary, and almost disheartened, Smith has returned to 
England. Dale is Governor of Virginia. The relation between 
the colony and Powhatan is that of open hostility. Fire and sword 
have ravaged the native villages. The Indians, become fierce, 
revengeful, implacable, have resolved to withhold entirely their 
wonted supplies, and starve out the remorseless intruders. Poca- 
hontas, having, by her unchanging sympathy for the white men, 
and her constant interference in their behalf, lost the confidence, 
and estranged the affections of her father, has left her home, and is 
living in comparative retirement with her cousin, the chief of Poto 
mac. Just emerging from youth to womanhood, she can no longer, 
as when a child, mingle personally in the strife or sports of men, 
or expose herself, unprotected, to their rude and admiring gaze. 
Her mission as messenger and active intercessor is at an end. The 
breach between the contending parties requires more, than tempo 
rary and fitful acts of mediation to heal it. No arm, not even that 
of "his dearest Jewell and daughter," can arrest the summary ven 
geance which the savage Powhatan has resolved to visit upon the 
head of any white man found in his domains. He has decreed the 
utter extermination of the intruding race a decree which Provi 
dence defeats, by the interposition of Pocahontas, in a new character, 
and without her own consent. 

Her retreat at Potomac becoming known to Governor Dale, Cap 
tain Argal is despatched, with a vessel, to seize her, and bring her 
to Jamestown. Bribed by the present of a copper kettle, her trusty 
guardians, the king and queen of Potomac, betray her into the hands 
of her captors. Pretending a deep curiosity to see the great canoe, 
the queen prevails on Pocahontas to accompany her on board the 
English ship. When there, she is coolly informed that she is a 
prisoner, and must go as such to Jamestown. 


What a return for all her acts of kindness, her heroic self-sacri- 
frees in behalf of the strangers her frequent exposures of her life 
in their behalf, and her voluntary forfeiture of all that was dear in 
the confidence and affection of a doting father, or the cherished as 
sociations of home ! If Pocahontas could not, with confidence, and 
a sense of personal security, go on board an English ship, or tra 
verse the streets of the English colony, as if it were her own domain, 
what reliance could be placed in human gratitude, or human honor ? 
Her tears and her entreaties are equally vain. The ship is imme 
diately got under way. The king and queen of Potomac are set 
on board their canoe, and paddle off, yelling piteously, with mock 
lamentations, over the loss of their beautiful protege, and at the same 
time grinning at each other with real delight, as they gaze at the 
shining utensil for which they had sold her. 

The purpose of Governor Dale, in taking possession of the young 
princess, was, by her means, to secure a more favorable relation be 
tween the colony and the natives. He immediately sent to Pow- 
hatan, by an Indian messenger, to inform him that Pocahontas was 
his captive, and that her treatment there would depend upon the 
future conduct of her father. If he continued to seek the destruc 
tion of the colonists, her life would be the forfeit. But, if he would 
make a treaty of amity, and faithfully keep it, at the end of a year 
she should be set at liberty. 

The heart of the monarch fainted when he received these tidings. 
He had laid out and matured, together with the chiefs of the neigh 
boring tribes, most of whom acknowledged his supremacy, a plan 
of operations which was to overwhelm, and annihilate the colony. 
Upon the accomplishment of this plan, all his thoughts were cen 
tred. It was this only which reconciled him to the temporary 
estrangement and absence of his " darling daughter and dearest 
Jewell." Her presence, her gentle soothing influence, her profound 
reverence and tender regard for the white man, and her never-fail 
ing interposition, by council, or by stratagem, to rescue them from 


liis power, interfered, on all sides, with his determined plan, and 
paralyzed his darling purpose. He was, therefore, willing to part 
with her, for a season, and rejoiced that, in her secluded retreat, sho 
would be sheltered from the storm of war which was gathering over 
her home, and ignorant of all its horrors, till they were consum 
mated in the destruction of his enemies. To that issue his plans 
were fast ripening. He burned with intense eagerness for their 
execution. The day of doom was at hand. The instruments of 
vengeance were prepared. The arm of the executioner was about 
to fall, when, lo ! interposed between him and his victim, " the 
Jewell of his crown, the angel of his heart, the dearest daughter of 
his house" not as when, six years before, in the simple eagerness 
and passionate resolve of childhood, she flung herself upon the body 
of a solitary captive in her father's tent, and warded oif the deadly 
blow but, passively, herself a prisoner involuntarily, like a 
shield forced to stand between the assailant and the assailed, she is 
there, in the budding beauty of early womanhood, in her modest, 
timid, retiring gentleness, a foil to the vengeance of her father and 
her race, and the guardian angel of the doomed colony. 

Paralyzed with disappointment and rage, Powhatan received in 
sullen silence the tidings of his daughter's captivity. For many 
weeks, he sent no full reply to the message of the Governor, inform 
ing him that he held her as a hostage, and demanding concessions, 
as the price of her ultimate enlargement. So dear was she to his 
heart, to his people, and to all the tribes of his wide domain, that 
they could not find a vote in the council to proceed with the work 
of ruin, in which she was to be involved. At the same time, the 
proud and fretted monarch could not submit to the terms demanded 
for her ransom. He sent back seven English prisoners, whom he 
had doomed to sacrifice, each with an unserviceable musket, which 
had been stolen by the Indians. He promised them, upon the re 
lease of his daughter, to make full satisfaction for all past injuries; 
to enter into a treaty of peace with them, and to give them five 


hundred bushels nf corn. This was not enough. The Governor 
demanded a surrender of all the swords and fire-arms, which had 
been obtained by the Indians, either by purchase or theft. They 
were becoming expert in the use of them, and, in proportion as they 
did so, were losing their sense of the white man's superiority. This 
demand was too much for the ambition of the king. He indignantly 
refused to answer it, and broke off the negotiation. 

Determined still to carry his point, Governor Dale, at the head of 
one hundred and fifty armed men, went up the bay to Werowocomo, 
with Pocahontas in his train, and proposed to the king to restore 
her to his arms on the same terms as before. This proposal he an 
swered with scorn and fight. He refused to see the Governor, or 
his daughter. At his command, the Indians attacked the intruders, 
but were driven back with loss, and some of their houses were fired . 
Two of the brothers of the fair captive went on board the English 
ship, and had an affecting interview with their sister, whom they 
tenderly loved. But nothing was accomplished. The only issue 
of the adventure was an increase of hatred and hostility on the part 
of the savage monarch, and a firmer resolve to hold no intercourse 
or traffic with the enemy. 

Returning to Jamestown, still a prisoner and a hostage, the 
daughter of Powhatan was treated with all the consideration and 
kindness due to her rank and character, and to the services she had 
rendered the colony. She was taught to read, and carefully in 
structed in the truths of religion. Apt to learn, and tenderly sus 
ceptible to every good impression, she received, with eagerness and 
avidity, the glad tidings of the gospel. They met at once, and fully 
supplied, the longings of a heart that yearned for something purer 
and higher than the cold and dreamy superstitions of her native 
mythology. They gave full scope to the aspirations of a soul pant 
ing for an immortality till then unrevealed. With wonder and awe 
she contemplated the character of the one only living and true God 
to her, till then, the unknown God. With inexpressible gratitude, 


and rapturous delight, she listened to the story of a Saviour's death, 
and the way of salvation thus opened to the transgressor. With 
simple faith, and unhesitating confidence, she received the crucified 
One as her Redeemer and portion, rejoicing in the hope of forgive 
ness through his blood. A new world was opened to her view. A 
new life was revealed to her ravished thought. A whole immor 
tality, bright, ineffably bright, with visions of glory and blessedness 
which eye had not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man con 
ceived, burst upon her willing faith, like the splendors of noonday 
upon one born blind, yet always yearning for light. Pocahontas 
became a new creature, as truly so in a spiritual and religious sense, 
as in the outward and entire transformation from an uncultivated 
child of the forest, to a refined, intelligent woman the trophy and 
the ornament of Christian civilization. 

The extreme loveliness of her person, the amiableness of her heart, 
the almost faultless purity of her life, together with the noble tr Us 
of her history, had won the admiration of her teachers. Baptized 
with the name of Rebecca, and received into the Christian church, 
she was an object of just pride, as well as the tenderest regard, to 
all the colony the first fruits of the western wilderness a precious 
exotic, transplanted from the wilds of America to the garden of the 

Rejoicing, " with joy unspeakable," in the new-found liberty of 
the gospel, and perceiving that she was performing, in her captivity, 
a mission of peace between her race and the white man, which, in 
her freedom, she was powerless to accomplish, Rebecca became not 
only reconciled to her position, but grateful and happy to be made, 
in any way, the means of averting from those she loved, the horrors 
of war, and weaving for them a bond of amity which should never 
be sundered. 

Among the youthful adventurers, who sought a new home in the 
infant colony, there were some gentlemen of good family, polished 
education, and high Christian worth. Of these, John Rolfe, of 



London, was one of the most distinguished, for the excellence of his 
character, and the firmness of his principles. Brought into close 
affinity with the young Indian maiden, intrusted, perhaps, in 
part, with the oversight of her education, and witnessing the rapid 
development of her mental powers, and the rich treasures of a heart, 
formed for the purest refinements of social life, the regard he had 
felt for her gave place to admiration, and admiration soon brightened 
into love. Worthy even of Rebecca, his character had inspired her 
with a similar sentiment. Their love was reciprocal. It received 
the approbation of Governor Dale, who, mingling views of policy 
with those of personal regard for the parties who were dear to him, 
hoped, by a bond so close and inseparable, for ever to disarm the 
dreaded hostility of the red man. 

Time, reflection, and the kindly influence of daily intercourse, 
and profitable commerce, had softened the rage of the forest mo 
narch, and turned away the current of his thoughts from his old 
purpose of revenge. He readily consented to the marriage of his 
daughter with the white man, and formed upon that bond, a treaty 
of perpetual amity with the English, sending to the Governor a 
chain of pearls, as the pledge of his fidelity. Unwilling to venture, 
in person, within the precincts of the colony, he sent his brother, 
Opachisco, and two of his sons, to witness the solemnities, and sanc 
tion them on his behalf. Opachisco, as the representative of Pow- 
hatan, gave the bride to her husband. Her brothers confirmed the 
compact by such tokens of assent and affection as were deemed 
most appropriate and expressive, whether of wampum-belt, forest 
wild-flower, feather- wrought mantle, or charmed sea shell, the faith 
ful annals condescend not to explain. 

In this auspicious event, the whole mission of Pocahontas was 
fulfilled. The first heroic act of her childhood, when she flung her 
self between the main-staff and hope of Virginia, and the remorseless 
vengeance of her father, was but the type and foreshadowing of this, 
in which she links herself, her fortunes, her hopes, indissolubly 



with the intruders, and becomes a perfect bond of union and peace 
between the hostile races. 

The chronicles of that day delight not in the details of social or 
civil life. They amplify only the dangers and hardships of war 
fare, the fears and horrors of famine and disease, or the "toils and 
tricks, the gains and losses of an unequal traffic. We consequently 
know little of the married life of the " Lady Rebecca." Whether 
she visited often the forest home of her childhood, receiving the 
blessing of her aged father, and breathing into his ear, with the 
blandishments of filial love, the healing, life-giving promises of the 
gospel what advances she made in knowledge, and in^the accom 
plishments of civilized life what efforts she made to win her kin 
dred to the faith of Jesus, and the usages of civilization what joy 
she felt in the birth of a son, and what added strength the presence 
and name of that son gave to the ties that seemed to be binding the 
two races together we are not told. 

In the spring of 1616, about three years after the marriage, Mr. 
Rolfe, with his wife and child, accompanied Governor Dale to Eng 
land. Powhatan was too much involved in difficulties at home, 
arising from the machinations of Opechancanough, a neighboring 
and a tributary chief, to see his daughter before her departure. He 
never saw her again. His affections were garnered up in a younger 
daughter, whom the English Governor had vainly endeavored to 
obtain from him, in the hope of thus adding another link to the 
chain of friendship a twofold cord of national alliance and family 
affinity by which to secure the unchangeable friendship of the king 
and his people. The proposal was as impolitic as it was unkind, 
It well nigh destroyed the hold they now possessed upon the old 
sachem's regard. It touched the only chord in his iron heart that 
vibrated to a tone of tenderness. That chord had been rudely struck, 
and almost broken, when Pocahontas was torn from him by the 
hand of violence. This second attempt to disturb his domestic 
peace, and wrench from him his only household treasure, the child 


of his old age, the idol of his affections, who had aheady begun to 
fill the aching void occasioned by the loss of his first and " dearest 
Jewell," filled him with bitterness and proud indignation. It might 
have wholly estranged him from his cruel friends, if his faith had 
not been pledged by the chain of pearl he had sent them at the 
time of ]^is daughter's marriage. He demanded that chain from the 
messenger, as the stipulated credential of his mission. " But," said 
he, " urge me no further. Seek not to bereave me of my darling 
child, or to exact any new pledge of fidelity from me or my people. 
We have had enough of war. Too many have fallen already in our 
conflicts. With my consent there shall not be another. I have the 
power here, and have given the law to my people. I am old. I 
would end my days in peace and quietness. My country is large 
enough for both, and though you give me cause of quarrel, I will 
rather go from you, than fight with you. This is my answer." 

And this was his only answer. How full of force, of pathos, of 
dignity, of honor to the barbarian prince, of merited reproach to 
the grasping Christian Governor! 

Arrived in England, Pocahontas became the object of general 
regard and attention. The fame of her character, her deeds of 


heroism, her personal beauty, and her unaffected piety had gone 
before her. She was treated with great respect and kindness by 
the nobility, as well as by the religious of all ranks her title as 
the daughter of a king giving her free access to palace and court, 
and her heroic devotion to the welfare of the colony giving her a 
claim, which was universally recognized, to the hospitality of the 

Captain Smith was still in England ; and, just at this time, was 
making preparations for another voyage to America. As soon as 
he heard of the arrival of his "dearest Jewell," he wrote to the 
Queen, in the following terms, commending the lovely stranger to 
her royal favor. 


' To the most high and virtuous Princess, Queen Anne of Great 


1 The love I beare rny God, my king, and my countrie, hath 
so oft emboldened mee in the worst of extreme dangers, that now 
honestie doth constraine me presume thus farre beyond myselfe, to 
present your majestic this short discourse: if ingratitude bee a 
deadly poyson to all honest vertues, I must be guiltie of that crime 
if I should omit any means to be thankful. 

" So it is, that some ten yeares agoe, being in Virginia, and taken 
prisoner by the power of Powhatan, their chief king, I received from 
this great salvage exceeding great courtesies, especially from his 
son, Nautaquaas, the manliest, comeliest, boldest spirit I ever saw 
in a salvage, and his sister, Pocahontas, the king's most deare and 
well-beloved daughter, being but a child of twelve or thirteen yeares 
of age, whose compassionate, pitifull heart, of desperate estate, gave 
me much cause to respect her: I being the first Christian this 
proud king and his grim attendants ever saw, and thus inthraJled 
in their barbarous power, I cannot say I felt the least occasion of 
want that was in the power of those, my mortal foes to prevent, 
notwithstanding all their threats. After some six weeks fatting 
amongst those savage courtiers, at the minute of my execution, she 
hazarded the beating out of her own brains to save mine ; and not 
oriely that, but so prevailed with her father, that I was safely con 
ducted to Jamestowne, where I found about eight and thirtie mise 
rable, poor, and sick creatures, to keepe the possession of all those 
large territories of Virginia ; such was the weaknesse of this poore 
commonwealth, as, had the savages not fed us, we directly had 

" And this relyfe, most gracious Queen, was commonly brought 
us by this lady, Pocahontas; notwithstanding all these passages 
when inconstant fortune turned our peace to warre, this tender 
virgin would still not spare to dare to visit us, and by her. own 


fuires, have been oft appeased, and our wants still supplyed; were 
it the policie of her father thus to employ, or the ordinance of God 
thus to make her his instrument, or her extraordinarie affection to 
our nation, I know not; but of this I am sure when her father, 
with the utmost of his policie and powers, sought to surprise me, 
having but eighteen with me, the darke night could not affright 
her from comming through the irkesome woods, and with watered 
eyes, gave me intelligence, with her best advice, to escape his furie ; 
which, had he knovvne, he had surely slaine her. Jamestovvne, 
with her wilde traine, she as freely frequented as her father's habi 
tation ; and, during the time of two or three yeares, she, next under 
God, was still the instrument to preserve this colonie from death, 
famine, and utter confusion; which, if in those times, had once 
become dissolved, Virginia might have laine as it was at our first 
arrivall to this day. Since then, this business having been turned 
and varied by many accidents from that I left it at; it is most cer- 
tairie, after a long and most troublesome warre after my departure, 
betwixt her father and our colonie, all which time she was not 
heard of, about two years after she herself was taken prisoner,, 
being so detained neare two yeares longer, the colonie by that 
meanes was relieved, peace concluded, and at last, rejecting her 
barbarous condition, was married to an English gentleman with 
whom at this present she is in England; the first Christian ever 
of that nation, the first Virginian ever spake English, or had a 
child in marriage by an Englishman; a matter, surely, if my mean 
ing be truly considered and well understood, worthy a Prince's un 

" Thus, most gracious ladie, I have related to your majestic, 
what at your best leasure our approved histories will account to 
you at large, and done in the time of youre majestie's life, and how 
ever this might bee presented you from a more worthie pen, it can 
not from a more honest heart. As yet I never begged any thing 
of the state, or of any, and it is my want of abilitie, and her exceed 


ing desert, your birth, meanes, and authorise, her birth, vertue, 
want, and simplicitie, doth make rnee thus bold, humbly to be- 
seeche your majestic to take this knowledge of her, though it bee 
from one so unworthie to bee the reporter as myselfe, her husband's 
estate not being able to make her fit to attend your majestic ; the 
most and least I can doe, is to tell you this, because none so oft hath 
tried it as myselfe. And so I humbly kisse your gracious handes." 

Whether Pocahontas was indebted to this warm-hearted and elo 
quent appeal, for the attentions lavished upon her at court, and in 
all the high places of the land, we are not informed. She was re 
ceived with signal favor by the Queen and the pedantic James, her 
royal husband. For her sake, and in consideration of her rare vir 
tues, and her signal services to the suffering subjects of the crown, 
her husband, though a commoner of moderate pretensions as to 
birth, was forgiven the almost treasonable presumption of aspiring 
to the hand of a royal princess a trespass upon the "divine 
right," which few would be more ready to notice and resent, than 
the sapient son of Mary Stuart. . 

To the unsophisticated mind of the " Lady Rebecca," these 
princely favors and courtly attentions made no amends for the seem 
ing neglect and coldness of Captain Smith, whom she regarded with 
all the reverence and affection of an only child. His singular 
prowess, his wonderful exploits, his almost supernatural courage 
and power, had filled her young imagination, and inspired her with 
sentiments of admiration, awe, and love, due to a superior race of 
beings. With a love as free from passion as it was from selfishness, 
she had many times jeoparded her life for his. From his lips she 
had first heard the name of God, and the voice of prayer ; and him, 
above all other men, she regarded as the beau ideal of greatness and 
goodness, whose presence and smiles were of more worth to her 
than all the favors of the court, or the flatteries of the titled thou 
sands that surrounded it. She longed to see him and embrace him 
as a father. 



But, so jealous was the English monarch of the prerogatives of 
rank, and the etiquette of caste, that the hardy old soldier dared not 
salute the Lady Rebecca, the daughter of King Powhatan, except in 
that stately, reserved, and deferential manner, which was prescribed 
in the court rubrics. He bowed and touched her hand with cold 
and distant respect. He gave no expression by look or word, to the 
fond and grateful affection with which he regarded her. She felt 
it deeply. It went, like steel, with an icy coldness, to her heart. 
Without uttering a word, she turned away her face, and wept. For 
several hours, she refused to speak, she seemed overwhelmed with 
disappointment, chagrin, and a sense of unutterable desertion. At 
length, recovering from her dejection, she sought "the great cap 
tain," and gently reproached him for his cold reception of his 
adopted child, who had long yearned to see and embrace him. 

" You did promise Powhatan," she said, " that what was yours 
should be his, and he made a like promise to you. You, being in 
his land a stranger, called him father, and by the same right, I will 
call you so." 

When it was objected that she was a king's daughter, and it 
would displease Us king if he should fail to treat her with the high 
respect due to her rank, she replied, " Were you not afraid to come 
into my father's country, and cause fear in him and all his people 
but myself, and do you fear that I shall call you father here? I tell 
you that I will call you father, and you shall call me child, and so 
it shall be for ever." 

The ice thus broken never closed up again. She had frequent 
interviews with Smith, and never had cause to complain that he 
was less to her than a father ; while he had infinite satisfaction in 
witnessing her daily improvement, and the unaffected ease, and 
grace, and dignity, with which she bore her part in the new sphere 
to which she had been so suddenly introduced. She met and sur 
passed every expectation. And they, who, before her arrival, had 


heard the fame of her beauty, her wit, her loveliness, and her virtue, 
were free to confess that "the half had not been told them." 

Having remained about a year in England, Mr. Rolfe, with his 
royal bride, prepared to return to Virginia. But Providence, in 
inscrutable wisdom, had ordered it otherwise. The mission of P< - 
cahontas was fulfilled. She sickened and died at Gravesend, as she 
was preparing to embark. The summons was sudden, but it found 
her fully ready. With the calmness of Christian resignation, and 
the triumph of Christian faith, she welcomed the messenger, which 
was sent to call her to her home and crown in heaven. She left to 
her bereaved husband, and the sorrowing friends around her, the 
sweetest and fullest testimony that her name was written in the 
Lamb's book of life. 

Mr. Rolfe returned in widowhood and sorrow to his desolate home 
in America. His son, Thomas Rolfe, was educated by his uncle, 
in England, arid afterwards rose to eminence and wealth in his na 
tive land. From him are descended some of the first families of 
"the Old Dominion," who, with a just and honorable pride, trace 
back their origin to the daughter of Powhatan. 

The character of Pocahontas exhibits a wonderful symmetry and 
fulness of proportions, in which, from childhood to the mature 
woman, there is neither lack nor excess in a single trait. At twelve, 
she had the heroism, the endurance, the constancy of a woman at 
twenty-two, the modesty, the gentleness, the artless simplicity, the 
impulsive ingenuous earnestness, and the transparent truthfulness 
of a child. 







THE earlier historians, who recorded the efforts and progress of 
the European adventurers that sought in the New World those 
favors which fortune had denied them in the Old, have not left us 
much precise information respecting the condition of the Indian 
tribes who then occupied this part of the continent. The external 
appearance of the Indians, and their mode of life, differing so widely 
from every thing which Europeans had previously seen, seem to 
have arrested their attention, and withdrawn it from objects of 
inquiry, which, to us, are so much more important. 

Could we bring back the three centuries that have elapsed since 
the discovery by Columbus, how much might we hope to recall of 
the history, tradition, and institutions of the Indians which have 
for ever passed away ! Still, much remains and if all who have 
opportunities for observation would devote themselves to these 
researches, a race of men, not more insulated in their position than 
peculiar in their opinions and customs, would be rescued from that 
comparative oblivion in which we fear they are destined, under 
present circumstances, speedily to become involved. 
. Whence the Indians of America derived their origin is a question 
long discussed ; and, although the peculiar causes, and route, and 



circumstances of their migration can never be ascertained, yet there 
is little doubt, at this day, that they are branches of the great Tar 
tar stock. In arriving at this conclusion, we do not give much 
weight to any casual coincidences that may be discerned between 
the Asiatic and American dialects. Of all the sources of informa 
tion by which the descent of nations can be traced, we consider the 
deductions of comparative etymology, when applied to a written 
language, the most uncertain. It is difficult in such cases to fix, 
with accuracy, the true sound of words ; and it is well known that 
coincidences exist in many languages, radically different from one 
another, and spoken by communities whose separation from any 
common stock precedes all historic monuments. Such coincidences 
are either accidental, or the analogous words are the common relics 
of that universal tongue which was lost in the miraculous interpo 
sition upon the plains of Shinar. 

There is a fact illustrative of this position, within our own know 
ledge, which demonstrates the futility of any conclusion drawn from 
such premises. It is well known that the practice of dividing fields 
in England, by ditches, was introduced in the last century. When it 
was first adopted, the common people were suddenly arrested in 
their walks upon the brink of these ditches, without being aware 
of theii existence until they approached them. Their surprise was 
manifested by the exclamation, "ha, ha" and eventually the ditches 
themselves were denominated ha, ha. Among the Sioux, the Falls 
of St. Anthony are called ha, ha. These falls, approached from 
below, are not visible, until a projecting point is passed, when they 
burst upon the traveller in all their grandeur. The Indians, no 
doubt, struck with the sudden and glorious prospect, marked their 
surprise, as did the English peasants, with the same exclamation 
ha, ha ; and this exclamation has become the name of the cataract. 
But he who would deduce from this coincidence the common origin 
of the English and Sioux, would reason as logically as many of 
those who arrange the branches of the human family into classes 


because a few doubtful resemblances in their vocabularies are 

Some curious observations on this topic were made by the cele 
brated American traveller, John Ledyard. The wide extent of his 
travels among savage nations in almost every region of the globe, 
together with his remarkable sagacity in discriminating, and facility 
in recording, the peculiarities of savage manners and character, 
gives a value to his opinions and remarks on this subject which 
those of few other persons can claim. The following extract is from 
his Journal, written in Siberia : 

" I have not as yet taken any vocabularies of the Tartar language. 
[f I take any, they will be very short ones. Nothing is more apt 
to deceive than vocabularies, when taken by an entire stranger. 
Men of scientific curiosity make use of them in investigating ques 
tions of philosophy as well as history, and I think often with too 
much confidence, since nothing is more difficult than to take a voca 
bulary that shall answer any good ends for such a purpose. The 
different sounds of the same letters, and of the same combinations 
of letters, in the languages of Europe, present an insurmountable 
obstacle to making a vocabulary which shall be of general use. 
The different manner, also, in which persons of the same language 
would write the words of a new language, would be such, that a 
stranger might suppose them to be two languages, 

" Most uncultivated languages are very difficult to be orthogra- 
phized in another language. They are generally guttural; but 
when not so, the ear of a foreigner cannot accommodate itself to the 
inflection of the speaker's voice soon enough to catch the true 
sound. This must be done instantaneously ; and even in a lan 
guage with which we are acquainted, we are not able to do it for 
several years. I seize, for instance, the accidental moment, when a 
savage is inclined to give me the names of things. The medium 
of this conversation is only signs. The savage may wish to give 
me the word for head, and lays his hand on the top of his head. 1 

N" IO6. 


. RICE. RUTTER & CO. Publi.her* 


am not certain whether he means the head, or the top of the head, or 
perhaps the hair of the head. He may wish to say kg, and puts his 
hand to the calf. I cannot tell whether he means the leg, or the calf, 
or flesh, or the flesh. There are other difficulties. The island of 
Onalaska is on the coast of America, opposite to Asia. There are 
few traders on it. Being there with Captain Cook, I was walking 
one day on the shore in company with a native, who spoke the 
Russian language. I did not understand it. I was writing the 
names of several things, and pointed to the ship, supposing he 
would understand that I wanted the name of it. He answered me 
in a phrase which, in Russ, meant / know. I wrote down a ship. I 
gave him some snuff, which he took, and held out his hand for 
more, making use of a word which signified in Russ, a little. I 
wrote more." See Spares Life of John Ledyard, p. 148, first 

The claims of our primitive people to an Asiatic descent are 
founded upon other and stronger testimony; upon the genera] 
resemblance which they bear, in many points of character, manners, 
customs, and institutions circumstances not easily changed, or 
easily mistaken to the various tribes occupying the great table 
lands of Tartary. We feel no disposition to examine the details of 
this question. It has been long before the literary world, and all 
the facts and considerations connected with it have been carefully 
investigated, discussed, and considered. To revive it were idle, 
for its interest can never be revived, nor is there reason to suppose 
that any new or more accurate views of the subject will ever be 

After stating many curious particulars and striking facts on this 
subject, Ledyard adds, by way of conclusion from the whole 

" I know of no people among whom there is such a uniformity 
of features (except the Chinese, the Jews, and the negroes) as 
among the Asiatic Tartars. They are distinguished, indeed, by 
different tribes, but this is only nominal. Nature has not acknow- 


ledged the distinction, but, on the contrary, marked them, wherever 
found, with the indisputable stamp of Tartars. Whether in Nova 
Zembla, Mongolia, Greenland, or on the banks of the Mississippi, 
they are the same people, forming the most numerous, and, if we 
must except the Chinese, the most ancient nation on the globe. But 
I, for myself, do -not except the Chinese, because I have no doubt 
of their being of the same family." 

Again, he says : " I am certain that all the people you call red 
people on the continent of America, and on the continents of Europe 
and Asia, as far south as the southern parts of China, are all one 
people, by whatever names distinguished, and that the best general 
name would be Tartar. I suspect that all red people are of the 
same family. I am satisfied that America was peopled from Asia, 
and had some, if not all, its animals from thence." Life of Ledyard, 
pp. 246, 255. 

Equally idle would it be to indulge in speculations concerning 
the causes, or motives, or circumstances, which led to this exodus 
from the eastern to the western continent. How long it had occurred 
previously to the discovery is, and must remain, a matter of conjec 
ture the facts in our possession are not sufficient to enable us to 
form even a plausible conjecture upon the subject. It is evident, 
however, that many ages must have passed away between the first 
settlement of America and its discovery by Europeans. With the 
exception of the half-civilized empires of Mexico and Peru, the 
aboriginal inhabitants were roving barbarians, little advanced from 
a state of nature, and depending solely upon the chase for the means 
of subsistence. They seem to have been spread pretty equally over 
the continent, leaving no portion of the country without inhabitants, 
nor any with a dense population. Barbarous tribes, under such 
circumstances, increase slowly. The life of a hunter is not favor 
able to a rapid increase of population. If he sometimes possesses 
an abundance, he is often exposed to famine. 

In forming a correct estimate of the early condition of the Indians, 


much allowance must be made for the spirit of exaggeration visible 
in the narratives of the first travellers and adventurers. They seem 
to have surveyed the objects before them under the influence of a 
mirage, which not only distorted the features, but increased their 
numbers and proportions. In addition to this predisposition, the 
fault in some measure of the age, the soldiers of fortune who 
hazarded life and fame in their efforts to subdue the native inhabit 
ants, were led, in the statement of their own claims and services, 
to overrate the number, and power, and resources, of their enemies. 
There are many evidences of this spirit, particularly among the 
Spanish conquerors, and he who reads the account of their expedi 
tions, and compares them with the habits and condition of the 
people they describe, as these are now known to us, must be satis 
fied that, if the leading facts are true, the details are entitled to little 
credit. It is difficult, at this distance of time and place, to point to 
particular instances of this habit of misrepresentation. The con 
clusion must be deduced rather from a general view of the subject, 
than from single facts. But there is one gross exaggeration which 
we are able to detect, by a comparison of the descriptions which 
have come to us with the actual customs of the Indians of the 
present day. 

Every one must recollect the wonderful accounts which have 
been given of the hieroglyphical pictures of the Mexicans, and these 
have been often referred to as evidence of the advances made by 
that people in knowledge and civilization. In Dr. Robertson's 
" History of America," accurate representations are given of those 
paintings ; and they resemble, in every particular, the rude draw 
ings made by the Sioux, and other western Indians, upon the fleshy 
side of their buffalo skins. The exact resemblance cannot be mis 
taken, as every one may satisfy himself who will compare the re 
duced fac-similes given by Dr. Robertson with those which accom 
pany Dr. James's account of Colonel Long's travels to the Rocky 



In the region extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky 
Mountains, and from the great lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, there 
were numerous tribes wandering over the country and dividing it 
among them by very indefinite boundaries, and an imperfect pos 
session. It is impossible to form an enumeration of these tribes, 
as they existed at the era of the discovery. We have ourselves 
collected not less than two hundred and seventy-two names* of 


Cheveux relevez, 




Bull heads, 



Cheveux ou Port Ieu6, 

Andata honato, 























Chactas, or Choctaws, 

Peauguicheas, or Peahu- 
shaws, supposed to be 
Peanguicheas, orPian- 









Kaoutyas, or Cowetas, 
























Etecheneus, or Etchmms, 





Eves, or Chats, 


Mohingaus, supposed to 
be Mohingans or Mo 

Nez percez, 




different tribes which are found in the early narratives and histo 
ries ; and how many more would have been disclosed by further 
research, we presume not to say. Upoii what principle these appel 
lations were originally given, it is impossible to ascertain. They 
far exceed any actual divisions among the Indians, either social 01 
political, which could have existed ; and it would be vain to inquire 






Coushaes, or Coosades, 
















Canoyeas, or Nantihokes, 












Adaies, or Adayes, 






Cbacci Oumas, 

Oufe Agoulas, 


Bayouc Agoulas, 

Oque Loussas, 







Connecedegas, Nadouesteaus, 

Rondaxes, to be Nadowessies, 

Wasses, mentioned by Arsenipoits, 

Long, Chougaskabees, 

Ha woyazask, or Musquash, Aisnous, 
Minisuk, Tangibao, 

















St. Francois, 








to what tribes or bands many of them were given. Then, as now, 
the Indians were doubtless separated into many communities, occu 
pying different regions, and with interests which were, or were 
supposed to be, various and sometimes adverse. Whether they all 
descended from a common stock is a question not easily answered. 
Even at this day, our information concerning the Indian languages 

Coney, living among the 

Aquelon pissas, or Colla 

Montagnes, supposed to 

be Montagnard, or 

Nation neuht, 









Pasca Oocolos, 

Hattahappas, supposed 

to be Atakapas, 

Amikones, or Castor, 







Androscoggins, or Ana- 

Plats cotez de chiens, 


is very imperfect. The principles which regulate them are but 
partially known, and much more severe investigations into their 
construction will be necessary before we are enabled to ascertain 
all the points of resemblance which they bear one to another, and 
all the anomalies they exhibit when compared with the more me 
thodized and finished tongues of the Old World. Many of the In 
dian languages are evidently cognate dialects; but, in attempting 
to ascend to their common origin, we soon become involved in 

The great division of the French writers was into the Huron, or 
Wyandot, the Algonquin, and the Sioux stocks. These compre 
hended almost all the tribes known to them, and they yet compre 
hend much the larger portion of the tribes known to us. But besides 
these, the present state of our information upon the subject leads to 
the conclusion that there are three primitive languages spoken by 
the southern tribes. Of these, the Choctaws and Chickasaws form 
one ; the Creek, or Muskogee, another ; and the Cherokee a third. 
West of the Mississippi, the primitive dialects appear to be the Mina- 
taree, the Pawnee, the Chayenne, the Blackfeet, and the Padoucee, 
making eleven original stocks between the Gulf of St. Lawrence 

Yataches, Nepnet, Malatautes, 

Onodo, Dassa Monpeake, Tichenos, 

Napgitache, Chickahominies, Nepissings, 

Quonantino, Yamassecs, Tamescamengs, 

Epicerinis, or Sorciers, Niprauck, Tetes de boule, 

Kiscakous, Nianticks, Nation du Castor, 

Mosookees, Norredgewock, Tetes plates, 

Ouachas, Wewenocks, Octotates, 

Caouachas, Tomez, ATouez, 

Oraaus, Toriraas, Sothoues, 

Montagnais, Topingas, Kappas. 

It is highly probable that duplicates occur in this list. Montagnez, for ex 
ample, may mean the same as Montagnais, &c. 


and the Rocky Mountains. But it is by no means certain that all 
these great families are radically different one from another. Further 
investigations may exhibit resemblances not yet discovered, and 
reduce to cognate dialects, languages now supposed to be radically 

This great diversity of speech among a race of men presenting, 
in other respects, features almost identical, is a subject of curious 
and interesting speculation. Every one who has surveyed the In 
dians must have been struck with the general resemblance they 
bear to one another. In all those physical characteristics which 
divide them from the other great branches of the human family, 
they form one people. The facial angle is the same, and so are the 
color, general stature, form of the face, appearance, and color of the 
eyes, and the common impression which is made, by the whole, 
upon the spectator. These facts indicate a common origin. But 
we find, among a people occupying the same general region, and 
with similar habits and modes of life, and unbroken communication, 
eleven languages, among which no verbal resemblance has been dis 
covered. And yet, as far as we are acquainted with them, one com 
mon principle of construction pervades the whole. Whence this 
unity of form and diversity of expression ? Are they to be traced 
to the facility with which the words of unwritten languages are 
changed, and to the tenacity with which we adhere to the process 
by which our ideas are formed and disclosed ? If so, these lan 
guages have descended from a common origin, and the tribes must 
have separated one from another at periods more or less remote, as 
their dialects approach, or recede from, one another. But this con 
jecture does not accord with the local relations and established 
intercourse between many of the tribes. Some of those speaking 
languages radically different, live, and have lived for ages, in jux 
taposition, and the most confidential relations have been established 
among them. This is particularly the case with the Winnebagoes, 
speaking a dialect of the Sioux stock, and the Menomines, speaking- 


a dialect of the Algonquin stock ; and such is also the case with 
the Hurons, or Wyandots, and the Ottawas. And it is well known 
that the Shawanese, whose language is similar to that spoken by 
the Kickapoo, and other northern tribes, emigrated from the South, 
and were, when they became first known to the Europeans, planted 
among the Creeks upon the streams flowing through Florida. The 
patronymic appellations used by the various tribes indicate a con 
nection very different from that which we should be led to deduce 
from a comparison of their dialects. We cannot trace these claims 
of affinity to any known source ; but, like many usages which have 
survived the causes that gave birth to them, they were doubtless 
founded upon established relations existing at the time. The Wy 
andots claim to be the uncle of all the other tribes ; and the Dela- 
wares to be the grandfather. But the Delawares acknowledge 
themselves to be the nephew of the Wyandots, and these two tribes 
speak languages which have not the most remote resemblance. 
Whether we shall ever be able to settle these questions is doubtful. 
At any rate, we can only hope to do it by observation, and by a rigid 
abstinence from idle speculations until our collection of facts shall 
be greatly enlarged. 

In looking back upon the condition of the Indians previously to 
the arrival of the Europeans, and to the introduction of their manu 
factures among them, we shall find that He who "tempers the wind 
to the shorn lamb" had provided them with means of subsistence, 
and sources of enjoyment suited to their situation and wants. They 
were divided, as we have seen, into many different tribes, subdivided 
into various bands or families. This subdivision was an important 
branch of Indian polity. It would be idle to recount the traditions 
respecting the origin and objects of this institution. We must be 
satisfied with surveying them, as they are, or rather as they were, 
leaving the causes which induced them, whether accidental or de 
signed, among the mysteries of the fabulous period of their history. 

The number of these bands among the various tribes was differ- 


ent, and perhaps indefinite. They usually extended, however, 
from five or six, to twelve or fifteen. Each had a distinct appella 
tive, derived from some familiar animal, as the Bear tribe, &c. ; 
and the figure of the animal giving name to the tribe became the 
totem, or armorial bearing of every individual belonging thereto. 
When it became necessary to identify a person in any of their rude 
drawings, or to affix his mark to any instrument prepared by the 
white man, his totem was first made, and then any particular cha 
racteristic added which might apply individually to him. The 
animal itself, thus selected for a manitou, or guardian spirit, or at 
least certain parts of it, were not used for food by any of the tribe, 
although free for any other person. All those belonging to the same 
tribe were considered as near relations, and intermarriage among 
them was strictly prohibited. Among some of these Indian com 
munities, the village or peace chiefs of one tribe were chosen by the 
other tribes; and these subdivisions had an important operation 
upon their government and institutions. 

In the autumn, when the flesh and furs of the animals used by the 
Indians, became in season, the various bands or families separated, 
and repaired to their proper districts for hunting. Huts were erected 
of bark, or logs, in favorable and sheltered situations, and here the 
families resided, the different individuals following their respective 
employments. The men devoted themselves to the chase, with 
zeal and assiduity. And while the game was abundant, they pro 
vided a surplus, which in cold weather was preserved by freezing, 
and in moderate weather by drying or jerking it. No man was 
excused from this first and great duty. Boys were anxious to be 
come hunters, and old men to remain hunters. The pride of both 
was enlisted, for both were despised, if unequal tc the task. 

With the necessary supply of food, however, the labor of the 
men ceased. All other duties devolved on the women. These, as 
may well be supposed, were arduous enough. Such has always 
been the fate of the weaker sex among barbarous tribes, and it was 


probably never more , severe than among the North American 
Indians. They procured the fuel, which was cut with stone toma 
hawks, and transported it to the camps upon their backs. They 
cooked the provisions, dressed the skins, made the canoes, and 
performed all the labor not directly connected with those hunting 
or hostile excursions which constituted the occupation of the men. 
In these employments, the winter was passed away, and industrious 
and provident families generally accumulated a considerable stock 
of dried meat, and a quantity of furs and skins sufficient for their 
wants during the year. 

As the spring approached, the hunting camps were evacuated, 
and the various families collected together in their villages. These 
were generally situated upon small streams, where the land was of 
the best quality. Here corn was planted, rudely, and in small quanti 
ties, but still enough to supply them with food for a short time in the 
latter part of the summer, and the beginning of autumn. The corn 
was cultivated entirely by the women. Indelible disgrace would 
have attached to the warrior who could so far forget himself as to 
aid in the performance of this, or any other duty requiring manual 
labor. As they had no domestic animals, no fences were necessary ; 
and the rude instruments then in use allowed them to do little more 
than plant and cover the seed. 

This was the principal season for amusements, for business, and 
for warlike expeditions. Their whole population was brought to 
gether. Days and nights were frequently devoted to feasts, to dances, 
and athletic games. The young men were engaged in these pas 
times, and the others in the discussion and consideration of affairs 
involving the general interest or security. Difficulties and feuds in 
the tribe were terminated. If war existed, it was prosecuted with 
vigor, or proposals for peace were made or received. These few 
months formed, indeed, the social life of the Indian. At all other 
periods, he was a solitary animal, engaged, like most other animals, 
in the great duty of self-preservation. 


It is easy to conceive that this annual .round of employment 
might be occasionally interrupted it, no doubt, was so. A suc 
cessful or a disastrous war changed essentially the condition of a 
tribe, stimulating or depressing them. An unfavorable season for 
hunting increased the labor of the men, and added to the privations 
of their families. There can be little doubt, also, that all tribes, be 
fore the discovery, lived in a state of great insecurity. No fact in 
their whole history is better established than the universal preva 
lence of war among them ; and their wars were too often wars 
ad internecionem. They fought, like the animals around them, to 
destroy, and not to subdue. The war-flag was always flying, arid 
the war-drum sounding. Their villages were generally enclosed 
with palisades, composed of the trunks and limbs of trees, burnt at 
the proper length, and secured, not by being placed in a ditch, but 
by having earth carried and deposited against them. This earth 
was doubtless taken from the soil around, equally, and not by 
making holes, (because in these an enemy could shelter himself,) 
and was carried to the place of deposit by the squaws in skins. 
And in this way, by an accumulation of earth for a succession of 
ages, we are satisfied that the earthen parapets, which so often 
strike the traveller with wonder in the solitary forests of the West, 
have been formed. They are certainly monuments of aboriginal 
labor, but of labor expended for safety and existence during many 
generations. In the narrative of Cartier's voyage to the St. Law 
rence, is a minute description of one of these fortified villages, occu 
pying the present site of Montreal, and there called Hochelaga. 
The process of attack and defence is stated, and the whole corre 
sponds with the account we have given, and with all we know of 
the manners and condition of the Indians. 

Their government was then, as it is now, essentially a govern 
ment of opinion. It is not probable that any punishments were 
ever judicially affixed to crimes. But their circumstances were 
such, that few crimes could be committed. Ardent spirits, the 


bane of civilized and of savage life, were unknown among them. 
No facts have come down to us indicating that any intoxicating 
liquor was ever used by them ; consequently, their passions were 
never excited or inflamed, as they now are, by this destructive 
habit. Of real property they had none for theirs was a perpetual 
community in the possession of their lands ; and their personal 
property was of very trifling value, consisting of little more than 
the skins in which they were clothed There were no motives, 
therefore, to violate the rights of property, and few to disturb the 
rights of persons Murder was almost the only offence which, by 
universal consent, was followed by punishment ; and this punish^ 
ment, if such it can be called, was the right which the friends of the 
deceased person possessed to take the life of the offender, or to com 
mute, by receiving some valuable article. 

Each tribe had two descriptions of officers, performing different 
duties, and acting independent of each other. The village, or 
peace chiefs, directed the civil concerns of the government. They 
were usually hereditary, or elected from particular families. 
Among some of the tribes, the descent was in the direct line from 
father to son ; among others, it was in the collateral line, from the 
uncle to the nephew the son of his sister and where this was the 
case, the reason given was to insure the succession to the blood of 
the first chief, which object was certainly attained by selecting the 
sister's son to succeed each chief. Women were sometimes, but 
not often, eligible to authority. All these elections and successions 
were regulated by established rules, as were the ceremonials attend 
ing them. The rank of these chiefs was fixed, and generally one 
of them was the acknowledged head of the tribe, and the others 
were his counsellors. The external form of the government was 
arbitrary, but in its practical operation it was a democracy. No 
question was decided but upon full discussion and deliberation 
among the chiefs, and doubtless the public opinion produced its 
pffoct upon them. These chiefs adjusted any disputes existing 



among the individuals or families of the tribe ; assigned to all their 
proper hunting districts ; received and transmitted messages from 
and to other tribes ; conducted and controlled their great feasts and 
religious festivals, and concluded peace. 

But with the declaration of war terminated these duties, and all 
the authority of these conscript fathers. Like the decree of the 
Roman senate, which declared the republic in danger and prostrated 
all other power before the dictator, the commencement of hostilities 
suspended all the authority of the village chiefs, and substituted 
that of the war chiefs. In the selection of these warriors, the acci 
dent of birth had no influence. Reckless valor ; the ability to do 
and to suffer ; the power to lead and command, all proved and dis 
played in many a bloody combat, could alone elevate an Indian to 
the command of his countrymen, which dignity conferred little else 
than the right to lead, and to be the first in every desperate enter 
prise. Their tactics embraced no combination of movement, none 
of that system of manoeuvres which teaches every combatant that 
he is a part of a great machine, ruled and regulated by one presiding 
spirit. Their battles, like those described by Homer, were single 
combats, in which physical force and courage prevailed. 

It is not easy to ascertain their mythological opinions, or their 
religious doctrines. Almost all the tribes have been more or less 
the objects of instruction by the missionaries sent among them by 
various religious societies, established among the Christian nations 
who have planted colonies on the continent. The effect of the doc 
trines taught by these missionaries upon the traditions and opinions 
of the Indians is visible ; and it is difficult to separate what they 
have thus received from what they have inherited from their fore 
fathers. Nothing can be more crude than these fables and notions, 
which are certainly their own, and which constitute their system 
of theology. They probably had an indistinct idea of a futme 
existence ; but it was doubtful, shadowy, unproductive, Ihe mere 
wreck of a revelation made in the early ages of the world, adhered 


to without knowledge, and without hope. Every object in nature 
had a familiar spirit, some for good and some for evil. And the 
Creator, in their view, seems to have been a gigantic, undefined 
being, contending with the elements, sometimes subduing, and 
sometimes subdued by them. 

It is impossible to reconcile the inconsistent opinions of his power 
and other attributes, to be deduced from the traditionary fables 
which they repeat and believe. Under the name Nanibujo, or some 
similar appellative, he is known to the tribes of the Algonquin stock ; 
and the idlest and wildest tales are told of his prowess and contests, 
sometimes with the deluge, which seems to form an era in all tra 
ditions, and sometimes with the imaginary animals with which the 
water and the land were filled.* We feel no disposition to repeat 
these stories here. They would scarcely serve the purpose of 
amusing the reader, and only add to the many existing proofs of the 
folly to which man is prone in an unenlightened state. 

The intellectual acquirements of the Indians were as low as they 
are recorded to have been among any people on the face of the 
earth. They had no letters and no learning. Not the slightest 
rudiments of a single science were known among them. The sun, 
and moon, and stars, were balls of light set in the heavens. The 
earth was an island. Their pathology referred every disorder to a 
spirit which was to be driven out by the noise and incantations of 
the jugglers, which constituted their whole medical science. Their 
arithmetic enabled them to count to a hundred, and here, generally, 
their power over numbers ceased. Their arts consisted in making 
a bow and arrow and canoe, and in taking their game upon the land 
and in the water. We presume there was scarcely an Indian on 
the continent who could comprehend an abstract idea, and at this 
day the process is neither common nor easy. The great business 
of their lives was to procure food, and devour it; and to subdue 
their enemies, and scalp them. 

* See McKenney's Tour to the Lakes, pp. 302, 3, 4, 5, &c. 



Such, in general} was the condition of the Indians when the 
Europeans arrived among them. Their sources of enjoyment were 
few and simple, and it is possible, notwithstanding the state of their 
society was such as we have depicted it, that they enjoyed some 
proportion of happiness. Why they had advanced so little in all 
that constitutes the progress of society, it is not easy to conjecture. 
The question presents one of the most difficult problems to be found 
in the whole history of mankind. Here was a people in the rudest 
condition, knowing nothing, and attentive to nothing but their 
physical wants; without metallic instruments, agriculture, manu 
factures, or education ; and with the means only of supplying their 
most indispensable animal necessities. Such, doubtless, had been 
their condition for ages. It certainly could not have been worse at 
any period of their previous history ; if it had been, they must have 
been more helpless than the animals around them, and from entire 
improvidence, and the absence of power to protect and perpetuate 
existence, have become extinct. 

What then prevented their advancement ? Why was experience 
lost upon them ? Knowing that the alternations of the seasons would 
bring with them abundance and scarcity, why did they not provide 
for the one when they possessed the other ? The accumulation of 
knowledge forms the distinguishing characteristic between men and 
brutes. The boundary which divides reason and instinct is not 
always well denned, nor easily ascertained. Indeed, who cnn 
determine where instinct terminates and reason begins ? In some 
important respects, instinct is a less fallible guide than reason. But 
as instinct was at the creation, so it is now. It exerts the same 
influence over the same varieties of living beings, and under the 
same modifications now as heretofore : whereas reason is now, and 
has always been, susceptible of indefinite, perhaps infinite, improve 
ment. The treasures of knowledge accumulated by those who have 
gone before us have descended to us. Their experience has become 
our experience, and we are taught by it what to embrace and what 


to avoid. But of all this the aboriginal inhabitants of America 
exhibited no example. They were stationary, looking upon life as 
a scene of physical exertion, without improving, or attempting to 
improve. With the exception of the half-civilized empires of 
Mexico and Peru the condition and improvement of which, we are 
satisfied, were grossly exaggerated by the early adventurers all the 
primitive inhabitants, from the Straits of Magellan to Hudson's Bay, 
were in this state of helpless ignorance and imbecility. Whether 
they inhabited the mild and genial climates, were burned by the 
vertical sun of the tropics, or by a still harder fate were condemned 
to the bleak and sterile regions of the north, all were equally station 
ary and improvident. Ages passed by, and made no impression 
upon them. The experience of the past, and the aspiration of the 
future, were alike unheeded. Their existence was confined to the 
present. We confess our inability to explain this enigma, and we 
leave it without further observation. 

Their previous history and progress are utterly lost lost in that 
long interval of darkness which precedes authentic history amongst 
all nations it rests, and probably will ever rest, upon the Indians. 

In what direction the current of emigration traversed the conti 
nent, and when and where it sent out its lateral branches to form 
distinct communities, and eventually to speak different languages, 
we have no means of ascertaining. Some of the Indian traditions 
refer to an eastern, and some to a western origin ; but most of the 
tribes trace their descent to the soil they inhabit, and believe their 
ancestors emerged from the earth. Nothing can be more uncertain, 
and more unworthy, we will not say of credit, but of consideration, 
than their earlier traditions ; and probably there is not a single fact 
in all their history, supported by satisfactory evidence, which oc 
curred half a century previous to the establishment of the Euro 
peans. It is well known that important incidents are communicated, 
and their remembrance preserved, by belts of wampum formed of 
strings of beads originally made of white clay, in a rude manner, 


by themselves, but now manufactured for them from shells. These 
beads were variously colored, and so arranged as to bear a distant 
resemblance to the objects intended to be delineated. The belts 
were particularly devoted to the preservation of speeches, the pro 
ceedings of councils, and the formation of treaties. One of the 
principal counsellors was the custos Totnlorum; and it was his duty 
to repeat, from time to time, the speeches and narratives connected 
with these belts, to impress them fully upon his memory, and to 
transmit them to his successor. At a certain season every year, 
they were taken from their places of deposit, and exposed to the 
whole tribe, while the history of each was publicly recited. It is 
obvious that, by the principles of association, these belts would 
enable those whose duty it was to preserve, with more certainty 
and facility, the traditionary narratives ; and they were memorials 
of the events themselves, like the sacred relics which the Jews were 
directed to deposit in the ark of the covenant. How far the inter 
course between the various tribes extended, cannot be known. 
There is reason to believe that the victorious Iroquois carried their 
arms to Mexico. It has been stated by Mr. Stickney, an intelli 
gent observer, well acquainted with the Indians (having been 
formerly Indian agent at Fort Wayne), that he once saw a very 
ancient belt among the Wyandots, which they told him had come 
from -i large Indian nation in the south-west. At the time of its 
reception, as ever since, the Wyandots were the leading tribe in 
this quarter of the continent. Placed at the head of the great 
Indian commonwealth by circumstances which even their tradition 
does not record, they held the great council fire, and possessed the 
right of convening the various tribes around it, whenever any 
important occurrence required general deliberation. This belt had 
been specially transmitted to them, and from the attendant circum 
stances and accompanying narrative, Mr. Stickney had no doubt 
that it was sent by the Mexican emperor, at the period of the invar 
sion of that country by Cortez. The speech stated, in substance, 


that a new and strange animal had appeared upon the coast, de 
scribing him, like the fabled centaurs of antiquity, as part man and 
part quadruped ; and adding that he commanded the thunder and 
lightning. The object seemed to be to put the Indians on their 
guard against this terrible monster, wherever he might appear. 

Could a collection of these ancient belts be now made, and the 
accompanying narratives recorded, it would afford curious and 
interesting materials, reflecting, no doubt, much light upon the 
former situation and history of the Indians. But it is vain to 
expect such a discovery. In the mutations and migrations of the 
various tribes, misfortunes have pressed so heavily upon them, that 
they have been unable to preserve their people or their country, 
much less the memorials of their former power. These have 
perished in the general wreck of their fortunes lost, as have been 
the sites of their council fires, and the graves of their fathers. 

When the French first entered the St. Lawrence, the great war 
had commenced between the Wyandots and the Iroquois, which 
terminated in the entire discomfiture of the former, and produced 
important effects upon all the tribes within the sphere of its opera 
tion. The origin of this war is variously related ; but the more 
probable account refers it to the murder of a small party of Iroquois 
hunters by some of the young Wyandots, jealous of their success. 
Previous to this event, the Iroquois had been rebuked by the 
superior genius and fortune of their rivals, and lived peaceably in 
their vicinity, without competition, if not without envy, and devoting 
themselves to the chase. This unprovoked outrage roused their 
resentment, and, finding that no satisfaction could be obtained, that 
their representations were slighted, and themselves treated, with 
scorn, they took up arms. No contest at its commencement could 
have appeared more hopeless. Experience, character, influence, 
numbers, all were in favor of their enemies. And yet this war, 
commenced under such inauspicious circumstances, ended in the 
utter prostration, and almost in the extinction, of the Wyandots , 


entiiled upon them a series of calamities unexampled in any history, 
and elevated the Iroquois to the summit of aboriginal power and 
fame. It produced, also, the most important consequences upon the 
whole course of Indian events during more than a century of despe 
rate valor and enterprise. Little did they think, who commenced 
this war with arrows pointed with flints, and with war-clubs rudely 
made from the hard knots of trees, that before its termination a new 
race of men would arrive among them, destined to exert a final and 
decisive influence upon their fate, and bringing with them new 
weapons, terrific in their appearance and sound, and more terrible 
still by their invisible operation and bloody effects. 

In the sunlight of the Indian condition, there were redeeming 
circumstances which did much to balance the evil resulting from 
their peculiar condition and institutions. Their solemn assemblies 
and grave deliberations around their council fires presented imposing 
spectacles. From some of the facts incidentally stated by the early 
French historians, it is obvious that the chiefs were then treated 
with much more respect than is now paid them. It was the duty 
of the young hunters to provide them with the food and furs neces 
sary for the support and clothing of their families. It was, in fact, 
a tax levied under the conciliatory name of present. The sieur 
Perrot, who was sent in 1671 with messages from the Governor- 
general of Canada to many of the western tribes, states that the 
great chief of the Miamies then lived at Chicago, upon Lake Michi 
gan. That he was constantly attended by a guard of forty young 
warriors, as well for state as for security, and the ceremonies of intro 
duction to him were grave and imposing. All this evinces the 
consideration then attached to the chiefs, which gave to them much 
personal influence, and to their opinions much weight and authority 
This deference served to counteract the democratic tendency of 
their institutions, and operated in the same manner as the more 
artificial checks in civilized governments. Age, and wisdom, and 
experience, were thus protected from rude interruption, and the 


rashness of youth, as well as from those sudden tempests of passion, 
to which they are as easily exposed as their own lakes to the tem 
pests that sweep over them. 

In comparing the present situation of the Indians with their con 
dition before the discovery, great allowances must be made for the 
changes which have been produced, and for their general deteriora^ 
tion in manners, in morals, and in extrinsic circumstances. There 
are, and no doubt always have been, radical defects in their institu 
tions defects peculiar to themselves, and which have made them a 
phenomenon among the human family. That there are varieties in 
the human race, is a physiological truth which will not be ques 
tioned. The controversy begins only when the causes of this 
diversity are investigated, and their extent and effects are estimated, 
This wide field of discussion we shall not enter. And it must be 
left to future inquirers to ascertain whether the physical differences 
so obviously discernible in comparisons between the Caucasian, 
Mongolian, Ethiopian, Malay, and other varieties, are the cause or 
the consequence of the peculiar moral characteristics by which the 
various races of men are distinguished. 

The aboriginal inhabitants of America are marked by external 
features peculiar to themselves, and which distinguish them from 
all the other descendants of Adam. They are marked, too, by 
peculiar opinions, habits, manners, and institutions. The effect of 
the coming of the Europeans among them cannot be doubted. 
They have diminished in numbers, deteriorated in morals, and lost 
all the most prominent and striking traits of their character. It 
were vain to speculate now upon the position they would have 
occupied, had they abandoned their own institutions, and coalesced 
with the strangers who came among them. 

But these more general observations can give but an indefinite 
idea of the circumstances and situation of the Indians. We must 
not only survey them as one people, possessing similar character 
istics, but we must view them also in detached groups, as they 


actually lived, and occupied different portions of the country, each 
pursuing their course independent of and too often at war with, 
their neighbors. But in this general sketch we shall not attempt 
to trace the history of all the tribes whose names have come down 
to us. Such a task would be alike hopeless and unprofitable. We 
shall confine ourselves to the more prominent divisions, whose pro 
gress, condition, and fate, are best known to us. 

The tribes occupying that part of the United States east of the 
Hudson River, were known to the other Indians under the general 
name of Wabcnauki, or men of the east. Their languages were 
cognate dialects, branches of the Algonquin stock, and bearing a 
very perceptible resemblance to one another. It cannot be doubted 
that all these tribes had one origin ; and that their separation into 
distinct communities had taken place at no very remote period 
tfhen our acquaintance with them first commenced. 

Heavily indeed have time and circumstances pressed upon them. 
They may all be considered as extinct, for the few wretched indi 
viduals who survive have lost all that was worth possessing of their 
own character, without acquiring any thing that is estimable in 
ours. As the great destroyer has thus blighted the relations which 
once existed between these Indians and our forefathers, it does not 
fall within our plan to review their former condition, and to trace 
the history of the numerous small bands into which they appear to 
have been divided. Little besides the names of many of them is 
now known, and these have probably been multiplied by the igno 
rance and carelessness of observers but imperfectly acquainted with 
them. The Narragansets and the Pequods are the two tribes with 
whose names and deeds we are most familiar. The former from 
their skill in the manufacture of wampum, earthen vessels, and 
other articles, originally used by the Indians ; and the latter from 
their prowess in war, and from the desperate resistance they made 
to the progress of the white men. Their principal chief, known to 
us by the English name Philip, appears to have been an able and in 


trepid man, contending, under the most discouraging circumstances, 
against invaders of his country, and falling with the fall of all that 
was dear to him, when further resistance was impracticable. His 
name, with the names of Pontiac and Tecumthe, and a few others, 
seems alone destined to survive the oblivion which rests upon the 
forest warriors, and upon their deeds. 

The Mohegans occupied most of the country upon the Hudson 
River, and between that river and the Connecticut. Conflicting 
accounts are given of their language and origin ; but, since more 
accurate investigations have been made into the general subject of 
our Indian relations, we know that they are a branch of the Dela 
ware family, and closely connected with the parent stocks. So far 
as our information extends, this was their original country, for the 
wild traditions which have been gravely recorded and repeated, 
respecting the migrations and fortunes of this great aboriginal 
family, are unworthy of serious consideration. A few hundreds of 
this tribe are yet remaining; but they abandoned their primitive 
seats many years ago, and attached themselves to some of their 
kindred bands. A few of them have passed the Mississippi, and 
others are residing in Upper Canada ; but the larger portion have 
established themselves at Green Bay. 

The Six Nations, known to the French as the Iroquois, and to 
the English as the Mingoes, were the most powerful tribe of Indians 
upon the continent. They originally occupied the country north 
of Lake Ontario ; but, after the commencement of hostilities between 
them and the Wyandots, and their allies, the Algonquins, they 
removed to the south of that lake, and established their residence in 
what is now the western part of the State of New York. At the 
commencement of this contest, they were so unequal to their adver 
saries that they withdrew beyond the sphere of their operations, and 
engaged in hostilities with the Shawanese, then living upon the 
southern shore of Lake Erie. Their eiforts were here successful, 
and they expelled this tribe from their country, and took possession. 


Emboldened by success, and having acquired experience in war, 
from which they had long refrained, they turned their arms against 
their enemies to revenge the injuries they had received. A long 
and bloody contest ensued, and it was raging when the French 
occupied the banks of the St. Lawrence. They took part with the 
Wyandots and Algonquins, and Champlain accompanied a war 
party in one of their expeditions, and upon the shore of the lake 
which bears his name, fought a battle with the Iroquois, and defeated 
them by the use of fire-arms, which then became first known to 
these aborigines. But the latter were soon furnished with the 
destructive weapon of European warfare by the English and 
Dutch, and their career of conquest extended to the Mississippi. 
The Wyandots and Algonquins were almost exterminated, and the 
feeble remnant were compelled to seek refuge in the Manitoulin 
Islands, which line the northern coast of Lake Huron. Their 
inexorable enemies followed them into these secluded regions, and 
finally compelled them to flee among the Sioux, then living west 
of Lake Superior. 

During almost a century, they harassed the French settlements, 
impeded their progress, and even bearded them under the walls of 
Quebec. It has been thought that Champlain and his successors in 
authority > who controlled the destiny of New France, committed a 
great political error in identifying their cause with that of either of 
the hostile parties. But a neutral course was impracticable. Abo 
riginal politics necessarily associated with the great contest for 
supremacy, then pending between the Iroquois and their enemies. 
It was the absorbing topic of discussion, and those who were friendly 
to one party were of course hostile to the other. Had the French 
declined the overtures of both, they would have acquired the confi 
dence of neither, and probably have furnished another proof of the 
inefficacy of temporizing measures in great questions of public 
policy. They naturally attached themselves to those of their own 
immediate vicinity, and the others were as naturally thrown into 


the arms of the English. During the long contest between these 
two European powers for supremacy upon the continent, the Iro- 
quois were generally found in the English interest, and the other 
tribes in the French. 

History furnishes few examples of more desperate valor, more 
daring enterprise, or more patriotic devotion, than are found in these 
wars, first waged by the Iroquois for that revenge which they re 
garded as justice, but afterwards for conquest. 

Those Indians present the only example of intimate union recorded 
in aboriginal history. They consisted originally of five tribes, 
namely, the Mohawks, the Onondagos, the Senecas, the Oneidas, and 
the Cayugas. About the year 1717, the Tuscaroras joined the 
confederacy, and formed the sixth tribe. From this period, the Iro 
quois were sometimes known as the Five Nations, and sometimes 
as the Six Nations. 

The origin of this confederacy is unknown to us. It existed 
when they became first known to the whites. So imperfect were 
the investigations made into these subjects, that the principles of 
their union are but little understood. Each tribe probably managed 
its internal concerns independent of all the others. But the whole 
seemed to have formed an Amphictyonic league, in which subjects 
of general interest were discussed and determined. The Tusca- 
rora tribe had occupied a portion of North Carolina ; but they became 
involved in difficulties with the people of that province, and, after a 
series of disasters, were compelled to abandon it. Their language 
resembles that spoken by the other tribes of the confederacy, and 
there is little doubt that at some former period they had been united 
by an intimate connection, and probably by the ties of consanguinity. 
They must have separated from the kindred stock, and been led by 
circumstances, now unknown, to migrate to North Carolina ; and 
thence perhaps, after a lapse of ages, they were driven back to their 
ancient possessions. Dr. Williamson has observed that " this 
migration of the Tuscarora Indians, and other migrations of Indian 


tribes, well attested, do not accord with Lord Raines's observation, 
that ' savages are remarkably attached to their native soil.' ' There 
are many instances in the history of the Indians where their primi 
tive country has been abandoned, and a new one obtained by favor 
or by power. These migrations, however, have seldom, perhaps 
never, been voluntary, but the result of untoward circumstances, 
submitted to with great reluctance. They are certainly far from 
drawing in question the accuracy of the observation referred to. 

Of this once powerful confederacy, about six thousand individuals 
now remain. The larger portion of them live upon a reservation 
near Buffalo, in the St ite of New York : a few are found in Penn 
sylvania, and some in Ohio, at Green Bay, and in Canada. 

The Delawares were situated principally upon tide-water in New 
Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Their own appellation of 
Lenne Lenape, or original people, has been almost forgotten by 
themselves, and is never used by the other tribes. This is the 
family about which so many fables have been related, and credited. 
Occupying the country between the Hudson and Potomac rivers, 
and between the eastern slope of the Alleghany Mountains and the 
ocean, they became early known to the Moravians, and engaged the 
care and attention of the zealous missionaries employed by those 
exemplary Christians. The whole subject of Indian relations was 
fresh and new to them. They seem never to have known, or to 
have heeded, that enterprising, sagacious, and learned men had long 
preceded them in these investigations, and had traversed the conti 
nent, surveying the condition of its inhabitants, and inquiring into 
the changes they had undergone. All that the Delawares told of 
themselves seems to have been received without suspicion, and 
recorded and repeated without scrutiny. It is easy for those who 
have formed much acquaintance with the Indians, to trace the 
circumstances which gave to the legends of the Delawares such 
authority, and to the teachers of the Delawares such credulity. 

The Moravians were first planted among these Indians. Their 


inoffensive lives, and disinterested efforts to improve them, soon 
created mutual confidence and attachment. The Moravians fol 
lowed them in their various migrations, from the Susquehanna to 
the Ohio, from the Ohio to the Muskingum, from the Muskingum 
to Lake St. Clair, and thence in many of their wanderings, that 
have at last terminated in their passage across the Mississippi, 
which, like the fabled river, dividing the living from the dead, can 
never be recrossed by an Indian community. 

During this long, frequently perilous, and always pious inter 
course, the attention of the missionaries was directed exclusively to 
their neophytes. The manners, customs, and condition of the other 
tribes were a sealed book to them. And when the old Delaware 
chief recounted their transactions, dwelling with fond regret upon 
the fallen fortunes of their nation, and explaining the subtle policy 
of the Iroquois, by which the Delawares were reduced to the con 
dition of women, it was perhaps natural that the tale should be 
believed. Its utter inconsistency with the whole course of Indian 
conduct, and with the authentic series of events, as they appear in 
the early French narratives, before this pretended self-abasement, 
was unknown to these unsuspecting, worthy men. He who has 
heard Indian traditions, related by age, and listened to by youth, in 
the midst of an Indian camp, with every eye upon the speaker, and 
" all appliances to boot," must be sensible of the impression they 
are calculated to make, And we may well excuse the spirit in 
which they were received. 

The Delawares, at the period when our knowledge of them com 
menced, had yielded to the ascendency of the Iroquois ; and were 
apparently contented with their submission. The circumstances 
of the conquest are entirely unknown to us. But of the result there 
is no doubt. The proceedings of a council, recorded by Golden, 
held with the Iroquois and Delawares, at Philadelphia, in 1742, by 
the Governor of Pennsylvania, are conclusive upon this point. The 
Tioquois appealed to the governor, as the acknowledged, paramount 


authority, to remove the Delawares from a tract of land which they 
had ceded to Pennsylvania many years before, but the possession 
of which they refused to relinquish. The complaint was made in 
open council, at which the Iroquois and Delawares were both 
present, and at the next sitting it was answered by the former in 
these words : " We have concluded to remove them, and oblige 
them to go over the river Delaware," &c. And then, turning to the 
Delawares, the speaker said : " Cousins, let this belt of warnpum 
serve to chastise you. You ought to be taken by the hair of the 
head and stretched severely till you recover your senses and become 
sober. But how came you to take upon you to sell land at all ? 
We conquered you ; we made women of you ; you know you are 
women ; and is it fit that you should have the power of selling lands, 
since you would abuse it ? The land you claim is expended ; you 
have been furnished with clothes, meat, and drink, by the goods 
paid you for it, and now you want it again, like children, as you 
are. And for all these reasons we charge you to remove instantly. 
We don't give you the liberty to think about it. Don't deliberate, 
but remove away, and take this belt of wampum." 

This being interpreted by Conrad Wesir into English, and by 
Cornelius Spring into the Delaware language, Canepitigo, taking a 
string of wampum, added further : 

" After our just reproof, and absolute order to depart from the 
lands, you have now to take notice of what we have further to say 
to you. This string of wampum serves to forbid you, your children, 
and grandchildren, to the latest posterity, for ever, meddling in land 
affairs ; neither you, nor any who shall descend from you, are ever 
hereafter to presume to sell any land. For which purpose you are 
to preserve this string, in memory of what your uncles have this 
day given you in charge. We have some other business to trans 
act with our brethren (the whites), and therefore depart the council, 
and consider what has been said to you." 


He who can believe, after this, the idle tales related of the power 
and prowess of the Delawares, must be left to his credulity. 

The principal portion of this tribe emigrated from Pennsylvania 
many years since, and established themselves in Ohio. Thence 
they removed to White River, in Indiana. A few years ago, they 
crossed the Mississippi, and now occupy a reservation secured to 
them in the south-western part of Missouri. 

, The Wyandots stood at the head of the great Indian confederacy. 
How this pre-eminence was acquired, or how long it had been en 
joyed, there are none to tell. They were originally established on 
the St. Lawrence; but, during their long and disastrous contests 
with the Iroquois, they were greatly reduced, and compelled to flee 
before these victorious enemies. From their local position, they 
engaged the care and attention of the Roman Catholic missionaries 
at a very early period, and their history, for upwards of two cen 
turies, is better known than that of any other tribe. After the Iro 
quois began to gain the ascendency, the calamities endured by the 
Wyandots are unparalleled in the history of nations. Their ene 
mies pursued them with the most unrelenting rigor ; and, without 
attempting to trace the incidents of this war, we shall merely ob 
serve that the Wyandots were driven to seek protection from the 
Sioux, at the western extremity of Lake Superior. They here 
remained until the Iroquois were crippled by their wars with the 
French, when they returned to Lake Huron, and established them 
selves for a short time in the vicinity of Michilimackinac. Dis 
satisfied with that sterile region, they descended the Detroit River 
about the period when the French formed their first settlements in 
that quarter, and afterwards took possession of the Sandusky plains, 
in Ohio. A small portion of the tribe yet live upon the river aux 
Canards, in Upper Canada; and a still smaller portion upon the 
River Huron of Lake Erie, in the Michigan territory. The princi 
pal part, however, occupy the country upon the Sandusky River, 



in Ci io. Their entire population, at this period, is about seven 

This tribe was not unworthy of the pre-eminence it enjoyed. 
The Fre-nch historians describe them as superior, in all the essential 
characteristics of savage life, to any other Indians upon the conti 
nent. And at this day, their intrepidity, their general deportment, 
and their lofty bearing, confirm the accounts which have been given 
to us. In all the wars upon our borders, until the conclusion of 
Wayne's treaty, they acted a conspicuous part, and their advice 
in council, and conduct in action, were worthy of their ancient 

They possessed the right to convene the several tribes at the 
great council fire, always burning at the lodge of their principal 
chief, called Sarstantzee, who lived at Brownstown, at the mouth 
of the Detroit River. Whenever any subject, involving the general 
interest of the tribes, required discussion, they despatched messages 
to the country, demanding the attendance of their chiefs, and they 
opened and presided at the deliberations of the council. 

The ingenuity of vengeance has, perhaps, never devised a more 
horrible punishment than that provided among this tribe for murder 
The corpse of the murdered man was placed upon a scaffold, and 
the murderer extended upon his back, and tied below. He was 
here left, with barely food enough to support life, until the remains 
of the murdered subject above him became a mass of putridity, 
falling upon him, and then all food was withheld, when he perished 
hus miserably. There were no traces of a similar punishment 
among any other tribe. 

The Ottawas were the faithful allies of the Wyandots, during all 
their misfortunes, and accompanied them in their various peregrina 
tions. They are now much scattered, occupying positions upon the 
Maumee, upon the Grand River of Lake Michigan, upon the eastern 
and western coasts of that lake, and upon the heads of the Illinois 
River. Their number is about four thousand. 


To this tribe belonged the celebrated Pontiac. He was born 
about the year 1714, and while a young man distinguished himself 
in the various wars in which the Ottawas were engaged. He 
gradually acquired an ascendency over his countrymen, and his 
name and actions became known to all the tribes in the north-west, 
He was a faithful adherent to the French interest, and a determined 
enemy of the English, During many years of the long contest 
between those powers, which terminated in the utter subversion of 
the French empire in America, he was present in all the important 
actions, stimulating his countrymen by his authority and example. 
Major Rogers states, in his narrative, that when he marched into 
the Ottawa country with his first detachment, which took posses 
sion of the posts in the north-west, Pontiac met him with a party 
of his warriors, and told him he stood in his path, and would not 
suffer him to advance. By amicable professions, however, Major 
Rogers conciliated him, and for a short time he appeared to be 
friendly. But his attachment to the French, and hostility to the 
British, were too deeply rooted to be eradicated, and he concerted 
a scheme for the overthrow of the latter, and for their expulsion 
from the country. No plan formed by the Indians for defence or 
revenge, since the discovery of the continent, can be compared 
with this, in the ability displayed in its formation, or in the vigor 
with which it was prosecuted. The British had then eleven mili 
tary posts covering that frontier : at Niagara, at Presque Isle, at Le 
Boeuf, at Pittsburg, at Sandusky, at the Maumee, at Detroit, at 
Michilimackinac, at Green Bay, and at St. Joseph. Pontiac medi 
tated a contemporaneous attack upon all these posts ; and, after their 
reduction, a permanent confederacy among the Indians, and a per 
petual exclusion of the British from the country. Like Tecumthe, 
he called the superstition of the Indians to the aid of his projects, 
and disclosed to them the will of the Great Spirit, which he pre 
vailed on them to believe had been revealed to him by the various 
prophets over whom he had acquired an influence. One great 


bject was to render his people independent of the white men, by 
persuading them to resume their ancient mode of life. 

To follow the history of Pontiac in his eventful career, would 
lead us too far from the course we have prescribed for ourselves. 
Some of the principal facts are recorded in the journals of that day ; 
but these are the mere outlines. All that gives interest to the. 
picture, lives only in the Indian and Canadian tradition, and in the 
few manuscript notices of these transactions, which have been acci 
dentally preserved. 

Eight of these posts were captured. But Niagara, Pittsburg, 
and Detroit, were successfully defended. The siege of the latter is 
by far the most extraordinary effort ever made by the Indians in 
any of their wars. It commenced in May, 1763, and continued, 
with more or less vigor, until the place was relieved by General 
Brad street, in 1764. During this period, many of the events seem 
more like the incidents of romance, than the occurrences of an 
Indian campaign. Among these were the attempt to gain posses 
sion of the town by treachery, and its providential disclosure ; the 
attack upon one of the British armed vessels by a fleet of canoes, 
and the precipitate retreat of the assailants, after gaining possession 
of the vessel, in consequence of orders being given by the captain 
to fire the magazine, which were overheard, and communicated to 
the Indians by a white man, who had been taken captive by them 
early in life ; the battle of the Bloody Bridge, well named from 
this sanguinary action, in which an aid-de-camp of Sir Jeffrey Am- 
herst commanded and fell, and the desperate efforts twice made by 
blazing rafts to set fire to the armed vessels anchored in front of the 
town these, among many events of subordinate interest, give a 
character of perseverance and of systematic effort to this siege, toi 
which we shall in vain look elsewhere in Indian history. If con 
temporary accounts and traditionary recollections can be credited, 
all these were the result of the superior genius of Pontiac, and ot 
the ascendency he had gained over his countrymen. 



The subsequent fate of this warrior chief did not correspond with 
the heroic spirit he displayed in his efforts against the British. 
After their power upon the frontier was re-established, he left the 
country and took refuge among the Indians upon the Illinois. From 
some trivial cause a quarrel arose between him and a Peoria Indian, 
which terminated in his assassination. 

Such was the respect in which his memory was held, that the 
other tribes united in a crusade against the Peorias to revenge his 
death, and that tribe was, in effect, exterminated. 

The Chippewas (or Ojibwas) reach from Lake Erie to the Lake 
of the Woods, possessing a country of great extent, much of which, 
however, is sterile in its soil, and bleak in its climate. They 
possess the coasts of Lake Huron and Lake Superior, the heads of 
the Mississippi, some of the western coast of Lake Michigan, and have 
a joint interest with the Ottawas and Pottawatimies in the country 
of the Fox and Des Pleines Rivers in Illinois. Their numbers are 
computed at fifteen thousand. 

These Indians live generally upon the great lakes, and upon the 
streams flowing into them. Fish forms an important article of their 
food, and they are expert in the manufacture of bark canoes, the 
only kind used by them, and in their management. In cleanliness, 
in docility, and in provident arrangement, they are inferior to many 
of the other tribes; and those in the immediate vicinity of our 
frontier posts and settlements, furnish melancholy examples of the 
effect of the introduction of spirituous liquors among them. All the 
bands extending to the arctic circle, and occupying the territories 
of the Hudson's Bay Company, appear to be branches of this great 
family. The principal seat of their power and government was 
formerly at Point Chegoimegon, upon Lake Superior, and from the 
accounts of the Catholic missionaries stationed among them, they 
were then a prosperous and influential tribe. 

The Pottawatimies are situated principally in the northern parts 
if Indiana and Illinois, in the south-western section of Lake Michi- 


gan, and in the country between that lake and the Mississippi. 
They are estimated at about six thousand five hundred. 

This was formerly the most popular tribe north of the Ohio. 
They are remarkable for their stature, symmetry, and fine personal 
appearance. Their original country was along the southern shore 
of Lake Michigan, but they extended themselves to the White 
River, in Indiana, on the south, to the Detroit River on the east, and 
to the Rock River on the west. And they first interposed an 
effectual barrier to the victorious career of the Iroquois. 

Between these three last named tribes, the Ottawas, Chippewas, 
and Pottawatimies, a more intimate union existed than between any 
of the other tribes, not actually forming a strict confederacy. Their 
languages approach so near, that they understand one another with 
out difficulty. They have but one council fire; in other words, 
but one assemblage of chiefs, in which their important business is 
managed. And until recently they were unwilling to conclude 
any important affair, unless around this common council fire. But 
this institution, like many of their other peculiar customs, is fast 
mouldering away. Many of the circumstances which gave influence 
arid authority to these grave convocations, have long since dis 
appeared. The ashes of their council fires are scattered over 
the land, and the plough has turned up the bones of their fore 

The Shawanese, for more than a century, have been much sepa 
rated, and their bands have resided in different parts of the country 
A considerable portion of them live upon a reservation at Waupauko- 
netta, in Ohio, but a majority have crossed the Mississippi, and have 
recommenced the life of warriors and hunters, in hostile attacks 
upon the Osages, and in the pursuit of the buffalo. This transmi 
gration commenced during our revolutionary war. They made 
their first settlement, on their removal, near Cape Girardeau. This 
position they have since relinquished, and they are now much dis- 


persed in Louisiana, in Arkansas, and in Missouri. The tribe 
numbers about two thousand persons. 

Much obscurity rests upon the history of the Shawanese. Their 
manners, customs, and language indicate a northern origin, and 
upwards of two centuries ago they held the country south of Lake 
Erie. They were the first tribe which felt the force, and yielded 
to the superiority, of the Iroquois. Conquered by them, they 
migrated to the south, and from fear or favor, were allowed to take 
possession of a region upon Savannah River, but what part of that 
river, whether in Georgia or Florida, is not known it is presumed, 
the former. How long they resided there, we have not the means 
of ascertaining ; nor have we any account of the incidents of their 
history in that country, or of the causes of their leaving it. One, 
if not more, of their bands removed from thence to Pennsylvania; 
but the larger portion took possession of the country upon the 
Miami and Sciota Rivers, in Ohio, a fertile region, where their 
habits, more industrious than those of their race generally, enabled 
them to live comfortably. 

This is the only tribe, among all our Indians, who claim for them 
selves a foreign origin. Most of the aborigines of the continent 
believe their forefathers ascended from holes in the earth ; and many 
of them assign a local habitation to these traditionary places of 
nativity of their race ; resembling, in this respect, some of the 
traditions of antiquity, and derived, perhaps, from that remote 
period, when barbarous tribes were troglodytes, subsisting upon 
the spontaneous productions of the earth. The Shawanese believe 
their ancestors inhabited a foreign land, which, from some unknown 
cause, they determined to abandon. They collected their people 
together, and marched to the sea shore. Here various persons were 
selected to lead them, but they declined the duty, until it w:is 
undertaken by one of the Turtle tribe. He placed himself at the 
head of the procession, and walked into the sea. The waters imme- 


diately divided, and they passed along the bottom of the ocean, 
until they reached this "island." 

The Shawanese have one institution peculiar to themselves. 
Their nation was originally divided into twelve tribes or bands, 
bearing different names. Each of these tribes was subdivided, in the 
usual manner, into families of the Eagle, the Turtle, &c., these ani 
mals constituting their totems. Two of these tribes have become 
extinct, and their names are forgotten. The names of the other ten 
are preserved ; but only four of these are now kept distinct. These 
are the Makostrake, the Pickaway, the Kickapoo, and the Chilicothe 
tribes. Of the six whose names are preserved, but whose separate 
characters are lost, no descendants of one of them, the Wauphautha- 
wonaukee, now survive. The remains of the other five have become 
incorporated with the four subsisting tribes. E ven to this day, each 
of the four sides of their council houses is assigned to one of these 
tribes, and is invariably occupied by it, Although, to us, they appear 
the same people, yet they pretend to possess the power of discerning, 
at sight, to which tribe an individual belongs. 

The celebrated Tecumthe, and his brother Tens-kwau-ta-rvaw, 
more generally known by the appellation of the Prophet, were 
Shawanese, and sprung from the Kickapoo tribe. They belonged 
to the family, or totem, of the Panther, to the males of which alone 
was the name Tecumthe, or Flying across, given. 

Their paternal grandfather was a Creek, and their grandmother 
a Shawanese. The name of their father was Pukeshinwau, who 
was born among the Creeks, but removed with his tribe to Chili 
cothe, upon the Sciota. Tecumthe, his fourth son, was born upon 
the journey Pukeshinwau was killed at the battle at Point Plea 
sant, at the mouth of the Kenhawa, in 1774, and the Prophet was 
one of three posthumous children, born at the same birth, a fe\v 
months afterwards. 

We shall not here relate the incidents of the lives of these tu o 
men, who exercised, for many years, such a powerful influence over 


the minds of their countrymen one by his prowess and reputation 
as a warrior, and the other by his shrewdness, and by the preten 
sions to a direct intercourse with the Great Spirit, and to the 
character and qualifications of a prophet. The elevation and 
authority of Tecumthe resulted from the operation of causes which 
are felt among all nations, and at all times resource and energy in 
war, and success in battle. 

This is the Tecumthe who fell in the late war between the 
United States and Great Britain, in the memorable battle of the 
Thames, in Upper Canada, and, as we believe, by the hand of 
Colonel Richard M. Johnson, of Kentucky. 

The influence acquired by the Prophet arose from circumstances 
peculiar to the Indians, characteristic of the state of their society, 
and of the superstitious notions prevalent among them. The title 
of prophet, as conferred by us upon this sagacious impostor and 
fanatic, conveys a very inadequate idea of his pretensions. Every 
tribe has its prophets, who perform distinguished parts in all public 
transactions. Their celebrity and influence are sometimes confined 
to their own tribe, and sometimes extended to those which are cir 
cumjacent, depending upon the success of their power of vaticina 
tion. But of all these magicians or prophets, no one ever attained 
equal fame, or exercised equal authority with the Shawanese 
Prophet, at first called Sau-te-was-e-kaw, but afterwards Tens- 
kwaw-ta-waw, or, the open door. His name, and the accounts of his 
miracles, spread from Lake Superior to Florida ; and there was not 
a tribe of Indians, in all this vast extent, that did not steadily direct 
their attention to this man, looking for some signal interposition to 
check the ascendency of the whites, and to restore the Indians to 
their former and better condition. During a few of the first years 
of this century, great agitation prevailed among the Indians, and 
they were evidently looking for some great and immediate crisis in 
their affairs. This feeling was manifested in the alarm upon the 
frontiers, and, united with other canses, the most prominent of 



which was foreign influence, led to the battle of Tippecanoe, 
and eventually to the co-operation of some of the tribes with the 

The history of this paroxysm of fanaticism would exhibit many 
curious and interesting traits of human character, and might be 
compared with similar delusions which have prevailed in more 
civilized communities. The Prophet established himself at Green- 
vilJe, upon the Miami of the Ohio, where he was attended by 
delegates from various tribes. He recommended to the Indians to 
refrain from the use of whisky, and to free themselves from all 
dependence upon the whites, by resuming, as far as possible, their 
ancient habits of life. Under the pretence of extirpating witchcraft, 
he inflamed the minds of the Indians against every enemy or rival, 
and procured their destruction. He gathered round him a band of 
faithful believers, prepared to execute his orders upon friend or foe. 
Universal panic prevailed among the Indians, and had not still 
stronger apprehensions overpowered their delusion, by the critical 
relations between the United States and Great Britain, and the 
evident approach of war, the Shawanese Prophet might have 
become the Mahomet of his race. 

In how much of all this he was an impostor, and how much a 
fanatic, it is impossible to tell, and was perhaps unknown to him 
self. The progress of delusion over ourselves is established by the 
whole history of mankind, and the confines of fanaticism and im 
posture are separated by imperceptible boundaries. In the relations 
which he gave of his intentions, opinions, and history, he appears 
to have been candid, and willing to disclose every thing known to 
him. But we shall not fatigue the reader with this narrative. 

The Prophet, before his death, removed west of the Mississippi, 
and joined the Shawanese of that region. Wherever he went hi& 
talents gave him influence over the Indians. 

The Kickapoos were doubtless united with the Shawanese at a 
period not very distant. The traditions of each tribe contain similar 


accounts of their union and separation ; and the identity of their 
language furnishes irrefragable evidence of their consanguinity. 
We are inclined to believe that when the Shawanese were over 
powered by the Iroquois, and abandoned their country upon Lake 
Erie, they separated into two great divisions; one of which, pre 
serving their original appellation, fled into Florida, and the other, 
now known to us as the Kickapoos, returned to the west, and esta 
blished themselves among the Illinois Indians, upon the extensive 
prairies on that river, and between it and the Mississippi. This 
region they have, however, relinquished to the United States, and 
have emigrated to Missouri, near the centre of which State a 
reservation has been secured to them. This tribe numbers about 
two thousand two hundred. 

The Miamies, when first known to the French, were living 
around Chicago, upon Lake Michigan. It was the chief of this 
tribe, whose state and attendance were depicted by the Sieur Perrot 
in such strong colors. Charlevoix, without vouching for the entire 
accuracy of the relation, observes, that in his time there was more 
deference paid by the Miamies to their chiefs, than by any other 

This tribe removed from Lake Michigan to the Wabash, where 
they yet retain an extensive tract of country upon which they reside. 
A kindred tribe, the Weas, more properly called the Newcalerious, 
long lived with the Miamies : but they have recently separated 
from them, and crossed the Mississippi. Their whole number does 
not exceed three hundred and fifty. Of the Miamies, about one 
thousand yet remain. 

This tribe was formerly known to the English as the Twighwees. 
They appear to have been the only Indians in the west, with the 
exception of one other tribe, the Foxes, who, at an early period, were 
attached to the English interest. The causes which led to this 


union are unknown, but for many years they produced a decisive 
effect upon the fortunes of the Miamies. 


That strangest of all institutions in the history of human way 
wardness, the man-eating society, existed among this tribe. It 
extended also to the Kickapoos, but to how many others we do not 
know. It appears to have been the duty of the members of this 
society to eat any captives who were taken, and delivered to them 
for that purpose. The subject, itself, is so revolting at this day, 
even to the Indians, that it is difficult to collect the traditionary 
details concerning this institution. Its duties and its privileges, for 
it had both, were regulated by long usage, and its whole ceremonial 
was prescribed by a horrible ritual ! Its members belonged to one 
family, and inherited this odious distinction. The society was a 
religious one, and its great festivals were celebrated in the presence 
of the whole tribe. During the existence of the present generation, 
this society has flourished, and performed its shocking duties ; but 
they are now wholly discontinued, and will be ere long forgotten. 

The various tribes on the Illinois River were known to the 
French as the Illinois Indians; but the appellation was rather 
descriptive of their general residence, than of any intimate union, 
political or social, subsisting among them. And it is not easy to 
ascertain precisely the tribes which were included under this term. 
The Kaskias, the Cahokias, the Peorias, the Michigamies, the 
Tamorias, the Piankeshaws, inhabited that region, and all spoke 
dialects bearing a close resemblance to one another, and nearly 
allied to the language of the Miamies and Weas. Some of these 
tribes are extinct, and others are reduced to a few individuals. 
The Piankeshaws are the most numerous, and they number but 
three hundred and fifty individuals. The whole have passed over 
the Mississippi. 

When the French first explored the country on the Illinois, the 
buffalo were so numerous that they were denominated the Illinois 
ox. All the accounts of that early period concur in representing 
the aboriginal population as abundant. One of the tribes, called 
the Mascontires, or people of the prairie, has disappeared. They 


make a considerable figure in the earlier journals, and were probably 
a branch of the Pottawatimies. 

The Illinois River furnished, for many years, the principal com 
munication between the Lakes and the Mississippi, and was the 
connecting ligament which held together the French possessions 
in Canada and Louisiana. The Indians, therefore, upon this line, 
were early known to the French, who devoted great care and atten 
tion to them. No circumstance ever occurred to interrupt their 
mutual harmony, and the Illinois Indians appear to have been 
among the mildest of the aboriginal race. They gathered round 
the French posts, anxious to secure protection but a series of 
calamities pursued them, unexampled even in the aboriginal history, 
and which finally led to their entire destruction. Before the power 
of the Iroquois was broken, these fierce people carried their victorious 
arms to the prairies of the Illinois, as well as to the sands of 
P'lorida, the rugged hills of New England, and the deep forests of 
Canada. The villages and camps of these comparatively mild 
people were frequently attacked, and the inhabitants destroyed; 
and for many years it was considered dangerous to pass along the 
Illinois River, lest the Mengue should start from some secret covert, 
or projecting point, to do their deeds of horror. After the decline 
of the confederacy, a war commenced between the Illinois Indians 
and the Winnebagoes, and the latter sent many war parties into the 
territories of their enemies. In one of these, which took the route 
of Lake Michigan in canoes, tradition says that a violent storm 
arose, in which six hundred Winnebago warriors perished. Mutual 
exhaustion, however, led to the decline of this contest, but peace did 
not visit these "fair and fertile regions. The Saukies and Foxes, 
unable to live a life of peace, after their signal discomfiture by the 
French and their confederated allies upon Fox River, took up the 
tomahawk against the Illinois tribes, and prosecuted the warfare 
with equal vigor and fury. They poured their war parties over the 
whole country burning, murdering, and destroying. The Illinois 


Indians were almost exterminated. The feeble remnant that sur 
vived endeavored to interest the French in their favor, and they 
sought protection under the guns of their posts. But the French 
did not consider it politic to interfere between the contending 
parties, or, perhaps, felt unable to stay the tide of victory : and these 
unfortunate Indians were abandoned to their merciless enemies. 

The Sauks and Foxes, known to the French as the Saukies and 
Ottagamies, were originally distinct tribes. Circumstances have 
produced an intimate union between them, and in their relations 
with the other Indians, they may be considered as forming but one 
tribe. The distinction between them is every day giving way to 
time and to mutual intercourse, and in a few years all difference 
will be unknown. Their country is upon the Mississippi, extend 
ing from the Des Moines to the Iowa River, and stretching west- 
wardly beyond the Council Bluffs, upon the Missouri, and into the 
immense prairies* periodically visited by the buffalo. The Sauks 
and Foxes, like all the Indians occupying regions where these 
animals resort, annually hunt them in the proper season. This is 
their harvest, yielding them abundance of meat, which they dry 
and transport to their villages for the subsistence of their families. 
At those periods those immense level plains are literally alive with 

* Prairies, as the reader knows, are extensive, uncultivated tracts of un- 
wooded, level country. They abound in grass, and in flowers of every hue. 
So extensive are most of them, as to present nothing but the horizon for the 
eye to rest upon, save here and there a grove of trees, resembling small islands 
in the ocean ; and sometimes a tongue of woodland, looking like a cape, 
stretches in upon the unbroken surface. These serve the traveller for landing- 
places. He rejoices at sight of them, as does the mariner at sight of land. 
They shelter him from the sun and dews, and supply his fuel. 

Few sights are so beautiful as these savannas, when their luxuriant crop is 
put in motion by the wind. The undulations are literally flowery billows. 

The growth of the prairies we have crossed, averaged in height about nve 
feet. Sometimes, however, it reaches to six and seven feet. 


countless thousands of those animals, when the whole Indian popu 
lation engages in the animating task of hunting them. Their flesh 
is the Indians' food ; and their skins furnish clothing and tents. 
With the unconquerable aversion of the Indians to labor, it is diffi 
cult to conceive how they could subsist, were it not for these living 
and abundant harvests, sent in the hour of need. 

The principal residence of the Foxes is about Dubuque's Mines, 
on the Mississippi ; of the Sacs, near the mouth of Rock River. 
The mineral region designated by the above title, extends westward 
of the Mississippi. The Indians have learned the value of lead 
ore ; their women dig it in considerable quantities, and sell it to the 
traders. These Indians are remarkable for the symmetry of their 
form, and fine personal appearance. Few of the tribes resemble 
them in these particulars ; still fewer equal their intrepidity. They 
are, physically and morally, among the most striking of their race. 
Their history abounds with daring and desperate adventures and 
romantic incidents, far beyond the usual course of Indian exertion. 
Their population is about six thousand six hundred. 

By the earliest accounts of those tribes that have come down to 
us, they appear to have occupied a part of the peninsula of Michi 
gan. Saginau Bay is named from the Sauks, Saukie-now, or Sauk 
Town that having been the principal seat of their power. The 
Foxes, or Ottagamies, were always restless and discontented Ish- 
maelites of the Lakes, their hand against every man, and every 
man's hand against them. From some cause unknown to us, 
probably from their own turbulent and jealous disposition, they 
were early dissatisfied with the French, and avowed their attach 
ment to the English. They intrigued with the other tribes to 
expel the French from the country ; and, by their efforts, a British 
detachment, under Major Gregory, towards the close of the seven 
r eenth century, entered Lake Huron with a view to establish trading 
regulations with the Indians. They were, however, attacked, though 


in a time of peace, by their vigilant rivals, and compelled to abandon 
the country. 

The French commenced a permanent establishment upon the 
Detroit River, in 1701, and the attempt was early regarded with 
jealousy by the Foxes. In 1712, they attacked the place, then 
weak, both in its defences and its garrison. They were, however, 
repulsed in an effort to carry it by a coup de main ; and then en 
deavored to set it on fire by discharging lighted arrows into the 
roofs, which vvere thatched with straw. In this, too, they were 
frustrated by the vigilance of the French, but not discouraged. 
They took a position adjoining the town, determined to harass the 
garrison, and eventually to compel their surrender. This position 
they fortified, and in it secured their families and provisions. But 
while this was doing, the French were not idle. They despatched 
messengers to the various tribes upon whom they could rely to 
the Wyandots, the Ottavvas, the Pottawatimies, and the Chippewas, 
stating their perilous condition, and requiring their assistance. 
These tribes soon collected their warriors, and poured them in to 
the assistance of the French. The Foxes were driven into their 
entrenched positions, and reduced to extremity. At the moment 
of their greatest hazard, a violent storm arose, during which they 
abandoned their fort and fled to a presque isle, which advances into 
Lake St. Clair. Here, however, they were pursued, and after a 
vigorous resistance their enemies overcame them, put a thousand 
of their warriors to death, and led the women and children into cap 
tivity. From the narrative of these occurrences it appears that at 
this time an intimate union did not exist between these tribes, for 
a part of the Sauks had joined the Foxes, and a part of them took 
up arms with the allied tribes for the defence and relief of the 

After this severe calamity, the remainder of the Foxes, together 
with the Sauks, migrated to the country between Green Bay an I 
the Mississippi, and established themselves upon Fox River. But 


it is as difficult for them to change their habits, as it would be for 
the buffalo of their own plains to submit its neck to the yoke. 
Their turbulent spirit accompanied them, and in a short time their 
war parties were sent out in all directions, and they seriously 
menaced the* safety, if not the existence, of the French power. A 
formidable expedition was prepared for their reduction, and the 
neighboring Indians were invited to accompany it. To this they 
cheerfully assented, and the confederated forces invested the prin 
cipal fort of the Sauks and Foxes, at the Butte des Marts, or the 
hill of the dead, so called from the signal chastisement they received, 
and the numerous bodies of the slain that were buried in a mound 
there. The survivors were here reduced to unconditional submis 
sion, and their power and spirits wholly broken. 

By their valor and enterprise they have secured a desirabk 
region for themselves. But they are involved in almost perpetual 
hostilities with the Sioux. More than one peace has been con 
cluded between these tribes under the auspices of the United States ; 
but they have really been but temporary terms, broken by the ever 
restless disposition of the Sauks and Foxes. Their numbers are 
much inferior to those of the Sioux; but they are better armed, and 
their force is more concentrated. The Sioux are divided into large 
bands, without a very intimate political connection, and their power 
is spread over a very extensive region. The Sauks and Foxes 
have the further advantage of greater courage and confidence, a 
higher reputation, and greater experience in war. It is probable, 
therefore, that hostilities will long continue between them, without 
any very decided advantage on either side. 

The Menominies, or Folks Avoines, occupy the country upon 
Fox River, and generally roam over the district between Green 
Bay and the Mississippi, and by permission of the Chippewas and 
Sioux, extend their periodical migrations into the prairies in pursuit 
of the buffalo. Few of our tribes have fallen from their high estate 
more lamentably than these Indians. They are, for the most part, 



a race of fine looking men, and have sustained a high character 
among the tribes around them. But the curse of ardent spirits has 
passed over them, and withered them. They have yielded to the 
destructive pleasures of this withering charm, with an eagerness 
and a recklessness beyond the ordinary career of even savages 
There is, perhaps, no tribe upon all our borders so utterly aban 
doned to the vice of intoxication as the Menominies ; nor any so 
degraded in their habits, and so improvident in all thek concerns. 

Their language has long furnished a subject of doubt and dis 
cussion, among those engaged in investigations into the philology 
of the Indians. By many it has been supposed that their language 
is an original one, peculiar to themselves, and having no affinity 
with those spoken by the Indians of that quarter ; and that in their 
communication with the neighboring tribes, they use a dialect of 
the Chippewa language, which, among the north-western Indians, 
is what the French language is upon the continent of Europe a 
general medium of communication. We are, however, satisfied 
that the proper Menominie is itself but a branch of this great, 
stock. Its mode of pronunciation among themselves gives it a 
peculiar character, and almost conceals its resemblance to the 
cognate dialect. It is accompanied by singular guttural sounds, 
not harsh, like that of the Wyandots or the Sioux, but rather plea 
sant ; and the accent is placed differently from that of all the other 
families of this stock. Those who are not aware of the change 
which can be made in a language, by changing the accent upon 
every word, may easily satisfy themselves by making the experi 
ment in English. It will be found, that, in our polysyllabic words 
particularly, the accent may be so changed as to disguise them 
entirely, and to render it difficult to discern the original form. 
When to this peculiar guttural sound, and this system of accentua 
tion, are added the other causes, constantly operating upon the 
Indian languages, and producing their recession from one another 


we shall find all the circumstances that have contributed to the 
existing characteristics of the Menominie language. 

These Indians derive their name, Folks Avoines, or false oats, 
from the means of subsistence furnished to them by the wild rice. 
Their country abounds with it. Providence has given this vege 
table to the northern regions. It is sown without hands, raised 
without care, and gathered with little trouble. It is an annual 
plant, which delights in the still, shallow lakes, formed by numerous 
streams that wind their way through the level countries of the 
north-west. When ripe, the grain falls into the water, and, 
gradually sinking to the bottom, remains there during the winter, 
when it germinates. It rises above the water to ripen, but does not 
possess the quality which belongs to many aquatic plants, of accom 
modating itself to the rise and fall of the waters, and thus coming 
to perfection equally well in dry and in wet seasons. It sometimes 
happens that the waters rise above the grain, when it perishes, 
which produces great distress among the Indians. This grain 
ripens in the last of August and beginning of September. It is 
gathered by the females, who move amidst this harvest in bark 
canoes, and bending the stalks over their sides, shake the grain 
from the ear, or beat it off with sticks. They separate the husk by 
putting the whole in a skin, where, after it is dry enough, it is 
trodden out. 

We have traversed these lakes in the same kind of vessels em 
ployed by the Indians, when, to the eye, they put on the appearance 
of immense fields, the surface of the water being entirely invisible, 
except immediately around the canoe, as it was forced through this 
rich and waving harvest. The grain is very palatable, and makes 
a nutritious article of food, and when threshed out without being 
placed in a skin, or submitted to the action of smoke, it is as plea 
sant as the cultivated rice. 

Although the labor of gathering and preserving this article is 
>ery little, vet such is the indolence of those to whom it has oeen 


sent, tli;.t the few bags full which each family may secure, become 
soon exhausted. It rarely happens, however, that any thing is 
gained by the experience of these people, for the wants of one 
season never operate to produce greater exertions in gathering the 
rice, or additional economy in the use of it, in a succeeding one. 
The produce of millions of acres of this precious production an 
nually perishes. It is allowed to waste itself upon the waters, 
because the Indians are too indolent and too improvident to receive 
it from the hand of nature. They have less industry and provident 

arrangement than the beaver or the ant. He who is enamored of 


savage life, or who believes that all the misery of our aboriginal 
people is owing to the coming of the whites among them, may 
easily change these opinions by surveying their condition, starving 
and dying during the winter, because they are too lazy to stretch 
out their hands in autumn, and gather the harvest which a beneficent 
Providence has placed before them. 

The Menominies occupy the same situation now that they did 
when they first became known to the whites. They seem to be 
favorites with all the adjoining Indians, and hunt upon their own 
land, and upon that of others, without hesitation and without com 
plaint They are reduced to about four thousand two hundred 

All the tribes whose history we have slightly sketched, belong to 
two different stocks the Wyandot, or Huron ; and the Chippewa, 
or Algonquin. But the Sioux appear to have not the slightest 
affinity with either of these families, and include a separate class 
of tribes and languages. Their original, and, even to this day, 
their principal residence, is west of the Mississippi ; but the pa 
tronymic tribe itself occupies considerable territories east of that 
river; and one of the cognate branches, the Winnebagoes, is 
entirely east of it. These two tribes, therefore, are brought 
within the geographical limits we have prescribed to ourselves. 

The Sioux seem to occupy a similar position with relation to the 


tribes west of the Mississippi which the Chippewas occupy to those 
east of that river. Both extend over an immense region of country, 
and the language spoken by each appears to be the root from which 
the affiliated dialects of the stock have sprung. With a knowledge 
of the Chippewa, a traveller might hold communication with most 
of the tribes within the original territory of the United States ; and 
with a knowledge of the Sioux, he might also communicate with a 
great majority of the tribes in the trans-Mississippi country. Their 
languages, however, are radically different, and, in the present state 
of our knowledge of the subject, may be considered primitive. 

The Sioux, so called by the French, from the last syllable of 
Naudawessie, the Chippewa term for enemy, and emphatically 
applied by the Chippewas to their hereditary enemies, are known 
to themselves, also, under the designation of Dakcotah. 

This nation is now divided into two great and independent 
families, with no political connection and, until very recently, 
engaged in a long course of hostilities. There are the Dahcotah 
proper, and the Assiniboins, or, as they call themselves, Hohay. 
The separation took place at no distant period, and, no doubt, 
originated in one of those domestic feuds to which all barbarous 
people, having no regular code of law, morals, or religion, are 
peculiarly liable. The story is very freshly remembered, and each 
party repeats its own version of it The Assiniboins detached 
themselves from their kindred bands, and emigrated to the country 
upon the Assiniboin River. Here they reside, stretching into the 
Hudson Bay territories on the one side, and to the Missouri on the 
other. Their numbers are estimated at eight thousand. In their 
habits they are erratic. They raise no agricultural article, but 
subsist entirely on the buffalo, whose countless herds roam over 
those trackless regions, obeying the invariable laws of nature, 
which impel them from south to north, and from north to south, as 
the great processes of subsistence and reproduction require. The 
mode, described by travellers, of driving these animals into a kind 


of enclosure, made by poles stuck into the ground, each pole sur 
rounded by a piece of turf, and diverging into two lines from a 
point, seems to have originated with the Assiniboins, if it is not 
peculiar to them. These poles are placed in the ground at the 
distance of about six feet from each other. It is upon these the 
powerful and furious animal rushes, and becomes imprisoned, 
without any effort to pass the feeble barrier. The Indians follow 
on horseback, and slaughter them in immense numbers. 

The Sioux, or Dahcotah proper, occupy the country between the 
Missouri and Mississippi, extending from the possessions of the 
Sauks and Foxes, to those of the Assiniboins and Chippewas, 
touching west upon the Omahaws, the Arichares, and Mandans. 
They are divided into seven great bands the Mendewahkautoan, 
or Lower Sioux, or Gens du Lac ; the Waukpakoote, or people 
who shoot in the leaves ; the Gens de la Feuilkstirees ; the Wauk- 
patone ; the Sistasoons, or people who travel on foot ; the Yanctons, 
or people who live out of doors; the Tetons, or people of the 
prairies, and the Eahpawaunetoter, or people who never fall. By 
others, however, these divisions are differently represented, and the 
names are rather indicative of local situation, or some accidental 
habit, than of any political associations. The Sioux are one people, 
perfectly homogeneous in their language, character, habits, and 
institutions. They are wanderers over the prairies, pursuing the 
buffalo as constantly as the Assiniboins. Only one or their bands, 
the Lower Sioux, has any fixed villages, or permanent habitations. 
The others are restless, reckless, and homeless ; traversing a region 
almost as extensive and unbroken as the ocean itself. Owing to 


their remote position, and wandering habits, it is difficult to ascer 
tain their numbers. They are generally estimated at fifteen thou 

A beneficent Providence has made provision in the animal and 
vegetable kingdoms, under every variety of situation, suited to the 
climate, and adapted to the wants and support of men. Before 


civilization, that great destroyer of natural distinctions, has taught 
them the value of industry, and the comfort of prudent foresight, 
barbarous tribes, having few objects to engage their attention, and 
and being chiefly engaged in the supply of their physical wants, 
soon acquire a perfect knowledge of the animals that roam with 
them over the country, and of the best methods of taking and kill 
ing them. Their own customs are strongly marked by their 
dependence upon these sources, and their domestic institutions 
partake of the character thus impressed upon them. It is difficult 
to conceive how the arid deserts of Asia and Africa could be tra 
versed without the aid of the patient and docile camel ; how the 
Laplander could subsist, if nature had not given him the reindeer ; 
or the miserable Esquirneau, who warms his snow hut with train 
oil, and subsists upon the carcasses of the aquatic monsters stranded 
upon his coast, could live amidst his inhospitable wilds, were not 
these supplies providentially sent for his support. 

In like manner, the buffalo has been provided for the aboriginal 
tenants of our great western prairies. These animals supply houses, 
clothing, food, and fuel. So numerous are they, as to defy the 
quickest eye, follow them as it may over these vast plains, to count 
them. Nor are they less regular in their habits and movements, 
than the shoals of migratory fishes, which, coming from the recesses 
of the deep, visit different coasts, furnishing a cheap and abundant 
supply of food. 

The Indians of all those regions depend entirely upon the buffalo 
for subsistence, and are very expert in the destruction of them. 
Mounted on fleet horses, they pursue these animals, and seldom 
fail to transfix them with their arrows. Thus equipped, they 
pursue a herd until as many are killed as are wanted, when they 
return, and, collecting the tongues, and bunches upon the back, 
which are esteemed the most precious parts, they leave the carcass 
to the beasts and birds of prey. 

In stature, the Sioux exceed our other north-western tribes 


They are, in general, well formed, with rather slender limbs, arid 
exhibit, as is usual among the Indians, few examples of deformity, 
either natural or accidental. Until lately they were clad entirely 
in buffalo skins, as are yet many of their remote tribes. But those 
in the vicinity of our posts and settlements have learned the supe 
riority of woollen clothing, and the means of acquiring it by the 
traffic in furs. The habit which prevails among many of them, of 
wearing the hair long, and dividing it into separate braids, gives 
them a singular and repulsive appearance. 

Their domestic animals are the horse and dog ; of these they have 
great numbers. When they remove their encampments, their tents 
of skins, poles, and other articles are packed up by the women, and 
drawn by the horses and dogs. All are employed in this labor, 
except the men. As such business would be dishonorable to them, 
they precede the caravan, without labor and without trouble. 

Most of their political institutions resemble those of the othei 
tribes. They have little of either law or government. The chiefs 
can advise, but not command recommend, but not enforce. There 
is a sort of public opinion which marks the course a person should 
pursue under certain circumstances. If he conform, it is well; 
and if he do not, except when an act is committed exciting revenge, 
or requiring expiation, it is equally well. In such an emergency, 
the law of the strongest too often decides the controversy. Much, 
however, depends upon the personal character of the chief who 
happens to be at the head of the band. If he is a man of prudence 
and firmness, his representations will generally have weight, and 
his interference will go far towards checking, or satisfying the 
injury. The chieftainship is hereditary, rather in families than in 
direct descent. If a son is well qualified, he succeeds his father ; 
if he is not, some other member of the family takes the post without 
any formal election, but with tacit acquiescence, induced by respect 
for talents and experience. 

The same uncertainty which rests upon the religious opinions 


of the great Algonquin family, rests also upon those of the Sioux, 
and their cognate tribes. Indeed, it is a subject upon which they 
seem not to reflect, and which they cannot rationally explain. Some 
undefined notion appears to be entertained that there are other 
beings, corporeal, but unseen, who exert an influence upon the 
affairs of this life ; and these they clothe with all the attributes that 
hope and fear can supply. They are propitiated with offerings, 
and contemplated as objects of terror, not of love they are feared, 
but never adored. The storm, the lightning, the earthquake, is 
each a Wah-kon, or spirit, and so is every unusual occurrence of 
nature around them. They have not the slightest conception of an 
overruling Providence, controlling and directing the great operations 
of matter and of mind : nor do their notions upon these subjects, 
such as they are, produce the slightest favorable effect upon their 
sentiments or conduct. If the hunter sees a large stone of unusual 
appearance, he recognizes a Wah-kon, makes an offering of a piece 
of tobacco, and passes on. If a canoe is in danger, he who has 
charge of it, throws out, as a sacrifice, some article, to appease the 
offended spirit; and often the frail vessel glides down, leaving no 
memorial of the danger, or the rescue. A rattlesnake is a Wah- 
kon, and must not be killed : even after he has inflicted his terrible 
wound he is suffered to live, lest his kindred should revenge his 
death ! It is doubtful whether any Indian, whose original impres 
sions had not been changed by intercourse with white men, ever 
voluntarily killed a snake. To call this religion, is to prostitute 
the term. It produces no salutary effect upon the head or heart. 
These puerile observances, or superstitions, are insulated facts. 
They form no part of any system, but are aberrations of the human 
understanding, conscious of its connection with another state of 
being, and mistaking the delusions of imagination for the instinctive 
dictates of reason. 

The Sioux have occupied, since they first became known to the 
Europeans, much of the country where they now reside. For a 


long period they have been engaged in hostilities \vith the Chip- 
pewas, and although truces have been often made, no permanent 
reconciliation has been effected. In this long contest, the advan 
tage seems to have been on the side of the Chippewas, for we are 
told by the French travellers, that the Sioux at one time occupied 
the coasts of Lake Superior. From this region they have been 
driven for generations, and the Chippewas have obtained permanent 
possession of the upper Mississippi, and will, probably, push their 
rivals still further west. In that direction, also, the buffalo is 
receding ; and where he goes, the Sioux must follow ; for without 
these animals, the plains of the Mississippi and Missouri would be 
as uninhabitable to the Indians as the most sterile regions of the 

The Winnebagoes occupy the region between Green Bay and 
the Mississippi, and a considerable extent of country upon this 
river, above Prairie du Chien. Here seems to have been, during a 
century and a half, the period that they have been known to us, the 
seat of their power and population. The early French travellers 
found them at Green Bay, and they were here when Carver per 
formed his adventurous journey. They have been long known 
among the Canadians by the designation of Puans, which has 
become their familiar appellation, and, doubtless, owes its origin 
to their filthy and unseemly habits, which have given them a dis 
gusting pre-eminence among all the tribes that roam over the 

If their own tradition can be credited, they came, originally, from 
the south-west ; and some of their peculiar manners and customs, 
together with their language, indicate that they are not now among 
the tribes with whom they have been most nearly connected. The 
Chippewas, Menominies, Sauks, Foxes, and Pottawatimies, by whom 
they are almost surrounded, and with whom they are in habits 
of daily intercourse, are all tribes of the Algonquin stock, speaking 
dialects more or less removed from that parent tongue. While the 


Winnebagoes are evidently a branch of the Sioux family, their 
language is allied to that spoken by the numerous tribes of this 
descent who roam over the immense plains of the Missouri and 
Mississippi. It is harsh and guttural, and the articulation is indis 
tinct to a stranger. It is not easily acquired by persons of mature 
age, and there are few of the Canadians who live among them, by 
whom it is well spoken. 

As a people, their physical conformation is good. They are large, 
athletic, and well made not handsome, but with symmetrical forms, 
rather fleshy than slender. They will bear a favorable comparison, 
in these respects, with any of the aboriginal family. 

Their country is intersected with numerous streams, lakes, r 
marshes, in which the wild rice abounds. The same subsistence is 
offered to them as to the Menominies, and the same use is made of 
it. Equally indolent and improvident, they are the subjects of the 
same wants and sufferings. 

The Winnebagoes are fierce and desperate warriors, possessing 
high notions of their own prowess, and, when once engaged in 
warlike enterprises, reckless of all consequences. During the 
difficulties upon the Mississippi, a few years ago, there were 
instances of daring and devotion among them, which may bear a 
comparison with the loftiest descriptions of Indian magnanimity 
that have been recorded.* In former times they were engaged in 

* Certain murders were committed at Prairie du Chien, on the upper Mis 
sissippi, in 1827, by a party of Indians, headed by the famous Winnebago 
chief, RED BIRD. Measures were taken to capture the offenders, and secure 
the peace of the frontier. Military movements were made from Green Bay, 
and from Jefferson Barracks, on the Mississippi the object being to form a 
junction at the portage of the Fox and Ouisconsin Rivers, and decide upon 
ulterior measures. Information of these movements was given to the Indians, 
at a council then holding at the Butte des Morts, on Fox River, and of the 
determination of the United States Government to punish those who had shed 
the blood of our people at Prairie du Chien. The Indians were faithfully 


hostilities with the Illinois tribes, and, associated with the Sauks 
and Foxes, they carried dismay even to the gates of Kaskaskias. 
Tn this long and active warfare, the Illinois Indians were almost 
exterminated. Many of their bands have entirely disappeared, and 
those that remain are reduced to a few individuals. The Winne- 

warned of the impending danger, and told, if the murderers were not sur 
rendered, war would be carried in among them, and a way cut through their 
country, not with axes, but guns. They were advised to procure a surrender 
of the guilty persons, and, by so doing, save the innocent from suffering. 
Runners, were despatched, bearing the intelligence of this information among 
their bands. Our troops were put in motion. The Indians saw, in the move 
ment of the troops, the storm that was hanging over them. On arriving at the 
portage, distant about one hundred and forty miles from the Butte des Morts, 
we found ourselves within nine miles of a village, at which, we were informed, 
were two of the murderers, Red Bird, the principal, and We-kaw, together 
with a large party of warriors. The Indians, apprehending an attack, sent a 
messenger to our encampment. He arrived, and seated himself at our tent 
door. On inquiring what he wanted, he answered, " Do not strike. When 
the sun gets up there, (pointing to a certain part of the heavens,) they will come 
in." To the question, Who will come in? he answered, " Red Bird and 
We-kaw. " Having thus delivered his message, he rose, wrapped his blanket 
around him, and returned. This was about noon. At three o'clock, another 
Indian came, seated himself in the same place, and being questioned, gave 
the same answer. At sundown another came, and repeated what the others 
had said. 

The amount of the information intended to be conveyed, in this novel man 
ner, was, that the Red Bird and We-kaw had determined to devote themselves, 
by surrendering their persons and their lives, rather than, by a resistance, 
involve the peace of their people, or subject them to the consequence of an 
attack. The heroic character of this act will be more clearly perceived, when 
we assert, on our own knowledge, that the murders committed at Prairie du 
Chien, were in retaliation for wrongs which had been long inflicted on the 
tribes to which those Indians and their warriors belonged. It is true, those 
killed by them at Prairie du Chien were innocent of any wrong done to the 


bagoes came out of this war a conquering and powerful people ; 
but what their enemies could not accomplish, the elements did. 
Tradition says that six hundred of their warriors perished in canoes 
upon Lake Michigan, during a violent storm. 

The Winnebagoes are computed at five thousand eight hundred 

Indians. But Indian retaliation does not require that he, who commits a 
wrong, shall, alone, suffer for it. 

The following extract of a letter, written on the occasion of this voluntary 
surrender, is introduced in this place for the purpose of making the reader 
acquainted with the details of that interesting occurrence, and the ceremonies 
attending it. It was addressed to the Honorable James Barbour, then Secre 
tary of War, though not as forming any part of the official correspondence. 
We have omitted parts of the extract, as published at the time, and supplied 
additional incidents, which, in the hurry of the preparation, were omitted. 


Monday , 4th September, 1827. 

MY DEAR SIR : It would afford me sincere pleasure, did the circumstances, 
by which I find myself surrounded, allow me better opportunities and more 
leisure, because I could then, and would, most cheerfully, enter into those 
minute details which are, in some sort, necessary, to exhibit things and occur 
rences to you as they are seen by me. I will, notwithstanding, in this letter, 
from the spot on which the Red Bird and We-kaw surrendered themselves, 
give you some account of that interesting occasion, and of every thing just as 
it occurred. It all interested me, and will, doubtless, you. 

You are already informed of our arrival at this place, on the 31st ultimo, 
and that no movement was made to capture the two murderers, who were 
reported to us to be at the village nine miles above, on account of an order 
received by Major Whistler from General Atkinson, directing him to wait his 
arrival, and mean time to make no movement of any kind. We were, there 
fore, after the necessary arrangements for defence and security, &c., idly, but 
anxiously, waiting his arrival, when, at about one o'clock to-day we decried, 
coming in the direction of the encampment, and across the portage, a body of 
I.idians, some mounted, and some on foot. They were, when first discerned, 


person;- It has been supposed by some, that latterly they have 
been increasing. There is, however, no good reason to believe this. 
The opinion has probably grown out of a comparison of different 
estimates of their population, made by various persons, and under 
various circumstances. Such estimates are too loose and uncertain 

on a mound, and descending it; and, by the aid of a glass, we could discern 
three flags two appeared to be American, and one white. We had received 
information, the day before, of the intention of the band at the village to come 
in with the murderers to-day ; and therefore expected them, and concluded 
this party to be on its way to fulfil that intention. In half an hour they were 
near the river, and at the crossing-place, when we heard singing ; it was an 
nounced by those who knew the notes, to be a death-song when, presently, 
the river being only about a hundred yards across, and the Indians approach 
ing it, those who knew him said, " it is the Red Bird singing his death-song." 
On the moment of their arrival at the landing, two scalp yells were given ; and 
these were also by the Red Bird. The Menominies who had accompanied us, 
were lying, after the Indian fashion, in different directions, all over the hill, 
eyeing, with a careless indifference, this scene ; but the moment the yells were 
given, they bounded from the ground as if they had been shot out of it, and, 
running in every direction, each to his gun, seized it, and throwing back the 
pan, picked the touchhole, and rallied. They knew well that the yells were 
scalp yells ; but they did not know whether they were intended to indicate 
two scalps to be taken, or two to be given but inferred the first. Barges were 
sent across, when they came over ; the Red Bird carrying the white flag, and 
We-kaw by his side. While they were embarking, I passed a few yards from 
my tent, when a rattlesnake ran across the path ; he was struck by Captain 
Dickeson with his sword, which, in part, disabled him, when I ran mine, it 
being of the sabre form, several times through his body, and finally through 
his head, and holding it up, it was cut off by a Menominie Indian with his 
knife." The body of the snake falling, was caught up by an Indian, whilst I 
went towards one of the fires to burn the head, that its fangs might be innox 
ious, when another Indian came, running, and begged me for it. I gave it to 
him. The object of both being to make medicine of the reptile!* This was 

The noise of the rattles of a rattlesnake, when excited, is precisely that of a repeating 
watch in the intervals between the strokes. 


to furnish data for any calculations of this nature, more particularly 
when they contradict our uniform experience upon the subject of 
the aboriginal population. All the tribes with which we are ac 
quainted, are in a state of progressive and rapid diminution; and 
although those which are most remote are not within the sphere 

interpreted to be a good omen as had a previous killing of one a few morn 
ings before, on Fox River ; and of a bear, some account of the ceremonies 
attending which, and of other incidents attending our ascent up that river, I 
may give you at another time. 

By this time the murderers were landed, accompanied by one hundred and 
fourteen of their principal men. They were preceded and represented by 
Caraminie, a chief, who earnestly begged that the prisoners might receive 
good treatment, and, under no circumstances, be put in irons. He appeared 
to dread the military, and wished to surrender them to the Sub-Agent, Mr. 
Marsh. His address being made to me, I told him it was proper that he should 
go to the great chief, (Major Wheeler) ; and, that so far as Mr. Marsh's pre 
sence might be agreeable to them, they should have it there. He appeared 
content, and moved on, followed by the men of his bands, the Red Bird being 
in the centre, with his white flag, whilst two other flags, American, were borne 
by two chiefs, in the front and rear of the line. The military had been pre 
viously drawn out in line. The Menominie and Wabanocky Indians squat 
ting about in groups, (looking curious enough,) on the left flank the band of 
music on the right, a little in advance of the line. The murderers were 
marched up in front of the centre of the line some ten or fifteen paces from 
which, seats were arranged, which were occupied by the principal officers 
attached to the command, &c. : in front of which, at about ten paces, the Red 
Bird was halted, with his miserable looking companion, We-kaw, by his side, 
whilst his band formed a kind of semi-circle to their right and left. All eyes 
were fixed upon the Red Bird ; and well they might be ; for, of all the Indians 
I ever saw, he is decidedly the most perfect in form, and face, and motion. In 
height he is about six feet, straight, but without restraint ; in proportion, exact 
and perfect from his feet to his head, and thence to the very ends of his fingers ; 
whilst his face is full of expression, and of every sort to interest the feelings, 
and without a single, even accidental glance, that would justify the suspicion 


of the operation of the causes which result from their contact with 
a civilized people, yet a scanty and precarious subsistence, continued 
and active warfare, exposure to the elements, and to the accidents 
of a hazardous life, are pressing, with restless severity, upon their 
spare population. 

that a purpose of murder could, by any possible means, conceal itself there. 
There is in it a happy blending of dignity and grace ; great firmness and 
decision, mixed with mildness and mercy. I could not but ask myself, Can 
this be the murderer the chief who could shoot, scalp, and cut the throat of 
Gagnier 1 ? His head, too nothing was ever so well formed. There was no 
ornamenting of the hair after the Indian fashion ; no clubbing it up in blocks 
and rollers of lead or silver; no loose or straggling parts; but it was cut after 
the best fashion of the most refined civilized taste. His face was painted, one 
side red, the other a little intermixed with green and white. Around his neck 
he wore a collar of blue wampum, beautifully mixed with white, sewn on a 
piece of cloth, and covering it, of about two inches width, whilst the claws of 
the panther, or large wild cat, were fastened to the upper rim, and about a 
quarter of an inch from each other, their points downward and inward, and 
resting upon the lower rim of the collar; and around his neck, in strands of 
various lengths, enlarging as they descended, he wears a profusion of the same 
kind of wampum as had been worked so tastefully into his collar. He is 
clothed in a Yankton dress, new, rich, and beautiful. It is of beautifully 
dressed elk, or deer skin ; pure in its color, almost to a clear white, and con 
sists of a jacket, (with nothing beneath it,) the sleeves of which are sewn so as 
to neatly fit his finely turned arms, leaving two or three inches of the skin out 
side of the sewing, and then again three or four inches more, which is cut into 
strips, as we cut paper to wrap round, and ornament a candle. All this made 
a deep and rich fringe, w r hilst the same kind of ornament, or trimming, con 
tinued down the seams of his leggings. These were of the same material, and 
were additionally set off with blue beads. On his feet he wore moccasins. A 
piece of scarlet cloth, about a quarter of a yard wide, and half a yard long, by 
means of a slit cut through its middle, so as to admit the passing through of 
the head, rested, one half upon his breast, and the other on his back. On one 
shoulder, and near his breast, was a large and beautifully ornamented feather. 


In manners and customs, the Winnebagoes resemble the othei 
members of the aboriginal family. Like the Algonquin tribes, the} 
are divided into bands, each designated by the name of some ani 
mal, or of a supposed spirit, such as the bear, the devil, or bad 
spirit, the thunder, &c. These divisions were, originally, an im- 

nearly white ; and on the other, and opposite, was one nearly black, with two 
pieces of wood in the form of compasses when a little open, each about six 
inches long, richly wrapped round with porcupines' quills, dyed yellow, red, 
and blue ; and on the tip of one shoulder was a tuft of red dyed horse-hair, 
curled in part, and mixed up with other ornaments. Across his breast, in a 
diagonal position, and bound tight to it, was his war-pipe, at least three feet 
long, richly ornamented with feathers and horse-hair, dyed red, and the bills 
of birds, &c. ; whilst in one hand he held the white flag, and in the other the 
pipe of peace. There he stood. He moved not a muscle, nor once changed 
the expression of his face. They were told to sit down. He sat down, with 
a grace not less captivating than he walked and stood. At this moment, the 
band on our right struck up and played Pleyel's Hymn. Every thing was 
still. The Red Bird looked towards the band, and eyeing it with an expression 
of interest, and as if those pensive notes were falling softly and agreeably on 
his heart. When the hymn was played, he took up his pouch, and taking 
from it some Idnnakanic and tobacco, cut the latter after the Indian fashion, 
then rubbed the two together, filled the bowl of his beautiful peace-pipe, struck 
fire with his steel and flint into a bit of spunk, and lighted it, and smoked. All 
this was done with a grace no less captivating than that which had characterized 
his other movements. He sat with his legs crossed. 

If you think there was any thing of affectation in all this, you are mistaken. 
There was just the manner and appearance you would expect to see in a nobly 
built man of the finest intelligence, who had been escorted by his armies to a 
throne, where the diadem was to be placed upon his head. 

There is but one opinion of the man, and that is just such as I have formed 
myself, and attempted to impart to you. I could not but speculate a little on 
his dress. His white jacket, with one piece of red upon it, appeared to indi 
cate the purity of his past life, stained with but a single crime ; for, all agree, 
that the Red Bird had never before soiled his fingers with the blood of the white 


portant feature in their polity, but they are now little more than 
nominal, having yielded, like many others of the peculiar traits, 
to the untoward circumstances which have, for ages, surrounded 

Their village chiefs are hereditary in the lineal descent, "and, 

man, nor committed a bad action. His war-pipe, bound close to his heart, 
appeared to indicate his love of war, which was now no longer to be grati 
fied. Perhaps the red, or scarlet cloth, may have been indicative of his name 
the Red Bird. 

All sat, except the speakers, whose addresses I took down, but have not 
time to insert them here. They were, in substance, that they had been re 
quired to bring in the murderers. They had no power over any, except two, 
and these had voluntarily agreed to come in and give themselves up. As their 
friends, they had come with them. They hoped their white brothers would 
agree to receive the horses, (they had with them twenty, perhaps,) meaning, 
that if accepted, it should be in commutation for the lives of their two friends. 
They asked kind treatment for them, earnestly begged that they might not be 
put in irons, and that they all might have some tobacco, and something to eat. 

They were answered, and told, in substance, that they had done well thus 
to come in. By having done so, they had turned away our guns, and saved 
their people. They were admonished against placing themselves in a similar 
situation in future, and told, that when they should be aggrieved, to go to their 
Agent, who would inform their Great Father of their complaints, and he would 
redress them ; that their friends should be treated kindly, and tried by the 
same laws that their Great Father's children were tried ; that, for the present, 
they should not be put in irons ; that they all should have something to eat, 
and tobacco to smoke. We advised them to warn their people against killing 
ours ; and endeavored also to impress them with a proper conception of the 
extent of our power, and of their weakness, &c. 

Having heard this, the Red Bird stood up ; the commanding officer, Major 
Whistler, a few paces in advance of the centre of his line, facing him. Aftei 
a pause of a minute, and a rapid survey of the troops, and a firm, composed 
observation of his people, the Red Bird said looking at Major Whisller 
* / am ready." Then advancing a step or two, he paused, and added " I 


where the direct line fails, in the collateral descent. Female chiefs 
are not at present known among them, although Carver states, that 
when he visited this tribe, in 1767, a queen was at their head, and 
exercised her authority with much state, and without opposition. 
It is certainly a singular inconsistency in human nature, that rude 

do not wish to be put in irons. Let me be free. I have given my life it is 
gone, (stooping down and taking some dust between his finger and thumb, and 
blowing it away,) like this (eyeing the dust as it fell and vanished out of his 
sight.) I would not have it back. It is gone." He then threw his hands 
behind him, to indicate that he was leaving all things behind him, and marched 
up to Major Whistler, breast to breast. A platoon was wheeled backwards 
from the centre of the line, when, Major Whistler stepping aside, the Red Bird 
and We-kaw marched through the line, in charge of a file of men, to a tent that 
had been provided in the rear, over which a guard was set. The comrades of 
the two captives then left the ground by the way they had come, taking with 
them our advice, and a supply of meat and flour. 

I will now describe, as well as I can, We-kaw, the miserable, butcher-looking 
being who continued by Red Bird. He is, in all respects, the opposite of the 
Red Bird ; and you will make out the points of comparison by this rule : 
Never was there before, two human beings, brought together for the same 
crime, who looked so totally unlike each other. Red Bird seemed a prince, 
and fit to command, and worthy to be obeyed ; but We-kaw looked as if he 
was born to be hanged. Meagre, cold, dirty in his dress and person, and 
crooked in form like the starved wolf, gaunt, and hungry, and blood-thirsty 
his whole appearance indicates the existence of a spirit, wary, cruel, and 
treacherous ; and there is no room left, after looking at him, for pity. This is 
the man who could scalp a child no more than eleven months old, and cut it 
across the back of its neck to the bone, and leave it, bearing off its fine locks, 
to suffer and die upon the floor, near its murdered father ! But his hands, 
and crooked and miserable looking fingers, had been wet, often, with blood 

The Red Bird does not appear to be over thirty yet he is said to be over 
forty. We-kaw looks to be over forty-five, and is, perhaps, that old. 

I shall see, on my arrival at the Prairie, the scene of these butcheries; and 


and uncivilized people, who hold women in contempt, and assign to 
them the performance of all those duties which are least honorable 
and most laborious, should yet admit them to the exercise of civil 
authority in supreme or subordinate situations.* The custom 
may have originated in another and more advanced state of society, 
and may have survived the wreck in which their early history has 

The Southern Indians are consolidated into four great families, 
the Creeks, the Cherokees, the Chactaws, and Chickasaws. The 
Catawbas, and many other tribes, once scattered over the country 
from North Carolina to the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico, 

as I may write you upon all the points of my tour that may have any interest, I 
will introduce you to that. The child, I forgot to say, by the latest accounts, 
yet lives, and promises to survive the wounds on its head and neck. The 
widow of Gagnier is also there, and I shall get the whole story from her own 
mouth, and then shall, doubtless, get it truly. You shall have it all, and a 
thousand things besides, that, when I left home, I never expected to realize 
but once entered upon the scenes I have passed, there was no giving back. 
I see no danger, I confess, especially now ; but my way is onward, and I 
shall go. 

I write in haste, and have only time to add the assurance of my friendship. 


The Red Bird and We-kaw were delivered over to General Atkinson, who 
commanded the expedition from Jefferson Barracks. He arrived with his com 
mand at the portage, by way of the Ouisconsin, two days after the surrender. 
The prisoners were conveyed to Prairie du Chien. The Red Bird died in 
prison. We-kaw and others, who were taken as accomplices in the murder, 
were tried and convicted, but became the subjects of executive clemency the 
President, Mr. Adams, extending a pardon to them. 

* We remember, in 1826, to have seen admitted into a council, at Fond-du- 
lac Superior, an aged woman, but she sat there as the representative of her 
husband, whose age and blindness prevented his attendance. 


are now either extinct, or so nearly extinct, that any investigation 
into their condition would be inconsistent with the object we have 
in view which is, an exhibition of the actual state of the Indian 
tribes at the present day. Nor is it easy to trace the history and 
progress of the declension and extinction of these Indians, or their 
incorporation into the other communities which yet survive so 
much of what has perished in our aboriginal memorials. The 
materials that have reached us are not satisfactory. The early 
French travellers and historians furnish us with the most valuable 
information .on these subjects. If they did not examine them with 
more severity, they were more careful to record their observations, 
and by the facility of intercourse with the Indians, better enabled 
to collect them. With the southern tribes, however, their inter 
course was not extensive, and the accounts which they have left us 
of their history and condition are meagre and unsatisfactory. 

Adair, an English trader, published a book purporting to be a 
history of the four southern tribes, or, rather, it was published for 
him ;. and if human ingenuity had been taxed to compile a work, 
which, in a large compass, should contain the least possible informa 
tion respecting the subject about which it treats, we might be well 
satisfied with Adair's quarto. He sees in the Indians the descend 
ants of the Jews ; and, blind to the thousand physical and moral 
proofs adverse to this wild theory, he seizes upon one or two casual 
coincidences, and, with an imagination which supplies every thing 
else, he furnishes his reader with his speculations. 

Over this region, and among the predecessors, or ancestors of 
some of these tribes, De Soto rambled, with his followers, in pursuit 
of gold, if the narrative of his expedition be not as fabulous as the 
El Dorado he was seeking. How precious would be a judicious 
and faithful account of the Indians, written almost during the life 
time of Columbus, by a man of observation and candor, travelling, 
as is computed in the history of this expedition, more than five thou 
sand miles in the country ; and occupied in this journey nearly five 


years ! And proceeding in a direction, eighteen hundred miles 
north of the point of debarkation six hundred miles north of Lake 
Superior. For this is the grave calculation made from a reduction 
of the courses and distances given by De la Vega, the historian of 
the expedition. 

It were a waste of time to indulge in speculations, as some sensible 
men have done, respecting the causes which have depopulated these 
regions, "filled with great towns, always within view of each other /" 
Of all the exaggerations to which the auri sacra fames of the Spa 
niards has given birth in the New World, this narrative is the gross 
est. It is utterly unworthy of a moment's serious considei ation. All 
that it records is wholly inconsistent with the institutions and re 
sources, and not less so with every authentic account which has 
come down to us. 

The Creeks now occupy a tract of country in the eastern part of 
Alabama. Many of them, however, have already removed west of 
the Mississippi, and others are preparing to follow. From present 
appearances, it is probable they will, ere long, follow the same route. 
Their whole numbers are estimated at twenty thousand. 

The Seminoles, and the remains of other broken tribes, allies or 
confederates of the Creeks, and identified with them in manners and 
feelings, occupy a reservation in Florida, and number among their 
population about four thousand individuals. 

The Creeks were so called by the English, because their country 
was watered and intersected by numerous small streams, along 
which these Indians were situated. They have long been known 
as a powerful and restless confederacy, and their sway formerly 
extended over much of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. The prin 
cipal and original band, the Muskogee, which in their own language 
now gives name to the whole nation, claim to have always inhabited 
the country now occupied by them. As other tribes became re 
duced in numbers and power, either by the preponderance of the 
Muskogee, or by other causes, they joined that band, and have, in 


process of time, become, in some measure, though not altogether, a 
homogeneous people. The most extraordinary among these, both 
as to their history, their institutions, and their fate, were the Natchez. 
Originally planted upon the Mississippi, near the 'present town of 
that name, if the accounts which have been given of their condition 
and manners can be relied on, almost all the features they present 
mark a striking diiference between them and all the other Indians 
who are known to us. Some of these we shall lay before our 
readers ; and without giving full credit to the whole account, there 
yet can be no doubt that some peculiar characteristics prevailed 
among them. It is a curious and interesting topic. The Natchez 
are said to have been numerous and powerful. Their principal 
chief was called the Great Sun, and the subordinate chiefs, suns. 
Their government, unlike the pure democracies, or rather the no- 
government of the other tribes, was strong, and even despotic. The 
Great Sun was an object of reverence, and almost veneration, and 
exercised unlimited power during his life ; and in death, he was 
attended by a numerous band, who had been devoted to him from 
birth, and who were immolated on his shrine. The government 
was hereditary ; but, as with the Wyandots, and some of the other 
tribes, the succession was in the female line, from uncle to nephew 
The members of the reigning family were not allowed to intermarry 
with one another ; but divorces were permitted at will, and liber 
tinism fully indulged. The sun was the great object of religious 
adoration, and in their temples a perpetual fire was burning. 
Guardians were appointed for the preservation of this fire, and 
heavy penalties were prescribed for neglect. All this, and much 
more that is related of this people, by respectable authors, some of 
them eye-witnesses, is so diiferent from all around them, that, if 
the leading facts are true, the Natchez must have been an insu 
lated tribe upon the continent, deriving their origin from a different 

The final catastrophe, which closed their history and their inde- 


pendence, is indicative of their fierce and indomitable spirit. The 
tyrannical conduct of a French commandant of the port of Natchez 
led to a conspiracy for the destruction of their oppressors. The 
French were surprised, and almost the whole settlement, amount 
ing to seven hundred persons, massacred. When the intelligence 
reached New Orleans, a formidable expedition was organized 
against these Indians, and all the warriors of the neighboring 
tribes invited to accompany it. The Natchez defended themselves 
with desperate valor; but, in the end, were utterly overthrown. 
Their Great Sun, with many of their principal men, were trans 
ported to St. Domingo, and sold into slavery, and the tribe itself 
disappeared from history. 

There are, among the Creeks, the remains of a tribe known as 
the Uchees, the remnant of one of these dispersed, or conquered 
bands tradition says they were conquered. Although forming 
part of the Creek tribe, and enjoying, in common with it, its honors 
and profits, such as they are, they speak a language entirely dis 
similar, and wholly their own. 

The Cherokees own a district of country, which extends into 
North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. That portion 
of the tribe that remains east of the Mississippi, contains about nine 
thousand persons. Those who have emigrated to the west of that 
river, and are now situated west of Arkansas and Missouri, amount 
to about six thousand. The principal* emigration has taken place 
since 1817. 

This tribe, when first known to the French, resided in the country 
between Lake Erie and the Ohio. The causes which led to their 
emigration from that region can only be conjectured ; but there is 
little doubt it was owing to th victorious career of the Iroquois : 
and that it occurred about the period when the Shawanese were 
driven to the same quarter. 

After the settlement of the Southern States, the Cherokees, insti 
gated by the French, displayed, for many years, the most deter- 


mined hostility, and kept the frontiers in a state of constant alarm 
and danger. Formidable exertions were required, from time to 
time, to check this spirit; nor was it fully accomplished until the 
near approach of the revolutionary troubles. 

The language of the Cherokees, so far as we are acquainted with 
it, is radically different in its words from that of any other tribes. 
In its general structure, however, it closely resembles the dialects 
spoken by our whole aboriginal family. 

The Chactaws reside in the State of Mississippi, and are com 
puted at twenty thousand persons. They have recently ceded their 
entire country east of the Mississippi to the United States, and are 
removing to the west of that river. 

The "Chickasaws, numbering about three thousand six hundred, 
inhabit the northern part of Mississippi, and the north-western 
corner of Alabama. 

These two tribes speak dialects of the same language, and are 
evidently branches of the same family. There is nothing in their 
condition or history which requires a more particular notice, except 
that they, together with the Cherokees, Creeks, and Seminoles, 
having outlived the game, have ceased, from necessity, to be 
hunters. They derive such subsistence as their manner of life, 
and general abandonment of portions of these tribes to ardent 
spirits will permit, from the soil. There is a good deal of indi 
vidual comfort enjoyed, and an exception, in such cases, from the 
common plague of drunkenness, particularly among the Cherokees 
and Chickasaws, which is found, also, though not to the same 
extent, among the Chactaws. There is nothing in the condition 
of individual families that could lead us to hope for any improve 
ment among the Creeks and Seminoles. The annuities derived 
from the Government, under treaties with them for cessions of their 
lands, are the main dependence of these latter tribes ; and these, it 
is found necessary, sometimes, to pledge a year in advance, for corn 
to subsist upon. We merely observe, in regard to the Chactaws, 



that the custom of flattening the heads of infants formerly prevailed 
among them. 

The Cherokees appear to be a homogeneous tribe, originating in 
a different region from the one now occupied by them. The other 
three southern tribes have been more or less formed by the admix 
ture of dispersed, or conquered bands ; and we have no evidence of 
their migration from any other quarter. They all, however, in 
general characteristics, resemble the other great branches of their 
race. Circumstances may occasionally impress some peculiar fea 
ture upon different tribes, but in the whole extent of their manners, 
customs, institutions, and opinions, there is nothing which can pre 
clude the idea of their common origin. 

Latterly the southern tribes have excited more than common 
observation ; and the critical state of their affairs has directed much 
of the public attention to them. Their reputed improvements in 
the elements of social life, and the attempt made by some of them 
to establish independent governments, have led to the belief with 
many, that the crisis of their fate is passed, and that a new era is 
before them. If they can be induced to pursue the course recom 
mended by their best friends, and flee from the vicinity of the white 
settlements, and establish themselves permanently beyond the Mis 
sissippi, and the Government will accompany them with the means 
of protection and improvement, this hope may be realized if not, 
they will but follow the fate of too many of the tribes that have 
gone before them. 

Such is a general view of the past condition, and present situation, 
of the various tribes of Indians who occupy any portion of the terri 
tory of the United States, east of the Mississippi, or who have 
passed that great barrier, and sought, in the immense plains of the 
west, a land of refuge and of safety. The great outlines of their 
character are easily delineated. In all their essential features, they 
are now what they were at the discovery. Indolent and improvi 
dent, they neither survey the wants of the future, nor provide foi 



them. The men are free, and the women are slaves. They are 
restrained by no moral or religious obligations, but willingly yield 
themselves to the fiercest passions. Lost in the most degrading 
superstition, they look upon nature with a vacant eye, never in 
quiring into the causes, or the consequences of the great revolutions 
of nature, or into the structure or operations of their own minds. 
Their existence is essentially a physical one, limited to the grati 
fication of their appetites, and the indulgence of their passions. 
Mental or moral improvement is not embraced by a single desire 
for the one or the other. As the only occupations of the men are 
war and hunting, their early discipline, and their habitual exertions, 
are directed to these pursuits ; and as their faculties are confined 
within narrow limits, they acquire an ardor, intensity, and power, 
unknown in a different state of society. Marvellous tales are 
related of the sagacity with which the Indians penetrate the forest, 
pursuing their course with unerring skill and precision, and taking 
all their measures with a precaution which leates little to accident. 
In this application of their powers, they resemble many of the 
inferior animals, w r hich, by some mysterious process, are enabled 
to return to places whence they have been taken, although every 
effort may have been made to deceive them. The Indians observe, 
accurately, the face of the country, the courses of the streams, the 
weather-beaten sides of the trees, and every other permanent land 
mark which can guide them through the world of the forest. And 
after all due allowance for exaggeration, enough of sober truth will 
remain to excite our surprise at the almost intuitive sagacity dis 
played by these rude hunters in the toils of the chase. The splen 
dor of victory is in due proportion to the slaughter of their enemy, 
and in an inverse proportion to their own loss ; and it is a point of 
honor with all the leaders of the war parties, to bring back as many 
braves, or warriors, as possible. How terrible they are to a van 
quished and prostrate foe, the whole history of our warfare with 
them but too mournfullv tells. They neither expect mercy nor 


yield it. Their solicitude for the preservation of life too often 
degenerates into rank cowardice. But when escape is impossible, 
and the hour of trial conies, they meet their fate with a heroic forti 
tude, which would not dishonor the sternest martyr of civil or 
religious freedom that ever went from the stake to his reward. 
Their conduct in this appalling extremity has been 'the theme of 
wonder and description since they themselves have been known to 
us. All that is contemptuous in expression is poured upon their 
enemies ; all that is elevated in feeling is given to their country ; 
all that concerns life, its joys, or terrors, is cast behind them like a 
worthless thing. From infancy they have looked forward to this 
hour of suffering and triumph as a possible event. They have 
heard of it in the stories of the old, and in the songs of the young. 
They have seen it in the triumphant death of many a fierce captive 
enemy, whose song of defiance has been stimulated by the impulse 
of his own heart. 

So far as natural affections depend upon natural instinct, they 
participate with us, as well as with the brute creation, in their enjoy 
ment. We do not, of course, speak now of those half, or entirely 
civilized families, upon whose minds and hearts education and 
social advantages have shed their influence, but of the Indian, as 
such; to him who owes nothing to culture, and but little to habit. 
It is idle to suppose that he feels and cherishes those kindly 
emotions of the heart, which transport us beyond the magic circle 
of self, and give us the foretaste of another existence. Their hospi 
tality is more the hospitality of improvidence than of feeling. The 
kettle of the Indian, while he has any thing to put in it, is always 
on the fire, filled with victuals for his family, and for all who entei 
his wigwam. 







THE North American Indians, when discovered by the Europeans, 
were a race of savages, who had made no advances whatever towards 
civilization. They dwelt in the wilderness, subsisted by hunting, 
and had no permanent dwellings. They were lodged either in 
portable tents, or in huts made of bark, or earth; and had no 
houses, or other edifices, constructed of durable materials ; nor any 
towns, or stationary places of residence ; their villages being mere 
encampments, at spots of occasional or habitual resort. They had 
no governments, or national organization ; being divided into fami- 
Jies, or tribes, who were independent of each other, and portions of 
whom occasionally united together for a season, to resist a common 
danger, or to join in the rites of a common superstition. They had 
no industry : produced nothing by labor, except a few vegetables for 
present use ; possessed no trade, nor commerce ; and, of course, no 



money, nor other medium of exchange. They kept no domestic 
animals, nor had they any property, except in their arms and rude 
canoes. We have no evidence that they entertained any definite 
ideas of a future state, or of a Supreme Being ; and although they 
had many vague notions of supernatural beings, and of another 
state of existence, yet we are certain that they professed no com 
mon faith, nor exercised any general form of religion. Each tribe 
had some shadowy superstitions, scarcely credited by themselves, 
and which, we are inclined to believe, seldom outlived the genera 
tions in which they were conceived* They made nothing, the} 
erected nothing, they established nothing, which might vindicate, 
to succeeding generations, their character as rational beings ; and 
they seem to have been distinguished from the brute creation by 
little else than the faculty of speech, and the possession of reason 
ing powers, which appear scarcely to have been exercised. Still, 
they were human beings, as much entitled to the sympathy of man 
kind, as if their claims to respect had been greater; and their 
condition and history present curious subjects of inquiry to thr 
philosopher and philanthropist. 

Much curiosity has been excited in regard to the origin of this 
people, and many ingenious attempts have been made to trace theii 
descent from some of the existing nations of Europe and Asia. All 
these theories have proved fallacious, and we speak the common 
sentiment of all rational inquirers on this subject, when we assert 
that no fact has been discovered, which would lead to a just 
inference, that the Aborigines of North America have, at any time, 
been more civilized than they are at present; or which would 
render it even probable, that they are a branch of any existing 
people more civilized than themselves. The more reasonable 
opinion is, that they are a primitive people, a distinct branch of 
the human family, separated from the common stock at some 
remote period, in pursuance of the same inscrutable decree of 
Providence which set apart the negro from the white man. How 


they came to this continent cannot now be told ; time has effaced 
the footsteps of the progenitors of the race; and it would be as 
impossible now to trace out their path, as it would be to unfold the 
still more mysterious act of the hand of God, which peopled the 
islands of the ocean. 

In the course of these inquiries, much stress has been laid upon 
the discovery of certain works of art, which some have supposed to 
be the remains of a people more civilized than the present race of 
Indians, while others believe them to have been constructed by 
this race, in a higher state of cultivation, from which they have 
since receded. We think these theories equally defective, from the 
obvious consideration, that there is not evinced, in the construction 
of any of these works, a degree of skill beyond that of which the 
present Indian is capable. There is no mechanical skill whatever, 
no mathematical knowledge, nor any great display of ingenuity, 
evinced in any of them. They are, for the most part, composed of 
loose earth, heaped up in huge piles, more remarkable for their 
volume than their form or structure. No wood nor metal has been 
found in them ; and in the few instances where stone has been 
discovered, it has not borne the impress of any tool, while the 
remains of masonry have been so problematical, as not to afford the 
evidence upon which any hypothesis could be safely founded. 

The mounds scattered profusely over the great central plain of 
the Mississippi, have attracted attention chiefly on account of their 
number and size ; and, it has been plausibly argued, that the 
present race of Indians, with their known indolence and aversion 
to labor, and their ignorance of all tools and machinery, would 
never have submitted to the toil requisite for so great a work. But 
this argument is insufficient. In order to appreciate the laborious- 
ness of this work, it would be necessary to ascertain the numbers 
engaged in it, and the time employed in its completion. If we 
suppose that these mounds were burying-places ; that the bones of 
the dead were deposited on the ground, and earth brought in small 


parcels from the surrounding surface and heaped over them, and 
that successive layers were deposited from time to time, one above 
the other, it will be seen that the accumulation might eventually 
be great, though the labor would be gradually bestowed, and the 
toil almost imperceptible. When we consider the tendency of all 
communities to adhere tenaciously to burial-places, consecrated by 
long use, it will not be thought strange that savages, however 
erratic in their habits, should continue to bury their people, at the 
same spots, through many successive generations. Supposing this 
to have been the process, these mounds may have been growing 
through many successive ages, and neither their number nor their 
bulk would be matter of surprise. We have an example in our 
own times to justify the belief that such was their practice. Black 
Bird; a celebrated chief of the Mahas, was buried, by his own 
directions, on an eminence overlooking the Missouri River. He 
was seated on his favorite horse, dressed, painted, and armed, as if 
prepared for war, and the horse and man being placed on the 
surface of the ground, in the erect posture of life, the earth was 
heaped up around them until both were covered. A considerable 
mound would be made by this single interment ; and is it impro 
bable, that a spot thus signalized, would, in after generations, be 
sought by those who would desire to place the remains of their 
relatives under the guardianship of the spirit of a great warrior ? 

It is worthy of remark, that these mounds are usually found in 
places suitable for the sites of towns ; and we think that the largest 
mounds, and the most numerous groups, always exist in the most 
fertile tracts of country, and on the borders of rivers. These are 
the points at which the productions of nature, suitable for food, 
would be most abundant, and where savage hordes would naturally 
congregate, during the inclemency of the winter season. At some 
of these places, the evidences of former habitation still remain ; but 
many of them are on the open prairie, covered with long grass, 
and exhibiting no sign of recent population, while others are 


concealed in the tangled forest, in all its pristine luxuriance, and 
overgrown with great trees, whose ages may be computed by cen 
turies. They are, therefore, of great antiquity , and while we 
believe that, among the present inhabitants of the wilderness, there 
are traces of the custom to which we have alluded as the probable 
cause of these remains, we also think that the practice has gone 
into disuse.* It is not improbable, that the pressure of the white 
population during the last three centuries, the use of ardent spirits, 
and the introduction of foreign diseases, have modified their former 
habits, by rendering them more erratic, fomenting wars, and dividing 
tribes, and greatly reducing their numbers. 

Another class of remains, of a highly curious character, have 
recently been discovered in the Wisconsin Territory. These are 
mounds of earth, having the outlines and figures of animals, raised 
in relief, upon the surface of the plain. They are very numerous, 
and the original forms so well preserved, that the respective species 
of animals intended to be represented, are easily recognized. The 
figures are large, as much as thirty or forty feet in length, and 
raised several feet above the natural surface ; and the bodies, heads, 
limbs, and, in some instances, the smaller members, such as the 
ears, are distinctly visible. They represent the buffalo, the bear, 
the deer, the eagle, the tortoise, the lizard, &c., drawn without 
much skill, and are precisely the figures which we find traced on 
the dressed buffalo skins of the present race of Indians, and display 
ing the same style in the grouping, and a similar degree of skill in 
the art of drawing. They are so peculiarly characteristic of the 
Indians, as to leave no doubt of their origin ; nor do we question 
the fairness of the inference which would impute them to the same 
people, and the identical period, which produced the class of mounds 
supposed to have been sepulchres for the dead. We are indebted 
for our knowledge of these highly curious relics, to Dr. John Locke, 
of Cincinnati, an eminent geologist, who carefully examined, mea 



sured, and delineated them, and whose very interesting description 
may be found in Silliman's Journal. 

The remains of ancient fortifications are decidedly the most 
curious of all the relics of our red population which have been 
handed down to us ; and they have caused great doubt, in regard 
to their origin, in consequence of their magnitude, and the degree 
of skill evinced in their construction. That they were military 
defences, well adapted to the purpose for which they were intended, 
and exhibiting much ingenuity, are points which may be conceded ; 
but some, whose opinions are entitled to great respect, have main 
tained further, that these works exhibit a knowledge of the science 
of engineering, as applied in modern warfare, far beyond the powers 
of combination and extent of knowledge, of any savage people, and 
which prove them to be the production of a more civilized people. 
We think these inferences are more plausible than just. 

The discoverers of North America found the villages of the 
Indians surrounded by stockades, and there is scarcely a delinea 
tion of an Indian town to be found in any old book, in which there 
is not a representation of some form of exterior defence. This fact 
sho\* , that, like their descendants, they lived on such terms with 
their neighbors, as made it necessary for them to be continually on 
their guard against surprise ; and, although their habits may have 
been those of a wandering people, and their towns then, as now, 
places of periodical resort, yet there may have been periods of a 
more protracted abode at one spot, and occasions when it became 
essential to make a stand against their enemies, and to take more 
than ordinary precautions against the assaults of a superior force. 
If such was ever the case, one great difficulty is removed from this 

The Indians are a military people. They cultivate no art of 
social life, and the only road to distinction is the war path. The 
sole ambition of their leading men is to excel in war. Whatever 
degree of wisdom, of cunning, or of any description of talent, may 


exist in the minds of the chiefs, or of aspiring men, must find its 
exercise in the battle-field, in plans to annoy others, or defend 
themselves. The intellect of such a people, while it would remain 
stationary and unproductive, in regard to every other kind of 
knowledge, and subject of reflection, would become sharpened, and 
to some extent cultivated, in relation to military affairs ; like the 
trees of their native forests, the martial art would grow vigorously 
in the soil which gave nourishment to no other production. It is 
true, that even this art could arrive at no high degree of perfection 
among a people who had no mechanical ingenuity, no knowledge 
of the use of metals, nor any of the implements or engines of war 
or of industry belonging to a cultivated people without, in short, 
any of the kindred arts or sciences. With no weapons but the 
bow, the spear of wood, and the war-club, without magazines and 
the means of transporting provisions, the range of improvement in 
military tactics must have been confined to very narrow limits. 
We only contend that, so far as the scope of their knowledge and 
experience in war extended, it gave employment to all the in 
genuity of the people which was at all attempted to be exercised. 
Thus we have seen that, while the Indians have resisted every 
effort to introduce among them our social arts, they have eagerly 
adopted the use of the horse and of fire-arms; they listen with 
indifference or contempt to our explanations of the comforts of life, 
and of the advantages of agriculture and trade, and witness, without 
desire, the useful qualities of the ox, the axe, and the plough ; but 
they grasp with avidity the knife and the tomahawk. 

Among the various vicissitudes of a continual warfare, it must 
sometimes have become necessary, even for a people habitually 
wandering in their habits, to make a stand against their enemies. 
We know that wars for the conquest of territory have been common 
among the Aborigines, and that tribes have often been dispossessed 
of their ancient hunting-grounds, and driven to seek other lands. 
There must have been occasions when pride, obstinacy, or a 


devoted attachment to a particular spot, impelled them to risk 
3xtermination rather than retreat before a superior force ; or when 
a desperate remnant of a brave and fierce people, surrounded by 
foes, could only retreat from their own country into the lands of a 
hostile nation. In such emergencies they must have resorted to 
extraordinary means of defence ; and necessity would suggest those 
artificial aids which, in all ages, and in every state of society, have 
been called to the support of valor and physical strength. They 
would be driven to the construction of fortifications ; and though 
wholly unskilful at first, their warlike propensities and martial 
habits would render them fruitful of expedients, and lead to a 
rapid advancement in the art of improving the advantages and 
covering the weaknesses of their position. The reader of American 
history will readily recall numerous instances in which the Indians 
have protected their armies and surrounded their towns by breast 
works of logs, and the step from those to ramparts of earth would 
be natural and easy. 

The evidences of military science which have been detected in 
some of these works, deserve attention. These have been found in 
the convenience of the positions in reference to supplies of water 
in the existence of covered ways, of traverses protecting gateways, 
of angles, and even bastions. As these are parts of that combina 
tion which forms a regular system, they are supposed to be the 
results of science ; but this may be a mistake ; for it is not the 
existence of the parts, but their combination and harmony, which 
afford the proof of what we term science. The perfection of science 
often consists in the adaptation of the most simple elements to a 
desired purpose, and the discovery and proper arrangement of the 
laws by which causes are made to produce uniform effects. The 
savage may know nothing of the laws, but may adopt the prin 
ciples; because there are some elementary principles so inseparably 
connected with every mechanical operation, that it is impossible to 
conduct that operation conveniently without adopting those rudi- 


ments of the art. The economy of labor, in connecting two points 
by a straight instead of a serpentine line of embankment, might 
readily occur even to the mind of a savage ; and a military leader, 
however inexperienced, in planning a line of defence, would 
naturally consider and strengthen the points of attack. That 
an intelligent savage leader, watchful, crafty, and expert in devices, 
as we know them to be, and experienced in his own mode of war 
fare, should throw out a salient angle to overlook and command a 
line of defence, would not be surprising ; and it would be still less 
remarkable, that he should pitch his camp near a supply of water, 
and construct a covered way by \vhich the females could pass in 
safety to the reservoir of that indispensable element. If an opening 
must be left in a line of breastwork for egress, it would be natural 
to throw up a parapet behind it for the protection of the warriors 
engaged in its defence, in case of assault. All these are among the 
simple and obvious expedients which form the rudiments of the art 
of fortification : that all of them would be combined in a first 
attempt to fortify a savage camp, is not likely; but that some 
of them would be adopted on one occasion, and others be added 
subsequently, as necessity might suggest their expediency, does 
not seem improbable. It is true, also, that some of the largest 
works, of which the remains are found, when delineated on paper, 
exhibit angles and bastions, and a general irregularity of outline, 
which appear to be the result of a plan adapted to some system of 
defence, when an examination of the ground would show them to 
be the mere effects of necessity. On tracing some of these lines 
upon the spot, it has been found that the position occupies an 
eminence, or ground higher than that around it, and that the lines 
enclosing the table-land of the summit follow the sinuosities of the 


exterior lines of plane, and keeping along the edge of the declivity, 
form retiring angles in passing round the heads of ravines, or 
gullies, and again shoot out into salient angles, to occupy pio 


truding points, and, in the latter case, sometimes swell into a series 
of angles, developing the form of a bastion. 

How far the habits of the Indians have been modified by their 
intercourse with the whites, cannot be ascertained with certainty, 
but we have data from which to draw conclusions. The earliest 
accounts of the Indians represent them as being, intellectually, 
what they now are. They had no art then which they have not 
now; nor has any trace been found of any art which they once 
possessed, and have since lost. The pressure of the whites has 
driven them from the sea-coasts to the great plains of the West, and 
some change must have resulted from the difference in the character 
of the country, and modes of procuring food. The use of the horse, 
of fire-arms, and of other weapons of metal, has not been without 
effect. Mounted on this noble animal, they now overtake the 
buffalo, and procure abundant supplies of food. The gun has 
added wonderfully to the facility of hunting, and their military 
tactics must have been entirely changed. They are proud and 
fearless riders, delighting in the chase, in horse-racing, and in all 
exercises in which that animal is the instrument or companion of 
man. The introduction of ardent spirits has done much to deprave 
and enfeeble the Indian ; and the prevalency of the small-pox and 
other diseases communicated by the whites, has thinned their num 
bers with fearful havoc. With these few exceptions, there seems 
to l)e little change in their character, or condition, since the dis 
covery. The moral effects of their intercourse with the whites, we 
shall consider more fully in another place. 

Of the two parties that were brought into contact by the discovery 
of North America, it may be remarked, that they stood on the 
opposite extremes of refinement and barbarism ; the North Ameri 
can savage not having advanced a single step in civilization, while 
the European possessed all the learning, the cultivation, and the 
mechanical ingenuity of the age ; the one was a heathen, the other 
enjoyed the Christian faith in the purest form in which it then 


existed. It may not be "uninteresting to trace out the beginning of 
an intercourse between races thus opposed in character; because, 
in the examination which we propose to make of the relations since 
established, it is important to observe the foundation which was 
laid, and to notice the prejudices and antipathies which have per 
vaded and perverted that intercourse. 

We do not assume to have made any new discovery, when we 
assert, that there are more popular errors in existence in respect to 
the Indians, than in regard to almost any other matter w^hich has 
been so much and so frequently discussed. These have arisen 
partly out of national antipathies, partly out of the misrepresenta 
tions of interested persons; and, to some extent, are inseparable 
from the nature of the subject, which is intricate in itself, and 
delicate in many of its bearings. The usual mode of disposing of 
the question, by asserting that the Indians are savages, not capable 
of civilization, nor to be dealt with as rational beings, is unchristain 
and unphilosophical. We cannot assent to such a conclusion, 
without discarding the light of revelation, the philosophy of the 
human mind, and the results of a vast deal of experimental know 
ledge. The activity of body and mind displayed by the Indian in 
all his enterprises, the propriety and closeness of reasoning, and the 
occasional flashes of dignity and pathos in some of their speeches, 
sufficiently establish the claims of this race to a respectable station 
in point of intellect ; and we have no reason to believe that they 
have worse hearts, or more violent passions, than the rest of the 
human family, except so far as their natures have been perverted 
by outward circumstances. Why is it, then, that they are savages ? 
Why have they not ascended in the great scale of civil subordina 
tion? Why are they ferocious, ignorant, and brutal, while we, 
their neighbors, are civilized and polished ? Why is it that, while 
our intercourse with every other people is humane, enlightened,, 
just having its foundations fastened upon the broad basis of 
reciprocity, we shrink with horror from the Indian, spurn him 


from our firesides and altars, and will not suffer the ermine of our 
judges to be tarnished by his presence? Why is it, that while 
nearly all the world is united, as it were, in one great and concen 
trated effort to spread the light of knowledge, to burst the shackles 
of superstition, to encourage industry, and to cultivate the gentle 
and domestic virtues, one little remnant of the human family stands 
unaffected by the general amelioration, a dark and lonely monu 
ment of irretrievable ignorance and incorrigible ferocity ? 

It is in the hope of answering some of these questions that this 
discussion is attempted ; and, in order to arrive at a successful 
result, it is necessary to go back beyond our own times, and 40 
examine events in which rve are not immediately concerned as a 

If we refer to the earliest intercourse between the existing 
Christian nations and the barbarous tribes, in different quarters 
of the world, we find the disposition and conduct of the latter to 
have been, at first, timid and pacific, and that the first breaches of 
harmony arose out of the aggressions committed by the former. 
When, therefore, we speak of our present relations with them, as 
growing out of necessity, and as resulting from the faithlessness 
and ferocity of the savage character, we assume a position which is 
not supported by the facts. That a great allowance is to be made 
for the disparity between civilized and savage nations, is true ; 
and it is equally true, that the same degree of confidence and 
cordiality cannot exist between them as between nations who 
acknowledge a common religious, moral, and international code, 
which operates equally upon both parties. But this does not 
preclude all confidence, nor prove the Indian destitute of moral 
virtue and mental capacity. On the contrary, it must be admitted, 
that the Indians in their primitive state possessed a higher moral 
character than now belongs to them, and that they have been 
degraded, in some degree, by their intercourse with civilized men; 
end we ought, in all our dealings with them, to endeavor to atone 


for the injury done to them, and to human nature, by our departure 
from Christian principles, and to bring them back to a state of 
happiness and respectability, at least equal to that in which we 
found them. In establishing these positions, we do not design to 
cast any imputation upon our own Government, nor will it be 
necessary. The great mistakes in policy, and the monstrous 
crimes committed against the savage races, to which we propose 
to allude, were perpetrated by almost all civilized nations before 
our own had any existence ; and no criminality can attach to 
us for a state of things in the,creation of which we had no agency. 
We know of no deliberate act of cruelty or injustice towards the 
tribes, with which we are chargeable as a people. On the con 
trary, our policy has been moderate and just, and distinguished, as 
we shall show, by a spirit of benevolence. It is true, however, 
that this spirit has been misdirected, and that, with the very best 
intentions, we have done great wrong to the Aborigines, to our 
selves, and to humanity. 

We shall first show how other nations have acted towards the 
savage tribes, what have been the examples set to us, and how far 
those examples have influenced our conduct. 

The first discoverers were the Portuguese. Under Don Henry, 
a prince, in point of knowledge and liberal feeling, a century in 
advance of the age in which he lived, this people pushed their 
discoveries into the Canary Islands, the continent of Africa, and 
the East Indies. They were received with uniform kindness 
by the natives, who regarded them as a superior race of beings, 
and were willing to submit implicitly to their authority. Had 
the Europeans of that day, and their descendants, cultivated an 
amicable understanding with these simple heathens, and rigidly 
adhered to a system of good faith and Christian forbearance, 
there is no calculating the advantages that might have ensued ; 
nor is it to be doubted that those ignorant and confiding tribes 
would have yielded themselves, with hardly a struggle, to the 



teaching of their more intelligent and powerful neighbors. But 
so far from making the slightest effort to establish friendly relations 
with the savages, the very earliest discoverers exhibited a pro 
pensity for wanton mischief towards them, more characteristic 
of demons than of men, and which rendered them, and the religion 
they professed, so odious, that the benevolent exertions of statesmen 
and Christians since that time have wholly failed to eradicate the 
deeply rooted prejudices so injudiciously and wickedly excited. 
Among a simple race, who viewed their visitors with superstitious 
reverence as creatures more than human, there must have been a 
mortifying revulsion of feeling, when they discovered in those 
admired strangers all the vices and wantonness which disgraced 
the rudest barbarians, joined to powers which, they imagined, were 
possessed only by the gods. " Their dread and amazement was 
raised to the highest pitch," says Lafiteau, " when the Europeans 
fired their cannons and guns among them, and they saw their 
companions fall dead at their feet without any enemy at hand, or 
any visible cause of their destruction." 

Alluding to these transactions, Dr. Johnson remarks " On what 
occasion, or for what purpose, muskets were discharged among a 
people harmless and secure, by strangers, who, without any right, 
visited their coast, it is not thought necessary to inform us. The 
Portuguese could fear nothing from them, and had, therefore, no 
adequate provocation ; nor is there any reason to believe but that 
th^y murdered the Negroes in wanton merriment, perhaps only to 
try how many a volley would destroy, or what would be the con 
sternation of those that should escape. We are openly told, that 
they had the less scruple concerning their treatment of the savage 
people, because they scarcely considered them as distinct from 
brutes; and indeed the practice of all European nations, and 
among others of the English barbarians that cultivate the southern 
islands of America, proves that this opinion, however absurd and 
foolish, however wicked and injurious, still continues to prevail." 


" By these practices the first discoverers alienated the natives 
from them ; and whenever a ship appeared, every one that could 
fly betook himself to the mountains and the woods, so that nothing- 
was to be got more than they could steal; they sometimes sur 
prised a few fishers and made them slaves, and did what they could 
to offend the natives and enrich themselves" (Introduction to the 
World Displayed.} 

These events commenced about the year 1392, which is the date 
of the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope by the Portuguese. 
Chivalry was at its zenith about the same time. It was an age of 
moral darkness and military violence. Tamerlane, the Tartar, was 
reigning in Persia, and Margaret, the Semiramis of the North, in 
Denmark. It was the age of Gower and Chaucer, the fathers 
of English poetry, and of Harry Percy, the celebrated Hotspur, 
About the same time, Wickliflfe, the morning star of the Reforma 
tion, had mad.e the first English translation of the Bible, and Huss 
and Jerome of Prague began to publish their doctrines. By 
keeping these facts in mind, we shall be at no loss to account 
for a course of conduct on the part of the Portuguese towards 
the Africans, differing but little from the intolerance, the deception, 
and the wanton barbarity, which distinguished the intercourse of 
European nations with each other. 

In 1492 Columbus gave a new world to European curiosity, 
avarice, and despotism. It would be vain to attempt to follow the 
Spanish conquerors in their desolating progress through the islands 
and continent of America. Like the Portuguese, they were kindly 
received; like them, they repaid kindness with cruelty. Their 
footsteps were dyed with blood violence and lust marked all their 
actions. Men seemed to be transformed into ministers of darkness, 
and acted such deeds in real life as the boldest and darkest imagi 
nation has never ventured to suggest in fiction, or even in poetic 
phrenzy. Bearing the cross in one hand, and the sword in the 
other, combining bigotry with military rapine, and the thirst for 


gold with the lust for power, they united in one vast scheme all 
the most terrible engines and worst incentives of crime. We do 
not know that there is to be found in history a recital more touch 
ing than the account of the conquest of Mexico by Cortes, or than 
that of Peru by Pizarro. In each of these instances the conquerors 
were at first received with hospitality by their confiding victims. 
They each found an amiable people, possessing many of the social 
arts, living happily under a government of their own choice, and 
practising fewer of the unnatural rites of superstition than com 
monly prevailed among the heathen. 

The discovery and invasion of Mexico by the Spaniards, under 
Hernan Cortes, occurred in the sixteenth century, and the Euro^ 
peans were not a little surprised at the greatness of the population 
and the splendor of the cities. The city of Mexico, exclusive of 
its suburbs, is said to have measured ten miles in circumference 
and contained, according to the Spanish writers, 60,000 houses. 
Dr. Robertson thinks it did not contain more than that number 
of inhabitants; but that point cannot now be settled, nor is it 
important. Enough is known to satisfy us that the people had 
passed from the savage state, in which the subsistence of man is 
chiefly derived from fishing and hunting, and had congregated in 
large towns. They had a regular government, and a system of 
laws. The king lived in great state. " He had," says Cortes, " in 
this city of Mexico, such houses for his habitation, so deserving of 
admiration, that I cannot sufficiently express their grandeur and 
excellence; I shall therefore only say, there are none equal to 
them in Spain." One of the Spanish leaders, who is styled 
the " Anonymous Conqueror," writes thus : " There were beauti 
ful houses belonging to the nobles, so grand and numerous in their 
apartments, with such admirable gardens to them, that the sight 
of them filled us with astonishment and delight. I entered, from 
curiosity, four times into a palace belonging to Montezuma, and, 
having pervaded it until I was weary, I came away at last without 


having seen it all. Around a large court they used to build 
sumptuous halls and chambers, but there was one above all so 
large that it was capable of containing upwards of three thousand 
persons without the least inconvenience ; it was such that in the 
gallery of it alone a little square was formed where thirty men on 
horseback might exercise." It is certain, from the affirmation 
of all the historians of Mexico, that the army under Cortes, 
consisting of 6,400 men and upwards, including the allies, were 
all lodged in the palace formerly possessed by King Axajacath ; 
and there remained still sufficient lodging for Montezuma and 
his attendants. 

" There were," says Gomara, " many temples in the city of 
Mexico, scattered through the different districts, that had their 
towers, in which were the chapels and altars for the repositories 
of the idols." " All these temples had houses belonging to them, 
their priests and gods, together with every thing necessary for their 
worship and service." Cortes says that he counted more than four 
hundred temples in the city of Cholula alone. They differed, 
however, in size ; some were mere terraces, of little height, upon 
which there was a small chapel for the tutelary idol others were 
of stupendous dimensions. In speaking of one of these, Cortes 
declares that " it is difficult to describe its parts, its grandeur, and 
the things contained in it." 

It is certain that the Mexicans defended their cities by fortifica 
tions, which indicated some advance in the military art ; they had 
walls, bastions, palisades, ditches, and entrenchments. They were 
very inferior, indeed, to those of Europe, because their knowledge 
of military architecture was imperfect; nor had they occasion to 
cover themselves from artillery, but they afforded sufficient proof 
of the industry and ingenuity of the people. 

Taking them altogether, the Mexicans had many high and 
'estimable traits in their national character, and they probably 
enjoyed in social life as much happiness as is usually allotted to 


man. Speaking of Lascalteca, a city of Mexico, Cortes says, "I 
was surprised at its size and magnificence. It is larger and 
stronger than Grenada, contains as many and as handsome build 
ings, and is much more populous than that city was at the time 
of its conquest. It is also much better supplied with corn, poultry, 
game, fresh water, fish, pulse, and excellent, vegetables. There are 
in the market, each day, thirty thousand persons, including buyers 
and sellers, without mentioning the merchants and petty dealers 
dispersed over the city. In this market may be bought every 
necessary of life, clothes, shoes, feathers of all kinds, ornaments 
of gold and silver, as well wrought as in any part of the world ; 
various kinds of earthenware, of a superior quality to that of 
Spain ; wood, coal, herbs, and medicinal plants. Here are houses 
for baths, and places for washing and shearing goats; in short, 
this city exhibits great regularity, and has a good police; the 
inhabitants are peculiarly neat, and far superior to the most 
industrious of the Africans." The city of Cholula is described 
by Bernal Diaz as " resembling Valladolid," and containing twenty 
thousand inhabitants. Both of these cities were of course vastly 
inferior to the city of Mexico ; but it is not necessary to swell our 
pages by a labored attempt to prove the civilization of the Mexi 
cans. If we except the single article of the Christian faith and the 
Bible, in which the Spaniards had the advantage of them, we 
question whether they were not, immediately previous to their 
subjugation, in a higher state of civilization than their oppressors; 
whether they had not better practical views of civil liberty, more 
just notions of private right, and more of the amiable propensities 
and softer virtues of life. 

Their laws were superior to those of the Greeks and Romans, 
and their magistrates more just. They punished with death their 
judges who passed a sentence that was unjust or contrary to law, 
or who made an incorrect statement of any cause to the king, or to 
a superior magistrate, or who accepted a bribe. Any person who 


altered the measures established in their markets met with the 
same punishment. Guardians who wasted the estates of their 
wards were punished capitally. Drunkenness in their youth was 
punished with death; in persons more advanced in life, it was 
punished with severity, though not capitally. A nobleman who 
was guilty of this vice, was stripped of his dignity, and rendered 
infamous : a plebeian was shaved and had his house demolished. 
Their maxim was, that he who could voluntarily deprive himself 
of his senses, was unworthy of a habitation among men ; but this 
law did not extend to the aged, who were allowed to drink as much 
as they pleased on their own responsibility. 

They had a good police, and excellent internal regulations. 
Couriers were maintained, by whom intelligence was regularly and 
rapidly transmitted. Their highways were repaired annually; in 
the mountains and uninhabited places there were houses erected 
for the accommodation of travellers; and they had bridges and 
boats for crossing rivers. The land was divided by appropriate 
boundaries, and owned by individuals, and the right of property in 
real, as well as personal estate, was thoroughly understood and 

Such is the character given to the Mexicans by those who 
assumed the right to plunder and oppress them, under the plea 
that they were savages and heathens. After making due allow 
ance for the exaggerations incident to such questionable testimony, 
enough remains to show that this singular people were advanced 
far beyond mere barbarism ; and the recent discoveries by Mr. 
Stevens and others, place that question beyond all cavil. The 
subject is curious and highly interesting. Few are aware of the 
degree of civilization which existed among the Mexicans and 
South American nations previous to their conquest by the Spa 
niards the intelligence, the kindness, the hospitality and respect 
able virtues of the natives, and the atrocious character of thu 
marauders by whom they were despoiled and enslaved. 


One instance, in proof of these assertions, may be found in the 
fascinating work of a distinguished American writer, so affecting, 
and strongly in point, that I cannot forbear alluding to it. Vasco 
Nunez, one of the most celebrated of the conquerors of New Spain, 
had been hospitably received by one of the native princes. With 
the usual perfidy of his time and country, he made captives of the 
Cacique, his wives and children, and many of his people. He also 
discovered their store of provisions, and returned, with his captives 
and his booty, to Darien. When the unfortunate Cacique beheld 
his family in chains, and in the hands of strangers, his heart was 
wrung with despair : " What have I done to thee," said he to 
Vasco Nunez, "that thou shouldest treat me thus cruelly? None 
of thy people ever came to my land, that were not fed and sheltered, 
and treated with kindness. When thou earnest to my dwelling, 
did I meet thee with a javelin in my hand ? Did I not set meat 
and drink before thee, and welcome t'hee as a brother? Set me 
free, therefore, with my people and family, and we will remain thy 
friends. We will supply thee with provisions, and reveal to thee 
the riches of the land. Dost thou doubt my faith ? Behold my 
daughter, I give her to thee as a pledge of my friendship. Take 
her for thy wife, and be assured of the fidelity of her family and 
people ! 

"Vasco Nunez felt the power of these words, and knew the 
importance of forming a strong alliance among the natives. The 
captive maid also, as she stood trembling and dejected before him, 
found great favor in his eyes, for she was young and beautiful. 
He granted, therefore, the prayer of the Cacique, and accepted 
his daughter; engaging, moreover, to aid the father against his 
enemies, on condition of his furnishing provisions to the colony. 

" Careta (the Indian prince) remained three days at Darien, 
during which time he was treated with the utmost kindness. 


Vasco Nunez took him on board his ships and showed him every 
part of them. He displayed before him, also, the war-horses, with 


their armor and rich caparisons, and astonished him with the 
thunder of artillery. Lest he should be too much daunted by 
these \varlike spectacles, he caused the musicians to perform an 
harmonious concert on their instruments, at which the Cacique 
was lost in admiration. Thus having impressed him with a 
wonderful idea of the power and endowments of his new allies, 
he loaded him with presents and permitted him to depart. 

" Careta returned joyfully to his territories, and his daughter 
remained with Vasco Nunez, wittingly, for HIS SAKE, giving up 
her family and her native home. They were never married, but 
she considered herself as his wife, as she really was, according to 
the usages of her own country ; and he treated her with fondness, 
allowing her gradually to acquire a great influence over him." > 

I envy not the man who can read this affecting passage without 
mingled emotions of admiration and pity. Who, in this case, 
displayed the vices of barbarians ? Was it the daring marauder, 
who violated the rules of hospitality ? Was it the generous chief, 
who opened his heart and his house with confiding hospitality 
to the military stranger who, when betrayed, appealed to his 
treacherous guest with all the manly simplicity of an honest 
heart, mingled with the deep emotion of a bereaved parent and 
an insulted sovereign and who, with magnanimous patriotism, 
gave up his child, a young and beautiful maiden, to purchase the 
li'.erty of his people? Or was it the Indian maid, adorned with 
graces that could win the heart of that ruthless soldier, " willingly, 
for his sake, giving up her family and native home," discharging 
with devoted fidelity the duty of the most sacred relation in life, 
and achieving, by her talents and feminine attractions, a complete 
conquest over her country's conqueror ? Shame on the abuse of 
language that would call such a people savage, or their oppressors 
Christians ! 

At a much later period, and when the Christian world was far 



more enlightened than in the days of Cortes, the British com 
menced their conquests in India ; yet we do not find the superior 
light they possessed, both religious and political, had any other 
effect than to make them more refined in their cruelties. They 
acted over again, in the East Indies, all the atrocities which had 
been perpetrated in New Spain, with this only difference, tl.r.t 
they did not pretend to plead the apology of religious fanaticism. 
The Spaniards attempted to impose on others, and may, possibly, 
in some instances, have imposed on themselves the belief, that 
they served God in oppressing the heathen ; for their conquests 
were made in an age when such opinions were prevalent. But the 
" English barbarians," as Dr. Johnson calls them, had no such 
notions ; for some of their best patriots and soundest divines had 
lived previous to the conquest of India, and the intellectual charac 
ter of the nation was deeply imbued with the principles of civil and 
religious liberty before that period. The love of money and of 
dominion were their only incentives; and they pillaged, tortured, 
murdered, and enslaved a people as civilized and as gentle as the 
Mexicans, without the shadow of an excuse. Millions of wealth 
have been poured into England, to enrich and adorn the land, 
to support the magnificence of the court, and to minister to the 
pleasures of a proud aristocracy, which were wrung from an 
unoffending people, by acts of violence and extortion no better 
than piracy. The disclosures made before the British Parliament 
at the trial of Warren Hastings justify these assertions ; and subser 
quent events in India, China, and other parts of the East, exhibit 
the same grasping and ruthless injustice on the part of that nation. 

Need we pursue the navigators of these and other nations to the 
different quarters of the globe, into which scientific curiosity, 
mercantile enterprise, and naval skill, have penetrated ? Such an 
investigation would but add new facts in support of the positions 
we have taken. 

We pause here, then, to inquire how it has happened, that 


wherever the civilized European has placed his foot upon heathen 
soil, he seems at once to have been transformed into a barbarian. 
All the refinements of civilized life have been forgotten. His 
benevolence, his sensibility, his high sense of honor, his nice 
perception of justice, his guarded deportment, his long habits of 
punctuality and integrity, are all thrown aside ; and not only has 
he been less honest than the savage in his private dealings, but has 
far outstripped him in the worst propensities of human nature in 
avarice, revenge, rapine, blood-thirstiness, and wanton cruelty. To 
the caprice of the savage, and that prodigality of life which dis 
tinguishes men unaccustomed to the restraints of law, and the ties 
of society, he has added the ingenuity of art, and the insolence of 
power. The lust of empire, and the lust of money, have given 
him incentives to crime which do not stimulate the savage ; and 
his intellectual cultivation has furnished him with weapons of war 
and engines of oppression, which have been wielded with a fearful 
energy of purpose and a monstrous depravity of motive. 

Nor were the desperate adventurers, who led the van of dis 
covery and conquest in heathen lands, alone implicated in the 
guilt of these transactions. They were sanctioned by the throne 
and the church. The Pope formally delivered over the heathen 
into the hands of the secular power ; kings abandoned them to the 
military leaders; and the nobles, the merchants, the wealthy and 
reputable, of all ranks, became partners in those nefarious enter 
prises sharers in the pillage, and accessories in the murder of 
inoffensive nations. We are struck with astonishment* when we 
see the people of countries professing the Christian faith, having 
social regulations, and respecting a code of international law among 
themselves, thus turned into ruthless depredators, and trampling 
under foot every maxim of justice, human and divine. 

In searching out the moving causes of this apparently anomalous 
operation of the human mind, we remark, in the first place, that 
the age of discovery was an age of ignorance. Few of the great 


fountains of light had been opened to pour out the flood of know 
ledge which has since penetrated into every quarter of the globe? 
and to disseminate the principles of conduct which now regulate 
the intercourse of men and of nations. In Europe, the great mass 
of the people all of those whose united opinions make up what is 
called public sentiment were alike destitute of moral culture ; the 
ruler and the subject, the noble and the plebeian, the martial leader 
and the wretched peasant, were equally deficient in literature and 
science. All knowledge was in the hands of the priests, and was 
by them perverted to the forwarding of their own selfish purposes. 
The great secret of their influence consisted in an ingenious con 
cealment of all the sources of knowledge. The Bible, the only 
elevated, pure, and consistent code of ethics the world has ever 
known, was a sealed book to the people. The ancient classics 
were carefully withheld from the public eye ; and the few sciences 
which were at all cultivated, were enveloped in the darkness of the 
dead languages. No system could have been more ingenious or 
more successful, than thus to clothe the treasures of knowledge in 
languages difficult of attainment, and accessible only to the high 
born and wealthy for, as the latter seldom undergo the labor of 
unlocking the stores of learning, and still less frequently teach to 
others what they have acquired, such a system amounted in 
practice to a monopoly of learning in the hands of the priesthood. 

Not only were the people of that day destitute of education, but 
the intercourse of nations with each other, previous to the discovery 
of the mariner's compass, was extremely limited ; and the wonder 
ful facilities for gaining and diffusing intelligence, afforded by the 
art of navigation, had just begun to operate in the days of Columbus 
and Cortes. 

The little knowledge that existed was perverted and misapplied. 
Where there was little freedom of thought, and no general spirit of 
inquiry, precedents were indiscriminately adopted, however incon 
sistent, and examples blindly followed, however wicked or absurd. 


The scholar found authority for every crime in the classics of 
heathen Greeks and Romans, who have left nothing behind them 
worthy of admiration, except a few splendid specimens of useful 
luxury and worthless refinement, and some rare fragments of 
magnanimity and virtue ; while their literature abounds in incen 
tives to ambition, rapine, and oppression. The few who read the 
Scriptures wrested the precepts ~of revelation arid the history of the 
primitive nations into authority for their own high-handed aggres 
sions ; and because distinctions were made between the Jews and 
the Heathen by whom they were surrounded, ignorantly believed, 
or perversely maintained, that the same relation continued to exist 
between the true believer and the heretic, and that the latter " were 
given to them for an inheritance." 

The era now under contemplation was a martial age. Ambition 
expended all its energies in the pursuit of military glory ; the 
fervors of genius were all conducted into this channel ; and, con 
fined in every other direction, burst forth, like a volcano, in the 
flame and violence of military achievement. The only road to 
fame or to preferment led across the battle-field ; the hero waded 
to power through seas of blood, or strode to affluence over the 
carcasses of the slain; and they who sat in high places, were 
accustomed to look upon carnage as a necessary agent, or an 
unavoidable incident to greatness. The people every where were 
accustomed to scenes of violence. The right of conquest was 
universally acknowledged, and success was the criterion of merit. 
Private rights, whether of person or property, were little under 
stood, and generally disregarded ; and national justice, in any 
enlarged sense, was neither practised nor professed. Certain chiv 
alrous courtesies there were, practised among the military and the 
high-born, and gleams of magnanimity occasionally flashed out 
amid the gloom of anarchy, but they afforded no steady light. 
They were the grim civilities of warriors, or the formal politeness 
of the great, which did not pervade the mass of the people, and 


tended not to refine the age, nor to soften the asperities of 

It was an age of intolerance, bigotry, superstition, and eccle 
siastical despotism ; when those who regulated the minds and 
consciences of men, were persons of perverted taste, intellect, and 
morals; men who lived estranged from society, aliens from its 
business, strangers to its domestic relations, its noblest virtues, 
and its kindest affections. It was, in short, the age of the inquisi 
tion and the rack, when opinions were regulated by law, and 
enforced by the stake and the sword, and when departures from 
established dogmas were punished by torture, disfranchisement, 
and death. 

Under such auspices commenced the intercourse between civil 
ized and savage men ; and, unfortunately, the pioneers who led the 
way in the discovery and colonization of new countries, were, with 
a few bright exceptions, the worst men of their time the soldier, 
the mariner, the desperate seeker after gold men inured to cruelty 
and rapine, and from whose codes of religion, morality, and law, 
imperfect as they were, the poor heathen was entirely excluded. 

We shall not dwell in detail on the facts to which we have 
briefly alluded. It would require volumes to record the unpro 
voked cruelties perpetrated by civilized upon savage men. The 
lawless invasion of Mexico by Cortes ; the horrid atrocities of the 
ruffian Pizarro, acted in Peru; the long series of robberies and 
bloodshed perpetrated by the British in India ; the dreadful scenes 
of the slave trade ; the track of carnage, and the maledictions of the 
heathen, which have marked the discoveries of the European in 
every quarter of the globe, are but too familiar to every reader of 
history. It is obvious that the first aggression was almost in 
variably committed by the whites, who have continued to be, for 
the most part, the offending party ; yet history does not afford the 
slightest evidence that any public disapprobation was manifested, 
either by the governments or the people of those countries, whose 


adventurers were overrunning the uncivilized parts of the world, 
in search of plunder, and in the perpetration of every species of 
enormity. A classic hatred of barbarians, a holy zeal against 
unbelievers, animated all classes of society, and sanctioned every 
outrage which was inflicted, in the name of religion or civilization, 
by commissioned freebooters, upon the unoffending inhabitants of 
newly discovered regions. 

In the discovery and settlement of North America, the conduct 
of the whites was far less blameable than in the instances to which 
we have alluded; still, it was aggressive, and productive of the 
most unhappy consequences. We propose to touch on some of the 
prominent points of this history, and to present a few instances 
illustrave of its spirit, and in support of our general views. 

Captain John Smith informs us, that "the most famous, re 
nowned, and ever worthy of all memorie, for her courage, learning, 
judgment, and virtue, Queen Elizabeth, granted her letters patent 
to Sir Walter Raleigh, for the discovering and planting new lands 
and countries not actually possessed by any Christians. This 
patentee got to be his assistants, Sir Richard Grenville the valiant, 
Mr. William Sanderson, a great friend to all such noble and worthy 
actions, and divers other gentlemen and marchants, who with all 
speede provided two small barkes, well furnished with necessaries, 
under the command of Captaine Philip Amidas, and Captain Bar 
low. The 27th of Aprill they set sayle from the Thames, the 10th 
of May passed the Canaries, and the 10th of June, the West Indies," 
&c. " The 2d of July they fell in with the coast of Florida, in 
in shoule water, where they felt a most delicate sweete smell, 
though they saw no land, which ere long they espied," &c. 

Here we find, that the power delegated by the crown to those 
lovers of worthy and noble actions, was simply for the discovering 
and planting of new lands, not actually possessed by other Christians , 
but although the rights of other Christians, who had no rights, were 
thus carefully reserved, no regard seems to have been paid to those 


of the aboriginal possessors of the countries to be discovered. 
With respect to them, the adventurers were at full liberty to act 
as their own judgment or caprice might dictate. 

The inhabitants received them with confidence. In the History 
of Smith we read, " Till the third day we saw not any of the 
people, then in a little boat three of them appeared ; one of them 
went on shore, to whom we rowed, and he attended us without any 
sign of feare ; after he had spoken much, though we understood not 
a word, of his own accorde he came boldly aboord us; we gave him 
a shirt, a hat, wine, and meate, which he liked well, and after he 
had well viewed the barkes and vs, he went away in his own boat, 
and within a quarter of a mile of vs, in half an hour, he loaded his 
boat with fish, with which he came againe to the point of land, and 
there divided it in two parts, pointing one part to the ship, and the 
other to the pinace, and so departed. 

" The next day came diuers boats, and in one of them the King's 
brother, with forty or fifty men, proper people, and in their be 
haviour very ciuil." "Though we came to him well armed, he 
made signs to vs to sit downe without any sign of feare, stroking 
his head and brest, and also ours, to expresse his loue. After he 
had made a long speech to vs, we presented him with diuers toyes, 
which he kindly accepted. 

" A day or two after, showing them what we had, Grangranaemeo 
taking most liking to a pewter dish, made a hole in it, and hung it 
about his neck for a brestplate, for which he gaue vs twenty deere 
skins, worth twenty crownes ; and for a copper kettle, fiftie skins, 
worth fiftie crownes. Much other trucke we had, and after two 
dayes he came aboord, and did eat and drinke with vs very merrily. 
Not long after he brought his wife and children," &c. 

" After that these women had been here with vs, there came 
doune from all parts great store of people, with leather, corrall, and 
and diuers kinde of dyes, but when Grangranaemeo was present, 
none durst trade but himself, and them that wore red copper ou 


their heads as he did. Whenever he came he would signifie by so 
many fires he came with so many boats, that we might knowe his 
force. Their boats but one great tree, which is burnt in the form 
of a trough with gins and fire, till it be as they would haue it. For 
an armour he would haue engaged vs a bagge of pearle, but we 
refused, as not regarding it, that wee might the better learne where 
it grew. He was very iust of his promise, for oft we trusted him, 
and would come within his day to keepe his word. He sent vs 
commonly every day a brace of bucks, conies, hares, and fish, 
sometimes mellons, walnuts, cucumbers, peas, and diuers roots. 
This author sayeth their corne groweth three times in fiue 
months; in May they sow, in luly reape; in lune they sow, in 
August reape." 

It is difficult to separate the truth from the fiction in these early 
histories. There seems to be an inherent propensity for exaggera 
tion in English travellers, which has pervaded their works, and 
cast a shade upon their character from the earliest time to the 
present, We know that our own corn does not grow " three times 
in five months, and that it cannot be planted in May and reaped in 
July in any part of our country ; the story of the " bagge of pearle" 
is very questionable ; nor do we put much faith in the " corrall" or 
the " red copper," which the natives are said to have possessed. 
These were flourishes of the imagination, thrown in by the writers, 
for purposes best known to themselves. But we may believe the 
evidence of the voyagers, as to the hospitality with which they 
were received by the natives, because in these statements they all 
agree, and we have ample reason to believe that such was usually 
the deportment of the Aborigines towards the Europeans who first 
visited our shores. The historian of this voyage sums up the 
whole in the expression, " a more kind loving people cannot be," 
and adds, "this discovery was so welcome into England, that it 
pleased her majestic to call this country of Wingandacoa, Virginia. 



by which name you are now to understand how it was planted, 
dissolued, reuned, and enlarged." 

In 1685 Sir Richard Grenville departed from Plymouth, with 
seven sail for Virginia. On his arrival, we are told, " the Indians 
stole a silver cup, wherefore we burned their town and spoiled 
their corn, and so returned to our fleet." Here we see how 
hostilities between the whites and Indians commenced. All the 
hospitality of those who were lauded as *'a kind loving people," 
was effaced by a single depredation, committed, most probably, by 
a lawless individual, whose act would have been disavowed by the 
tribe ; and, in revenge for the stealing of a cup, a town was burned, 
and the corn-fields of an unoffending community destroyed. Dr. 
Williamson, the historian of North Carolina, remarks, "the pas 
sionate and rash conduct of Sir Richard Grenville cost the nation 
many a life. The fair beginning of a hopeful colony was obscured, 
it was nearly defeated, by resenting the loss of a silver cup." 

Another voyager, John Brierton, who accompanied Captain Ges- 
nall, in 1690, to Virginia, speaks of the " many signs of loue and 
friendship," displayed by the Indians, " that did helpe us to dig 
and carry saxafras, and doe any thing they could." " Some of the 
baser sort would steale ; but the better sort," he continues, " we 
found very civill and iust." He considers the women as fat and 
well favored ; and concludes, " the wholesomeness and temperature 
of this climate doth not onely argue the people to be answerable to 
this description, but also of a perfect constitution of body, active, 
strong, healthful, and very witty, as the sundry toyes by them so 
cunningly wrought, may well testifie." 

Captain Smith, in a subsequent visit to Virginia, found the 
people "most civill to giue entertainment." He declares that 
" such great and well proportioned men are seldome seene, for 
iney seemed like giants to the English, yea, and to the neighbours, 
yet seemed of an honest and simple disposition ; with much adoe 
we restrained them from adoring us as gods." In another place 


he says, " They are very strong, of an able body, and full of agilitie, 
able to endure to lie in the woods, vnder a tree, by a fire, in the 
worst of winter, or in the weeds and grasse, in ambuscade, in the 
sommer. They are inconstant in every thing but what feare con- 
straineth them to keepe. Craftie, timourous, quicke of apprehension, 
and very ingenious. Some are of a disposition feareful, some bold, 
most cautelous and savage. Although the country people be very 
barbarous, yet have they among them such government, as that 
their magistrates for good commanding, and their people for due 
subjection and obeying, excell many places that would be accounted 
very civill." Smith's Hist., vol. i. p. 142. 

Another early writer on the settlement of Virginia, William 
Timons, " doctour of divinitie," remarks, " it might well be thought, 
a countrie so faire (as Virginia is) and a people so tractable, would 
long ere this have been quietly possessed, to the satisfaction of the 
adventurers, and the eternising of the memory of those that effected 
it." We need not multiply these proofs. History abounds in facts 
to prove the positions we have taken, and to convict the white man 
of being almost invariably the aggressor in that unnatural war 
which has now been raging for centuries between the civilized and 
savage races. 

Several fruitless attempts were made to plant a colony in 
Virginia before that enterprise succeeded. "The emigrants, 
notwithstanding the orders they had received, had never been 
solicitous to cultivate the good-will of the natives, and had neither 
asked permission when they occupied their country, nor given a price 
for their valuable, property, which was violently taken away. The 
miseries of famine were soon superadded to the horrors of massacre." 
(See Chalmer's Political Annals, under the head VIRGINIA.) Under 
all the disasters suffered by that colony, and with repeated examples 
and admonitions to warn them, they could never bring themselves 
to entertain sufficient respect for the Indians to treat them with 
civility, or negotiate with them in good faith. Their great error 


was, that they did not consider themselves, in their intercourse 
with savages, bound by the same moral obligations which would 
have governed their dealings with civilized men. They were 
loose and careless in their deportment ; they threw off the ordinary 
restraints of social life; the decent and sober virtues were laid 
aside ; and while as individuals they forfeited confidence by their 
irregularities, they lost it as a body politic by weak councils and 
bad faith. It is to be recollected that the colonists were intruders in 
a strange land; they had to establish a character. Their very 
coming was suspicious. There was no reason why the natives 
should think them better than they seemed, but many why they 
might suspect them to be worse. The Indians, having few virtues 
in their simple code, practise those which they do profess with 
great punctuality; and they could not but lightly esteem those 
who made great professions of superior virtue, while they openly 
indulged in every vice, and set all moral obligations at defiance. 

The romantic story of Pocahontas forms a beautiful episode in 
the history of this period. Though born and reared in savage life, 
she was a creature of exquisite loveliness and refinement. The 
gracefulness of her person, the gentleness of her nature her 
benevolence, her courage, her noble self devotion in the discharge 
of duty, elevate this lovely woman to an equality with the most 
illustrious and most attractive of her sex ; and yet those winning 
graces and noble qualities were not the most remarkable features 
of her character, which was even more distinguished by the won 
derful tact, and the delicate sense of propriety, which marked all 
the scenes of her brief, but eventful, history. The mingled tender 
ness and heroism of her successful intercession for the adventurous 
Smith, presents a scene which for dramatic effect and moral 
beauty, is not excelled either in the records of history or the most 
splendid creations of inventive genius. Had she been a Christian, 
had the generous spark of love, which is inbred in the heart of 
woman, been cherished by the refinements of education, or fanned 


by the strong impulse of devoted piety, it could not have burned 
with a purer or a brighter flame. The motive of that noble aeticn 
was benevolence the purest and most lofty principle of human 
action. It was not the caprice of a thoughtless girl, it was not a 
momentary passion for the condemned stranger, pleading at a 
susceptible heart, for her affections were reserved for another; and 
the purity as well as the dignity of her after life, showed that they 
were truly and cautiously bestowed. By her intervention, her 
courage, and her talent, the colony of Virginia was several times 
saved from famine and extermination ; and when perfidiously taken 
prisoner by those who owed every thing to her noble devotion to 
their cause, she displayed, in her captivity, a patience, a sweetness 
of disposition, and a propriety of conduct that won universal ad 
miration. As the wife of Rolfe, she was equally exemplary ; and 
when, at the British Court, she stood in the presence of royalty, 
surrounded by the beauty and refinement of the proudest aris 
tocracy in the world, she was still a lovely and admired woman, 
unsurpassed in the appropriate graces of her sex. Yet this woman 
was a savage ! A daughter of a race doomed to eternal barbarism 

o o 

by the decree of a philosophy which pronounces the soil of their 
minds too sterile to germinate the seeds of civilization ! 

An authentic portrait of this lovely and excellent woman, copied 
from a picture in the possession of her descendants in Virginia, 
will be found in this volume. Her original name was Matoaka, 
which signifies, literally, the Snow-feather, or the snow-flake, which 
was also the name of her mother ; and both were represented as 
being remarkably graceful and swift of foot. She was afterwards 
called Pocahontas, a rivulet between two hills, a name supposed by 
some to be prophetic, as she was a bond of peace and union 
between two nations. 

Her intercession for Smith is thus described by the ancient his 
torians : " The captive, bound hand and foot, was laid upon the 
stones, and Powhatan, to whom the honor was respectfully 


assigned, was about to put him to death. Something like pity 
beamed from the eyes of the savage crowd, but none dared to 
speak. The fatal club was uplifted ; the captive was without a 
friend to succor him, alone among hostile savages. The breasts of 
the multitude already anticipated the dreadful crash that would 
deprive him of life, when the young and beautiful Pocahontas, the 
King's darling daughter, with a shriek of terror and agony, threw 
herself on the body of the victim ! Her dark hair unbound, her 
eyes streaming with tears, and her whole manner bespoke the 
agony of her bosom. She cast the most beseeching looks at her 
angry and astonished father, imploring his pity, and the life of the 
captive, with all the eloquence of mute but impassioned sorrow." 

" The remainder of this scene," says Burk, " is highly honorable 
to Powhatan, and remains a lasting monument that, though dif 
ferent principles of action, and the influence of custom, had given 
to the manners of this people an appearance neither amiable nor 
virtuous in general, yet they still retained the noblest property of 
the human character the touch of sympathy, and the feelings of 
humanity. The club of the Emperor was still uplifted ; but gentle 
feelings had overcome him, and his eye was every moment losing 
its fierceness. He looked round to find an excuse for his weakness, 
and saw pity in every face. The generous savage no longer hesi 
tated. The compassion of the rude state is neither ostentatious nor 
dilatory, nor does it insult its object by the exaction of impossibili 
ties. Powhatan lifted his grateful and delighted daughter from 
the earth, but lately ready to receive the blood of the victim, and 
commanded the stranger captive to rise." 

Pocahontas was born about the year 1594, and was therefore 
about twelve or thirteen years old when she saved the life of Smith, 
in 1607. She afterwards, on several occasions, rendered essential 
services to the English colonists. From the year 1609 to 1611, 
about two years, it is said that she was never seen at Jamestown, 


and it is supposed that her father, jealous of her kindness towards 
the whites, had taken means to interrupt the intercourse. " About 
this time," says Stith, "or perhaps earlier, the Princess was not 
seen for some time. Rumor said she was banished to her father's 
remote possessions." 

It was probably during this absence from home that she was 
perfidiously captured by Captain Argall, who, being on a trading 
expedition up the Potomac, discovered that Pocahontas was on a 
visit to that neighborhood. "He immediately conceived the pro 
ject," says Burk, " of getting her into his power, concluding that 
the possession of so valuable a hostage would operate as a check 
on the hostile dispositions of her father, the Emperor, and might 
be made the means of reconciliation." Having decoyed her on 
ooard of his vessel, he seized and carried her to Jamestown. Here 
she became acquainted with Mr. John Rolfe, a gentleman of great 
respectability, who, soon afterwards, led her to the altar. She was 
converted to Christianity, and baptized, about the time of her mar 
riage. The name given her in baptism was Rebecca. Shortly 
after her marriage, and when under twenty years of age, she 
accompanied her husband to England, where she was well received 
and greatly admired. All accounts unite in ascribing to her the 
gentler and more attractive virtues of her sex ; she was graceful, 
modest, and retiring; yet had sufficient strength of character to 
sustain herself well in the station in which she was placed. She 
died at Gravesend, whither she went to embark to her native land, 
in 1616, after residing in England two years. She left one son, of 
whom the historian Stith says, "at the death of Pocahontas, Sir 
Lewis Steukley, of Plymouth, took the child ; but he soon fell into 
disrepute, in consequence of his treacherously betraying Sir Walter 
Raleigh to execution. The boy, Thomas Rolfe, was sent to his 
uncle, Henry Rolfe, who educated him. He afterwards returned 
to Virginia, where he became a man of great eminenpe; and 


marrying, left an only daughter, from whom are descended many 
of the first families in the State." 

The founders of New England were a pious race, who brought 
with them a political creed far more enlightened, and a much 
purer system of moral action, than any portion of Europe had then 
learned to tolerate. They were disposed to act conscientiously in 
their public as well as in their private concerns ; and their relations 
with the Indians were commenced in amity and good faith. Their 
great fault was their religious intolerance. Theirs was an intoler 
ant age, and they were a bigoted race ; and it is not surprising that 
a people who persecuted each other on account of sectarian diifer- 
ences of opinion, should have little charity for unbelievers. They 
who burned old women for indulging in the innocent pastime of 
riding on broomsticks, fined Quakers for wearing broad brimmed 
hats, and enacted all the other extravagances of the blue laws, may 
well have fancied themselves privileged to oppress the uncivilized 
Indian. They could not brook the idea of associating with hea 
thens as with equals. They looked upon them with scorn, arid 
negotiated with them as with inferiors. However a sense of duty 
might restrain them from open insult or injury, they could not 
conceal their abhorrence for the persons and principles of their new 
allies. That a free, untamed race, accustomed to no superiors, 
should long remain in amicable intercourse with a precise sectarian 
people, who held them in utter aversion, was not to be expected ; 
and, accordingly, we find that the hollow friendship of these parties 
was soon interrupted. Wars ensued, and no lasting peace was ever 
restored until the Indian tribes were extinguished or driven from 
the country. 

We consider this the fairest instance that could be quoted in 
proof of the universal prevalence of that public sentiment in 
relation to savages, to which we have alluded. " The settlement 
of New England," says one of the most respectable of their his 
torians, "purely for the purpose of religion, and the propagation of 


civil and religious liberty, is an event which has no parallel in the 
history of modern ages. The piety, self-denial, patience, perse 
verance, and magnanimity of the first settlers, are without a rival. 
The happy and extensive consequences of the settlements which 
they made, and the sentiments which they were careful to propa 
gate to their posterity, to the church, and to the world, admit of no 
description." If there is any truth in this description and we do 
not dispute it, extravagant as it seems a strange discrepancy is 
evinced in the practice and professions of a people of such preten 
sions. The perversion of public opinion, which could induce such 
men, themselves the subjects of oppression and the propagators of 
civil and religious liberty, to treat the savages as brutes, must have 
been wide spread and deeply seated ; but such was certainly their 

When we remark the weakness of the first settlements in New 
England, and observe that their infant villages were, on several 
occasions, almost depopulated by famine and sickness, it is obvious 
that the Indians must have been peaceably disposed towards them, 
as there were several periods at which they could, with ease, have 
exterminated all the colonists. We have on this subject positive 
evidence. In Baylie's Memoir of Plymouth, we are told that the 
Mohawks, the most powerful nation of New England, " were never 
known to molest the English." "They were never known to 
injure an Englishman either in person or property. The English 
frequently met them in the woods when they were defenceless, and 
the Indians armed, but never received from them the slightest 
insult." " Unbounded hospitality to strangers" is one of the quali 
ties ascribed by this historian to the Indians generally, of that 
region, and his work abounds in anecdotes of their kindness to the 
first settlers. 

Trumbull, the historian of Connecticut, who has collected all the 
oldest authorities with great care, remarks that, " the English lived 
in tolerable peace with all the Indians in Connecticut and New 



England, except the Pequots, for about forty years." "The 
Indians, at their first settlement, performed many acts of kindness 
towards them. They instructed them in the manner of planting 
and dressing Indian corn. They carried them upon their backs 
through the rivers and waters; and, as occasion required, served 
them instead of boats and bridges. They gave them much useful 
information respecting the country; and when the English, or 
their children, were lost in the woods, and were in danger of 
perishing with cold or hunger, they conducted them to their wig 
wams, fed them, and restored them to their families and parents. 
By selling them corn when pinched with famine, they relieved 
their distresses, and prevented them from perishing in a strange 
land and uncultivated wilderness." Vol. i. p. 57. 

How did the Puritans repay this kindness, or what had they 
done to deserve it ? They settled in the country without the per 
mission of the inhabitants, and evinced, by all their movements, a 
determination to extend their dominion over it. One of their 
earliest acts was of a character to create disgust and awaken jea 
lousy. William Holmes, of Plymouth, carried a colony into 
Connecticut, and settled at Windsor, where he built the first house 
that ever was erected in that State. A number of Sachems, " who 
were the original owners of the soil, had been driven from this part 
of the country by the Pequots, and were now carried home on 
board Holmes' vessel. Of them the Plymouth people purchased 
the land on which they erected their house." Intruders them 
selves, in a strange country, they came accompanied by persons 
towards whom the inhabitants were hostile, undertook to decide 
who were the rightful owners of the soil, and purchased from the 
party which was not in possession. And what was the conse 
quence? "The Indians were offended at their bringing home the 
original proprietors and lords of the country, and the Dutch" who 
had settled there before them " that they had settled there, and 
were about to rival them in trade, and in the possession of those 


excellent lands upon the river; they were obliged, therefore, to 
combat both, and to keep a constant watch upon them." 

Notwithstanding the unhappy impression which some of the 
early acts of the Puritans were calculated to produce upon the 
minds of the Indians, the latter continued to be their friends. In 
the winter of 1635, the settlements on Connecticut River were 
afflicted by famine. Some of the settlers, driven by hunger, 
attempted to find their way, in this severe season, through the 
wilderness from Connecticut to Massachusetts. Of thirteen, in 
one company, who made this attempt, one, in passing a river, fell 
through the ice, and was drowned. The other twelve were ten 
days on their journey, and would all have perished had it not been 
for the assistance of the Indians." " The people who kept their 
stations on the river, suffered in an extreme degree. After all the 
help they were able to obtain by hunting, and from the Indians, 
they were obliged to subsist on acorns, malt, and grain." "Num 
bers of cattle, which could not be got over the river before winter, 
lived through without any thing but what they found in the woods 
and meadows. They wintered as w r ell, or better, than those that 
were brought over." Winthrop's Journal, p. 88. 

" It is difficult to describe, or even conceive, the apprehensions 
and distresses of a people in the circumstances of our venerable 
ancestors, during this doleful winter. All the horrors of a dreary 
wilderness spread themselves around them. They were encom 
passed with numerous fierce and cruel tribes of wild and savage 
men, who could have swallowed up parents and children at 
pleasure, in their feeble and distressed condition. They had 
neither bread for themselves nor children ; neither habitations nor 
clothing convenient for them. Whatever emergency might hap 
pen, they were cut off, both by land and water, from any succor or 
retreat. What self-denial, firmness, and magnanimity, are necessai y 
for such enterprises ! How distressful, in the commencement, was 


the beginning of these now fair and opulent towns on Connecticut 
River {"Trumbutt, vol. i. p. 63. 

Yet those " wild and savage men, who could have swallowed up 
parents and children," did not avail themselves of this tempting 
opportunity to rid their country of the intruding whites. On the 
contrary, they proved their best friends aided those who fled, 
sustained those who remained, and suffered the cattle of the 
strangers to roam unmolested through the woods, while they 
themselves were procuring a precarious subsistence by the chase. 
If ever kindness, honesty, and forbearance, were practised with 
scrupulous fidelity, in the face of strong temptation inciting to an 
opposite course of conduct, these virtues were displayed by the 
Indians on this occasion. 

This humane deportment on the part of the Aborigines, seems to 
have been considered by the Puritans as mere matter of course, 
and as not imposing upon them any special obligation of gratitude ; 
for no sooner did a state of war occur, than all sense of indebted 
ness to the Indians appears to have been obliterated, and the whites 
vied with their enemies in the perpetration of wanton cruelty. 
Within two years after the famine alluded to, we are informed by 
Trumbull, that a party under Captain Stoughton, " surrounded a 
large body of Pequots in a swamp. They took eighty captives. 
Thirty were men, the rest were women and children. The men, 
except two Sachems, were killed^ but the women and children were 
saved. The Sachems promised to conduct the English to Sassa- 
cus, and for that purpose were spared for the present" The reader 
will, doubtless, feel some curiosity to know what was done with 
the women and children, who were saved, by those who had mas 
sacred, in cold blood, thirty men, save two, taken prisoners in 
battle. The same historian thus details the sequel: "The Pe- 
quot women and children who had been captivated, were divided 
among the troops. Some were carried to Connecticut, others to 
Massachusetts. The people of Massachusetts sent a number of the 


women and boys to the West Indies, and sold them as slaves. It 
was supposed that about seven hundred Pequots were destroyed.'' 

"This happy event," concludes the historian, alluding to the 
conclusion of the war, by the extermination and captivity of so 
many human beings, " gave great joy to the colonies. A day of 
public thanksgiving was appointed ; and in all the churches of 
New England devout and animated praises were addressed to Him 
who giveth his people the victory, and causeth them to dwell in 
safety !" 

In an old and curious work, Gookin's History of the Praying 
Indians, the author consoles himself on account of the atrocities 
practised against the Indians, by the comfortable reflection, that, 
"doubtless one great end God aimed at, was the punishment and 
destruction of many of the wicked heathen, whose iniquities were 
now full." 

In the instructions given to Major Gibbons, who was sent from 
Massachusetts in 1645, against the Narragansets, are these words : 
" You are to have due regard to the distance which is to be 
observed, betwixt Christians and barbarians, as well in wars as in 
other negotiations," 

On this passage Governor Hutchinson remarks, " It seems strange 
that men, who professed to believe that God hath made of one blood 
all nations of men, for to dwell on the face of the earth, should 
so early, and upon every occasion, take care to preserve this 
distinction. Perhaps nothing has more effectually defeated the 
endeavors for christianizing the Indians." This is exactly the pro 
position we are endeavoring to establish. 

We have not forgotten the Elliots, the Brainerds, and other good 
men who devoted themselves with zeal and fidelity to the work of 
christianizing the savages. Their memories will live in history, 
and be cherished by every friend of humanity. In every nation, 
and in all ages, there have existed noble spirits, imbued with a 
love for their species, and acting upon the highest impulses oi a 


generous nature, or humble Christians, who were content to tread 
in the path of duty. We would not even pass them by without 
the tribute of our approbation ; but their deeds form no part of the 
history on which we are commenting, and are but slightly con 
nected with it. Our purpose is not to treat of the good or evil 
conduct of individuals, whose influence was but temporary and 
local ; it is to show the general current of the impressions made 
upon the minds of the Aborigines, by the actions of communities 
and public functionaries. 

We have not selected these instances invidiously, but only be 
cause they are prominent and clearly attested. The same feelings 
and code of morals, the same disregard of the rights of the Indians, 
and of the obligations of justice a,nd Christian benevolence, were 
general. They pervaded the public sentiment of the age, and 
marked the conduct of all the colonists, with a few honorably 
exceptions, which we shall proceed to notice. 

In order to make out the case which I propose to establish, it is 
necessary to show, not only that the whites have abused the hos 
pitality, trampled on the rights, and exasperated the feelings of the 
Indians, without any just provocation, but that a contrary course 
would have been practicable, as well as expedient. 

We are aware that it may be suggested that, in some instances, 
the Indians were the first aggressors, that they were treacherous 
and fickle, and when hostilities were once provoked, their im 
placable dispositions, and cruel mode of warfare, rendered concilia 
tion impossible, and gave, necessarily, a harsh character to the 
warfare. All this may be admitted without affording any extenua 
tion of the conduct of the whites. They were intruders in a 
strange land ; their coming was voluntary and uninvited ; they had 
to establish a character. They were Christians, professing an 
elevated code of morals, in which forbearance and the forgiveness 
of injuries form conspicuous points, while the Indians were wholly 
ignorant of those virtues. Among the Indians revenge is a point 


of duty, in the Christian code it is a crime. What wa& right, or 
at least innocent, in the one party, was highly criminal in the 

If the Indians are constitutionally inaccessible to kindness if 
they are wholly intractable if they can form no just appreciation 
ol the conduct of other men, and are incapable of gratitude the 
question is at rest. But we apprehend that they might have been 
conciliated by kindness, just as easily as they were provoked by 
violence ; and that the foundations of mutual esteem and con 
fidence might have been laid as deep and as broad as those of that 
stupendous fabric of revenge, hatred, arid deception, which has 
grown up, and is now witnessed with sorrow by all good men. 

To establish this position, we shall refer to two instances in 
which the Indians were treated with uniform kindness, and in 
both which the results were such as to prove the correctness of 
our reasoning. 

The first is that of William Penn, whose great wisdom and 
benevolence have never been esteemed as highly as they deserve, 
and who has never yet received the applause which is his due as a 
statesman and philanthropist. In uniting these characters, and 
acting practically upon the broad principles of justice, he was in 
advance of the age in which he lived, and was neither understood 
nor imitated. It was in Pennsylvania that the true principles of 
liberty were first planted on this continent. Others, with greater 
pretensions, saw but dimly the dawn of that glorious day which 
was destined to burst upon our land. Liberty was to them an 
abstraction ; they understood the theory, and discussed it ably, in 
all its bearings, but followed out its precepts with little success. 
The founder of Pennsylvania lived up to the principles that he 
professed. In his public conduct he consulted his conscience, his 
sense of right and wrong, and his knowledge of human nature. He 
believed that the Indians had souls. He treated them individually 
as human beings, as men, as friends ; and negotiated with their 


tribes as with independent and responsible public bodies, trusting 
implicitly in their honor, and pledging in sincerity his own. He 
was a man of enlarged views, whose mind was above the petty 
artifices of diplomacy. " His great mind was uniformly influenced, 
in his intercourse with the Aborigines, by those immutable prin 
ciples of justice, which every where, and for all purposes, must be 
regarded as fundamental, if human exertions are to be crowned 
with noble and permanent results." . In the 13th, 14th, and 
15th sections of the Constitution of his Colony, it was provided 
as follows : 

" No man shall, by any ways or means, in word or deed, affront 
or wrong an Indian, but he shall incur the same penalty of the law 
as if he had committed it against his fellow planter; and if any 
Indian shall abuse, in word or deed, any planter of the province, 
he shall not be his own judge upon the Indian, but he shall make his 
complaint to the Governor, or some inferior magistrate near him, 
who shall, to the utmost of his power, take care, with the King of 
the said Indian, that all reasonable satisfaction be made to the 
injured planter. All differences between the planters and the 
natives shall also be ended by twelve men, that is, six planters and 
six natives ; so that we may live friendly together, as much as in 
us lieth, preventing all occasions of heart burnings and mischief." 

In these simple articles we find the very essence of all good 
government equality of rights. The golden rule of the Christian 
code was the fundamental maxim of his political edifice. Instead 
of making one rule of action for the white man, and another 'for the 
Indian, the same mode and measure of justice was prescribed to 
both ; and while his strict adherence to the great principles of civil 
and religious freedom entitle the virtuous Penn to the highest place 
as a lawgiver and benefactor of mankind, it justly earned for him 
from the Indians the affectionate title by which they always spoke 
of him, " their great and good Orias." The result was, that so long 
as Pennsylvania remained under the immediate government of its 


founder, the most amicable relations were maintained with the 
natives. His scheme of government embraced no military arm ; 
neither troops, forts, nor an armed peasantry. The doctrine of 
keeping peace by being prepared for war, entered not into his 
system; his maxim was to avoid "all occasions of heart burnings 
and mischief," and to retain the friendship of his neighbors by 
never doubting nor abusing it. He put on righteousness, and it 
clothed him. The great Christian law of love was the vital prin 
ciple of his administration, and was all potent as an armor of 
defence, and as a strong bulwark against every foe. 

The Indians, savage as they are, were awed and won by a policy 
so just and pacific ; and the Quakers had no Indian wars. The 
horrors of the firebrand and the tomahawk, of which other colonists 
had such dreadful experience, were unknown to them ; and they 
cultivated their farms in peace, for nearly sixty years, with no other 
armor than the powerful name of Penn, and the inoffensiveness of 
their own lives. 

In Watson's " Account of Buckingham and Solebury," in Penn 
sylvania, published in the Memoirs of the Historical Society of 
Pennsylvania, we find the following striking remarks : " In 1690, 
there were many settlements of Indians in these townships. Tra-r 
dition reports that they were kind neighbors, supplying the white 
people with meat, and sometimes with beans and other vegetables, 
which they did in perfect charity, bringing presents to their houses, 
and refusing pay. A harmony arose out of their mutual intercourse 
and dependence. The difference between the families of the white 
man and the Indian was not great when to live was the greatest 
hope, and to enjoy a bare sufficiency the greatest luxury." This 
passage requires no comment ; so strongly does it contrast with the 
accounts of other new settlements, and so fully does it display the 
fruits of a prudent and equitable system of civil administration. 

There are many facts connected with the settlements upon the 
Delaware, which are extremely interesting. The Swedes, who 



were the first occupants, date back as far as the year 1631, and 
remained scattered at several places for something like forty years, 
previous to the arrival of Penn. They were few in number, and 
were neither a military nor a trading people ; neither the love of 
gold, nor the lust of carnage, tempted them into acts of insult and 
oppression, and they lived in uninterrupted harmony with the 
Indians. Had their intercourse with the savages been interrupted 
by hostilities, Penn would not have been received with the cor 
diality and confidence which marked his first interviews with the 
tribes, and characterized all his relations with them. But he found 
the Indians friendly, notwithstanding their long intercourse with 
the Swedes. 

It is a singular circumstance, that the Quakers had so much 
confidence in their own system of peace arid forbearance, that they 
did not erect a fort, nor organize any militia for their defence, nor 
provide themselves with any of the engines or munitions of war, 
but went quietly about their business, clearing land, farming, 
building, and trading, without any molestation from the Indians, 
and without any apprehension of danger. In the fragments of 
history handed down to us from those times, we read affecting 
accounts of suffering from sickness, hunger, -poverty, exposure 
from all the causes which ordinarily afflict an infant colony, except 
war but we read of no wars, nor rumors of wars. Of the Indians, 
but little is said. They are only mentioned incidentally, and then 
always with kindness. " In those times," says one of their his 
torians, " the Indians and Swedes were kind and active to bring 
in. and vend, at moderate prices, proper articles of subsistence." 
An instance is told of a lady, Mrs. Chandler, who arrived at Phila 
delphia with eight or nine children, having lost her husband on the 
voyage out. She was lodged in a cave, on the bank of the river, 
and, being perfectly destitute, was a subject of general compassion. 
The people were kind to them, and none more so than the Indians, 
\vho frequently brought them food. " In future years," says our 


authority, " when the children grew up, they always remembered 
the kind Indians, and took many opportunities of befriending them 
and their families in return." 

An old lady, whose recollections have been recorded by one of 
her descendants, was present at one of Penn's first interviews with 
the " Indians and Swedes" for she names them together, as if 
they acted in concert, or at least in harmony. " They met him at 
or near the present Philadelphia. The Indians, as well as the 

whites, had severally prepared the best entertainment the place 


and circumstances could admit. William Penn made himself 
endeared to the Indians by his marked condescension and acqui 
escence in their wishes. He walked with them, sat with them on 
the ground, and ate with them of their roasted acorns and hominv. 
At this they expressed great delight, and some began to show how 
they could hop and jump ; at which exhibition, William Penn, to 
cap the climax, sprang up and beat them all !" 

The date of Penn's patent was in 1681, and he governed Penn 
sylvania until 1712. It is the boast of his people, a boast of which 
they may well be proud, that no Quaker blood was shed by the 
natives. They employed neither fraud nor force in gaining a 
foothold upon the soil of Pennsylvania ; and there is neither record 
nor tradition which accuses them of injustice or intolerance towards 
the ignorant and confiding tribes by whom they were kindly 
received. His government was founded upon the principles of the 
Bible, and such was their efficacy, that not only during the con 
tinuance of his government, but for some years after he ceased to 
rule, the white and red men lived in peace. In 1744, a petition 
was addressed to the King, by the City Council of Philadelphia, 
" setting forth the defenceless state of said city, and requesting his 
majesty to take the defenceless condition of the inhabitants into 
consideration, and afford them such relief as his Majesty shall 
think fit." This is the first, record that we find, in which allusion 
is made to military defences in that colony, and this was fifty-three 


years after the date of Penn's patent, during all which time they 
had maintained peace by their good conduct, not by their defensive 

The other instance we shall adduce, is deemed particularly appo 
site, as it occurred at the same period, under similar circumstances, 
and among a people the very reverse of the Quakers in character, 
and who had not the slightest communication or connection with 
them. The French settled at Kaskaskia previous to the year 1700. 
We cannot fix the precise date ; but there are deeds now on record, 
in the public offices at that place, wnich bear date in 1712, and it 
is probable that several years must have elapsed from the first 
settling of the colony, before regular transfers of real estate could 
take place, and before there could have been officers authorized to 
authenticate such proceedings. It is the general understanding 
of the old French settlers, that Philadelphia, Detroit, and Kas 
kaskia were settled about the same time. The French, in Illinois, 
lived upon the most amicable terms with the Indians. Like the 
Quakers, they kept up an interchange of friendly offices, treating 
them with kindness and equity, and dealing with them upon terms 
of perfect equality. They even intermarried with them which 
the Quakers could not do, without being turned out of meeting- 
entertained them at their houses, and showed them, in various 
ways, that they considered them as fellow-creatures, having a 
parity of interests, principles, and feelings with themselves. Their 
nearest neighbors were the English, on the shores of the Atlantic, 
distant a thousand miles, from whom they were separated by 
interminable forests, and a barrier of mountains then deemed 
insurmountable, and with whom they had no more intercourse 
than with the Chinese. A mere handful, in the heart of a vast 
wilderness, and cut off from all the civilized world, they could not 
have existed a day, but by permission of the numerous savages by 
whom they were surrounded. 

The French were allured to Illinois in search of gold. The 


leaders of the colony were adventurers of some intelligence, but 
the mass of the people were peasants from an interior part of 
France, who brought with them the careless gaiety, the rustic 
symplicity, the unsophisticated ignorance, which distinguished 
the peasantry of that country before the Revolution. Contented 
and unambitious, the disappointment of not finding mines of the 
precious metal did not affect them deeply, and they sat down 
quietly in the satisfied enjoyment of such pleasures and comforts 
as the country afforded. Having no land speculations in view, 
nor any commercial monopolies in prospect, they were under no 
temptation to debase the Indian mind, and all their dealings with 
the savages were conducted with fairness. They had five villages 
on the Mississippi ; Kaskaskia, Prairie du Rocher, Saint Phillippe, 
Fort Chartres, and Cahokia. Fort Chartres was a very strong 
fortification, and might have protected the village, of the same 
name, adjacent to it. There was a fort at Kaskaskia, but it was 
very small, and being on the opposite side of the river from the 
town, could have afforded little protection to the latter from an 
attack of Indians. The only other fortress was at Cahokia, and is 
described by an early writer as " no way distinguished, except by 
being the meanest log-house in the town." The villages of Prairie 
du Rocher and Saint Phillippe had no military defences. Yet we 
do not hear of burnings and scalpings among the early settlers of 
that region. Now and then an affray occurred between a French 
man and an Indian, and occasionally a life was lost; but these 
were precisely the kind of exceptions which prove the truth of a 
general rule; for such accidents must have been the result of 
departures by individuals from those principles of amity which 
were observed by their respective communities. The French 
were expert in the use of fire-arms ; they roamed far and wide into 
the Indian country, and it would have been a strange anomaly in 
the history of warriors and hunters, had no personal conflicts 
ensued. But these affrays did not disturb the general harmony, 


which is a conclusive evidence that no latent jealousy, no sup 
pressed resentment for past injuries, rankled in the bosom of either 
party. The Indians even suffered themselves to be baptized ; and 
at one time a large portion of the Kaskaskia tribe professed the 
Roman Catholic faith. 

Such was the confidence inspired by the pacific conduct of the 
French settlers here and in Canada, that their traders ascended the 
St. Lawrence and the Mississippi, traversed the northern lakes, 
and penetrated to every part of the western wilderness without 
molestation. They engrossed the fur trade, and became so 
fascinated with this mode of life, that numbers of them devoted 
themselves to the business of conducting the canoe, and formed 
that class of voyageurs, who continue, to this day, to be the chief 
carriers of that trade. They pass between the white men and 
Indians, partaking the habits of both, and living happily with 
either. While the Englishman dared not venture beyond the 
frontier of his settlements, the Frenchman roamed over the whole 
of this vast region, and was every where a welcome visitor. The 
travellers, La Salle, Hennepin, Marquette, and others, traversed 
the entire West, and were received with cordiality by all the 

Here, then, we perceive the contrast, which affords an explana 
tion to some of the apparent difficulties of this subject. Those 
who came among the Aborigines with sincerely pacific intentions, 
who conducted themselves with frankness, practising the law of 
love, and observing the obligations of good faith, found the natives 
accessible to kindness, and were enabled, by their superior know 
ledge, to exert over them a beneficial influence. But those who 
came with peace on their lips, with arms in their hands, with 
plunder in their hearts, and persecution and scorn of the heathen 
in their creeds, soon became the objects of that never dying spirit 
of revenge, which is the master passion of the savage bosom. 

No sooner did Penn cease to rule in Pennsylvania, than those 


humane precepts, which exalted his government above that of 
every other colony, and which establish for him the highest claim 
to the honor of having planted the true principles of civic liberty 
on this continent, began to be neglected. His memory, and the 
grateful odor of his good deeds, for awhile threw an armor of 
defence over those who succeeded him ; but in a short time Penn 
sylvania began to be desolated by Indian wars. With him ceased 
all good faith with the tribes. His successors had neither his 
talents, his honesty, nor his firmness ; they followed none of his 
precepts, nor kept any of his engagements. Fire-arms, gunpowder, 
and that insidious drug, which the Indians call the fire-water of the 
white man, were freely used in the colony, and sold to the natives. 
The planters began to arm in self-defence. Occasions of offence 
were frequent, and no effort was made to prevent them. " The 
great and good Onas" was no longer there to pour out his kind 
spirit, like oil, upon the waves of human passion. Hostilities 
ensued ; the frontiers of Pennsylvania suffered all the horrors of 
border warfare, and the sentiment expressed by Penn, in 1682, 
proved prophetic: "If my heirs do not keep to God, in justice, 
mercy, equity, and fear of the Lord, they will lose all, and desola 
tion will follow." 

The same result occurred in Illinois. The amiable French 
lived in peace with the Indians for a whole century; but when 
the " Long Knives" began to emigrate to the country, greedy for 
gain, eager to possess the lands of the natives, and full of novel 
speculations, hostilities commenced, and continued until the whites 
gained the complete mastery. 

In order to give full weight to these facts, and to perceive clearly 
their application to our subject, it must be recollected that national 
prejudices are most deeply rooted, and most lasting, among au 
unenlightened people. The ignorant have narrow views, because 
they can judge only from what they see. Those simple and unlet 
tered tribes, whose only occupations are war and hunting, preserve 


the few events that interrupt the dull monotony of their national 
existence, by traditions, which are handed down with singular 
tenacity from generation to generation. The only mental culture 
which the children receive, consists in repeating to them the 
adventures of their fathers, and the infant mind is thus indelibly 
impressed with all the predilections and antipathies of the parent. 
To these early impressions there is no counter influence; no 
philosophy to enlarge the boundaries of thought, to examine 
evidence, and to detect error ; no religion to suggest the exercise 
of charity, or impose the duty of forgiveness. The traditions of 
each tribe are widely spread by the practice of repeating them at 
the great councils, at which the warriors of various tribes are 

O ' 

assembled; and thus the wrongs which they suffered from the 
white men became generally known, and perhaps greatly exag 
gerated. Among them, too, revenge is a noble principle, imbibed 
with their mother's milk, justified by their code of honor, and 
recognized by their customs. It is as much a duty with them to 
revenge a wrong as it is with us to discharge a debt, or fulfil a 
contract ; and the injury inflicted upon the father rankles in the 
bosom of the child, until recompense is made, or retaliation 
inflicted. We infer, then, that we owe much of the unhappy 
state of feeling, which exists between the Indians and ourselves, 
to the injuries inflicted on their race, and the prejudices excited 
by the discoverers and colonists, and to the want of sincere, 
judicious, and patient exertions for reconciliation on our part. 

We have now passed hastily over a period, during which no 
settled policy seems to have been adopted by the British or French 
governments in regard to their intercourse with the Aborigines. 
Every colony, every band of adventurers, was left free and 
unshackled to pursue the dictates of whim, or of conscience, 
of grasping avarice, or enlightened liberality^to gain a landing 
upon the continent at their proper peril, and upon their own 
te r ms to negotiate, to fight, to plunder to convert the Heathen, 


or to exterminate them, as seemed good in their own eyes. They 
were only restrained from intruding upon "other Christians," 
who were similarly engaged, in order that each community might 
carry on its own larcenies and homicides, according to its own 
standard of taste and morals, without jostling its next neighbor. 
Their intercourse with the natives was the result of accident or 
caprice, or was dictated by the master mind of some distinguished 
philanthropist, or conqueror, by a persecuted sectarian refugee, an 
exiled cavalier, a gold hunting adventurer, or a soldier of fortune 
by a Penn or a Pizarro, a Howard or a Dugald Dalgetty. 

It is unhappily true, as true as gospel, that the heart of man is 
" deceitful and desperately wicked," and that whenever men are 
left to pursue their own inclinations, unrestrained by law, and by a 
wholesome public sentiment, there will be corruption and violence. 
In the settlement of America there were corruption, and violence, 
and wrong, perpetrated upon the native occupiers of the soil, from 
one end of the continent to the other; and although brilliant 
exceptions occurred, they were like the electric flashes in the 
storm, which deepen the gloom of the darkness by comparison, 
while they afford the light which discloses the havoc of the 

Our object has been to show the first impression that was made 
upon the savage mind to show that it was deep and lasting and 
that it was adverse to civilization. These impressions are now 
hardened into prejudice and conviction; they prevail wherever 
the red man exists, or the white man is heard of, from the frozen 
wilds of Canada, where the wretched savage shivers half the year 
111 penury and famine, to the sunny plains of the South, where the 
painted warrior, decked in gaudy plumage, and mounted on the 
wild steed of the prairie, exhibits all the magnificence of barbarian 
pomp. They form his creed, and are interwoven with his nature ; 
and though few can express them so well, they all feel, what was 
said by the eloquent Red Jacket, to a missionary, who explained to 



1 im the pure and beautiful code of the Redeemer, and asked 
permission to teach it to his people : " Go," said he, " and teach 
those doctrines to the white men make them sober and honest 
teach them to love one another persuade them to do to others as 
they would have others do to them, and then bring your religion to 
the red men hit not until then /" 


TN our preceding remarks, we have endeavored to show the first 
impressions made upon the Indian mind by the conduct of the 
discoverers and colonists, acting without concert with each other, 
in pursuit of their own purposes, which were selfish and mer 

We now propose to point out the policy of the European govern 
ments when the colonies became of sufficient importance to claim 
their attention, and the commerce of the new countries held out a 
prospect of gain which excited their cupidity. The unscrupulous 
conduct of Great Britain, in the prosecution of her vast schemes of 
commercial aggrandizement, is too well understood to require com 
ment. Bold, ruthless, and unprincipled in her mercantile policy, 
it was she who planted slavery upon the soil of North America, 
who fattened upon the blood and sweat of the slave in the West 
Indies, who wrung countless millions of treasure from the timid 
and semi-civilized inhabitants of India, by the most audacious 
system of oppression ; who is now, in China, murdering an inof 
fensive and ingenious people, for refusing to purchase from them, 
upon compulsion, a poisonous drug, and whose armies are deso 
lating the mountains of Afghanistan. 

The new lands of America, which had been freely given to 
every adventurer who asked for them, no sooner began to develope 
resources for commerce, than the greedy appetite of the mother 
country became whetted for spoil. The boundaries of the colonies 
began to be enlarged, forts were established in the wilderness to 



awe the natives, who saw their ancient hunting-grounds narrowed 
continually, and their dwelling-places occupied by a rapacious 
people, and an insolent soldiery : until, driven from boundary to 
boundary, they realized, while in life, the beautiful description of 
death, by the sacred poet, " the places that knew them once, knew 
them no more for ertr ."* 

The intercourse with the natives was conducted through forts 
and trading posts, by officers and agents, whose aim was to secure 
the fur trade, and to obtain grants of land ; and for the valuable 
property thus obtained, they gave them fire-arms, ammunition, 
trinkets, gaudy clothing, and spirituous liquors. No effort was 
made to introduce among them useful articles, which would have 
promoted their comfort, and tended to their civilization. No 
thought was taken to inculcate accurate notions of property and 
value, by giving them fair equivalents for the articles received, and 
by inducing them to take the more useful, and the least perishable 
of our fabrics. The contrary policy was artfully adopted ; tinsel 
orname*nts and toys were given to amuse the savage mind, drink to 
destroy his reason and stimulate his passions, and instruments of 
war to encourage his love of carnage. We can readily believe, 
that had the Europeans, in their earliest intercourse w r ith the 
natives, shown a desire for their welfare, by withholding from them 
the means of dissipation, and the engines of destruction, and had 
furnished them with articles of substantial comfort, many of them 
would have been allured to the sedentary habits of civilization, 
and all of them induced to confide in the sincerity of the white man. 

At a very early period, the English and French colonists were 
engaged in wars with each other, and both parties endeavored to 
conciliate the natives, and engage them as auxiliaries. With a full 
knowledge of their mode of warfare, which destroys without respect 
to age, sex, or condition, they were regularly hired, and sent forth 
upon their bloody mission. Furnished with arms and ammu 
nition, qlothing and provisions, they acquired additional powers of 



mischief, and learned to feel the importance of their friendship and 
their enmity. 

Both parties sought to secure their co-operation by making them 
presents, and it soon became the custom, at all solemn councils, to 
make valuable donations to the chiefs and influential men, before 
proceeding to business. We have no evidence that, previous to 
our negotiations with the tribes, they were in the habit of making 
valuable presents to each other, upon such occasions. The North 
American Indians were poor, and we suspect that among them, 
if presents were made at all, they were of little value, and given 
only in token of sincerity. We intend this observation to apply, 
of course, to cases where the parties treated upon terms of perfect 
equality, for among all nations, civilized as well as savage, a sub 
dued party is compelled to purchase peace. 

It is also true, that treaties have always been least faithfully 
observed among those nations whose customs require the weaker 
party to purchase the friendship of the stronger by bribes; one 
party is governed by fear, the other by rapacity, and while the one 
is always seeking pretences to make new exactions, the other is 
ever watching to obtain revenge or indemnity. It has been some 
what thus with our predecessors, and their Indian allies. The 
presents, which at first were voluntarily given, and were received 
with gratitude, soon became periodical, and began at last to be 
demanded as of right. The Indians acted precisely as the pirates 
of the Barbary States have always done under similar circum 
stances. They saw that their situation enabled them to harass 
the whites, and that the latter were always willing to avert their 
hostility by the payment of a valuable consideration. War led to 
negotiations and treaties and treaties always brought presents. 
T mplements of war, and articles of dress and luxury, had been 
introduced among them, to which they had previously been 
strangers; new wants were created, without the simultaneous 
creation of any means to supply them; every treaty with their 


wealthy neighbors brought in fresh stores of those foreign pro 
ducts, which their own country did not afford, and which they 
could not procure in sufficient abundance, either by traffic or by 
plunder; and it became clearly their interest to multiply the 
occasions of such profitable diplomacy. They made war, there 
fore, whenever they needed supplies ; whenever cupidity or famine 
goaded the nation, or ambition stimulated a ruling chief; and they 
made peace whenever a sufficient inducement was tendered to their 
acceptance. If war existed between the whites, they fought on the 
r.ide on which they were employed ; if not, they assailed either side 
for the sake of a profitable treaty. 

They no longer fought for fame, or conquest, to retrieve honor, 
or redress wrong ; and the military virtues that usually attend 
these noble impulses entirely forsook them; we had made them 
banditti; and they made war to get money, rum, guns, and 
gunpowder. The pernicious system of giving them regular sup 
plies of arms, ammunition, clothing, and provisions, became firmly 
established, and drew after it a train of evil consequences; injury 
. to the whites, and misery to the wretched objects of their misplaced 
bounty. They became the regular followers of the camp; the 
periodical visitants and beggars at the gates of forts and trading- 
houses. The alms, or the stipends, that were given them, wretched 
as they were, were sufficient to destroy their self-dependence. 
Furnished with arms and clothing, they became less provident; 
supplied with munitions of war, their propensity for mischief was 
quickened by the increased means of its gratification ; the passion 
of avarice was awakened, and habits of extortion were cherished, 
by the continual experience of their power to enforce the payment 
of tribute. 

The system of making presents to the tribes, and enlisting them 
in our quarrels, bad as it was, was innocent in comparison with the 
abuses that unavoidably grew out of it. The employment of agents 
necessarily attended these negotiations, and the persons so engaged 


wore exposed to continual temptations to act corruptly, while they 
were exempt from the ordinary restraints, and the usual motives, 
which insure the fidelity of public functionaries. They acted at 
distant points, beyond the reach of the observation of their supe 
riors, where neither instruction nor reproof could often reach them, 
and where much was necessarily left to their discretion. They 
were sent to an illiterate people, who had no channel through 
which to report their misconduct, for they were themselves the 
only medium of communication between the principals, and could 
easily deceive both parties; and the eye of detection could not 
penetrate into the distant wilderness that formed the scene of their 
operations. If faithful, they had little hope of being rewarded for 
that which their own government did not know, and their own 
people did not care for ; and they had, therefore, strong temptation 
to make their emolument out of the power and the money which 
they were intrusted to wield. The office was one which took them 
from the social circle, from the refinements of life, from the 
restraints of law, from the sound of the church-going bell, and 
which offered no inducement to the cultivated and moral man, and 
was too often filled by men of the coarsest mould. In the back 
woods they could peculate or intrigue, oppress and extort, with 
impunity ; and it is known only to the All-seeing Eye how often 
the tomahawk has been raised to gratify the bad passions of an 
agent, to feed his avarice, to revenge his quarrel, or to raise his 
importance by enabling him to become the mediator of a peace. 

The trade with the Indians has always been conducted within 
their own borders, as well under the British government as under 
that of the United States. Instead of permitting and inducing 
them to trade in our markets, where they would reap the advan 
tages of competition, would acquire just notions of value, would 
learn the use of money, would have a choice of the articles they 
might desire to purchase, would be under the protection of our 
laws and our public opinion, and would imbibe necessarily some 


knowledge of our language, institutions, and arts ; they have been 
compelled to deal with licensed traders, at obscure points in the 
wilderness. Under the British government, the trade for furs and 
peltries is in the hands of two great companies ; and within our 
limits it is conducted by licensed companies and individuals, who 
have monopolies of this valuable branch of commerce, which they 
carry on without competition, and without any restraint. The 
intercourse is held in the aboriginal languages, by means of inter 
preters, and every art is used to keep the Indians in their original 
state of ignorance, and to encourage them to persevere in their 
improvident and erratic habits. The abuses perpetrated under this 
system are almost incredibly enormous. The Indians assemble at 
the trading post, in the autumn, to exchange the skins taken in the 
past season, for the arms and ammunition required for the ensuing 
year, and for the blankets and other articles necessary for their 
support during the winter. For several hundred dollars' worth of 
peltry, the product of a whole year's hunting, and of immense 
danger, exposure, and fatigue, the hunter gets a gun, a few pounds 
of powder, a knife, a blanket, and some trinkets, and then, as a 
gracious present, some tin ornaments for the arms and nose, and a 
little scarlet cloth and cheap calico, to make a dress for his wife 
the whole not worth a tenth, perhaps not a twentieth part, of the 
articles extorted from the wretched savage. And there are nume 
rous well authenticated instances, in which the hunter has been 
robbed, while in a state of intoxication, of the whole produce of his 
year's labor, and turned out bare and destitute, to suffer, during the 
rigors of the winter, the extreme of famine, or to perish miserably 
in the wilderness. 

To these national injuries have been added wrongs of a private 
and personal, but not less aggravating character. Too often have 
our citizens perpetrated, in the deep recesses of the forest, crimes, 
from which, had they been suggested to the same persons when 
'iving in civilized society, surrounded by the strong restraints of 


law, and by the full blaze of a pure public opinion, they would 
have shrunk with horror. Too often has the trader been seen, led 
on by the overmastering' lust for money, violating every principle 
of honor, trampling on the rites of hospitality, rending asunder the 
most sacred ties, and breaking down every barrier of good faith, to 
accomplish the sordid purpose of a nefarious traffic. The affecting 
story of Inkle and Yarico is no fiction. It has been acted over arid 
over again in our forests, with every variation of ingenious cruelty. 
It is no unfrequent occurrence for the most beautiful, the highest 
born maid of a powerful tribe, to give her hand in marriage to some 
attractive stranger; yielding up her affections with that implicit 
confidence, that all absorbing self-devotion, which is every where 
the attribute of woman. Impelled by the purest and most disin 
terested of human passions, she sacrifices, for that nameless and 
houseless stranger, every thing that nature and custom had ren 
dered most dear. To please his taste, she throws aside the 
graceful ornaments of her tribe, and assumes the apparel of a 
foreign and detested people. Her raven locks are no longer 
braided upon her shoulders; she no longer chases the deer, or 
guides her light canoe over the wave ; and her dark eye flashes 
no more with the pride of conscious beauty as the warriors of 
her nation pass before her; for in their eyes she is, if not a 
degraded, an alienated being. But still she is supremely happy, 
in the possession of that one object, around whom all her affections 
are entwined. In the seclusion of her cottage, in the cheerful 
performance of every domestic duty, in advancing the interests of 
her husband by conciliating in his favor all the influence of hei 
kindred, and the lingering affection of her people, and in protecting 
him from danger at every hazard, her days exhibit a continual 
scene of self-devotion. Her dream of happiness is soon and fatally 
dissolved. Her husband has accomplished his commercial pur 
poses, and she is abandoned to disgrace and poverty. Although 
the whole story of her affection has exhibited that loveliness of 



character, that purity and nobleness of mind, which in civilized 
society raises a superior woman above her species, and gives her 
an almost unlimited influence within the sphere of her attractions 
yet, sMis a savage a poor, untaught, deluded Indian and she 
is abandoned, by her civilized husband, with the same apathy with 
which a worn out domestic animal is turned loose to perish on the 

As an example of the class of wrongs to w T hich we now refer, we 
shall relate a well authenticated incident, the particulars of which 
may be found in the interesting account of Long's first expedition 
to the Rocky Mountains. An enterprising young trader, who had 
established himself, at a remote Indian village, on the Missouri, 
married a beautiful girl, the daughter of a powerful chief. He 
considered the marriage a matter of business, his sole object being 
to secure the protection of the chief, and to advance his own 
interests by gaining the confidence of the tribe. She entered into 
the engagement in good faith, and proved herself a most devoted 
wife, assiduous in promoting the happiness of her husband, and 
in contributing to his prosperity faithful and self-sacrificing as 
woman ever is where her affections are interested. They lived 
together in harmony for several years, when the trader, about to 
proceed on his annual visit to St. Louis, announced, on the eve of 
his departure, his intention to carry with him their only child, a 
boy of two years old. She remonstrated against this proceeding 
but he, promising to return and bring back the child, effected his 
nefarious purpose. She had reason to believe that the separation 
would be final ; but with the implicit obedience of an Indian wife, 
she submitted, until the moment of parting, when her grief became 
overwhelming she gazed after the boat which was rapidly carry 
mg away all that was dear to her, with frantic sorrow then 
rushing madly along the shore, followed it for miles, uttering the 
most piercing lamentations; and when it was no longer visible, 
and the sound of the oar died upon her ear, she sank upon the 


ground in a state bordering upon insanity. In this condition she 
was found, and carried home by her friends. For days and weeks 
she remained inconsolable, and only recovered a tolerable degree of 
composure as the time approached when her husband had promised 
to return, and then, hope springing up in her bosom, persuaded her 
that he would be faithful to his engagement. But the time arrived, 
and passed away, and the perjured white man came not. 

In the mean while the trader hastened to St. Louis, to fulfil 
a matrimonial engagement .with a lady, who was to enjoy the 
wealth acquired chiefly through the influence, the labors, and 
the economy of his Indian wife. He was residing near that city, 
with his beautiful bride, in an elegant residence, when the deserted 
wife and heart-broken mother made her appearance at his door, and 
solicited a private interview. Alone, and on foot, she had traversed 
the trackless wilderness for several hundred miles, subsisting on 
the products of the forest, and lodging without any shelter but the 
canopy of Heaven, and she stood before her husband, worn out and 
almost famished, a wretched wreck of her former self. She asked, 
not to be restored to favor, not to share the wealth she had assisted 
in earning, nor even for a morsel of bread to revive her fainting 
frame but only for her child ; and was sternly refused. She 
begged to be admitted into the house as a servant, or to be allowed 
to live in the neighborhood =to be suffered on any terms to remain 
near the sole remaining object of her love ; but this was refused ; 
and she was coldly and brutally repulsed from the door of her 
husband and the roof that sheltered her only child. She was the 
offspring of a high-spirited people she was a woman, all whose 
rights had been outraged, whose holiest affections had been vio 
lated and the submissiveness, which as a wife she had practised 
with becoming meekness, ceased to be a virtue in her estimation. 
She retired for the present, concealed herself in the neighboring 
coverts, and, watching her opportunity, entered the mansion by 
stealth, and bore away her offspring. Evading pursuit with all 


the artifice, and all the courage of her race, she resumed her lonely 
journey towards the hunting-grounds of her nation. Long, and 
painful, and perilous, was that journey ; bearing her precious bur 
den on her shoulders, subsisting on roots, on wild fruit, and on 
such of the smaller animals as she could entrap, and creeping at 
night to a pallet of leaves, in any thicket that chance might offer, 
the wretched mother pursued her weary pilgrimage with undaunted 
perseverance, and had nearly reached her destination, when she 
sunk under the effects of hunger and fatigue. Some of the officers 
of our army, passing through the wilderness, found the squalid and 
famished woman, with her starving child, unable to proceed fur 
ther, coiled in the lair in which she had thrown herself to die ; and 
relieving her present necessities, carried her to her native village, 
where she probably still resides, a living witness of the meliorating 
effects of Christianity and civilization upon the human heart, and 
especially upon the domestic virtues. 

During the revolutionary war, Great Britain adopted the san 
guinary policy of inciting the Indian tribes to take up the hatchet 
against the Colonies a policy the more criminal on her part, as 
we refused to employ the savages, and used our influence to induce 
them to remain neutral, until we were compelled, in self-defence, 
to engage some of the tribes in our service. They now made war 
as the mercenary auxiliaries of a powerful nation ; and while their 
native ferocity was increased by the hope of reward, the antipathies 
of the Americans against them were greatly enhanced, as they who 
are hired to fight in the quarrel of another always excite more 
aversion than the principal party who makes battle in his own 
cause. Emissaries were now planted along the whole frontier, the 
chiefs strutted in scarlet coats, and British gold and military titles 
were lavished among the tribes. The few restraints that prudence 
and decency had heretofore suggested, were now forgotten; rum 
was dealt out without stint ; the desolating work of the tomahawk 
and the firebrand went forward with renewed vigor under the 


patronage of the Defender of the Faith, and new laurels were 
added to the British wreath by the midnight incendiary, by the 
plunder of an unarmed peasantry, and the murder of women and 
children. It was no longer thought necessary to inculcate the 
observance of humanity, or any Christian virtue, and the laws of 
war were suspended for the occasion. The savage appetite for 
blood was sharpened by artful devices ; and there are instances on 
record, in which English emissaries presided at the torturing of 
prisoners, and rivalled their red allies in the domoniac arts ot 
vengeance. The Indians were now literally turned loose, and 
systematic exertions were used to awaken their jealousy and hatred 
against the colonists. The success of these intrigues is written in 
characters of blood in the history of our struggle for independence. 
An affecting and conclusive illustration of the truth of these 
remarks may be found in the life of Joseph Brant, the celebrated 
Mohawk chief, recently published. Possessed of strong natural 
abilities, and sent in early life to a school in New England, he 
profited by these advantages so far as to obtain a tolerable English 
education, and to embrace, with much outward zeal, the Christian 
religion. The Mohawks, who then resided in the western part of 
New York, had always lived in amity with the settlers, and on 
the breaking out of the American Revolution, their most natural 
policy would have been to take part with the colonists, who had 
been their friends and neighbors, or to have remained neutral. 
The latter was the course strongly urged upon them by the 
colonists, who deprecated the horrors of Indian warfare, and 
were unwilling to inflict, even on their enemies, the dreadful 
evils attendant upon a sanguinary code of hostility. Their 
humane counsels were alike disregarded by the British and the 
Indians ; and the Mohawks, with the rest of the Six Nations, 
became the allies of the crown. Brant was the war chief of 
that noted confederacy, and was employed chiefly in harassing 
our frontier settlements in burning the dwellings, and desolating 


the farms, of his former neighbors in pillaging and murdering 
a defenceless people, with whom his own followers had been living 
on friendly terms, and with whom they had now no quarrel. In 
scarcely an instance do we find him leading his warriors against 
the American armies, or engaged in that legitimate warfare which 
is alone considered justifiable between civilized nations, or honor 
able to those engaged in it. He seems not to have coveted the 
glory which is won on the battle-field. He ravaged the fields and 
burned the dwellings of our people; he stole upon them in the 
defenceless hour of the night, and slaughtered men, women, and 
children, or carried them into a captivity worse than death. Those 
helpless beings, who in civilized warfare are never considered the 
proper subjects of hostility, were marched, in mid-winter, through 
the snow r , day after day, to be delivered over as prisoners of war, at 
a British garrison. He carried the horrors of war to the fireside 
and the altar, burned churches and granaries, and practised all the 
cruelties of savage warfare. 

We are aware that the biographer of Brant, while he details 
these atrocities with a painful minuteness, endeavors to exonerate 
that leader from the charge of personal cruelty. We have nothing 
to do with these nice distinctions : the leader is accountable for the 
deeds of his followers, especially for such as are transacted under 
his immediate notice, and within the sphere of his personal com 
mand. Humanity shudders at the recital of the enormities prac 
tised, throughout a series of years, upon the frontiers of New York, 
by the Indians and tories, led by Sir Guy Johnston, the Butlers, 
and Brant; and the odium of those deeds of blood will rest, not 
upon the wretched incendiaries and murderers, whose hands were 
imbrued in the blood of a peaceable and unoffending peasantry, 
but upon those who planned and conducted these nefarious expe 
ditions. The apology attempted to be set up for the marauding 
chiefs that they could not restrain their followers proves too 
much; for it points out, in the strongest light, the wickedness of 


employing such instruments, and leading them upon such enter 
prises. Those who are acquainted with the military habits of the 
Indians, the caution with which their expeditions are planned, the 
exact discipline which is observed by a war party, and the implicit 
obedience of the warriors, will know how to estimate this excuse. 
The truth is, that while the country suffered indescribably from 
these inhuman and impolitic incursions, the Indian mind was 
excited, exasperated, and debased by them, and the unhappy 
breach between the two races was greatly widened. 

We have seen that, from the first settling of the whites in 
America, there have been, from one cause or another, continual 
disputes between them and the savage tribes, which have given 
rise to frequent and destructive wars. All the border settlements 
of our country have been exposed to predatory incursions, and an 
unsparing warfare, and a peculiar class of our population have 
been raised up, who have occupied a prominent position in regard 
to the intercourse with the Indians, and done much to modify its 
character. We allude to the backwoodsmen, who have occupied 
the frontiers of most of the States, although they have been most 
numerous and conspicuous in the West. Dwelling from genera 
tion to generation on the frontier, far from the marts of commerce, 
and from the more enlightened portions of society, they acquired a 
distinct and strongly marked character. They were nominally 
farmers, but were rather a pastoral than an agricultural people, 
depending for food more upon their cattle and hogs, that ran at 
large in the woods, than upon the produce of the soil. They were 
hunters and warriors, relying on the chase for a large portion of 
their subsistence, and bearing arms continually, to protect their 
roaming herds from the marauding Indian, their dwellings and 
barns from conflagration, and their wives and children from the 

O ' 

tomahawk. Having no commerce, and scarcely any intercourse 
with strangers, destitute of all the luxuries, and of many of what 
we esteem the necessaries of life, their wants were few, and theii 


habits simple. They dwelt in log-cabins constructed by them 
selves, with scarcely any other tools than the axe and the auger ; 
and their furniture was, for the most part, of their own fabrication. 
Their mode of life induced independence of thought, and habits of 
self-reliance ; for, as there was but one class, and one occupation, 
all were equal, and each was thrown upon his own resources. 
They had none of the helps that we enjoy in refined societies, from 
the variety of professions and trades, which administer to all our 
wants, and relieve us from the necessity of exerting our own 
ingenuity, and physical strength, except in the single direction in 
which we choose to employ them. 

They were a social and hospitable people ; brave, generous, and 
patriotic ; poor, but not sordid ; laborious, but not frugal. From 
early infancy they were accustomed to the baying of the wolf, and 
the yell of the Indian; and associating these sounds as fraught 
alike with treachery and danger, they learned to distinguish in 
each the voice of a foe. The tales that first awakened the attention 
of childhood were of the painted savage, creeping with the stealthy 
tread of the panther, upon the sleeping inmates of the cabin of 
the midnight conflagration, lighting up, with its horrid glare, the 
gloom of the surrounding forest of bleeding scalps, torn from the 
heads of gray-haired old men, of infants, and of women of mothers 
and children carried away into captivity and of the dreadful 
scenes of torture at the stake. The tales of the veteran warrior 
the adventures that almost every venerable matron could relate 
from her own experience the escapes of the hunter from the 
savage ambuscade the stirring incidents of the battle the 
strategy of border warfare the sudden return of long-lost friends 
and the recital of the prisoner delivered from captivity these 
formed the legendary topics of the border, and moulded the minds 
and the prejudices of the people. They grew up in dread and 
loathing of the wolf, the panther, the rattlesnake, and the Indian ; 
regarding them as foes alike ruthless and insidious, who waylaid 


their path, and stole upon them in the hour of sleep. So extensive 
and successful had been the incursions of the Indians, that there 
was scarcely a neighborhood that had not its battle-field, or its rude 
sepulchre of departed valor, nor a family which had not its tale of 
sorrow, relating to some peculiar and melancholy bereavement by 
the hand of the savage. Yet so enamored were these people of 
their sylvan life, environed as it was with inquietude and danger, 
that, as the natives receded farther and farther to the west, they 
pursued their footsteps, eager to possess the new lands, and the 
fresh pastures they had forsaken, and regardless of dangers to 
which they were accustomed. Bred from generation to generation 
in the forest, they were as expert as the Indian, in all the arts of 
the hunter, and all the devices of savage life. Like him they could 
steer their way with unerring skill through the trackless forest, 
could find and prepare their own food, and defend themselves 
against the vicissitudes of the weather. Compelled at first by 
their necessities to derive a subsistence from the spontaneous 
wealth of nature, they learned to seek with skill and assiduity all 
the products of the wilderness, the flesh of the buffalo and the 
deer, the skin of the beaver, and the nutritious hoard of the bee, 
and became so addicted to these pursuits as to prefer them to the 
labors of husbandry. Acquiring hardihood and courage by these 
manly exercises, they became a martial people, enterprising and 
fearless, careless of exposure, expert in horsemanship, and trained 
to the use of arms. In their long hunting expeditions they pene 
trated into the Indian country, and made reprisals for the depreda 
tions of the savages; and in retaliation for the hostilities of the 
red men, they organized parties, and pursued them by laborious 
marches to their distant villages. It will be readily seen that the 
hatred between these parties, handed down from father to son, and 
inflamed by continual aggressions, would be mutual, deadly, and 

Between parties thus mutually hostile, there would arise, UP 



avoidably, many occasions of offence, which no prudence nor fore 
sight on the part of the Government could prevent. Kind and 
forbearing as our Government was in overlooking past aggressions, 
and liberal as they were in all the dealings with the tribes, it was 
impossible to soothe the spirit of revenge implanted in the savage 
breast by a long series of war and encroachments. Restless and 
warlike in their habits, the inducements to peace could never be 
strongly impressed on their minds, and when the prospect of 
plunder was added to the lust for revenge, the temptation was so 
strong as to overcome all prudential motives. Even when the 
tribes as bodies were friendly, and their leaders disposed to main 
tain peace, there were loose and vicious individuals, who, strolling 
off under the pretence of hunting, would form small bands, and 
annoy the settlements by stealing horses, or killing the cattle and 
hogs that roamed in the woods. Sometimes these private wars, if 
we may make the distinction, were carried further ; a house would 
be burned, a family murdered, and a whole neighborhood alarmed. 
The borderers were not slow to retaliate. Upon the perpetration 
of such an outrage, a party would be collected with wonderful 
celerity, and the depredators being pursued, were often overtaken, 
and a part if not all of them slain. Passion is never just, and 
revenge is not scrupulous as to the measure of the retribution 
it exacts. Parties engaged in pursuing marauders were nol 
always satisfied with punishing the guilty, but, in the heat of 
passion, attacked other Indians whom they accidentally met, or 
destroyed the villages of unoffending tribes. Unfortunately, it 
was difficult to discriminate in cases of this kind, for the Indians 
were so fickle, and their violations of their engagements so fre 
quent and sudden, that the whites, living in continual apprehen 
sion, and in the constant experience of the irritable and hostile 
state of the Indian mind, were, in most cases, unable to decide 
whether an aggression committed was the act of a lawless few, or 
the assault of a war party, and the forerunner of a bloody war. 


The Indians, on the other hand, were subject to a very serious 
grievance. Subsisting entirely by hunting, the game in their 
forests is as valuable to them as our cattle are to us, and they 
consider themselves as possessing a property in their hunting- 
grounds^ which they regard with great jealousy. Severe laws 
were passed by Congress to protect them in these rights, and 
forbidding our people from trespassing upon the Indian hunting- 
grounds; yet our hunters would often pass into the Indian 
country, and destroy vast quantities of game. The practice of 
hunting upon their lands grew into a monstrous abuse ; thousands 
of wild animals, from which they derived their sole subsistence, 
were annually destroyed by the whites. Many parts of the 
country which abounded in game, at the conclusion of the general 
peace in 1795, soon became totally destitute. The settlers on the 
neighboring frontier were in the habit of passing into the Indian 
territory every autumn, to kill bear, deer, and buffaloes, merely for 
the skins, by which means these animals, particularly the latter, 
were in some places become almost extinct. 

It is gratifying to observe, in the very first operations of our own 
Government, a spirit of moderation towards our savage neighbors. 
When we came to take possession of our national heritage for 
which we had fought, we found it encompassed with enemies. 
The southern and western tribes were generally hostile. On the 
borders of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina, the toma 
hawk was busy, and the forests of Kentucky and Tennessee pre 
sented a vast scene of carnage. Had our rulers been animated 
by the same grasping and unscrupulous policy, which seems to 
have been pursued by all other nations in their dealings with the 
heathen, a fair opportunity was offered for its exercise. The 
pioneers were already sustaining themselves with credit on our 
western borders, and, with a little encouragement from the Govern 
ment, would have extirpated all the tribes who opposed their 
progress. Employment might have been given to the troops. 


which Congress found it necessary to disband ; and the veterans 
who had fought for independence might have been rewarded with 
the lands of onr enemies. But the great men who then swayed 
our councils disdained the paltry spirit of revenge, and were too 
upright to commit an act which would have been morally^ wrong. 
They knew that the Indians had been abused and misled, by 
the same power which had trampled on our own rights, and had 
adulterated our best institutions by an admixture of foreign and 
pernicious principles ; and they determined to forget all the ag 
gressions of that unhappy race, to win them to friendship by 
kindness, and to extend to them the moral and civil blessings 
which had been purchased by our own emancipation. President 
Washington recommended the Indians to the paternal care of 
Congress, and all his successors have been governed by the same 
enlarged arid humane views. 

The wars which succeeded that of the Revolution were neither 
sought by us, nor were they prosecuted for one moment longer 
than was necessary for the defence of the frontiers. So foreign 
from the views of our Government were all ideas of conquest, that 
the troops sent out under Harmer and St. Clair were not suf 
ficiently numerous to maintain a stand in the wilderness, nor 
provided with supplies for even one campaign; and the army 
of Wayne was victorious only through the exertion of singular 
skill and gallantry. 

The treaty of Greenville, made in 1795, by General Wayne, at 
the head of a victorious army, with the chiefs of the tribes who had 
just been vanquished in battle, affords the strongest evidence of the 
pacific views of our Government. Nothing is claimed in that 
treaty by right of conquest. The parties agree to establish a 
perpetual peace, the Indians acknowledge themselves to be under 
tne protection of the United States, and not of any foreign power ; 
they promise to sell their land to the United States only, the latter 
agrees to protect them, and a few regulations are adopted to govern 


the intercourse between the parties ; a boundary line is established, 
by which the Indians confirm to us large tracts of land, nearly all 
of which had been ceded to us by former treaties ; and the United 
States agrees to pay them goods to the value of twenty thousand 
dollars, and to make them a further payment of nine thousand five 
hundred dollars annually. Thus, in negotiating a peace, at the 
head-quarters of our army, after a signal victory, when we might 
have dictated, and probably did dictate, the terms, we require 
nothing of the other parties, but the performance of their previous 
voluntary engagements, and we purchase their friendship by an 
annual tribute. I advert to this treaty as one of the most im 
portant, and as forming the model and basis of almost all the 
Indian treaties which have succeeded it. 

From this time forward our Government continued to pursue a 
conciliatory and humane conduct towards the Indians. In a letter 
from the Secretary of War to General Harrison, Governor of the 
Indiana Territory, dated February 23d, 1802, the following lan 
guage is used : " It is the ardent wish of the President of the 
United States, as well from a principle of humanity, as from duty 
and sound policy, that all prudent means in our power shall be 
unremittingly pursued, for carrying into effect the benevolent 
views of Congress, relative to the Indian nations within the bounds 
of the United States. The provisions made by Congress, under 
the heads of intercourse with the Indian nations, and for establish 
ing trading-houses among them, &c., have for their object not only 
the cultivation and establishment of harmony and friendship be 
tween the United States and the different nations of Indians, but 
the introduction of civilization by encouraging and gradually intro 
ducing the arts of husbandry and domestic manufactures among 

President Jefferson himself wrote thus to the same governor : 
" Our system is to live in perpetual peace with the Indians, to 
cultivate an affectionate attachment from them, by every thing just 


and liberal we can do for them, within the bounds of reason, and 
by giving them effectual protection against wrongs from our peo 
ple." Again: "In this way our settlements will circumscribe and 
approach the Indians, and they will either incorporate with us, as 
citizens of the United States, or remove beyond the Mississippi. 
The former is certainly the termination of their history most happy 
for themselves; but in the whole course of this, it is most essen 
tial to cultivate their love; as to their fear, we presume that our 
strength and their weakness are now so visible, that they must see 
we have only to shut our hand to crush them, and all our liberality 
to them proceeds from motives of humanity alone. 

Under date of December 22, 1808, President Jefferson wrote 
thus: " In a letter to you of February 27, 1802, I mentioned that 
I had heard there was still one Peoria man living, and that a com 
pensation making him easy for life should be given him, and his 
conveyance of the country by regular deed obtained. If there be 
such a man living, I think this should still be done." Here was 
an instance in which, a tribe being supposed to be extinct, the 
Government had taken possession of the country which had been 
owned by them ; but the President of the United States afterwards 
hearing that one individual of that tribe was in existence, proposed 
to pay him for the soil and get a conveyance from him. We doubt 
whether, in the annals of any other nation than our own, so scru 
pulous an act of justice can be shown ; and we suppose that Mr. 
Jefferson had regard not merely to the rights of the survivor of the 
almost extinct tribe, but to the salutary and important principle 
to which he wished to give publicity, and which has always been 
recognized by our government, namely, that we claim no right to 
take the lands of the Indians from them except by purchase. 

From the close of the Revolution the agents of the British Go 
vernment continued to exercise all the incendiary arts of their 
despicable diplomacy, in perpetuating the animosity of the Indians 
against our country and people. It is probable that until the con- 


elusion of the war of 1812, the mother country never entirely 
abandoned the hope of reducing her lost Colonies to their former 
state of subjection. Alarmed at the rapidity with which our set 
tlements were spreading to the west, they attempted to oppose 
barriers to our advance in that direction, by inciting the savages 
to war; and equally alarmed at our efforts to civilize the tribes, 
and fearful that they might be induced to sit down under the pro 
tection of our republican institutions, and thus bring an immense 
accession to our strength, they insidiously endeavored to counter 
vail all our benevolent exertions of that description. If I had not 
the proof at hand, I would not venture to expose to the Christian 
world the extent, the wickedness, the unhappy tendency of these 
intrigues. The United States were engaged in an experiment 
which was approved by every virtuous man, and ought to have 
been supported by every enlightened nation. They were earnestlv 
endeavoring to reclaim the savage-^-to induce the tribes to abandon 
their cruelties, their superstitions, their comfortless and perilous 
wanderings, and to sit down in the enjoyment of law, religion, 
peace, industry, and the arts. They wished to send the cross of 
the Redeemer, the blessings of civil liberty, and the light of 
science, abroad throughout this vast continent; and to establish 
peace and good-will in those boundless forests which had hereto 
fore been the gloomy abodes of ferocious ignorance, vindictive 
passion, and sanguinary conflict. Had they been successful in 
this beneficent design, they would have achieved a revolution as 
glorious as that which gave us independence. The English cabi 
net, nursing their resentment, and brooding over their gigantic but 
sordid schemes of commercial aggrandizement, saw the possibility 
of such a result, and trembled at the consequences. They could 
not consent that the United States should reap the honor of so 
proud a triumph, or that their own means of access to our western 
settlements, for annoyance or conquest, should be cut off. Even 
the paltry boon of the fur trade, was a sufficient inducement, in 


their eyes, for withholding from the red men the Bible, and che 
arts of peace. Their emissaries therefore were multiplied, and 
stimulated to renewed activity ; and while the agents of our govern 
ment, the Christian missionaries, and hundreds of benevolent indi 
viduals, labored assiduously to enlighten the savage mind, and 
allure it to peace and industry, the unhallowed ambassadors of 
corruption toiled as industriously to perpetuate the darkness of 
heathenism, the gloom of ignorance, and the atrocities of war. 
They represented our government as having interests inimical to 
those of the red men; and endeavored to fasten upon us, as a 
people, those enormities which had been practised under the sanc 
tion of their own government, and of which we had been the 
sufferers, in common with the Aborigines. They characterized 
our missionaries as political agents ; and appealed successfully to 
the ambition of the chiefs, and the prejudices and national pride 
of the tribes, by insinuating that our efforts to extend to them our 
customs, arts, faith, and language, were intended to destroy their 
integrity and independence, to efface their traditions, and blot out 
their names from the list of nations. They were told that they 
were to be reduced to slavery, and made to labor with the negro. 
Stronger and more direct arts than even these were resorted to : 
while we inculcated the virtue of temperance, and showed the 
Indian that intemperance was rapidly destroying his name and 
kindred, the British agent secretly distributed brandy with a lavish 
hand; while we invited the warrior to peace, he gave him arms 
and amunition, and incited him to war and plunder; while we 
offered the tribes our Gospel, and our arts, he lavished among their 
chiefs military titles, red coats, epaulets, and trinkets, thus adminis 
tering aliment to every savage propensity, and neutralizing the 
effect of every wise precept and virtuous example. Such mis 
creants as McKee and Girty the latter a vulgar renegade from 
our own country, and the former a British officer of high rank 
while in the daily perpetration of those odious crimes, received 


from the British government the honors and rewards which are 
only due to virtuous arid patriotic services. 

The facts that support these assertions are found scattered 
abundantly throughout our history. President Washington com 
plained to the British government of the tampering with the In 
dians within our limits by Lord Dorchester, Governor of Canada. 
Mr. Jefferson, in a speech to certain chiefs of the Miami, Potta- 
watimie, Delaware, and Chippewa tribes, who visited our seat of 
government, said : " General Washington, our first President, began 
a line of just and friendly conduct towards you. Mr. Adams, the 
second, continued it; and from the moment I came into the ad 
ministration, I have looked upon you with the same good-will as 
my own fellow-citizens, have considered your interests as our inter 
ests, and peace and friendship as a blessing to us all. Seeing with 
sincere regret, that your people were wasting away ; believing that 
this proceeded from your frequent wars, the destructive use of 
spirituous liquors, and the scanty supplies of food, I have incul 
cated peace with all your neighbors, have endeavored to prevent 
the introduction of spirituous liquors, and have pressed it upon you 
to rely for food on the culture of the earth more than on hunting. 
On the contrary, my children, the English persuade you to hunt. 
They supply you with spirituous liquors, and are now endeavoring 
to persuade you to join them in a war against us, should a war 
take place." 

" You possess reason, my children, as we do, and you will judge 
for yourselves which of us advise you as friends. The course they 
advise, has worn you down to your present numbers; but temper 
ance, peace, and agriculture, w r ill raise you up to what your fore 
fathers were, will prepare you to possess property, to wish to live 
under regular laws, to join us in our government, to mix with us 
in society, and your blood and ours united will spread over the 
great island." 

Contrast these sentiments, so honorable to our country, arid to 



humanity, with the following talk from Colonel McKee, the British 
superintendent of Indian Affairs, delivered to the Pottawatimie 
chiefs, at the River St. Joseph of Lake Michigan, in November, 
1804. "My children, it is true that the Americans do not wish 
you to drink any spirituous liquors, therefore they have told their 
traders that they should not carry any liquor into your country ; 
but, my children, they have no right to say that one of your father' s 
traders among you should carry no liquor among his children." 

" My children, your father King George, loves his red children, 
and wishes his red children to be supplied with every thing they 
want. He is not like the Americans, who are continually blinding 
your eyes, and stopping your ears with good words, that taste sweet 
as sugar, and getting all your lands from you." 

" My children, I am told that Wells has told you, that it was 
your interest to suffer no liquor to come into the country ; you all 
know that he is a bad man," &c. 

On another occasion, he said, " My children there is a powerful 
enemy of yours to the East, now on his feet, and looks mad at you, 
therefore, you must be on your guard ; keep your weapons of war 
in your hands, and have a look-out for him." 

This language was addressed, by the authorized agent of a nation 
at peace with us, to the Indians living south of the Lakes, and 
within our acknowledged limits, at a council held in their country 
and within our jurisdiction, at which he could not be present for 
any purpose inimical to our interests, except as a spy and an incen 
diary. It was the language which, for years, the emissaries of that 
nation continued to address to our Indians. 

To enable herself to carry on these intrigues, the British Govern 
ment had, in violation of the existing treaty of peace, kept posses 
sion of several military posts, south of the Lakes, and within our 
admitted boundaries, which she retained for twelve years after the 
Ciose of the revolutionary war, and until the victory of Wayne 
blasted all her hopes in this quarter. This was the period during 


which the most distressing hostilities were carried on against the 
settlers along the whole line of the Ohio River, and the most brutal 
outrages were committed when the scalpings, the burnings, and 
the torture at the stake were most frequent, and attended with the 
most atrocious cruelties. Yet during that whole time, the Indians 
on this frontier were supplied from these British posts with arms 
and ammunition, and urged on to the work of blood. They were 
assembled periodically to receive presents, and to listen to inflam 
matory harangues against the American Government and people 
a government on which they were dependent, and a people with 
whom they could not make war, but to their own utter destruction. 
During all that period, Brant, an able and most active partisan of 
the British, was passing frequently along the whole of our north 
western frontier, holding councils, advising the tribes to an uncom 
promising warfare with the United States. He was a secret and 
unacknowledged emissary, but in Mr. Stone's Life of him recently 
published, these transactions are avowed and established ; and in 
that work are exhibited letters which passed between this noted 
savage and the British officers, and public documents recently 
obtained from the British archives, which develope all these facts. 
And this conspiracy was rendered the more criminal by the cir 
cumstance, that General Knox, as Secretary of War, was at that 
very time corresponding with Brant, who was an educated man, 
and a professing Christian, inviting his mediation between us and 
those deluded tribes who were still hostile, and representing to him 
the advantages to them, and the honor to himself, which would 
result from a pacification of the frontier, through his instrumen 
tality. Brant had affected to listen to these overtures, and had 
visited Philadelphia, upon the urgent invitation of General Knox, 
for the ostensible purpose of consulting with the cabinet in regard 
to this philanthropic plan, but really, as it turned out, to blind the 
eyes of the American Government. Several distinguished Ameri 
can philanthropists were also, about this period, exchanging letters 


with this forest Talleyrand on the same subject, and he contrived 
to delude them also, with the expectation that all the western tribes 
might be conciliated through his mediation. 

It is now known, as a part of the well authenticated history of 
our country, that in the savage, army opposed to our forces under 
General Wayne, there were more than one hundred Canadians. 
British subjects, who were engaged in the battle which concluded 
that decisive campaign ; that the British officers from the neigh 
boring fort assisted in the council of chiefs who arranged the plan 
of that engagement ; and that the vanquished savages took shelter 
in the British fort 

The conduct of Great Britain, in tampering with the American 
Indians, was so inexcusable, was fraught with such cruel mockery 
to the Indians who were the ignorant dupes of that policy, and 
exercised so powerful an influence upon the fate and character 
of that unfortunate people, that it will not, we trust, be considered 
inappropriate to exhibit some of the proofs of this interference. 
These proofs are numerous, but wo shall only select a few at 

Colonel Gordon, a British officer in Canada, in a letter to Cap 
tain Brant, dated June 11, 1791, in allusion to the attempts of the 
American Government to make peace with the Indians, remarks : 
" It must strike you, very forcibly, that in all the proceedings of 
the different Commissioners from the American States they have 
cautiously avoided applying for our interference, as a measure 
they affect to think perfectly unnecessary ; wishing to impress 
the Indians with ideas of their own consequence, and of the little 
influence, they would willingly believe, we are possessed of. This, 
my good friend, is not the way to proceed. Had they, before mat- 
1ers were pushed to extremity, requested the assistance of the 
British to bring about a peace upon equitable terms, I am con 
vinced the measure would have been fully accomplished before 
this time." The cool arrogance with which the Americans are 


sneered at for not inviting the interference of a foreign govern 
ment, in a quarrel with savages, living within our limits, is only 
exceeded by the art evinced in the assertion that such a mediation 
would have been successful. The writer knew that the existing 
dissatisfaction was caused chiefly by the intrigues of his own 
Government, and he hazarded little in saying that, with the 
assistance of the British, peace might have been established. 
Stone's Life of Brant, vol. ii. p. 301. 

On the 1st of May, 1792, Brant was addressed by Mr. Joseph 
Chew, an officer under Sir John Johnson, expressing much satis 
faction at the refusal of Captain Brant to accept an invitation, from 
the Secretary of War, to visit Philadelphia, on a mission of peace, 
and advising the chief of the preparations the Americans were 
making for an Indian campaign. The following passage occurs in 
this letter : " I see they expect to have an army of about five thou 
sand men, besides three troops of horse. By the advertisements for 
supplies of provisions, &c., it seems that this army will not be able 
to move before the last of July. What attempts Wilkinson and 
Hamtramck may make with the militia is uncertain. Our friends 
ought to be on their guard. I long to know what they think in 
England of the victory gained over St. Glair's army. Stone's Life 
of Brant, vol. ii. p. 327. 

The Government of the United States, in its anxiety to make 
peace w r ith the north-western tribes, in February, 1793, appointed. 
General Benjamin Lincoln, Mr. Beverly Randolph, and Colonel 
Timothy Pickering, Commissioners to hold a treaty at the Miamis, 
with such of the tribes as might choose to be represented. The 
arrangement for this meeting had been made with the Indians the 
preceding .autumn, and it is a curious fact, that they requested that 
some individuals of the Society of Friends should be attached to 
the mission so widelv had the fame of Penn and his people 
extended, and such was the confidence of the tribes in the integrity 
of that pacific sect. At the same time some Quaker gentlemen, 


without concert with the Indians, and instigated only by the purest 
impulse of benevolence, had voluntarily offered their aid and me 
diation, which was accepted. The Commissioners, therefore, were 
accompanied by John Parrish, William Savery, and John Elliot, 
of Philadelphia ; Jacob Lindlay, of Chester county ; and Joseph 
Moore and William Hartshorne, of New Jersey, members of the 
Society of Friends. 

On the arrival of the Commissioners at Queenston, on the Nia 
gara, on the 17th of May, they found that Brant and some of his 
Indians, with Colonel Butler, the British superintendent of Indian 
Affairs, had proceeded to the place of meeting but the Commis 
sioners were detained here, under various pretences, by Governor 
Simcoe, until the 26th of June. On their arrival at the mouth of 
Detroit River, they were obliged to land, by the British authorities 
at Detroit, who forbade their further approach, for the present, 
towards the place of meeting. Here they were met by a deputa 
tion from the Indian nation already assembled in council, who, 
among other things, asked them if they were fully authorized by 
the United States to fix firmly on the Ohio River as the boundary 
line between the white and red men. From the 1st to the 14th of 
August the Commissioners were detained at this place, by the 
intrigues of the British officers; in the mean while the Indians 
decided, in the great council, that they would not treat upon any 
other terms than the settlement of the Ohio River as the boundary. 
To this the Commissioners could not consent, the more especially 
as large purchases of land had been made from the Indians north 
of that river, upon which settlements had been made; and they 
returned without having been permitted even to meet the tribes in 

If any doubt existed as to the duplicity of the Canadian authori 
ties, in regard to this transaction, it would be removed by the 
testimony of Captain Brant, who played a conspicuous part in 
those councils. His biographer, Mr. Stone, among the many 


valuable documents brought to light by his research, has published 
the following extract from a speech, which he found among the 
papers of Brant, in the hand-writing of the chief: "For several 
years" (after the peace of 1782,) "we were engaged in getting a 
confederacy formed, and the unanimity occasioned by these endea 
vors, among our western brethren, enabled them to defeat two 
Amencan armies. The war continued, without our brothers, the 
English, giving any assistance, excepting a little ammunition ; and 
they seeming to desire that a peace might be concluded, we tried 
to bring it about, at a time that the United States desired it very 
much, so that they sent Commissioners from among their first 
people, to endeavor to make peace with the hostile Indians. We 
assembled, also, for that purpose, at the Miami River, in -the sum 
mer of 1793, intending to act as mediators in bringing about an 
honorable peace ; and if that could not be obtained, we resolved to 
join our western brethren in trying the fortune of war. But to 
our surprise, when on the point of entering upon a treaty with the 
Commissioners, we found that it was opposed by those acting under 
the British Government, and hopes of further assistance were given 
to our western brethren, to encourage them to insist on the Ohio as 
a boundary between them and the United States." Stone's Life 
of Brant, vol. ii. p. 358. 

In all the intrigues of Canadian authorities with the Indians, 
Brant was the agent most frequently employed ; and it was after a 
thorough investigation of the papers of that chief, and of a mass of 
documentary evidence furnished by his family, that Mr. Stone 
came to the conclusion, "that during the whole controversy be 
tween the Indians and the United States, from 1786 to the defeat 
of St. Clair, the former had been countenanced and encouraged by 
English agents, and repeatedly excited to actual hostilities, there 
was no doubt." 

In the year 1794 Lord Dorchester, who is better known m 
American history by his former title of Sir Guy Carleton, delivered 


a speech to a number of Indian deputies, from the tribes within the 
United States, among whom was the celebrated Little Turtle, in 
which he held the following language : 

"Children: I was in expectation of hearing from the people 
of the United States what was required by them; I hoped that 
I should have been able to bring you together, and make you 

" Children : I have waited long, and listened with great atten 
tion, but I have not heard a word from them." 

" Children : I flattered myself with the hope that the line pro 
posed in the year eighty-three to separate us from the United 
States, which was immediately broken by themselves as soon as the 
peace was signed, would have been mended, or a new line drawn 
in an amicable manner. Here, also, I have been disappointed." 

" Children : Since my return, I find no appearance of a line 
remains ; and from the manner in which the people of the United 
States rush on, and act, and talk, on this side, and from what I 
learn of their conduct toward the sea, I shall not be surprised if we 
are at war with them in the course of the present year ; and if so, 
a line must then be drawn by the warriors." 

" Children : You talk of selling your lands to the State of New 
York : I have told you that there is no line between them and us. 
I shall acknowledge no lands to be theirs which have been en 
croached on by them since the year 1783. They then broke the 
peace, and as they kept it not on their part, it doth not bind 
on ours." 

"Children: They then destroyed their right of pre-emption. 
Therefore, all their approaches towards us since that time, and all 
the purchases made by them, I consider an infringement on the 
King's rights. And when a line is drawn between us, be it in 
peace or war, they must lose all their improvements and houses on 
our side of it. Those people must all be gone who do not obtain 


leave to become the King's subjects. What belongs to the Indians 
will of course be secured and confirmed to them." 

" Children : What further can I say to you ? you are witnesses 
that on our parts we have acted in the most peaceable manner, and 
borne the language and conduct of the people of the United States 
with patience. But I believe our patience is almost exhausted." 

The authenticity of this remarkable speech was denied when it 
was first made public ; but General Washington, then President 
of the United States, believed it to be genuine ; and the Secretary 
of State remonstrated strongly with Mr. Hammond, the British 
Minister, against it, and against the conduct of Governor Simcoe, 
who was engaged in hostile measures. The inquiry was evaded, 
and the authenticity of the speech remained somewhat doubtful. 
All doubt has been now removed by the successful research of 
Mr. Stone, who, in collecting materials for the Life of Brant, found 
a certified copy among the papers of that chief. 

In 1794, Governor Simcoe, on hearing of the preparations for the 
campaign of the American army, under General Wayne, hastened 
to the West, as did also Brant, attended by one hundred and fifty 
of his best warriors "evidently for the purpose of continuing in 
the exercise of an unfriendly influence upon the minds of the 
Indians against the United States. The Governor was at the fort 
near the battle-field on the 30th of September, as also were Captain 
Brant and Colonel McKee. The Indians had already made some 
advances to General Wayne toward a negotiation for peace ; but 
their attention was diverted by Simcoe and Brant, who invited a 
council of the hostile nations to assemble at the mouth of the De-r 
troit River, on the 10th of October. The invitation was accepted, 
as also was an invitation from General Wayne, who was met by a, 
few of their chiefs ; so that the wily savages were, in fact, sitting 
\n two councils at once, balancing chances, and preparing to make 
peace only in the event of finding a little further encouragement to 
fight," Stone's Brant, vol. h. p. 392. 



In the council of the 10th of October, Simcoe said to these igno 
rant and deluded creatures, "I am still of opinion that the Ohio 
is jour right and title. I have given orders to the commandant of 
Fort Miami to fire on the Americans, whenever they make theit 
appearance again. I will go down to Quebec and lay your griev 
ances before the great man. From thence they will be forwarded 
to the King your father. Next spring you will know the result of 
every thing, what you and I will do." 

Nor did these unfortunate and criminal intrigues end here. The 
correspondence of the Territorial Governors, Harrison of Indiana, 
Edwards of Illinois, and Howard of Missouri, with the War Depart 
ment, during several years immediately preceding the war of 1812, 
are replete with conclusive evidence of this inhuman and discredit 
able tampering with the savages. They give the circumstances, 
the names of some of the emissaries, and the details of their in 
trigues. Of the many causes of discontent, which have arisen 
between Great Britain and the United States, no one has contri 
buted more to embitter the minds of the American people than 
this especially in the Western States, where citizens suffered 
severely from savage hostilities, caused chiefly, as they confidently 
maintain, by this malign influence. 

Thus while our Government endeavored to throw the veil of 
oblivion over past irritations, and to establish with its red neigh 
bors those friendly relations by which the best interests of both 
parties would have been promoted, the design was frustrated bv 
the imprudence of a few of our citizens, and the unjustifiable in 
trigues of a foreign government. The consequence was, that our 
frontiers continued to be desolated by petty wars, of the most dis 
tressing character wars, the miseries of which fell solely upon 
individuals, who were robbed, and tortured, and murdered, by those 
\vho professed to be allies, and who were, in fact, the dependants 
and beneficiaries of our own Government. 

Towards the year 1812, the Indians became more and more auda- 


cious. The expectation of a war between this country and Great 
Britain, the increased bribes and redoubled intrigues of that nation, 
and the prospect of gaining in her a powerful ally, gave new fuel 
to their hatred, and new vigor to their courage. At this period, the 
celebrated Tecumthe appeared upon the scene. He was called the 
Napoleon of the West ; and so far as that title could be earned by 
genius, courage, perseverance, boldness of conception, and prompti 
tude of action, it was fairly bestowed upon that distinguished 

Tecumthe was a remarkable man. He rose from obscurity to 
the command of a tribe, of which some of his family were distin 
guished members, but in which he hereditary claims to 
power or authority. He was by turns the orator, the warrior, and 
the politician; and in each of these capacities gave evidence of a 
high order of intellect, and an elevated tone of thought. As is 
often the case with superior minds, one master-passion filled his 
heart, and gave to his whole life its character. This was hatred to 

7 O 

the whites; and, like Hannibal, he had sworn that it should be 
perpetual. He entertained the vast project of inducing the Indian 
tribes to unite in one great confederacy, to bury their feuds with 
each other, and to make common cause against the white men. He 
wished to extinguish all distinctions of tribe and language, and to 
combine the power and prejudices of all, in defence of the rights 
arid possessions of the whole, as the Aboriginal occupants of the 
country. He maintained that the Great Spirit, in establishing 
between the white and red races the distinction of color, intended 
to ordain a perpetual separation between them. He insisted that 
this country had been given to the Indian race ; and while he re 
cognized the right of each nation or tribe to the exclusive use of 
their hunting-grounds, so long as they chose to possess them, he 
indignantly denied the power of any to sell them. When the 
occupants of any tract of country removed from it, he considered it 
as reverting to the common stock, and free to any other Indians 


who might choose to settle upon it. The idea of selling land, he 
scouted as an absurdity. " Sell land !" he exclaimed on one occa 
sion; "as well might you pretend to sell the air and the water 
The Great Spirit gave them all alike to us, the air for us to breathe, 
the water to drink, and the earth to live and to hunt upon you 
may as well sell the one as the other!" He contended, therefore, 
that as the Indians had no right to cede any portion of their terri 
tory, all the cessions that had been made were void. In these 
views he was strengthened by the British officers, who found in 
him an able and apt coadjutor; and by their joint machinations the 
whole frontier was thrown into commotion. By their advice he 
insisted upon the Ohio River as the line of separation between the 
United States and the Indians, and refused to make peace upon 
any other terms than the solemn recognition of this as a perpetual 

It was a part of the policy of this chief, to destroy entirely the 
influence of the whites, by discouraging their intercourse with the 
Indians. He deprecated the civilization of the latter, as a means of 
betraying them into the power of the white people, and he con 
sidered every kind of trade and intercourse between these parties 
as fraught with danger to the independence of the red men. He 
wished the latter to discard every thing, even the weapons, which 
had been introduced among them by the whites, and to subsist, as 
their ancestors had done, upon the products of their plains and 
forests, so that the inducement to traffic with the whites should be 
destroyed. He set the example, by abstaining entirely from the 
use of ardent spirits, and many other articles sold by the traders ; 
he refused to speak the English language, and adhered as strictly 
as possible to the customs of his people. 

It was with Tecumthe himself, that General Proctor, the com 
mander of the British forces, made the disgraceful compact, at. the 
Commencement of the campaign of 1813, by which it was stipu 
lated, that General Harrison, and all who had fought with him at 


Tippecanoe, should, if taken, be delivered up to the Indians, to be 
dealt with according to their usages. He was the terror and 
scourge of his foes, the uncompromising opposer of all attempts at 
civilizing the Indians, the brave, implacable, untiring enemy of our 
people. But he was a generous enemy. Previous to his time, the 
Shawanese had been in the practice of torturing prisoners taken 
in battle. At the commencement of his career, probably after the 
first engagement in which he commanded, he rescued a prisoner 
from torture by his personal interference, and declared that he 
would never, upon any occasion, permit a captive to be cruelly 
treated. In this manly resolution he persevered, and greatly ame 
liorated the horrors of war, wherever he was present. 

The character of Tecumthe was so marked and peculiar that it 
deserves from PS at least a passing notice. He was remarkable for 
temperance and integrity, was hospitable, generous, and humane. 
One who knew him, said of him, " I know of no peculiarity about 
him that gained him popularity. His talents, rectitude of deport 
ment, and friendly disposition, commanded the respect and regard 
of all about him. I consider him a very great, as well as a very 
good man, who, had he enjoyed the advantages of a liberal educa 
tion, would have done honor to any age or nation." 

In the Life of Tecumthe, by the late amiable and lamented Ben 
jamin Drake, of Cincinnati, we find the following highly interesting 
anecdote. " The next action in which Tecumthe participated, 
and in which he manifested signal prowess, was an attack made 
by the Indians, upon some flat boats descending the Ohio, above 
Limestone, now Maysville. The year in which it occurred is not 
stated, but Tecumthe was probably not more than sixteen or seven 
teen years of age. The boats were captured, and all the persons 
belonging to them killed, except one, who was taken prisoner, and 
afterwards burnt. Tecumthe was a silent spectator of the scene, 
having never witnessed the burning of a prisoner before. After it 
was over he expressed, in strong terms, his abhorrence of the act, 


and it was finally concluded by the party that they would nevt,r 
burn any more prisoners ; and to this resolution, he himself, and 
the party also, it is believed, ever after scrupulously adhered. It 
is not less creditable to the humanity than to the genius of Tecum- 
the, that he should have taken this noble stand, and by the force 
and eloquence of his appeal, have brought his companions to the 
same resolution. He was then but a boy, yet he had the inde 
pendence to attack a cherished custom of his tribe, and the, power 
of argument to convince them, against all their preconceived no 
tions of right, and the rules of their warfare, that the custom 
should be abolished. That his effort to put a stop to this cruel 
and revolting rite, was not prompted by a temporary expediency, 
but was the result of a humane disposition, and a right sense of 
justice, is abundantly shown by his conduct towards prisoners in 
after life." We may add, that not only did the friends of Tecum- 
the, and his nation abandon the practice of burning prisoners, but 
the Indians generally ceased from about this period to perpetrate 
this outrage, and it is reasonable to infer that he was the principal 
cause of the revolution. 

The noble and magnanimous conduct of this chief, towards some 
Americans who were taken prisoners at the sortie from Fort Meigs, 
in 1813, is worthy of record. These prisoners were taken to the 
head-quarters of General Proctor, the British commander, and con 
fined in Fort Miami, " where the Indians were permitted to amuse 
themselves by firing at the crowd, or at any particular individual. 
Those whose tastes led them to inflict a more cruel and savao-e 


death, led their victims to the gateway, where, under the eye of 
General Proctor and his officers, they were coolly tomahawked and 
scalped. Upwards of twenty prisoners were thus, in the course of 
two hours, massacred in cold blood, by those to whom they had 
voluntarily surrendered. 

'Whilst this blood-thirsty carnage was raging, a thundering 
voice was heard in their rear, in the/Indian tongue, and Tecumthe 


was seen coming' with all the rapidity with which his horse could 
carry him, until he drew near to where two Indians had an Ameri 
can, and were in the act of killing him. He sprang from his horse, 
caught one by the throat, and the other by the breast, and threw 
them to the ground ; drawing his tomahawk and scalping knife, he 
ran in between the Americans and Indians, brandishing his arms, 
and daring any one of the hundreds that surrounded him, to attempt 
to murder another American. They all appeared confounded, and 
immediately desisted. His mind appeared rent with passion, and 
he exclaimed almost with tears in his eyes, ' Oh ! what will be 
come of rny Indians ?' He then demanded, in an authoritative tone, 
where Proctor was ; but casting his eye upon him at a short dis 
tance, sternly inquired why he had not put a stop to the inhuman 
massacre. ' Sir,' said Proctor, 'your Indians cannot be commanded.' 
' Begone,' returned Tecumthe, with the greatest disdain, ' you are 
unfit to command ; go and put on petticoats !' " Drake's Life of 
Tecumthe, p. 182. 

" When Burns, the poet, was suddenly transferred from his 
plough in Ayrshire, to the polished circles of Edinburgh, his ease 
of manner, and nice observance of the rules of good breeding, ex 
cited much surprise, and became the theme of frequent conversa 
tion. The same thing has been remarked of Tecumthe ; whether 
seated at the tables of Generals McArthur and Worthington, as he 
was during the council at Chilli cothe, in 1807, or brought in contact 
with British officers of the highest grade, his manners were entirely 
free from vulgarity and coarseness : he was uniformly self-pos 
sessed, and with the tact and ease of deportment which marked 
the poet of the heart, and which are falsely supposed to be the 
result of civilization and refinement only, he readily accommodated 
himself to the novelties of his new position, and seemed more 
amused than annoyed by them." 

" Rising above the prejudices and customs of his people, even 
when those prejudices and customs were tacitly sanctioned by the 


officers and agents of .Great Britain, Tecumthe was never known 
offer violence to prisoners, nor to permit it in others. So strong 
was his sense of honor, and so sensitive his feelings of humanity, 
on this point, that even frontier women and children, throughout 
the wide space in which his character was known, felt secure from 
the tomahawk of the hostile Indians, if Tecumthe was in the camp. 
A striking instance of this confidence is presented in the following 
anecdote. The British and Indians were encamped near the River 
Raisin ; and while holding a talk within eighty or a hundred yards 
of Mrs. Ruland's house, some Sauks and Winnebagoes entered her 
dwelling and began to plunder it. She immediately sent her little 
daughter, eight or nine years old, requesting Tecumthe to come to 
her assistance. The child ran to the council-house, and pulling 
Tecumthe, who was then speaking, by the skirt of his hunting- 
shirt, said to him, ' Come to our house there are bad Indians 
there.' Without waiting to close his speech, the chief started for 
the house. On entering, he was met by two or three Indians, 
dragging a trunk towards the door. He seized his tomahawk, and 
levelled one of them at a blow : they prepared for resistance, but 
no sooner did they hear the cry, ' Dogs ! I am Tecumthe !' than, 
under the flash of his indignant eye, they fled from the house. 
' And you,' said Tecumthe, turning to some British officers, ' are 
worse than dogs, to break your faith with prisoners.' " Drake's 
Life of Tecumthe. 

We have noticed these events for the purpose of showing the 
obstacles which have embarrassed our Government in all their 
schemes for extending the mild and moralizing influence of our 
Christian and republican principles throughout the western forests. 
With the conclusion of the war in 1815 our wars with the Indians 
ceased. The brilliant exploits of our navy, and the signal victories 
gamed by our armies at New Orleans, at the River Thames, on the 
Niagara, and at Plattsburgh, convinced the British of the futility 
of their hopes of conquest on this continent, and spread a univer- 


sal panic among the tribes. The eyes of the latter were opened to 
our power, as they had been to our forbearance. They saw that 
they had nothing to hope from our weakness, or our fears, and 
much to gain from our friendship. Their foreign confederates had 
made peace for themselves, leaving them no alternative but to fol 
low the example. They had either to submit, or, 'by contending 
single-handed against the victorious troops who had defeated their 
martial allies, draw down inevitable destruction on their own heads. 
At this juncture, the American Government again held out the 
olive branch. The enlightened Madison, ever pacific in his public 
character as he was amiable and philanthropic in private life, 
spared no pains to heal the unhappy wounds which had been 
inflicted upon the mutual peace ; and his successors, by pursuing 
the same policy, have given permanence to a system of amicable 
relations between us and our misguided neighbors. 

Although we believe our system of relations with the Indian 
tribes to be radically wrong, and to be productive of great wrong 
to them, we have been careful to state distinctly that the intentions 
of our Government, and the feeling of the American people 
towards that unfortunate race, have been always benevolent, for 
bearing, and magnanimous. We deem this position sufficiently 
important to be deserving of proof, and in evidence of the pro 
fessions and intentions of our Government, from its commence^ 
ment, we quote the following extracts from the communications 
of the respective Presidents to Congress. 

We come now to consider briefly the precise charactei of the 
relations of the American Government and people with the Indian 
tribes. We have shown that those relations were shaped by the 

mother country, and modified, first by colonial policy, and after 
wards by the intrigues of foreign nations. It became necessary, 
therefore, for our Government to soothe past irritations, and remove 
long settled prejudices, before a system of amicable intercourse 
could be established ; and to this beneficent work has her attention 



been steadily directed. But we shall show that, with the very best 
intentions towards the Aborigines, our Government has not only 
failed to accomplish its benevolent purposes towards them, but has, 
in fact, done much positive wrong to them, and to ourselves ; and 
reflecting men cannot but perceive the ruinous tendency of the 
policy now pursued, and the absolute necessity of a speedy and 
radical change. 

The existence, within our territorial limits, of tribes acknow 
ledged to be independent, involves in itself a paradox ; while the 
details of our negotiations with them, and of our legislation with 
respect to them, are full of the strangest contradictions. We 
acknowledge them to be sovereign nations, yet we forbid them to 
make war with each other; we admit their title to their lands, 
their unlimited power over them while they remain theirs, and 
their full possession of the rights of self-government within them ; 
yet we restrain them from selling those lands to any but ourselves ; 
we treat with them as with free states, yet we plant our agents and 
our military posts among them, and make laws which operate 
within their territory. In our numerous treaties with them we 
acknowledge them to be free, both as nations and as individuals ; 
yet we claim the power to punish, in our courts, aggressions com 
mitted within their boundaries, denying to them a concurrent 
jurisdiction, and forbidding them from abjudicating in their 
councils, and according to their customs, upon the rights of our 
citizens, and from vindicating the privileges of their own. We 
make distinctions, not merely in effect, but in terms, between the 
white man and the Indian, of the most degrading character ; and 
at the moment when our Commissioners are negotiating solemn 
leagues with their chiefs, involving the most important interests, 
pledging to them the faith of our Government, and accepting from 
them similar pledges, we reject those same chiefs if offered as 
witnesses in our courts, as persons destitute of truth as creatures 
f oo ignorant to understand, or too degraded to practise, the ordinary 


rules of rectitude. In many of the States, negroes, mulattoes, and 
Indians are by law declared to be incompetent witnesses against a 
white, man. Whatever necessity the institution of slavery may 
impose as regards the negro and mulatto, there is no reason for this 
stigma upon the Indian, and we apprehend that a case could hardly 
occur in which the ends of justice would not be advanced by sub 
mitting the credibility of such a witness to the jury. 

This simple exposition of a few of the leading features of our 
intercourse with the Indians must satisfy every rational mind that 
so unnatural a state of things cannot be lasting ; that any system 
of relations, founded upon such principles, must be unjust, un 
profitable, and temporary ; and that although in the infancy of our 
Government it might have been excusable in us to adopt such a 
policy towards our savage neighbors, as their barbarities or our 
weakness might have forced upon us, it becomes us now, as a 
great and enlightened people, to devise a system more consistent 
with our national dignity, and better adapted to advance the 
interests of the respective parties. 

To* ascertain the exact position of the parties in respect to each 
other, we shall call the attention of the reader to a few of the 
treaties and laws which regulate the subject-matter, confining 
ourselves chiefly to those which have been made most recently. 
Our present system of Indian relations, although commenced 
under the administration of General Washington, has been chiefly 
built up since the last war between the United States and Great 
Britain. The treaties have been so numerous that it is impossible, 
in a work like this, to enter into their details, or to do more than to 
refer in a compendious manner to their leading features. We 
shall adopt this plan as sufficient for our purpose. The following 
propositions, then, will be found to contain the leading principles 
of this anomalous diplomacy, and to have obtained admission into 
our treaties with nearly all the tribes : 

1. The United States have almost invariably given presents, in 


money, arms, clothing, farming implements, and trinkets, upon the 
negotiation of a treaty; and in treaties for the purchase of terri 
tory, we pay an equivalent for the lands, in money or merchandise, 
or both, which payment is generally made in the form of annuities, 
limited or perpetual. 

2. When a tribe cedes the territory on which they reside, other 
territory is specified for their future occupancy, and the United 
States guarantee to them the title and peaceable possession thereof. 

3. The Indians acknowledge themselves to be under the pro 
tection of the American Government, and of no other power what 

4. They engage not to make war with each other, or with any 
foreign power, without the consent of the United States. 

5. They agree to sell their lands only to the United States. 
Our citizens are prohibited by law from taking grants of land from 
the Indians ; and any transfer or cession made by them, except to 
our Government, would be considered void. 

6. White men found hunting on the Indian lands may be appre 
hended by them, and delivered up to the nearest agent of the 
United States. 

7. White men are not to trade with the Indians, nor reside in 
their country without license from our authorities. 

8. An Indian who commits a murder upon a white man is to be 
delivered up to be tried and punished under our laws; stolen 
property is to be returned, or the tribe to be accountable for its 

9. The United States claims the right of navigation, on all navi 
gable rivers which pass through an Indian territory. 

10. The tribes agree that they will, at all times, allow to traders 
and other persons travelling through their country, under the au 
thority of the United States, a free and safe passage for themselves 
and their property ; and that for such passage they shall at no time, 
and on no account whatever, be subject to any toll or exaction. 


11. Should any tribe of Indians, or other power, meditate a war 
against the United States, or threaten any hostile act, and the same 
shall come to the knowledge of a tribe in amity with the United 
States, the latter shall give notice thereof to the nearest Governor 
of a State, or officer commanding the troops of the United States. 

12. No tribe in amity with the United States shall supply arms 
or ammunition, or any warlike aid, implements, or munition, to a 
tribe not in amity with us. 

The following special articles have been assented to by particu 
lar tribes, and have been inserted in treaties with some other tribes, 
so as to prevail to a considerable extent : 

"The United States demand an acknowledgment of the right to 
establish military posts and trading-houses, and to open roads 
within the territory guaranteed to the Creek nation in the second 
article, and the right to the navigation of all its waters." Treaty 
of August 9, 1814. 

" The Shawanese nation do acknowledge the United States to be 
sole and absolute sovereigns of all the territory ceded to them by a 
treaty of peace made between them and the King of Great Britain, 
on the 14th January, 1786." 

" It is agreed on the part of the Cherokees, that the United 
States shall have the sole and absolute right to regulate their 
trade." Treaty of 2d July, 1791. 

" Fifty-four tracts, of one mile square each, of the land ceded by 
this treaty, shall be laid off under the direction of the President of 
the United States, and sold, for the purpose of raising a fund to be 
applied for the support of schools for the education of the Osage 
children." Trazfy of Zd June, 1825. 

" The United States agree to furnish at Clarke, for the use of the 
Osage nation, a blacksmith, and tools to mend their arms, and 
utensils of husbandry, and engage to build them a horse-mill, or 
water-mill ; also, to furnish them with ploughs," &c. Ibid. 

"The United States, immediately after the ratification of this 


convention, shall cause to be furnished to the Kansas nation three 
hundred head of cattle, three hundred hogs, five hundred domestic 
fowls, three yoke of oxen and two carts, with such implements of 
husbandry as the Superintendent of Indian Affairs may think 
necessary; and shall employ such persons to aid and instruct 
them in agriculture as the President of the United States may 
deem expedient; and shall provide and support a blacksmith." 
Treaty of '3d June, 1825. 

" Thirty-six sections of good land, on Big Blue River, shall be 
laid out under the direction of the President of the United States, 
and sold, for the purpose of raising a fund to be applied, under the 
direction of the President, to the education of the Kansas children 
within their nation." Ibid. 

" The Tetons, Yanctons, and Yanctonies, and bands of the 
Sioux, admit the right of the United States to regulate their 
trade." Treaty of2d June, 1825. 

If we turn to the statute books, for the purpose of showing the 
spirit of our legislation in regard to the Indian tribes, it w r ill be 
seen that the leading intention of those laws, as expressed on their 
face, is just and benevolent. Whatever mistakes our Government 
may have committed, and however their beneficence may have 
been misdirected, it could never have been their purpose to oppress 
a people towards whom they have used language, such as we find 
in the several acts of Congress, relating to the Indians, arid of 
which the following expressions are specimens : " For the pur 
pose of providing against the further decline and final extinction of 
the Indian tribes, adjoining the frontier settlements of the United 
States, and for introducing among them the habits and arts of 
civilization" &c. " In order to promote the civilization of the 
friendly Indians, and to secure the continuance of their friend 
ship," &c. The third article of an ordinance for the govern 
ment of the territory of the United States, north-west of the River 
Ohio, passed in 1787, runs as follows : " Religion, morality, and 


knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness 
of mankind, schools and the means of education shall for ever be 
encouraged. The utmost good faith shall always be observed 
towards the Indians ; their lands and property shall never be taken 
from them without their consent; and in their property, rights, 
and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed unless in 
just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws, founded in 
justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for prevent 
ing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and 
friendship with them." 

These are noble sentiments; and they represent truly the feel 
ings of the great body of the American people towards the Abori 
gines, and the principles by which the intercourse with the Indian 
tribes was intended to be governed. We shall, when we come to 
inquire what have been the results of our intercourse with those 
tribes, and whether those results have realized the wishes of the 
American people, and the intentions of the Government, refer to 
these extracts as expressing those wishes arid intentions. 

We shall not detail at large the statutory provisions to which we 
intend to refer, but will content ourselves with such a synopsis as 
will answer our purpose. Our Indian affairs are conducted by 
several superintendents, and a number of agents and sub-agents, 
who are required to reside within their respective agencies, and 
through whom the Government conducts all its negotiations with 
the tribes, except when special trusts are committed to military 
officers, or to commissioners appointed for the occasion. We regu 
late the trade with them by statute, rigorously prohibiting all 
ingress into their country, by our citizens, or by foreigners, and all 
traffic, except by special license from our authorities. An Indian 
who kills a white man, or a white man who slays an Indian, are 
alike tried by our laws, and in our courts, even though the offence 
may have been committed in the Indian territory. Larceny, rob 
bery, trespass, or other offence, committed by white men against 


the Indians, in the country of the latter, is punishable in our courts, 
and where the offender is unable to make restitution, the just value 
of the property taken or destroyed is paid by our Government ; 
if a similar aggression is committed by an Indian against a white 
man, the tribe is held responsible. The President is authorized to 
furnish to the tribes, schoolmasters, artisans, teachers of husbandry, 
and the mechanic arts, tools, implements of agriculture, domestic 
animals; and generally to exert his influence to introduce the 
habits and arts of social life among them. 

Although we have omitted a great many provisions similar to 
those which we have quoted, we believe that we have not passed 
over any thing that is necessary to a fair exposition of the princi 
ples of our negotiations with the -Indians, and our legislation over 
them. It will be seen that we have never claimed the right, nor 
avowed the intention to extirpate this unhappy race, to strip them 
of their property, or to deprive them of those natural rights, which 
we have, in our Declaration of Independence, emphatically termed 
indefeasible. On the contrary, our declared purpose, repeatedly 
and solemnly avowed, has been to secure their friendship to 
civilize them to give them the habits and arts of social life to 
elevate their character, and increase their happiness. 

If it be asked, to what extent these objects have been attained, 
the answer must be appalling to every friend of humanity. It is 
so seldom that the energies of a powerful government have been 
steadily directed to the accomplishment of a benevolent design, 
that we cannot, without deep regret, behold the exertion of such 
rare beneficence defeated of its purpose. Yet it is most certainly 
true, that notwithstanding all our professions, and our great expen 
diture of labor and -money, the Indians, so far from advancing one 
step in civilization and happiness, so far from improving in their 
condition, or rising in the scale of moral being, are every day 
sinking lower in misery and barbarism. The virtues which they 
cherished in their aboriginal state, have been blunted by their inter- 


course with the whites, and they have acquired vices which were 
unknown to their simple progenitors. We take no account here of 
the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chickasaws, a portion of 
whom present an exception to the great body of the Indians. We 
speak of the wandering tribes of the Indians at large, who con 
tinue to reject the arts and habits of social life, who fear and 
despise the white man, and tenaciously adhere to all the ferocious 
customs and miserable expedients of savage life. If we have failed 
to soften their rude natures, to enlighten their understandings, or 
to imbue their minds with any of our principles of moral action, 
equally have we failed to secure their friendship. We have tamed 
them into submission by displays of our power, or brought them 
into subservience with our money ; but we have not gained their 
love or their confidence 

Nor is this all. Our system is not only inefficient, but it is posi~ 
tively mischievous. Its direct tendency is to retard the civilization 
of the Indian. We have stripped their nations of freedom, sove 
reignty, and independence. We claim the right to regulate their 
trade, to navigate their rivers, to have ingress into their country ; 
we forbid all intercourse with them, except by special license from 
our authorities ; we try them in our courts for offences committed 
in their country, and we do not acknowledge the existence of any 
tribunal among them, having authority to inflict a penalty on one 
of our citizens. They are subjected to the restraints, without en* 
joying the privileges, the protection, or the moral influence, of our 
laws. Theirs is, therefore, a state of subjection of mere vassalage 
precisely that state which has always been found to destroy the 
energies, and degrade the character of a people. 

But, as if by a refinement of cruelty, similar to that whieh decks 
a victim in costly robes, and surrounds him with pleasing objects 
of sense, at the moment of execution, we leave them in the nominal 
possession of independence, and in the possession of all their long 
cherished and idolized customs, prejudices, and superstitions. They 



are kept separate from us, and their own national pride naturally 
co-operates with our injudicious policy, to keep them for ever a 
distinct, an alien, and a hostile people. They gain nothing by the 
example of our industry, the precepts of our religion, the influence 
of our laws, our arts, our institutions, for they see or feel nothing 
of the salutary operation of all these, and only know them in their 
terrors or their restraints. They are a subjected people, governed 
by laws in the making of which they have no voice, and enjoying 
none of the privileges pertaining to the citizens of the nation which 
rules them. They obey their own laws and customs, so far as these 
do not conflict with our convenience ; and are left without law, so 
far as our interference is concerned, except where our interest in 
duces us to stretch over them the arm of authority. By giving 
them presents and annuities, we support them in idleness, and 
cherish their wandering and unsettled habits. We bribe them into 
discontent, by teaching them that every public convention held for 
the settlement of misunderstandings, is to bring them valuable 
tributes; while the same cause trains them to duplicity, and in 
duces them to exercise all their ingenuity in seeking out causes of 
offence, and in compounding their grievances to the best advantage. 
These are the accidental, and unintentional, but unavoidable effects 
of a system, which is radically wrong, though devised and main 
tained in the spirit of benevolence. 

If all this is faulty in principle, it is still worse in practice. The 
Indian Department has already become one of the most expensive 
branches of our Government. Our foreign relations are scarcely 
more costly than our negotiations with the tribes. If the vast sums 
which are annually laid out in this manner were productive of any 
permanent good to the Indians, no patriot or Christian would regret 
the expenditure. But when we see our treasure squandered with 
u lavish hand, not only without any good effect, but with great 
positive injury to the miserable race, whom we have reduced to the 
state of dependence upon our bounty, it is time to pause. When 


we examine further, and see how large a portion of these vast sums 
are intercepted before they reach the hand of the red man how 
much is expended in sustaining military posts, paying agents, 
transporting merchandise, holding treaties, and keeping in opera 
tion, in various ways, a vast, complicated, and useless machinery 
when we reflect how much is unavoidably lost, squandered, and 
misapplied, the question assumes a fearful importance. 

The British Government, when attempting to subdue the fero 
cious spirit of the Scottish Highlanders, and to allure them to the 
arts of peace, prohibited them from wearing the national dress, and 
from carrying arms, and used its influence to destroy the influence 
of the chieftains, and to eradicate the use of the Gaelic language ; 
because all these things tended to foster the pride of descent, to 
cherish ancient recollections, and to keep the clans separate from 
the rest of the nation, and from each other. 

Our Government has pursued a policy directly the reverse. We 
are continually administering nourishment to the prejudices of the 
Indians, and keeping alive the distinctions that separate them from 
us. They are constantly reminded of their nominal independence 
by the embassies which are sent to them, and by the ridiculous 
mock pageantry exhibited on such occasions ; when our commis 
sioners, instead of exerting the moral influence of example, comply 
with all their customs, imitate the style of their eloquence, and 
even flatter them for the possession of the very propensities which 
distinguish them as savages. So far from endeavoring to abolish 
the distinction of dress, we furnish them annually with immense 
quantities of trinkets, cloths, and blankets, made expressly for their 
use, and differing essentially from any thing that is worn, or even 
sold, in our country. Wagon loads of the most childish trinkets, 
and the most ridiculous toys, are annually sent as presents from 
this great and benevolent nation, to its red allies, as assurances ot 
the very profound respect, and tender affection, with which the_y 
are regarded by the American people. Immense sums of mope> 


are also given them as annuities money which to the savage is 
perfectly valueless, and which is immediately transferred to the 
trader, in exchange for whisky, tobacco, gunpowder, looking- 
glasses, tin bracelets, and ornaments for the nose. 

The idea of elevating the character of the Indian, and softening 
down his asperities, by pampering his indolence, and administering 
to his vanity, is supremely ridiculous. The march of mind will 
never penetrate into our forests by the beat of the drum, nor will 
civilization be transmitted in bales of scarlet cloth and glass beads. 
This, however, is the natural effect of treating with the Indians in 
their own country, and carrying our trade to their doors, where we 
are in some measure obliged to comply with their customs, and all 
our dealings with them must be carried on by men who are not 
amenable to our laws, nor surrounded by the salutary restraints of 
public sentiment. If, on the contrary, the Indians were obliged to 
resort to our towns to supply their wants, and to trade with regular 
dealers; and if all their negotiations with our officers were to be 
conducted w r ithin the boundaries of our organized governments, 
where the controlling influence of our laws and power should be 
distinctly recognized, they would not only be better treated, but 
would be brought into contact with the most intelligent and bene 
volent of our citizens, and imbibe more correct notions of us and 
our institutions. 

There are other evils in our existing system of Indian relations 
which are inseparable from it, and which imperiously indicate the 
necessity of an entire change. 

One fruitful cause of injustice to the Indians lies deep in the 
habits and interests of our people, and may be difficult to eradi 
cate ; but it is one of grave importance, and is so involved with the 
public peace and the national honor as to demand the most serious 
attention. The thirst for new lands is an all-absorbing passion 
among the inhabitants of the frontier States, and its operation upon 
the Indians has been most calamitous. Although living in a 


country which is still comparatively new, embracing every where 
large tracts of wild land, their wandering and enterprising habits 
lead them continually abroad, in search of newer and fresher lands. 
Whenever a boundary is settled between our territory and the 
Indian lands, the enterprise of our people carries the population 
up to the line, while the red men, shy of such neighbors, retire 
from the boundary, leaving a wide space of wilderness between 
themselves and the settlements. A class of pioneers who subsist 
by hunting and rearing cattle, intrude upon the lands thus left 
unoccupied, and establish upon them their temporary dwellings. 
Careless in regard to the ownership of the soil they occupy, seek 
ing new and fresh pastures where their herds may roam at large, 
and forests stocked with game, they pay little regard to boundary 
lines or titles. Others, prompted by more sordid and deliberate 
purposes of wrong, and looking forward to the ultimate purchase 
of such territory by the United States, traverse it with the view of 
selecting the choice parcels, under the expectation that Congress 
will grant the right of pre-emption to actual settlers, and under the 
belief that, at all events, their prior claims by occupancy will be 
respected by common consent, when the country shall be brought 
into market. 

Although these intrusions are in contravention of treaties with 
the Indians, and against the laws of the United States, they are ol 
frequent occurrence, and are made the basis of urgent claims upon 
the Government. Collisions occur between the intruders and the 
natives, most usually provoked by the artful designs of the offend 
ing parties, to accelerate the expulsion of the rightful possessors of 
the country. The Indians are insulted and provoked, and when 
such injuries are resented, however tardily, and with whatever 
stinted measure of retaliation, a loud outcry is raised against the 
savages ; clamorous petitions are sent to the Government, setting 
forth the hostile disposition of the Indians, the terrors of border 
warfare, and the danger of the unprotected settlers; and insistinp- 


upon the immediate purchase of the territory, and the removal of 
the Indians to other hunting-grounds. But one party is heard ai 
Washington; and its bold assertions, being uncontradicted, are 
believed. A treaty is ordered to be held, which is equivalent to 
saying to the red men, that it is the will of the American people 
that they should remove the lodges further to the west. 

The Indians, thus urged, and soured by antecedent provocation, 
demand an exorbitant price; but the emergency admits of no delay, 
and the territory is purchased on their own terms. The scene 
which ensues fully discloses the moving springs of the operation. 
No sooner is the land brought into market, than Congress is called 
upon to grant pre-emption rights to actual settlers. True, these 
actual settlers are obviously intruders, violators of law, having cer 
tainly no title to a preference over other citizens ; but their case is 
so stated as to. make them appear a meritorious class, and their 
claims are urged with zealous pertinacity. The nation is made to 
ring with the merits and sufferings of the hardy men, who have 
marched in the van of civilization, braving the Indian and the beast 
of prey ; and much is said of the injustice of permitting others to 
purchase the farms of this meritorious class. Pre-emption rights 
are granted, and the violators of the law are secured in the fruits of 
their aggression. And who are the gainers by a transaction com 
mencing in bad faith to the Indian, compromiting the justice and 
the honor of the nation, and ending in rewarding our own citizens 
for breaking our laws ? When the pre-emptions come to be entered 
at the land offices, the larger portion of them are found to be in the 
hands of a few sagacious speculators, whose hands may be traced 
throughout the whole of this iniquitous proceeding, and who amass 
fortunes. And it not unfrequently happens that, before the whole 
of this scheme can be compassed, a war must be fought a war 
fraught with indescribable horrors, with domestic misery, personal 
sacrifice, vast loss of life, and immense expense to the public. 

It is an unfortunate consequence also, inseparable from this kind 


of intercourse, that it gives employment to a numerous body of 
unofficial and irresponsible agents. At all the treaties with the 
Indians, especially those held for the purchase of land, a number 
of white men are found present, who by some means or other have 
acquired influence with the tribes, or with particular chiefs. They 
are usually traders or interpreters, who have lived long enough 
among the Indians to have become familiar with their language and 
customs, and personally acquainted with the individuals composing 
the tribe. A part of these men usually advocate the treaty as pro 
posed by the Government, while others again oppose it, and both 
are exceedingly assiduous in making converts among the chiefs and 
influential braves. The first party are those who have been con 
vinced by the arguments of the speculators; the others are those 
who are still open to conviction. What arguments are used to 
gain their suffrages, we are not able from personal observation to 
state: but the fact is, that in the end the treaty is usually made as 

In the public councils, in wliich the Indians transact their busi 
ness, the chiefs and head men, who are the ostensible actors, are 
merely the exponents of the public will. The tribe is a pure 
democracy, in which every individual has a right to vote, and in 
which the individuals are in fact consulted. It is singular, that 
under such circumstances, the deliberations of an Indian council 
are always harmonious, and the decision almost invariably unani 
mous. These results are attributable in part to the decorum which 
pervades these assemblages, in which a speaker is never inter 
rupted, nor contradicted, and where no ones peaks without pre 
vious careful preparation. But another reason for the harmonious 
operation of the council is, that the business is mostly adjusted out 
of doors. The leading men consult their respective followers sepa 
rately, confer with each other, and agree on measures before going 
into council ; so that the speeches uttered there, are rather intended 


for effect, or to announce conclusions already formed, than to per 
suade or convince the audience. 

This mode of proceeding affords great advantages to those who 
tamper with the leading men, who are easily approached by means 
of bribes, or warped by insidious appeals to their passions or pre 
judices. Some inference may be drawn as to the character of the 
appliances used in this diplomcy, from the procedure which is not 
unusual on occasions of this kind. When they first assemble, the 
greater number of the chiefs are commonly opposed to the cession 
of their lands. They sit in council with solemn and forbidding 
countenances, and are taciturn and inaccessible : one after another, 
occasionally expressing his aversion to the proposed transfer, in 
brief, sententious, and pithy remarks, in which the rapacity of the 
white man, the wrongs of the Indians, and their veneration for the 
bones of their ancestors, form the leading topics. Presently, during 
a recess of the council, one of these leaders receives a present of a 
gun, or a pair of pistols, from some individual, which he receives 
with apparent indifference, hinting at the same time that there are 
other articles, which he names, of which he stands in equal need ; 
which of course are added, until the wily savage professes to be 
satisfied, that perhaps, after all, it would be best for his people to 
agree to the treaty. The same process is repeated in regard to 
others, including the common Indians, and not forgetting the women 
and children, until good humor is diffused throughout the assem 
blage. After this the harangues are delivered, which sometimes 
appear in print, and finally a unanimous result is obtained. We do 
not aver that these practices obtain now, or that they are sanctioned 
by the commissioners who represent the Government; but we assert 
that such means have been effectually employed in some instances, 
and that they are unavoidable under the present system of relations 
between the white and red men. The Government does not, and 
cannot control the intercourse, w r hile a numerous band of mercenary 
men, not responsible to it, are permitted to influence the savage 


mind, and while no effectual restraint is imposed upon the fell spirit 
of speculation, which first intrudes on the lands of the Indian, and 
then institutes a series of intrigues to dispossess the savage of the 
soil, and defraud the Government of the price, by means of grants 
and pre-emptions. 

As we have asserted that the policy of our Government, and the 
intentions of the American people towards the Indians have been 
uniformly just and benevolent, we shall conclude our remarks on 
this branch of the subject by quoting a few passages from the 
official communications of the. several Presidents to Congress, 
which will show conclusively the tone of public feeling towards 
that race, and must satisfy the most sceptical that whatever mis 
takes may have been made, and whatever wrong the Aborigines 
may have suffered, no deliberate purpose to oppress or injure them 
has ever been entertained by the Government or people. 

From President Washington's Address to Congress, of Nov. 6, 1792. 

" You will, I am persuaded, learn with no less concern than I 
communicate it, that reiterated endeavors towards effecting a pacifi 
cation have hitherto issued only in new and outrageous proofs of 
persevering hostility on the part of the tribes with whom we are in 
contest. An earnest desire to procure tranquillity to the frontier, 
to stop the further effusion of blood, to arrest the progress. of 
expense, to forward the prevalent wish of the nation for peace, has 
led to strenuous efforts, through various channels, to accomplish 
these desirable purposes ; in making which efforts, I consulted less 
my own anticipations of the event, or the scruples which some con 
siderations were calculated to inspire, than the wish to find the 
object attainable, or if not attainable, to ascertain unequivocally 
that such was the case." * * * * 

"I- cannot dismiss the subject of Indian affairs without again 
recommending to your consideration the expediency of more ade 
quate provisions for giving energy to the laws throughout out 



interior frontier, and for restraining the commission of outrages 
upon the Indians, without which all pacific plans must prove 
nugatory. To enable, by competent rewards, the employment of 
qualified and trusty persons to reside among them as agents, would 
also contribute to the preservation of peace and good neighborhood. 
If, in addition to these expedients, an eligible plan could be devised 
for promoting civilization among the friendly tribes, and for carry 
ing on trade with them upon a scale equal to their wants, and 
under regulations calculated to protect them from imposition and 
extortion, its influence in cementing their interests with ours could 
not but be considerable." * * * * 

" When we contemplate the war on our frontiers, it may be truly 
affirmed that every reasonable eifort has been made to adjust the 
causes of dissension with the Indians north of the Ohio. The 
instructions given to the commissioners evince a moderation and 
equity proceeding from a sincere love of peace, and a liberality 
having no restriction but the essential interests and dignity of the 
United States." 

From President Adams's Address to Congress, of Nov. 23, 1797. 

" In connection with this unpleasant state of things on our 
western frontier, it is proper for me to mention the attempts ot 
foreign agents to alienate the affections of the Indian nations, and 
to excite them to actual hostilities against the United States. 
Great activity has been exerted by those persons who have 
insinuated themselves among the Indian tribes residing within 
the territory of the United States, to influence them to transfer 
their affections and force to a foreign nation, to form them into a 
confederacy, and prepare them for a war against the United States. 
Although measures have been taken to counteract these infractions 
of our rights, to prevent Indian hostilities, and to preserve entire 
their attachment to the United States, it is my duty to observe, that 
to give a better effect to these measures, and to obviate the conse- 


quences 01 a repetition of such practices, a law, providing adequate 
punishment for such offences, may be necessary." 

From President Jefferson's Message of January 28, 1803. 

" These people are becoming very sensible of the baneful effects 
produced on their morals, their health, and existence, by the abuse 
of ardent spirits, and some of them earnestly desire a prohibition 
of that article from being carried among them. The Legislature 
will consider whether the effectuating that desire would not be in 
the spirit of benevolence and liberality which they have hitherto 
practised towards these our neighbors, and which has had so happy 
an effect towards conciliating their friendship. It has been found, 
too, in ex perience, that the same abuse gives frequent rise to inci 
dents tending much to commit our peace with the Indians." 

From President Jefferson's Message of October 17, 1803. 

"The friendly tribe of Kaskaskia Indians, with which we have 
never had a difference, reduced, by the wars and wants of savage 
life, to a few individuals, unable to defend themselves against the 
neighboring tribes, has transferred its country to the United States, 
reserving only for its members what is sufficient to maintain them 
in an agricultural way. The considerations stipulated are, that we 
shall extend to them our patronage and protection, and give them 
certain annual aids, in money, in implements of agriculture, and 
other articles of their choice. * * * * 

" With many other of the Indian tribes improvements in agri 
culture and household manufacture are advancing, and with all our 
peace and friendship are established, on grounds much firmer than 
heretofore. The measure adopted of establishing trading-houses 
among them, and in furnishing them necessaries in exchange for 
their commodities at such moderate prices as to leave no gain, but 
cover us from loss, has the most conciliatory arid useful effect 


upon them, and is that which will best secure their peace and 
good- will." 

Extract from President Jefferson's Message of November 8, 1804. 

" By pursuing a uniform course of justice towards them," [the 
Indians,] "by aiding them in all the improvements which can 
better their condition, and especially by establishing a commerce 
on terms which shall be advantageous to them, and only not losing 
to us, and so regulated as that no incendiaries of our own, or any 
other nation, may be permitted to disturb the natural effects of our 
just and friendly offices, we may render ourselves so necessary 
to their comfort and prosperity, that the protection of our citizens 
from their disorderly members will become their interest and their 
Voluntary care.' Instead, therefore, of an augmentation of military 
force, proportioned to our extent of frontier, I proposed a moderate 
enlargement of the capital employed in that commerce, as a more 
effectual, economical, and humane instrument for preserving peace 
and good neighborhood with them." 

Extract from President Jefferson's Message of November 8, 1808. 
" With our Indian neighbors the public peace has been steadily 
maintained. Some instances of individual wrong have, as at othei 
times, taken place, but in no wise implicating the will of the 
nation. Beyond the Mississippi, the loways, the Sacs, and the 
Alabamas have delivered up, for trial and punishment, individuals 
from among themselves, accused of murdering citizens of the 
United States. On this side of the Mississippi, the Creeks are 
exerting themselves to arrest offenders of the same kind; the 
Choctaws have manifested their readiness and desire for amicable 
and just arrangements respecting depredations committed by dis 
orderly persons of their tribe. And generally, from a conviction 
that we consider them as part of ourselves, and cherish with 
sincerity their rights and interests, the attachment of the Indian 


tribes is gaining strength daily, is extending from the nearer to 
the more remote, and will amply requite us for the justice and 
friendship practised towards them." 

Extract from President Madison's Message of December 7, 1813. 

" The cruelty of the enemy in enlisting the savages into a war 
with a nation desirous of mutual emulation in mitigating its 
calamities, has not been confined to any one quarter. Wherever 
they could be turned against us no exertions to effect it have been 
spared. On our south-western border the Creek tribes, who, yield 
ing to our persevering endeavors, were gradually acquiring more 
civilized habits, became the unfortunate victims of seduction. A 
war in that quarter has been the consequence, infuriated by a 
bloody fanaticism recently propagated among them. It was 
necessary to crush such a war before it could spread among 
the contiguous tribes, and before it could favor enterprises of 
the enemy into that vicinity. With this view, a force was called 
into the service of the United States from the States of Georgia 
and Tennessee, which, with the nearest regular troops, and other 
corps from the Mississippi Territory, might not only chastise the 
savages into present peace, but make a lasting impression on 
their fears. 

" The systematic perseverance of the enemy in courting the 
aid of the savages on all quarters, had the natural effect of kindling 
their ordinary propensity to war into a passion, which, even among 
those best disposed towards the United States, was ready, if not 
employed on our side, to be turned against us. A departure from 
our protracted forbearance to accept the services tendered by them 
has thus been forced upon us. But in yielding to it the retaliation 
has been mitigated as much as possible, both in its extent and in 
its character, stopping far short of the example of the enemy, who 
owe the advantages they have occasionally gained in battle chiefly 
to the number of their savage associates; and who have not 


controlled them either from their usual practice of indiscriminate 
massacre on defenceless inhabitants, or from scenes of carnage 
without a parallel on prisoners to the British arms, guarded by all 
the laws of humanity and of honorable war. For these enormities 
the enemy are equally responsible, whether with the power to 
prevent them they want the will, or with the knowledge of a want 
of power they still avail themselves of such instruments." 

Extract from President Madison's Message of December 3, 1816. 

"The Indian tribes within our limits appear also disposed to 
remain at peace. From several of them purchases of land have 
been made, particularly favorable to the wishes and security of 
our frontier settlements, as well as to the general interests of the 
nation. In some instances the titles, though not supported by due 
proof, and clashing those of one tribe with the claims of another, 
have been extinguished by double purchases, the benevolent policy 
of the United States preferring the augmented expense to the 
hazard of doing injustice, or to the enforcement of justice against a 
feeble and untutored people by means involving or threatening an 
effusion of blood. I am happy to add that the tranquillity which 
has been restored among the tribes themselves, as well as between 
them and our own population, will favor the resumption of the 
work of civilization which has made an encouraging progress 
among some tribes, and that the facility is increasing for extend 
ing that divided and individual ownership, which exists now in 
movable property only, to the soil itself; and of thus establishing 
in the culture and improvement of it, the true foundation for a 
transit from the habits of the savage to the arts and comforts of 
social life." 

Extract from President Monroe's Message, December 2, 1817. 

"From several of the Indian tribes inhabiting the country bor 
dering on Lake Erie, purchases have been made of lands on condi- 


tions very favorable to the United States, and it is presumed not 
less so to the tribes themselves. 

" By these purchases the Indian title, with moderate reservations, 
has been extinguished to the whole of the land within the State of 
Ohio, and to a great part of that of Michigan Territory, and of the 
State of Indiana. From the Cherokee tribe a tract has been pur 
chased in_the State of Georgia, &c. &c. * * * 

" By these acquisitions, and others that may reasonably be ex 
pected soon to follow, we shall be enabled to extend our settlements 
from the inhabited parts of the State of Ohio, along Lake Erie, 
into the Michigan Territory, and to connect our settlements by de 
grees, through the State of Indiana and the Illinois Territory, to 
that of Missouri. A similar and equally advantageous effect will 
soon be produced to the South, through the whole extent of the 
States and territory which border on the waters emptying into the 
Mississippi and Mobile. In this progress, which the rights of 
nature demand and nothing can prevent, marking a growth rapid 
and gigantic, it is our duty to make new efforts for the preserva 
tion, improvement, and civilization of the native inhabitants. The 
hunter state can exist only in the vast uncultivated desert. It 
yields to the more dense and compact form, and greater force of 
civilized population ; and of right it ought to yield, for the earth 
was given to mankind to support the greatest number of which it is 
capable, and no tribe or people have a right to withhold from the 
wants of others more than is necessary for their own support and 
comfort. It is gratifying to know that the reservation of land made 
by the treaties with the tribes on Lake Erie, were made with a 
view to individual ownership among them, and to the cultivation 
of the soil by all, and that an annual stipend has been pledged to 
supply their other wants. 

" It will merit the consideration of Congress, whether other pro 
vision not stipulated by the treaty ought to be made for these 
tribes, arid for the advancement of the liberal and humane policy 


of the United States towards all the tribes within our limits, 
arid more particularly for their improvement in the arts of civilized 

Extract from President Monroe's Message, November 17, 1818. 

" With a view to the security of our inland frontiers it has been 
thought expedient to establish strong posts at the mouth of the 
Yellow Stone River, and at the Mandan village on the Missouri, 
and at the mouth of St. Peter's on the Mississippi, at no great dis 
tance from our northern boundaries. It can hardly be presumed, 
while such posts are maintained in the rear of the Indian tribes, 
that they will venture to attack our peaceable inhabitants. A strong 
hope is entertained that this measure will likewise be productive of 
much good to the tribes themselves; especially in promoting the 
great object of their civilization. Experience has clearly demon 
strated that independent savage communities cannot long exist 
within the limits of a civilized population. The progress of the 
latter has almost invariably terminated in the extinction of the for 
mer, especially of the tribes belonging to our portion of this hemi 
sphere, among whom loftiness of sentiment and gallantry in action 
have been conspicuous. To civilize them, and even to prevent 
their extinction, it seems to be indispensable that their independ 
ence as communities should cease, and that the control of the 
United States over them should be complete and undisputed. The 
hunter state will then be more easily abandoned, and recourse will 
be had to the acquisition and culture of land, and to other pursuits 
tending to dissolve the ties which connect them together as a savage 
community, and to give a new character to every individual. I 
present this subject to the consideration of Congress, on the pre 
sumption that it may be found expedient and practicable to adopt 
some benevolent provisions, having these objects in view, relative 
to the tribes within our settlements." 


Extract from President Monroe's Message, November 14, 1820. 

" With the Indians peace has been preserved, and a progress 
made in carrying into effect the act of Congress, making an appro 
priation for their civilization, with a prospect of favorable results. 
As connected equally with both these objects, our trade with those 
tribes is thought to merit the attention of Congress. In their ori 
ginal state, game is their sustenance and war their occupation, and 
if they find no employment from civilized powers, they destroy 
each other. Left to themselves, their extirpation is inevitable. 
By a judicious regulation of our trade with them, we supply their 
wants, administer to their comforts, and gradually, as the game 
retires, draw them to us. By maintaining posts far in the interior, 
we acquire a more thorough and direct control over them, without 
which it is confidently believed that a complete change in their 
manners can never be accomplished. By such posts, aided by a 
proper regulation of our trade with them, and a judicious civil ad 
ministration over them, to be provided for by law, we shall, it is 
presumed, be enabled not only to protect our own settlements from 
their savage incursions, and to preserve peace among the several 
tribes, but accomplish also the great purpose of their civilization." 

Extract from the Message of President Adams, of December 2, 1828. 

" The attention of Congress is particularly invited to that part 
of the report of the Secretary of War, which concerns the existing 
system of our relations with the Indian tribes. At the establish 
ment of the Federal Government under the present Constitution of 
the United States, the principle was adopted of considering them 
as foreign and independent powers, and also as proprietors of the 
land. They were, moreover, considered as savages, whom it was our 
policy and our duty to use our influence in converting to Christi 
anity, and in bringing within the pale of civilization. 

As independent powers, we negotiated with them by treaties ; as 
proprietors, we purchased from them all the lands which we could 



prevail upon them to sell ; as brethren of the human race rude and 
ignorant, we endeavored to bring them to the knowledge of religion 
and letters. The ultimate design was to incorporate in our own 
institutions that portion of them which could be converted to the 
state of civilization. In the practice of European states, before our 
Revolution, they had been considered as children to be governed ; 
as tenants at discretion, to be dispossessed as occasion might re 
quire; as hunters, to be indemnified by trifling concessions for 
removal from the ground upon which their game was extirpated. 
In changing the system, it would seem as if a full contemplation 
of the consequences of the change had not been taken. We have 
been far more successful in the acquisition of their lands than in 
imparting to them the principles, or inspiring them with the spirit 
of civilization. But in appropriating to ourselves their hunting- 
grounds, we have brought upon ourselves the obligation of provid 
ing for their subsistence; and when we have had the rare good 
fortune of teaching them the arts of civilization, and the doctrines 
of Christianity, we have unexpectedly found them forming in the 
midst of ourselves communities claiming to be independent of ours, 
and rivals of sovereignty within the territories of the members of 
the Union. This state of things requires that a remedy should be 
provided ; a remedy which, while it shall do justice to these unfor 
tunate children of nature, may secure to the members of our con 
federation their rights of sovereignty, and of soil." 

Extract from President Jackson's Message of December 8, 1829. 

" The condition and ulterior destiny of the Indian tribes within 
the limits of some of our States have become objects of much in 
terest and importance. It has long been the policy of Government 
to introduce among them the arts of civilization, in the hope of gra 
dually reclaiming them from a wandering life. This policy has, 
however, been coupled with another wholly incompatible with its 
success. Professing a desire to civilize and settle them, we have at 


the same time lost no opportunity to purchase their lands, and 
thrust them further into the wilderness. By this means they have 
not only been kept in a wandering state, but been led to look upon 
us as unjust and indifferent to their fate. Thus, though lavish in 
its expenditures upon the subject, Government has constantly de 
feated its own policy ; and the Indians, in general, receding further 
and further to the west, have retained their savage habits. A por 
tion, however, of the southern tribes, having mingled much with 
the whites, and made some progress in the arts of civilized life, 
have lately attempted to erect an independent government within 
the limits of Georgia and Alabama. These States, claiming to be 
the only sovereigns within their territories, extended their laws over 
the Indians, which induced the latter to call upon the United States 
for protection. 

" Under these circumstances, the question presented was, whether 
the General Government had a right to sustain those people in 
their pretensions? The Constitution declares, that "no new State 
shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other 
State," without the consent of its Legislature. If the General Go 
vernment is not permitted to tolerate the erection of a confederate 
state within the territory of one of the members of this Union, 
against her consent, much less could it allow a foreign and inde* 
pendent government to establish itself there. Georgia became a 
member of the confederacy which eventuated in our federal Union, 
as a sovereign State, always asserting her claim to certain limits, 
which, having been originally denned in her colonial charter, and 
subsequently recognized in the treaty of peace, she has ever since 
continued to enjoy, except as they have been circumscribed by her 
own voluntary transfer of a portion of her territory to the United 
States, in the articles of cession of 1802. Alabama was admitted 
into the Union on the same footing with the original States, with 
boundaries which were prescribed by Congress. There is no con 
stitutional, conventional, or legal provision, w r hich allows them les 


power over the Indians within their borders, than is possessed by 
Maine or New York. Would the people of Maine permit the 
Penobscot tribe to erect an independent government within their 
State ? and unless they did, would it not be the duty of the General 
Government to support them in resisting such a measure ? Would 
the people of New York permit each remnant of the Six Nations 
within her borders, to declare itself an independent people under the 
protection of the United States? Could the Indians establish a 
separate republic on each of their reservations in Ohio ? and if they 
were so disposed, would it be the duty of this Government to pro 
tect them in the attempt ? If the principle involved in the obvious 
answer to these questions be abandoned, it will follow that the ob 
jects of this Government are reversed ; and that it has become a 
part of its duty to aid in destroying the States which it was esta 
blished to protect. 

" Actuated by this view of the subject, I informed the Indians 
inhabiting parts of Alabama and Georgia, that their attempt to es 
tablish an independent government would not be countenanced by 
the Executive of the United States, and advised them to emigrate 
beyond the Mississippi, or submit to the laws of those States. 

" Our conduct toward these people is deeply interesting to our 
national character. Their present condition, contrasted with what 
they once were, makes a most powerful appeal to our sympathies. 
Our ancestors found them the uncontrolled possessors of these vast 
regions. By persuasion and force they have been made to retire 
from river to river, and from mountain to mountain, until some of 
the tribes have become extinct, and others have left but remnants, 
to preserve for a while their once terrible names. Surrounded by 
the whites, with their arts of civilization, which, by destroying the 
resources of the savage, doom him to weakness and decay ; the fate 
of the Mohegan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware, is fast over 
taking the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Creek. That this fate 
surely awaits them, if they remain within the limits of the States, 


does not admit of a doubt. Humanity and national honor demand 
that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity. It is 
too late to inquire whether it was just in the United States to 
include them and their territory within the bounds of the new 
States whose limits they could control. That step cannot be 
retracted. A State cannot be dismembered by Congress, or 
restricted in the exercise of her constitutional power. But the 
people of those States, and of every State, actuated by feelings 
of justice and regard for our national honor, submit to you the 
interesting question, whether something cannot be done, con 
sistently with the rights of the States, to preserve this much 
injured race. 

" As a means of effecting this end, I suggest for your considera 
tion the propriety of setting apart an ample district west of the 
Mississippi, and without the limits of any State or Territory now 
formed, to be guarantied to the Indian tribes as long as they shall 
occupy it, each tribe having a distinct control over the portion 
designated for its use. There they may be secured in the enjoy 
ment of governments of their own choice, subject to no other 
control from the United States than such as may be necessary to 
preserve peace on the frontier, and between the several tribes. 
There the benevolent may endeavor to teach them the arts of 
civilization ; and, by promoting union and harmony among them, 
to raise up an interesting commonwealth, destined to. perpetuate 
the race, and to attest the humanity and justice of this Government. 

" This emigration should be voluntary, for it would be as cruel 
as unjust to compel the Aborigines to abandon the graves of their 
fathers and seek a home in a distant land. But they should be 
distinctly informed that, if they remain within the limits of the 
States they must be subject to their laws. In return for their 
obedience as individuals they will, without doubt, be protected in 
the enjoyment of those possessions which they have improved by 
their industry But it seems to me visionary to suppose that. 


in this state of things, claims can be allowed on tracts of country 
on which they have neither dwelt nor made improvements, merely 
because they have seen them from the mountain or passed them in 
the chase. Submitting to the laws of the States, and receiving, 
like other citizens, protection in their persons and property, they 
will ere long become merged in the mass of our population." 

Extract from President Jackson's Message of December 7, 1830. 

"Humanity has often wept over the fate of the Aborigines of 
this country, and philanthropy has been long busily employed in 
devising means to avert it. But its progress has never for a 
moment been arrested; and, one by one, have many powerful 
tribes disappeared from the earth. To follow to the tomb the 
last of his race, and to tread on the graves of extinct nations, 
excites melancholy reflections. But true philanthropy reconciles 
the mind to these vicissitudes, as it does to the extinction of one 
generation to make room for another. In the monuments and 
fortresses of an unknown people, spread over the extensive regions 
of the West, we behold the memorials of a once powerful race, 
which was exterminated, or has disappeared, to make room for the 
existing savage tribes. Nor is there any thing in this, which, 
upon a comprehensive view of the general interests of the human 
race, is to be regretted. Philanthropy could not wish to see this 
continent restored to the condition in which it was found by our 
forefathers. What good man would prefer a country covered with 
forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive 
Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms ; 
embellished with all the improvements which art can devise, or 
industry execute; occupied by more than twelve millions of 
happy people, and rilled with all the blessings of liberty, civiliza 
tion, and religion. 

" The present policy of the Government is but a continuation 
of the same progressive change, by a milder process. The tribes 


which occupied the countries now constituting the Eastern States 
were annihilated, or have melted away, to make room for the 
whites. The waves of population and civilization are rolling to 
the westward ; and we now propose to acquire the countries 
occupied by the red men of the South and West by a fair 
exchange, and, at the expense of the United States, to send them 
to a land where their existence may be prolonged, and perhaps 
made perpetual. Doubtless it will be painful to leave the graves 
of their fathers : but what do they more than our ancestors did, 
or than our children are now doing ? To better their condition in 
an unknown land, our forefathers left all that was dear in earthly 
objects. Our children, by thousands yearly leave the land of their 
birth, to seek new homes in distant regions. Does humanity weep 
at these painful separations from every thing, animate and inani 
mate, with which the young heart has become entwined? Far 
from it. It is rather a source of joy that our country affords scope 
where our young population may range unconstrained in body or 
mind, developing the power and faculties of man in their highest 
perfection. These remove hundreds, and almost thousands of 
miles, at their own expense, purchase the lands they occupy, and 
support themselves at their new homes from the moment of their 
arrival. Can it be cruel in this Government when, by events 
which it cannot control, the Indian is made discontented in his 
ancient home, to purchase his lands, to give him a new and 
extensive territory, to pay the expense of his removal, and support 
him a year in his new abode ? How many thousands of our own 
people would gladly embrace the opportunity of removing to the 
West on such conditions ? If the offers made to the Indians were 
extended to them they would be hailed with gratitude." 


WHEN any reflecting man is asked what it is that constitutes 
the difference between the American people and the subjects of 
an European despotism, and what is the cause of that prosperity 
which has carried forward our country with such rapid strides in 
her march to greatness ? he refers at once to the character of the 
people as resulting from the institutions of a republican govern 
ment. Their enterprise, industry, intelligence, temperance, and 
republican symplicity, and the equality of rights secured to them 
in their social compact, are the elements of their respectability as 
individuals, and their greatness as a people. Our systems of 
public instruction, our varied means for the diffusion of knowledge, 
our religious toleration, and freedom from civil burdens, all tend to 
ameliorate and refine the character, to stimulate the enterprise, and 
awaken the latent energies of the people. Do we extend these 
rights and advantages to the Indian, or impart to him the virtues 
and the comforts of the civilized man ? In the pageantry of the 
councils which are held with their chiefs do we display that 
symplicity which marks our intercourse with each other ? Do we 
inculcate frugality by presenting them with loads of gaudy finery ? 
Do we teach self-dependence, industry, and thrift, by supplying 
their necessities, and encouraging their idle habits? Do we, by 
any systematic exertion, present to them the example of our 
virtues, and offer them inducements to cultivate peace, industry, 
and the arts? The replies which must necessarily be given to 
these questions lead inevitably to the conclusion that we have 



grossly oppressed this people, or unpardonably neglected our duty 
towards them. 

If it be inquired, what remedy can be applied to this enormous 
and growing evil? we reply, that the question is one, to our minds, 
of easy solution. We do not believe that the all-wise Creator has 
doomed a race of men to a merely sensual existence. We cannot 
be persuaded that human beings, gifted with intellectual faculties, 
are destined to live and to perish like brutes, without any know 
ledge of the hand that created them, without any perception of a 
responsibility for their actions as rational beings, without any cul 
tivation of the mind or conscience. It is altogether possible that to 
the different races parts have been assigned, upon the great theatre 
of human action, of greater or less dignity ; but we cannot believe 
that any have been excluded from the practice and the benefits of 
that wide scheme of benevolence which seeks the happiness of the 
whole human family. We have seen no authentic version of the 
golden rule, to which any exception is attached. The command to 
love one another, would scarcely have been given in such broad lan 
guage, if those to whom it was given were to be brought into con 
tact and familiar intercourse with another race, who could neither 
excite that love, nor bear its infusion into their own bosoms. In 
other words, we think the Indians have souls; and that our duty 
towards them is plainly pointed out by the relations in which we 
stand placed towards them. If they are our dependents, we should 
govern them as dependents; if they are our equals we should 
admit them to an equality of rights; if they are properly subject to 
the operation of our laws, we should break down the barrier which 
separates them from us, bring them at once into the bosom of the 
Republic, and extend to them the benefits, immunities, and privi 
leges that we enjoy ourselves. If it be objected that they are inde^ 
pendent nations, and that we cannot in good faith destroy their 
national character, as we should do by imposing our laws and civili 
zation upon them against their will; it will be necessary, before we 



advance any further in our argument, to examine whether the fact 
be so, that these tribes are independent, and to ascertain the sort of 
national existence which they have held. 

With regard to as many of the Indian tribes as have, by solemn 
treaty, placed themselves under our protection, given us the right 
to regulate their trade, navigate their rivers, traverse their country, 
and punish their people in our courts, and agreed to admit no white 
man of any nation into their territory without our license, there 
seems to be little room for discussion. Sovereign nations they are 
not, for they have parted with all the highest attributes of sove 
reignty. They have placed their destinies at our disposal for 
good or for evil, and whether it be for evil or good depends on the 
fidelity with which we shall discharge the trust. It is too late now 
to inquire into the validity of those transactions, or the policy which 
dictated them. We have accepted the trust, and are bound in good 
faith to exercise it in a spirit of justice and philanthropy. And if 
we refer to our own legislation, it will be seen that this is not con 
fined to those tribes which have by treaty submitted themselves to 
our jurisdiction. The general phrases " Indian" and " Indian ter 
ritory" extend the operation of those laws to all the country lying 
west of our settlements, and to all the tribes and individuals within 
that region. With what propriety can we now pause to inquire 
into our right of sovereignty over these tribes, when we have 
already exercised that sovereignty to the full extent that our own 
safety or interest required ? If to protect or aggrandize ourselves 
we have assumed jurisdiction, without a qualm of conscience, shall 
we become squeamish w r hen called upon to exercise the same power 
for the benefit of the Indian ? The question is not now to be de 
cided whether we shall extinguish the independence of the Indians, 
because that point has long since been settled, and we have, by 
purchase or conquest, acquired full sovereignty. Passing over the 
treaties to which we have referred, and which speak for themselves, 
we shall proceed to show that we have, in various ways, asserted 


an absolute and unlimited power over these tribes. To avoid repe 
tition, we shall pass over the statutes above referred to, and shall 
proceed to notice some other assumptions of sovereignty on our 

It will be recollected that the European governments have, from 
the first, exerted the right to parcel out among themselves the 
newly-discovered territories of savage nations, assuming the prin 
ciple, that a horde of savages roaming over a wilderness, for the 
purpose of hunting, did not acquire that sort of property in the 
lands which should exclude their occupancy by a permanent popu 
lation. Our Government has been more tender towards the savage 
in its construction of his rights, and has always acknowledged a 
qualified property in him, of which he could not be dispossessed 
without an equivalent. But the policy of the Government has 
always looked to the settlement and cultivation of all the lands 
xvithin our boundaries, and the removal or civilization of the In 
dians, and we have steadily made our arrangements with a view to 
these ends, without consulting the Aborigines, or doubting the jus* 
ness of our course. 

In the year 1783, Virginia ceded to the United States all her 
right, title, and claim, as well of soil as of jurisdiction, to that re 
gion which was afterwards called the North-western Territory, the 
whole of which was occupied by the Indians, except a few spots 
inhabited by the French. The condition of this grant was, that 
the territory so ceded should " be laid out and formed into States," 
" and that the States so formed shall be distinct republican States, 
and admitted members of the Federal Union," &c. To this treaty 
the Indian tribes were not parties, and of course seem not to have 
been recognized as having any political or civil rights. They were 
in full possession, and had manifested no intention either to sell the 
lands or abandon the country; yet the territory was ceded, and 
conditions made in regard to its future occupancy, without any 
reference to the actual condition or supposed wishes of the Indians. 


Virginia by ceding, and the United States by accepting, both " soil 
and jurisdiction," and both parties by providing for the erection of 
republican States in this country, deny all right of sovereignty in 
the Aborigines as effectually as if they had done so by express 

Afterwards, and before any of this country was purchased from 
the Indians, an ordinance was passed by Congress for its govern 
ment; and although it provided in this act that the Indians shall 
be protected in their " property, rights, and liberty," this provision 
is not broader than that made in favor of the French inhabitants of 
the same country in the deed of cession, and it only extends to the 
people of that territory the same " indefeasible'' rights which apper 
tain to every citizen of the United States. The terms used apply 
to the Indians, in their individual, not in their national capacity; 
and the very passing of such a law is an assumption of sovereignty, 
which excludes the idea of any power existing in the Indians to 
protect their own rights, property, and liberty. 

Chief Justice Marshall, in his opinion given in the celebrated 
case of Worcester v. The State of Georgia, says, " The Indian 
nations had always been considered as distinct, independent politi 
cal communities, retaining their original natural rights, as the un 
disputed possessors of the soil, from time immemorial, with the 
single exception of that imposed by irresistible power, which ex 
cluded them from intercourse with any other European potentate 
than the first discoverer of the coast of the particular region claimed ; 
and this was a restriction which those European potentates imposed 
on themselves, as well as on the Indians." In another part of the 
same opinion, he defines the relation existing between the United 
States and an Indian tribe, as "that of a nation claiming and re 
ceiving the protection of one more powerful; not that of individuals 
abandoning their national character, and submitting as subjects to 
the laws of a master." 

From this high authority we are not disposed to dissent, nor is it 


necessary to do so. In ascertaining the legal position of the Indian 
nations, the Supreme Court were guided by the treaties, charters, 
and other public documents, by which the character of those 
nations was formally recognized. That they are independent and 
sovereign in name, and outward seeming, and that they are treated 
with by our Government as distinct nations, we admit. Our argu 
ment is, that while they are so legally and nominally independent 
and sovereign, they have in fact been stripped of every national 
attribute, and that it is a mere mockery to continue to them the 
shadow when we have taken from them the substance. 

The country beyond the Mississippi is of vast importance to the 
American people. It forms the western boundary of our popula 
tion, and is inhabited by hordes of savages, who, from having been 
our equals, our enemies, our allies, the scourge and terror of our 
borders, are sinking fast into a state of imbecile dependence, which 
must soon render them the mere objects of our compassion. Al 
ready their rights have become so questionable, as to divide the 
opinions of our best and wisest men. Not that any are so bold as 
to deny that they have any rights. Far be it from us, at least, to 
hint that such a thought is seriously entertained. Their claims 
upon us are high and sacred ; but, unfortunately for us and for 
them, they have become so complicated as to be undefined, and 
almost undefinable. How shall we ascertain the political rights of 
those who have never acknowledged any international law, whose 
station is not fixed by the code of empires, who have no place in 
the family of nations ? How estimate the civil condition of those 
whose government is, if we may so express it, a systematic anarchy, 
in which no maxim either of religion, morality, or law, is admitted 
to be fundamental, no right is sacred from the hand of violence, no 
personal protection insured, but to strength and valor? What are 
the obligations of religion, justice, or benevolence, towards those 
who acknowledge neither the one nor the other, in the sense in 
which we understand these terms? How shall we deal with a 


people, between whom and ourselves there is no community of 
language, thought, or custom ; no reciprocity of obligations ; no 
common standard by which to estimate our relative interests, 
claims, and duties ? These are questions of such difficult solution, 
that they will at last be decided not by reason but by power, as 
the Gordian knot was severed by the sword of the conqueror. 

We apprehend, however, that the agitation of some of these 
questions would be rather curious than useful. It can be of little 
benefit to the Indian, at this day, to inquire what have been the 
rights that he has forfeited by his own misconduct and the selfish 
interference of pretended friends, lost by misconception, or sur 
rendered to the hand of violence. We cannot now place him in 
the situation in which our ancestors found him, but must deal with 
him according to the circumstances by which he is surrounded. 
And the question now is, what, in the present condition of the 
Indian, is our duty to him, and to ourselves ? what policy, con 
sistent with the interest and dignity of the American people, would 
be best calculated to save from utter destruction the remnant of the 
aboriginal tribes, and elevate them to the condition of a civilized 
racr ? We say, what policy consistent with our own interests, 
because, in the exertion of our own benevolence, towards a compara 
tively small number of savages, we are not to overlook the welfare 
of a numerous civilized population, and the great interests of 
humanity and religion, which are now inseparably connected with 
the consideration of this subject. 

In the first place, we cannot believe that the mere fact that a 
wandering horde of savages are in the habit of traversing a parti 
cular tract of country in pursuit of game gives to them the owner 
ship and jurisdiction of the soil as sovereign nations. In order to 
sustain such a claim it should be shown that they have, at least, 
definite boundaries, permanent institutions, and the power to pro 
tect themselves, and enforce their laws. These are some of the 
attributes of nations. To make a nation there must be a govern- 


ment a bond of union by which the individual character shall, for 
civil and social purposes, be merged in that of the body politic ; 
and there must be a power some where, either in the rulers or the 
people, to make and enforce laws. Other nations must be satisfied 
that there is a permanent authority, which has the right to repre 
sent, and the power to bind such a community, by treaty. They 
must be satisfied, that there is a legal or a moral power sufficiently 
strong to enforce the obligations of justice, and that there is some 
judicial mode of investigating facts, determining questions of right, 
and settling principles. There must be some known principles of 
political and moral action, observed alike by the people and their 
rulers, which shall govern their intercourse with foreigners, and 
render it safe and certain. A body of men, merely associated 
together for present security and convenience, is by no means a 
nation. Between such a body, and a great empire in the full 
exercise of all the attributes of sovereign power, there may be 
several grades of the social compact. States may be dependent 
or independent, free or tributary ; the people may govern them 
selves, or they may acknowledge a master ; the state may be well 
governed and prosperous, or it may be corrupt and insignificant 
But between a government and no government there is but one line. 
There is a clear distinction between a state and a mere collection 
of individuals : the latter, whatever may be their separate personal 
rights, cannot have collectively any political existence ; and any 
nation, within whose limits or upon whose borders they may 
happen to be, has a clear right to extend its authority over them, 
having regard always to the rights of other nations. It is neces 
sary, for the common advantage and security of mankind, that all 
men should belong to some government ; and those who neglect to 
organize themselves into regular civil communities must expect 
that existing governments will impose their laws upon them. 

It is very clear that the North American Indians have, at this 
time, no regularly organized governments. Even the sub-division 


of tribes is doubtful and fluctuating. They are separated into 
smaller, or gathered into larger bodies, as their own convenience or 
the caprice of a chief may dictate. An intelligent and warlike 
leader may amalgamate many of these clans together, or a war 
may force them to unite; but when the cause which binds them 
together ceases, or when rival warriors contend for the ascendency, 
they separate, or form other combinations. In the Narrative of 
Long's Second Expedition we find that the Dacotahs are divided 
into fifteen tribes, and the writer observes, " almost every traveller, 
who has visited the Dacotahs, has given a different enumeration 
of their divisions, some reckoning but seven, while others admit as 
many as twenty-one tribes." Again, he remarks, " These form two 
great divisions, which have been distinguished by traders into the 
names Gens du Lac and Gens du Large those who live by the 
lake, and those who roam over the prairies." In this instance, it 
would be difficult to ascertain what individuals or tribes could be 
classed together as a nation, and the claim .of any portion to be 
classed together, as a body politic, would, in the technical phrase 
of lawyers, be bad for uncertainty. 

John Tanner, to whose interesting Narrative we have had occa 
sion more than once to refer, was the son of an American citizen 
residing in Kentucky, and was taken prisoner when a child by the 
Ojibway or Chippeway Indians. He was adopted into an Indian 
family, was reared in their habits, and had lived among them for 
thirty years, when he was found by the gentlemen engaged in the 
expedition under Long, and prevailed upon to furnish a narrative 
of his adventures for publication. The work is compiled with 
great care, and may be relied upon as authentic. Tanner not only 
lived with the Indians, but hunted and travelled extensively among 
the tribes who inhabit the shores of the upper lakes ; yet he does 
not, in his whole narrative, refer to any thing like a government. 
He does not mention the name of a ruling chief, nor does he detail 
a single instance of the exertion of sovereign authority. In all his 


troubles rand he had many when robbed, abused, and exposed ' 
violence in various forms, he sought no protection from a chief, 
there was no law, no ruler, no power, that could stay the hand of 
the oppressor, or give relief to the injured party. It is very clear 
that there is no government among a people thus situated. There 
are divisions into tribes, it is true, but these are large families 
rather than nations, for the distinctions are those of blood, not 
of country or government. There are bands formed for occasional 
purposes, which are dispersed whenever the necessity ceases which 
brought them together. Tanner himself never acknowledged any 
superior, nor considered himself as belonging to any particular 
body, though he called himself an Ojibway. Among his tribe 
were many leaders. A man who became distinguished as a war 
rior, or hunter, was resorted to by others, who became his fol 
lowers; to secure the temporary advantages of the protection 
afforded by numbers remained with him as long as he was suc 
cessful, and dispersed whenever he experienced a reverse, or 
whenever game grew scarce. These combinations seldom last 
more than one season ; and the same chief, who now commands a 
hundred warriors, revels in the spoils of his enemies, is wealthy in 
dogs and horses, and patriarchal in the number of his wives and 
dependents, will perhaps spend his next year in hunting, at some 
solitary spot, by himself, or be wandering about at the head of a 
little band, composed of his own relatives. In the next great war 
or hunting party he may be first, second, or third in rank, or have 
no rank, just as it happens. Speaking of one of their large war 
parties, Mr. Tanner says, " On this occasion men were assembled 
from a vast extent of country, of dissimilar feelings and dialects, 
and of the whole fourteen hundred not one who would acknowledge 
any authority superior to his own will. It is true that ordinarily 
they yield a certain deference, and a degree of obedience, to the 
chief each may have undertaken to follow ; but this obedience, in 



most instances, continues no longer than the will of the chief 
corresponds entirely with the inclinations of those he heads." 

This may be said to be an extreme case. The northern hordes, 
inhabiting a sterile country and inhospitable climate, suffer greatly 
for want of food, and are necessarily scattered in small parties over 
a wide region. They are reduced by the circumstances surround 
ing them to the lowest grade of wretchedness, and of course exhibit 
the savage life in its most unfavorable aspect. But it is not mate 
rially different in Florida, so far as respects the question of govern 
ment. In our late negotiations and wars with the Seminoles, we 
found a people answering to a common name, and enlisted in a 
common cause ; but there was no central authority, nor any ruling 
chief, but a collection of independent bands, who acted separately 
or in union, as circumstances dictated. 

The largest of our savage nations, the Osages and Pawnees, .are 
those in whom the savage state is seen to the greatest advantage. 
The fertility of the country over which they roam, the mildness of 
the climate, and especially the abundance of food afforded by the 
immense herds of buffalo, combine to raise these people above the 
hardships which assail the more northern tribes, and enable them 
to live together in larger bodies. They are a more active and more 
cheerful people, have more of the comforts of life, and are under 
infinitely better discipline, but it is only discipline, mere martial law, 
and not civil government. 

These nations, like the Dacotahs, are divided into bands, some of 
which seem to be wholly independent of the original stock such 
as the Pawnee Loups, the Republican Pawnees, &c., which are 
bands that separated from the Grand Pawnees; and the little 
Osages, who are a branch of the Great Osages. During the last 
war between the United States and Great Britain, a portion of the 
Saukies, then residing at Rock Island on the Mississippi, being un 
willing to unite with the majority of the nation in making war upon 
the United States, removed to a point on the Missouri River. Here 


they have remained ever since; the separation between the two 
parts of the nation has become final, yet both retain the original 
name. These frequent divisions add to the other proofs of the ab 
sence of a binding or permanent organization among the Indians. 

The Osages have a tradition that they came originally from the 
East. They were for many years at war with the Missouries, who 
were a powerful nation, and by whom they were gradually driven 
to the West, first to the Mississippi, where they remained some 
time, and then to the Missouri. The Missouries settled and built 
villages on the Mississippi. When Charlevoix, who was sent on a 
tour of discovery by the French Government, came through this 
region, he stopped for a short time among the Missouries, and made 
them presents of guns, ammunition, and knives, with which they 
were not acquainted before that time. Thus armed, they renewed 
their attacks upon the Osages, who had intrenched themselves 
within a fortification of logs and mud. The report and the effects 
of the firearms, now witnessed by the Osages for the first time, 
struck a panic into them, and, believing that the Great Spirit had 
put his thunder into the hands of their enemies, they fled. Pro 
ceeding up the river, they came to the stream which has since 
borne their name, the Osage River, where they halted; while the 
Missouries had the honor of giving their name to the Great River 
of the West, upon whose banks they settled. The Osages, at that 
time, numbered about three thousand warriors, but there were dis 
sensions among them, arising out of discussions of the question 
where they should become permanently settled. In this state of 
things, some of the chiefs, with a small number of followers, went 
back to the Missouries, with whom they made peace the condi 
tions being, that they should settle in adjacent villages, and defend 
each other in case of war. How long they remained there does not 
appear ; but they eventually rejoined the main body of the nation, 
with whom they are now united, though as a separate band, called 
the Little Osages. Since then other bands have separated from the 


Great Osages, who are known as the Omahas, the Kansas, and the 
Arkansas indeed the Osages consider their nation as the original 
stock of nearly all the tribes between the Mississippi and the Rocky 

These separations occur from various causes sometimes from 
quarrels among the chiefs, but more frequently from the scarcity of 
game, which induces large hunting-parties to detach themselves 
from the main body of the nation, and wander off to distant places 
in search of game. It is a curious, biit well-attested fact, evincing 
the evanescent nature of an unwritten language, that when a part 
of a tribe is thus separated for a few years from the remainder, they 
become distinguished by a peculiar dialect. Each party adopts 
new words, and forgets some of those in use ; so that, with a ra 
pidity almost incredible, a dissimilarity of tongue ensues between 
those who have but recently sprung from the same stock. 

Much has been said and written of the attachment of the Indians 
to their hunting-grounds, to the places of their nativity, and the 
bones of their ancestors. The sympathy of the American people 
has often been invoked in relation to the alleged cruelty of all at 
tempts to promote their civilization, by removing them to new 
homes, where they could be protected from the encroachment of 
the whites. The cruelty, of course, consists in the violence done 
to their local attachments ; for, unless the preference for a particular 
spot be very strong and deeply rooted, it would seem that all places 
would be pretty much alike to the mere roamer of the wilderness. 

We suppose that on this subject there has been much mistake 
and exaggeration. The Indians have a great regard for the bones 
of their ancestors, but we are not aware that this feeling extends to 
the places where those bones are deposited. As with all pagans, 
the want of a rational belief in the immortality of the soul, induces 
the affection for deceased objects to attach to the inanimate remains, 
instead of following the spirit to its eternal abode. But that super 
stitious feeling attaches itself only to those relics ; it is much akin 


to the awe which the ignorant among ourselves feel for dead bodies 
and places of burial, and has no assimilation nor connection with 
the love of country, or with any sentiment of regard for past gene 

There is no reason why the Indian should have strong local at 
tachments, nor have we any satisfactory evidence of the existence 
of that feeling. He has no permanent habitation, and does not 
dwell at any spot sufficiently long to become attached to it by habit, 
or by mere familiarity with the surrounding objects. His whole 
life is spent in wandering ; and if, for several successive years, he 
returns at intervals to one place, which thus becomes a kind of 
permanent encampment, and is called a town, it is only because of 
some convenience connected with the locality, which is abandoned 
whenever a stronger attraction is presented at some other spot. 
The whole plain of the Mississippi abounds in the deserted sites of 
Indian towns, and in the evidences of this erratic mode of life. And 
why should the savage become attached to the place of his abode ? 
He builds no house, erects nothing, plants nothing, which would 
afford present comfort, or remain as a memorial of his existence. 
There is nothing to which either the pride or the convenience of 
ownership can be attached. The idea of real estate is unknown to 
him ; there is no rood of ground to which he ever attaches the idea 
of possession, past, present, or prospective. There is no monument 
which appeals to his pride, or his affections, or calls up any asso 
ciations connected with the past. He inherits nothing but the arms 
or clothing of his ancestors, and leaves nothing to his children 
which is not equally perishable. The Swiss peasant, however 
poor, dwells in a hut which has braved the elements for centuries; 
the village church is hallowed by the recollections of childhood ; 
the moss-covered walls in the neighborhood have their legends, 
which have become familiar from frequent repetition ; the mountain 
side, though bleak and sterile, is marked with paths trodden by 
nnccessive generations : these, and a thousand other memorials, 


have impressed themselves upon the heart and the memory, and 
become the landmarks of home and country. The path of the In 
dian is like that of the mariner upon the ocean his footsteps leave 
no print behind them. Instead of a religion, he has a superstition, 
which never appeals to the heart, nor awakens any of the sensibili 
ties of his nature ; his god has no visible altar, neither a temple 
consecrated to holy purposes, nor a hallowed spot in the bosom 
of the domestic circle. 

That the Indians have not strong local attachments, is as demon 
strable from their history, as it is clearly deducible from their cha 
racter. They have always been a restless, wandering people. The 
savage is erratic from the very nature of his life : the nomadic state 
affords no scope for the cultivation of the affections ; and whenever 
the savage is restrained from wandering, he becomes, more or less, 
a civilized man, as water becomes clear in a state of rest. The 
roaming from place to place, the want of a home, the absence of 
property, the habit of invading without scruple the lands of others 
these are the most pregnant causes of the state of barbarism, as 
well as the most obvious proofs of the absence of the sort of attach 
ment alluded to. 

The Shawanoe nation, when first known to the whites, were a 
numerous and warlike people of Georgia and South Carolina. After 
the lapse of a very few years, they abandoned, or were driven from 
that region, and are found in the south-western part of the Ohio 
valley, giving their beautiful name to the river, which, by the bad 
taste of the Americans, has acquired the hackneyed name of Cum 
berland. We next hear of them in Pennsylvania, participators in 
the tragic scenes which have given celebrity to the valley of Wyo 
ming. Again, they recede to the Ohio valley, to a locality hun 
dreds of miles distant from their former hunting-grounds in the 
West, selecting now the rich and beautiful plains of the Sciota 
valley and the Miamies. Here they attained the highest point of 
their fame. Here was heard the eloquence of Logan ; here was 


spent the boyhood of Tecumthe. It was from the romantic scenes 
of the Little Miami, from the Pickaway plains, and the beautiful 
shores of the Sciota from scenes of such transcendent fertility and 
beauty, as must have won any but a nature inherently savage, to 
the luxury of rest and contentment, that the Shawanoese went 
forth to battle on Braddock's field, at Point Pleasant, and along the 
whole line of the then western frontier. Lastly, we find them 
dwelling on the Wabash, at Tippecanoe, holding councils with the 
Governor of Indiana at Vincennes, intriguing with the Cherokees 
and Creeks of the South, and fighting under the British banner in 
Canada. Here we find a people, numbering but a few thousand, 
and who could, even as savages and hunters, occupy but a small 
tract of country at any one time, roaming, in the course of two 
centuries, over ten degrees of latitude; changing their hunting- 
grounds, not gradually, but by migrations of hundreds of miles at 
a time ; abandoning entirely a whole region, and appearing upon a 
new and far distant scene. What land was the country of the 
Shawanoese ? To what place could that strong local attachment, 
which has been claimed for the Indians, have affixed itself? 
Where must the Shawanoe linger, to indulge that veneration for 
the bones of his fathers, which is said to form so strong a feeling in 
the savage breast ? Their bones are mouldering in every valley, 
from the sultry confines of Georgia to the frozen shores of the 
Canadian frontier. Their traditions, if carefully preserved, would 
have embraced a hundred battle-fields, in as many separate dis 
tricts, and have consecrated to the affections of a little remnant of 
people a vast expanse of territory, which now embraces eight or 
nine sovereign States, and maintains five millions of people. 

The Saukies are said to have been settled originally on the 
banks of the River St. Lawrence, near the ocean, and were driven 
thence towards the Lakes. Coming into contact with the great 
Iroquois confederacy, they waged a long and fierce war with that 
powerful people, through whose territories they passed. On the 


southern shore of Lake Erie they came into collision with the 
Wyandots, and were again plunged into sanguinary hostilities. 
Reaching the borders of Lake Michigan, they rested awhile ; and 
it was here probably that they became allied with the Musquakee, 
or Fox nation. Thence bending their steps to the South, they 
poured down upon the wide-spread and beautiful prairies of 
Illinois, at that time covered with herds of buffalo, and possessed 
themselves of the country on the waters of Rock River, which they 
held until lately. 

We might speak of other migrations, but these examples are 
sufficient for illustration. We know of no Indian nation which 
has remained stationary. Their traditions invariably point to their 
former abodes, in far distant places, and are fraught with allusions 
to long and perilous wanderings. 

It is necessary, as a preliminary step to the civilization of the 
Indians, that this migratory disposition should be eradicated. The 
Indian should be confined within settled boundaries, and be taught 
to cherish his own rights by being forced to respect the rights 
of others. He should learn to associate his name and his destiny 
with that of the soil on which he dwells, and thus acquire the 
virtue of which he has now no conception the love of country. 
The Indian loves his tribe, he loves his wild, free habits of life, he 
loves the wilderness; but all these feelings are personal; they 
travel with him in his wanderings, and abide with his people 
wherever they may chance to dwell. They are not attached 
to the soil, nor interwoven with recollections of place and scenery. 
They are not connected with the sacred and delightful associations 
of home and country. The wild man has no home nor country. 

Assuming the proposition that the United States have a clear 
right to establish over the Indian tribes such form of government 
as will be best calculated to promote the happiness of those nations, 
and to insure to them the highest state of civilization of which they 
are susceptible, we hold that our duty to extend those benefits t- 


them is undeniable. And this should be done without delay, as 
every year is diminishing their numbers, deteriorating their 
character, and weakening the sympathy and the moral sense 
of duty towards them which is now felt by all good men. 

The plan that we would propose would be to divide the whole 
Indian territory into districts, as few in number as could be conve 
niently arranged, so that each might be brought under the sub" 
jection of a governor, who should have ample powers, and a 
sufficient military force to make himself obeyed. The machinery 
of this government should be simple ; its character parental ; its 
object to protect, restrain, and reform the savage. The governors 
should be instructed to rule with kindness and forbearance, to use 
every effort to allure the savages to practise the arts of civilized 
life, to gain their confidence, and to restrain them with a firm 
hand from their present habits of rapine and violence. The 
subordinate officers should all be men of fair character; they 
should be amply paid for their services, and strictly forbidden 
from engaging in any traffic other than such as it might be found 
expedient for the Government to sanction ; and the most unceasing 
vigilance should be used to protect the Indians from the fell grasp 
of the unprincipled speculator. These conditions may be deemed 
impracticable in a government like ours, subject to frequent changes, 
and to the demoralizing influence of party violence and political in 
trigue. It is to these causes that most of the abuses of which we 
complain are attributable ; but we hope for better things ; we hope 
that benevolent and patriotic men may be found who will agitate 
this subject until a strong public sentiment shall be brought to bear 
on the national Legislature and that some of the influential mem^ 
hers of that body, wno are now " giving to party that which belongs 
to mankind," may be induced to earn the gratitude and applause of 
posterity by devoting themselves to the prosecution of this great 
and philanthropic reform. Under such auspices the scheme may 



The Indians should be told at once, that they are not independent ; 
that we intend to rule, and to protect them ; that they must desist 
entirely from war, and must cease from wandering into the territo 
ries of their neighbors. They should be admonished to learn war 
no longer, and every exertion be used to blunt their martial propen 
sities; military exercises should be discouraged; marks of respect 
and distinction should be withheld from chiefs and others who are 
eminent only for their feats in battle, while the favor of the Govern 
ment should be shown to those who should successfully cultivate 
the arts, or practise the civil and social virtues. Instead of flatter 
ing their warriors, as our public functionaries too often do, by re 
ferring to their martial exploits, and their descent from a line of 
warriors, they should be told that bloodshed is forbidden by our 
religion, prohibited by our laws, and wholly inconsistent with our 
state of society; that we regard with abhorrence the taking of life, 
permitting it only, with great reluctance, in self-defence; and that 
the President will, on all public occasions, distinguish and prefer 
those chiefs and influential men whose hands are clear of blood, 
and who do most to preserve the lives and elevate the character of 
their people. 

There can be no doubt as to the ultimate effect of sincere, patient, 
and continued efforts to inculcate the arts of peace, by constant ap 
peals to the interest as well as the moral feelings of those people, 
aided by kindness, by good example, and by salutary restraint, 
firmly enforced by power. But the healthful operation of this pro 
cedure and its success, depend so entirely upon the character of the 
agents by whom it may be conducted, that it would be useless to 
make the attempt unless it be committed to men of sterling inte 
grity and genuine benevolence, who would enter heartily into the 
spirit of the enterprise. 

A council to be selected by themselves, composed of a few of 
their chief men, might assist the governor in making laws, which 
should be few, brief, and simple. The code should at first embrace 


little more than the Christian decalogue ; and new laws might, from 
time to time, be added, to meet the growing exigencies of increasing 
civilization. The council might at first be vested with judicial 
powers, the trial by jury afterwards ingrafted, and a complete or 
ganization of courts, with all the forms of legal investigation, gra 
dually introduced. No violent change should be attempted, no 
sudden reformation forced upon the unprepared mind of the savage, 
no abrupt assault upon ancient customs or superstitions be per 
mitted to alarm his pride or his fears ; but improvements should be 
gradually, unceasingly, and almost imperceptibly introduced, until 
the rank productions of ignorance and heathenism should be cleared 
away, and the foundations of the social edifice be laid, broad, strong, 
and symmetrical. 

The Indian bureau at Washington should be retained with en 
larged powers, and under a watchful supervision ; but the agents, 
the presents, the traders, the interpreters, the legion of beneficia 
ries, who prey upon the funds appropriated by the national bounty 
to the Indians, should all be withdrawn, and the practice of grant 
ing annuities be discontinued. No white man but the governor 
and his subordinates should be permitted to reside or remain in the 
Indian country, until the condition of the people should have be 
come such as to admit of a higher grade of government, when it 
might be desirable to adopt a different policy. 

Instead of preventing the Indians from coming into our country 
to trade, they should be encouraged to do so, as this would be one 
of the most effectual means of inducing them to learn our lan 
guage, and adopt our customs. They would see our industry, our 
comforts, and our arts, imbibe our opinions, become reconciled to 
our manners and fashions, and especially would get definite ideas 
of the use and value of our various articles of property. They 
would be induced to purchase articles of dress and ornament, such 
as are worn by us, until by degrees their costume would be assimi 
lated to ours. Imperceptibly they would fall into the use of many 


things of which they are now ignorant, or which they despise as 
unsuited to their condition, such as mechanical tools, household 
furniture, and farming implements. Every article thus adopted 
would be a messenger of civilization ; every art, comfort, and 
luxury of social life, which the Indian should learn to appreciate, 
would create a new want, to he supplied by us, and add a new 
bond to cement our union. 

But the most important end to be gained, would be the protec 
tion of the savages from imposition, and from a demoralizing inter 
course, which, while it robs them of the petty avails of their hunt 
ing, depraves their character, and sours them against the white 
men. The traders who now purchase the furs and peltries of the 
Indians, under the license of the Government, enjoy a monopoly 
which enables them to carry on the traffic upon their own terms, 
and to perpetrate the grossest frauds without the danger of detec 
tion. The place of barter is the wilderness, where there is no 
competition to regulate value, no public opinion to restrain dis 
honesty, no law to punish violence ; and the trader, who adven 
tures life and property in a business so precarious, may not greatly 
strain the ordinary morals of trade in deeming it justifiable to in 
demnify himself for his risks by extravagant profits, and retaliate 
aggression by force or cunning, as opportunity may offer. Hu 
manity shudders at the recital of the nefarious arts practised by the 
white traders upon the Indians; yet the half of them are not known 
nor dreamed of by the American people. 

Some instructive facts on this subject may be gleaned from Tan 
ner's Narrative, the biography of a man born in Kentucky, who 
was captured by the Chippeway or Ojibway Indians in his child 
hood, and spent his life among them, written at his dictation by 
one of the gentlemen connected with Long's expedition. In this 
work, we have a minute account of Indian life through a series of 
thirty years, embracing all the ordinary incidents and vicissitudes 
of the savage state. Here we find the traders sometimes taking Inj 


force, from a poor Indian hunter, the produce of a whole year's 
hunt, without making him any return ; sometimes pilfering a por 
tion' while buying the remainder; and still more frequently driving 
a hard bargain with the intoxicated savage, and wresting from him 
a valuable property for a very inadequate compensation, consisting 
chiefly of the poison by which his faculties were obscured. In one 
sase, Mr. Tanner tells of an Indian woman, his adopted mother, 
who, " in the course of a single day, sold one hundred and twenty 
beaver skins, with a large quantity of buffalo robes, dressed and 
smoked skins, and other articles, for rum." This property, worth 
several hundred dollars, was the product of a whole season of hunt 
ing of two active men, the son and adopted son of this woman, 
attended by dangers, difficulties, and privations, which seem to us 
almost incredible, and constituted the whole wealth of a family, 
and their only means of support during the inclemency of a long 
northern winter; and the author pathetically concludes, "of all our 
large load of peltries, the produce of so many days of toil, of so 
many long and difficult journeys, one blanket and three Jcegs of rum 
only remained, besides the poor and almost worn-out clothing of 
our bodies." Repeated instances of the same kind are related by 
this author, exhibiting a most unfavorable view of the intercourse 
between the traders and the Indians, and we have ample reason, 
from other sources of information, lo believe that the picture is 
faithfully drawn. These, it is true, were British traders, on the 
inhospitable shores of Lake Superior, far beyond the influence of 
law or Gospel: we hope and believe that such atrocities are not 
permitted within the regular agencies of our Government. From 
a personal knowledge of some of the gentlemen engaged in the fur 
trade, and of many of the agents of the United States, we can say 
with confidence that such abuses are not practised with their sanc 
tion. But human nature is the same every where ; the debasing 
love of gain has always been found to conduce to fraud and vio 
lence, when unrestrained by law and public sentiment. Mercan 


tile integrity alone is not a sufficient safeguard against temptation. 
There are abundant proofs in our own land, that men cannot be 
trusted unless surrounded by wholesome restraints, and held to rigid 
responsibility. History abounds with lamentable proofs of the bad 
faith of all traffic carried on between civilized and savage men in 
the countries of the latter: India, Africa, the coasts of America, and 
the isles of the ocean, have all witnessed the dark and dreadful 
effects of the lust of gain 

Not only is the trade with these people liable to abuse, but all 
our treaties with them afford opportunities for the practice of gross 
frauds, which it is almost impossible to prevent, even with the 
greatest care on the part of the Government. But constituted as 
our Government is, it would be useless to expect any great degree 
of vigilance on such a subject, and the only mode of preventing the 
abuse is to remove the occasion. We could point to a recent in 
stance in which the United States became bound by treaty to pay 
a certain description of claims set up by individuals of an Indian 
tribe. Commissioners were appointed to ascertain and liquidate 
the amounts due to each person, who, in the course of their inves 
tigation, discovered that nearly the whole of those claims had been 
secretly purchased by speculators for trifling considerations, and 
that immense sums granted in a spirit of liberality by Congress 
were about to be intercepted by a set of mere marauders, while the 
beneficiaries to whom it was intended to secure a livelihood had 
already expended the pittances given to them in exchange. We 
are happy to say, that, in this instance, the fraud attempted to be 
practised by cunning upon ignorance was prevented. We shall 
not attempt to expose the numerous impositions of this kind, by 
which the munificence of our Government has been diverted from 
its legitimate channels; the purpose of this essay does not require 
such disclosures. The public ear has been pained and sickened by 
manifold recitals of the rapacity which has first driven the red man 
from his hunting-grounds, and then stripped him of the poor price 


of his heritage. The sending of missionaries to labor by the side 
of the miscreants who thus swindle and debauch the ignorant 
savage, is a mockery of the office, and a waste of the time of these 
valuable men. 

If the Indians were required to trade within our States, their in 
tercourse would be with regular traders in the bosom of organized 
societies, and in the light of public observation ; and the same law 
and public sentiment which protects us would protect them. In 
stead of bartering peltries for merchandise, without a definite idea 
of the value of either, they would use money as the medium of 
exchange, and become accustomed to fix prices upon the articles of 
traffic. We attach some importance to this change. Under the 
present system, the Indian delivers a package of skins, and receives 
a lot of merchandise, consisting of blankets, cloth, calico, beads, 
knives, gunpowder, &c. ; and a very rough estimate only can be 
formed of the relative values of the articles, while in regard to the 
quality there can be but little room for choice. The formation of 
provident and frugal habits depends much upon proper notions of 
value, and the practice of close dealing. The economical maxims 
of Dr. Franklin could not be practised in a community in which 
there should be no small coins, and would not be understood by a 
people without money. If, for instance, there should be, in any 
country, no coin, nor representative of money, of a less denomina 
tion than a dollar, the fractions under that sum would, in all trans 
actions, be thrown off, and would cease to be regarded, and the peo 
ple would never become close calculators in small transactions. 
The maxim, " take care of pence and pounds will take care of 
themselves," would have no application among them. Such was 
the state of things, and such the effect, a few years ago, in some of 
our Western States, when small bank notes were not in circulation, 
and scarcely any coin less than half dollars, and when it was so 
customary to throw off the fractions less than a dollar, that it was 
thought mean to insist on the collection of a balance which could 


only be counted in cents. So striking was the result of this state 
of things to one not accustomed to it, that a sagacious Englishman 
remarked to the writer, as an " alarming circumstance, the want of 
small coin, and the consequent pride or carelessness of the people 
in regard to their minor pecuniary transactions." To estimate the 
force of this remark, it is only necessary to contrast the disposition 
alluded to with the thrift of a New England farmer, who would in 
a year accumulate a considerable sum by hoarding the pittances 
which a frontier settler would scorn to put into his pocket. If this 
reasoning be just, its application to our subject is easy. The 
change from the rude and loose transaction of bartering commodi 
ties, to. the more accurate method of selling and buying for money, 
would be the first step in the improvement we propose ; the next 
would be a correct appreciation of the values of money and mer 
chandise; and we think that sagacity in dealing, frugality in ex 
penditure, and correct notions in regard to property, would follow. 
The Indian at present knows nothing of money, except from seeing 
boxes of dollars exposed when the annuities are paid to the chiefs ; 
but if the individuals of that race were in the habit of carrying the 
products of the chase to a market, where they would learn to feel 
the excitement induced by competition, and where, as they wan 
dered from shop to shop, a variety of articles, differing in quality 
and price, would be offered in exchange, we cannot doubt that the 
result would be beneficial. 

The Indians are prevented from keeping live stock, or making 
any permanent provision for the future by the insecurity of the 
lives they lead. The corn raised by their women, their only 
grain, and often their sole provision for the winter, is kept in pits 
dug in the ground, which is carefully levelled over the concealed 
treasure, so as to baffle the search of a stranger who might seek for 
it. But though hidden from an enemy, a large portion of the corn 
is inevitably destroyed by the moisture of the place of deposit, and 
in some seasons but little would be saved by this rude plan ol 


preservation. An Indian who was asked, by an inquisitive travel 
ler, why they did not store their corn in houses as we do, instead 
of burying it, at the risk of having so much of it destroyed, replied, 
promptly, that if they were to put their corn in houses their ene 
mies would come in the winter and kill them to get it. If they 
were asked why they keep no domestic animals but dogs and 
horses, the reply would be similar. They have no prejudice 
against any means which would furnish them with a regular 
supply of food without labor. They build no houses, make no 
fields, nor attempt any provision for a permanent residence ; and 
all for the same reason -property of any description would tempt 
the rapacity of their enemies. Security is only found in poverty 
and swiftness of foot, and in their happiest state they are always 
prepared for instant flight. The attempt to civilize a people thus 
situated is absurd. We have begun at the wrong end. Their 
habits must first be changed, and their' physical wants supplied^ 
before any beneficial effect can be produced upon their minds and| 
hearts. The pressure of external danger, which now keeps their 
minds excited, and their passions in a state of continual exaltation, 
must be removed, and the inducements to war decreased, by lessen 
ing the occasions of provocation. 

When placed, as we propose, under the immediate care of our 
Government, and restrained from war, the first measure should by 
to collect them in villages, and give them permanent habitations. 
They should be encouraged to build houses, to own cattle, hogs, 
and poultry, and to cultivate fields and gardens. They should at 
first be assisted in building, and a liberal supply of domestic ani 
mals should be given to them. But this aid should be extended to 
them with discrimination ; and, while it furnished them with the 
means of improving their condition, it should not degenerate into a 
mere gratuity to support them in idleness, and to be looked for with 
the return of each revolving season. It should be distinctly under- 
that the Government would not supply them with food and 



clothing. The annuities, which we are bound by treaty to pay, 
would have to be paid in good faith; but all other gratuities, 
except such as their change of life might render temporarily 
necessary, should be withheld. 

The Indians, placed under these circumstances, would soon 
become an indolent pastoral people. They would not at first 
become an agricultural or an industrious race. That change 
would be too violent. The transition from the chase and the war 
path to the plough would be difficult. Their indolence, their 
pride, their martial and gentlemanly dislike of labor, and their love 
of sleep, would all rebel against every sort of muscular exertion 
which could by any means be avoided, while all their prejudices 
would rise up in opposition to the indignity of performing the 
servile offices which they suppose to lie peculiarly within the 
province of the women. They would grow lazy and harmless. 
Prevented from going to war they would lose their martial habits, 
the influence of the war chiefs would be destroyed, and the pro 
pensity for rapine would be blunted. Their cattle, roaming over 
the rich plains to which nearly all the tribes have now been driven, 
would require but little care, and would soon increase to large 
herds. Abundance of food would lessen the necessity for hunting ; 
and the men, left without employ and with little necessity for 
mental or bodily exertion, would lose their active habits. 

The women, as they now do, would cultivate corn, but with 
increased encouragement to industry, for the fruits of their laboi 
would be more abundant, and would be secured to them. In other 
respects their condition would be improved and elevated, and they 
would become important agents in the civilization of their race. 
The savage woman is debarred of the prerogatives and deprived 
from exercising the virtues of her sex by her wandering life. The 
fireside, the family circle, all the comforts, luxuries, and enjov 
ments which are comprised in the word home, are created and 
regulated by female affection, influence, and industry and all 


these are unknown to the savage. He has no home. The soften 
ing and ennobling influences of the domestic circle are unknown to 
him ; and the woman, having no field for the exercise of the virtues 
peculiar to her sex, never appears in her true character, nor is 
invested with the tender, the healthful, the ennobling influence 
which renders her, in her proper sphere, the friend and adviser of 
man. We would elevate the savage woman to her legitimate 
place in the social system, and make her the unconscious, but 
most efficient instrument in the civilization of her race. We feel, 
and see, and acknowledge, in every department of life, the ame 
liorating and conservative influence of female virtue, and we would 
give this inestimable blessing to the savage, even against his will. 
We would restrain his feet from wandering, and his hand from 
blood, and force upon him the softening and elevating endearments 
of home. Then would the Indian woman assume her appropriate 
station and her proper duties. The wretched wigwam, or the tem 
porary skin lodge, afford no theatre for her ingenuity, no field for 
the exercise of any feminine virtue or accomplishment. The 
drudge, who spends her whole existence in following the savage 
hunter in his perilous wanderings, may learn to share his hardi 
hood and ferocity, but can never have either the power or dis 
position to soften his rude nature. Mistress of a house, she would 
awaken to a sense of her own importance, and become alive to kind 
and generous impulses, which she knows not in her present con 
dition. The possession of a home would suggest ideas of comfort, 
and bring into action the whole train of household cares. Pride 
and affection would unite in suggesting new wants and novel 
improvements. That fidelity which she now exhibits in the 
patient endurance of toil and danger would expand and thrive in 
the more genial exercise of the domestic economy ; and even her 
vanity, leaning to virtue's side, would exert a genial influence. 
One article of furniture after another would be introduced ; and, as 
every woman desires to be as rich and as respectable as her neigh- 


bors, whatever one procured would be desired by all the others. 
From the mere necessaries of life they would advance to its com 
forts and its luxuries. Vanity would kindle the love of dress and 
furniture ; and rivalry, if no better feeling, would introduce clean 
liness and good housewifery. The passing generation might not 
be materially changed ; but the young would grow up with a new 
train of habits and associations. They would be accustomed to 
sleep on beds, to sit upon chairs, and, softened as well as enervated 
by indulgences unknown to their ancestors, they would be less fitted 
for the fatigue of war and the chase, and more susceptible of the 
enjoyments of social life. 

It is worthy of observation, that those who have been most suc 
cessful in gaining the confidence of the Indians have been the 
Quaker arid the Roman Catholic; the one displaying all the 
magnificence of a gorgeous ceremonial, and the other all the sim- 
' plicity of entire plainness. But the success of both was attribu 
table to the same principle. They both secured the attention of the 
Indian by kindness; and their forms of faith, in both cases, ap 
pealed to the senses. The Quaker exhibited a practical demonstra 
tion of the doctrines of the Redeemer, by the observance of peace, 
humility, kindness, temperance, and justice; and there could be no 
mistake as to a faith, the effects of which were so marked and salu 
tary. The Catholic, in his explanations to the heathen, dwelt 
chiefly on the moral code of the Bible, and exhibited outward forms 
and symbols, which awakened attention, excited the imagination, 
and impressed the memory. The Protestant missionary has usually- 
proceeded upon a different plan. He attempts to explain to the 
uncultivated mind of the savage the scheme of salvation by a Sa 
viour; that complex, wonderful, and stupendous plan, in the con 
templation of which the highest mental powers of the philosopher 
find full employment; and the savage listens with incredulity, oe- 
cause he listens to mere abstractions which convey to his mind no 
definite ideas. Such teachers forget that the Creator, in revealing 


His will to man, gave first to the Patriarchs the simplest form of 
faith; to the more enlightened Hebrews a more complex system 
was revealed, and a wider range of thought was opened ; the coming 
of a Divine Saviour was shadowed forth through a long series of 
years, and at last, upon minds thus enlightened, dawned the full 
effulgence of the Christian religion. The reasoning powers of the 
Indians have never been exercised. An acute and experienced 
observer of that race has said that, in regard to the mass of the 
people, they give no evidence of having ever entertained an ab 
stract idea. Thus, in their speeches, the figurative language, which 
some have attributed to a poetical temperament, is really used from 
necessity to supply the want of thought, of descriptive powers, and 
even of words ; for they can only make themselves understood by 
referring to sensible objects around them. Now I humbly conceive, 
that, if ever, the Christian system is to be successfully communi 
cated to such a people, we must follow what I suppose to be the 
Gospel plan first, teach them the simple duties and virtues of a 
pastoral people, then surround them with the restraints and obliga 
tions of a moral and civil law ; and, lastly, when their minds are 
trained to thought, to obedience, and to a sense of responsibility, 
unfold to them the glorious truths of the Gospel of salvation. 

The almost frantic passion for ardent spirits, which is evinced by 
all savages, would probably be corrected by a change of life ; for 
we have no doubt that one of the causes of their attachment to it is 
that it deadens the painful sense of hunger, which among them has 
become constitutional. An Indian, like a wolf, is always hungry, 
and of course always ferocious. In order to tame him, the pressure 
of hunger must be removed ; it is useless to attempt to operate on 
the rnind while the body is in a state of suffering. It is well as 
certained that the Indian is for about half his time destitute of food, 
and obliged either to endure the pangs of hunger, or to use the 
most arduous exertions to procure provisions. The habitual im 
providence of the savage, his wandering mode of existence, and the 


insecurity of property, prevents him from laying up any store 
during the season of plenty, and, when winter covers the bosom of 
the earth with her mantle of snow, hundreds and even thousands 
perish for want of food. Unexpected vicissitudes of the seasons, 
and long-continued extremity of heat or cold, sweep off these un 
protected wretches with fearful havoc. A drought, which, by 
destroying the herbage, deprives the game of support, or a deep 
snow which shuts up all the sources of supply, spreads a famine 
throughout the tribes, and thins their numbers with fearful rapidity. 
In the inhospitable regions which border on the northern lakes and 
extend thence to the Missouri, including the country of the Chippe- 
ways, Ottaways, Menomines, Winnebagoes, and a portion of the 
Sioux, the horrors of starvation brood over the land during the con 
tinuance of their long and dreary winters, and recur with each 
revolving year. 

To be fully satisfied on this point, it is only necessary to read 
" Tanner's Narrative," which was carefully prepared by one who 
was capable of understanding the exact meaning of the relator, and 
stating it with clearness. His whole thirty years among the Indians 
were spent in active exertions to get something to eat. The Nar 
rative presents an affecting picture of an active and energetic life, 
checkered with dangers, toils, and struggles, yet with no higher 
object than that of obtaining a bare subsistence. The incidents are 
stirring in their nature; the adventures exhibit a boldness, a pa 
tience of toil and fatigue, and a hardihood of endurance, which, 
exerted on a more dignified scene of action, would have elevated 
the actor into a hero ; but the vicissitudes are chiefly those induced 
by the changes of the seasons and the abundance or scarcity of 
game ; and the joys and sorrows of Tanner resulted from the alter 
nations of poverty and plenty, of repletion and starvation ! Few 
solemnities, and fewer amusements, are spoken of throughout the 
volume ; of rest, domestic quiet, or social enjoyment, there is none; 
and whenever a number of Indians collected together they T vere 


presently dispersed by hunger. To live three, four, or five days 
without food was not uncommon. Sometimes they subsisted for 
weeks upon a little bear's grease; sometimes they chewed their 
peltries and moccasons. Often they were reduced to eat their dogs, 
or to subsist whole days upon the inner bark of trees. 

The moral influence of this mode of life, as disclosed in the 
volume alluded to, is most deplorable. The frequent and sudden 
recurrence of famine enervates the mind, and destroys its energy 
and elasticity. The want of employment, and the absence of a 
laudable object of pursuit, leaves the thinking faculty dormant, and 
gives place to childish desires and puerile superstitions. Good and 
bad fortune are ascribed to friendly or malignant spirits, and a blind 
fatalism usurps the place of reason. Their necessities and suffer 
ings, and the want of social intercourse, render them selfish, and 
lead them to steal, to hide from each other, and to practise every 
species cf rapacity and meanness ; and this is not the tale of one 
day, or of a year, but the disgusting burden of a story which com 
prehends a series of years, and describes the people of a whole 

Among the more southern tribes, a milder climate and a country 
more prolific in the supply of food exempt the inhabitants from the 
frequent occurrence of wide-spread and long-continued famine, 
but they are far from being regularly or well supplied with food 
On the fertile plains watered by the Missouri, the Arkansas, and 
Red River the Indian brave, mounted on the native horse and 
attired in all the finery of the savage state, exhibits the most favor 
able aspect of the savage state, and his character rises to the 
highest grade of elevation attained by man as a mere animal. 
The great droves of buffalo that roam over those prairies supply 
him with food and clothing; and the use of the horse, while it 
adds largely to his pride and his efficiency as a warrior, contributes 
greatly to his success as a hunter, and his enjoyment of his wild 
mode of life. But the existence of the man who depends on hunting 


for a subsistence is, at best, extremely precarious. The migrations 
of animals, though somewhat mysterious, are frequent; and the 
same district which at one time abounds in buffalo, deer, bear, or 
some other animal, is at another entirely deserted by the same 
description of quadrupeds. Extremes of heat and cold, and the 
consequent failure of subsistence, are probably the more usual 
causes of these movements ; but there are instances in which they 
cannot be traced to any apparent cause. 

The inhabitants of the Sandwich islands, when first visited by 
the Europeans, were savages, as uncivilized and barbarous as the 
North American Indians, and were besides addicted to some vices 
which are comparatively unknown to the latter. Their insular 
position, their climate, their indolent and luxurious habits, and 
several other peculiarities of condition and character, rendered 
them much less likely to become the subjects of civilization than 
the more hardy inhabitants of the North American continent. Yet 
here the experiment has been triumphantly successful. The civili 
zation of the Sandwich Islanders has been so complete as to leave 
no room for a doubt or a cavil. They have formally abrogated 
their savage customs, renounced their pagan superstitions, and 
abandoned their former mode of life. The change has not been 
merely formal and theoretical, but actual, practical, and thorough ; 
and these islanders, so lately plunged in the most brutal practices 
of heathenism, rank among the civilized and Christian nations of 
the earth. They have received the Bible, and become converted 
to the Christian faith. The American missionaries established 
among them have been eminently successful in teaching the doc 
trines of the Gospel, and in building up the church of the Re 
deemer. The converts are numerous, embracing the majority 
of the population, and they give abundant evidence of sincerity, 
zeal, and devotion. The schools are well attended, and include as 
pupils the great mass of the population. So complete has been the 
revolution, and so rapid the progress of this amiable people in the 


attainment of religious instruction, and in the amelioration of their 
general condition, that they will probably soon become, if they are 
not now, an uncommonly moral and well disciplined nation, and 
afford an example of piety and good government which might be 
followed with advantage by some of the oldest communities of 

In marking the characteristic features of this revolution we dis 
cover some of the elements which we have insisted upon as indis 
pensable in bringing about a similar result among our own Indians. 
The insular position of the islanders restrained them from the 
wandering habits, which we consider peculiarly hostile to the 
introduction of civilization, while it greatly curtailed their opportu 
nities for war, and the indulgence of those propensities which are 
inseparable from the state of war, especially among savages the 
lust for carnage, and the lust for plunder. They were free from 
the sinister influence of a loose population upon their borders, 
preying upon their substance, and demoralizing their character; 
and, from the pressure of a superior population, exciting con tin' 
ually their jealousy and hatred. There was, it is true, a malign 
English influence, which would have kept these people savages for 
ever, for the worst of purposes ; but this was happily overcome by 
the perseverance of the American missionaries, strengthened by 
the aid of our naval officers, and of a large portion of our com 
mercial marine trading in those seas. 

The rapid and complete revolution effected in the character of 
these islanders affords so apt an illustration of our subject, that we 
think it may not be uninteresting to quote a few paragraphs, from 
an authentic source, in regard to that remarkable people. Our 
authority is Jarves's "History of the Hawaiian or Sandwich 
Islands," recently published. 

" The general cast of features prevailing among the whole group 
was similar to that of all Polynesia, and analogous to the Malay, to 
which family of the human race they doubtless belong. A con 



siderable variety in color existed, from a light olive to an almost 
African black ; the hair was coarse, and almost equally dissimilar, 
varying from the straight, long, black, or dark brown, to the crispy 
curl peculiar to the negro. This latter was comparatively rare. 
White hair among the children was common. A broad, open, 
vulgarly good-humored countenance prevailed among the males, 
and a more pleasing and engaging look with the females. Both 
bespoke the predominance of gross animal passions. Many of the 
latter, when young, were pretty and attractive. Though further 
from the equator, both sexes were some shades darker than the 
Tahitians, Marquesans, or Ascension islanders ; all of whom excel 
them in personal beauty. As with them, a fulness of the nostril, 
without the peculiar flatness of the negro, and a general thickness 
of lips, prominent and broad cheek bones, and narrow, high, and 
retreating foreheads, resembling the Asiatics, predominated. In 
stances of deformity were not more common than in civilized life. 
Their teeth were white, firm and regular; but their eyes were 
generally bloodshot, which was considered a personal attraction. 
The hands of the women were soft, well made, with tapering 
fingers. When the sex arrived at maturity, which took place 
from ten to twelve years of age, they presented slight and graceful 
figures ; which a few years settled into embonpoint, and a few more 
made as unattractive as they were before the reverse." 

" No regular marriage ceremonies existed ; though, on such oc 
casions, it was customary for the bridegroom to cast a piece of cloth 
on the bride in the presence of her family. A feast was then fur 
nished by the friends of both parties. The number of wives de 
pended upon the inclination of the man, and his ability to support 
them. Though the common men usually lived with one woman, 
who performed household labors, no binding tie existed ; each party 
consulting their wishes for a change, joining or separating, as they 
agreed or disagreed." 

" Some doubt formerly existed, whether cannibalism ever pre> 


vailed in the group. The natives themselves manifested a degree 
of shame, horror, and confusion, when questioned upon the subject, 
that led Cook and his associates, without any direct evidence of the 
fact, to believe in its existence; but later voyagers disputed this 
conclusion. The confessions of their own historians, and the gene- 

7 O 

ral acknowledgment of the common people, have now established it 
beyond a doubt; though, for some time previous to Cook's visit, it 
had gradually decreased, until scarcely a vestige, if any, of the hor 
rible custom remained. This humanizing improvement, so little in 
accordance with their other customs, was a pleasing trait in their 
national character. It may have resulted from instruction and 
example, derived from their earliest European visitors, or a self- 
conviction of its own abomination. Be that as it may, a public 
sentiment of disgust in regard to it prevailed at that period, highly 
creditable to them as a nation, and which distinguished them from 
their more savage contemporaries of New Zealand, the Marquesas, 
and* even from the more polished Tahitian." 

" The cleanliness of the islanders has been much praised, but 
without reason. Frequent bathing kept their persons in tolerable 
order ; but the same filthy clothing was worn while it would hold 
together. The lodging of the common orders was shared with the 
brutes, and their bodies a common receptacle of vermin." 

" The Hawaiian character, uninfluenced by either of the fore 
going causes," (civilization and Christianity,) " may be thus sum 
med up. From childhood no natural affections were inculcated. 
Existence was due rather to accident than design. Spared by a 
parent's hand, a boy lived to become the victim of a priest, an offer 
ing to a blood-loving deity, or to experience a living death from pre 
ternatural fears a slave not only to his own superstitions, but to the 
terrors and caprices of his chief. Life, limb, or property, were not 
iris to know. Bitter, grinding tyranny was his lot. No mother's hand 
soothed the pains of youth, or father's guided in the pursuits of man 
hood. No social circle warmed the heart by its kindly affections. No 


moral teachings enkindled a love of truth. No revelation cheered 
his earthly course, and brightened future hopes. All was darkness. 
Theft, lying, drunkenness, riots, revelling, treachery, revenge, lewd- 
ness, infanticide, murder these were his earliest and latest teach 
ings. Among them was his life passed. Their commonness excited 
no surprise. Guilt was only measured by failure or success. Justice 
was but retaliation, and the law arrayed each man's hand against 
his brother. Games and amusements were but the means of gam 
bling and sensual excitement. An individual selfishness, which 
sought present gratification, momentary pleasure, or lasting results, 
regardless of unholy measures or instruments, was the all-predomi 
nating passion. Their most attractive quality, it cannot be called 
a virtue, was a kind of easy, listless, good-nature, never to be de 
pended upon when their interests were aroused. Instances of better 
dispositions were sometimes displayed, and occasional gleams of 
humanity, among which may be mentioned friendship, and a hos 
pitality common to all rude nations, where the distinctions of pro 
perty are but slightly understood, enlivened their dark characters ; 
but sufficient only to redeem their title to humanity, not make us 
altogether blush and hide our heads to own ourselves their fellow 
men. Individuals there were who rose above this level of degrada 
tion, and their lives served to render more prominent the vices of 
the remainder. La Perouse, though fresh from the Rousseau 
school of innocence of savage life, thus expressed his opinion :- 
'The most daring rascals of Europe are less hypocritical than 
these natives. All their caresses are false. Their physiognomy 
does not express a single sentiment of truth. The object most to 
be suspected is he who has just received a present, or who appears 
to be most earnest in rendering a thousand little services." 

The following remark conveys, in a few words, a strong picture 
of depravity. " So dark were their conceptions of one of the most 
pleasurable emotions of the heart, gratitude, that there was found in 
their language, no word to express the sentiment. While it abounded 


in terms expressive of every shade of vice and crime, it was destitute 
of those calculated to convey ideas of virtue or rectitude." 

Revolting as this picture may appear, it is but a softened por 
traiture of the disgusting depravity of these islanders. The details 
are so shocking as to be unfit for publication. Yet this is a true 
representation of savage nature, as we find it exemplified in all 
parts of the world: it is the human heart "deceitful above all 
things, and desperately wicked," as described in the inspired 
volume, and as it exists every where, when untouched by the 
ameliorating influence of Gospel truth. It is modified, it is true, 
by circumstances. It is influenced by the climate, by the abun 
dance or scarcity of food, and by the habit and opportunities of 
engaging in the pursuits of war and rapine. The North American 
Indian is of a colder temperament than the islander of the Papific 
Ocean. He is trained to war, and his passions are disciplined to 
obedience. Every desire and emotion of his heart is brought in 
subjection to a martial police, and his individuality is to a great 
extent merged in a kind of military esprit du corps, which takes the 
place of patriotism. He is less sensual than the islander, constitu 
tionally ; and from his location in a colder climate, is less given to 
self-indulgence, in consequence of his military training, and the 
laborious life of the hunter; and is more manly in his bearing, 
from the effect of athletic exercises and frequent exposure to 
danger. But after these allowances are made, and the necessary 
deductions drawn from them, we shall find that these varieties of 
the savage character, however superficially different, are the same 
in structure, and in every elemental part and principle. The 
islander became by far the more depraved and vicious from the 
enervating influence of climate, and from a variety of degrading 
influences incident to his position. 

Yet this people have become civilized so rapidly, that the same 
o-eneration has witnessed their transit from the total darkness of 


paganism to the effulgence of Gospel light. They have esta- 


Wished a regular government, and have been recognized as an 
independent nation by the United States and Great Britain. They 
are governed by the wise and equal laws of a free people. The 
same writer, from whose valuable work we have already quoted, 
says : 

" Suitable harbor and quarantine regulations are incorporated in 
the body of laws. The penal code recognizes a just distinction 
between offences, and provides proportionate punishments. Courts 
of appeal and decision are established, in which, by the help of 
foreign juries, important cases, involving large amounts of property, 
have been equitably decided. This legislation is extended to all 
the wants of the native population, and regulates the landed dis 
tinctions, fisheries, transmission of property, property in trust, 
collection of debts, interest accounts, weights and measures; in 
short, is sufficient, except in complex cases, arising from mer 
cantile affairs, to provide for all the emergencies of the civilized 

" Taxation is rendered lighter and more equal. All taxes can be 
commuted for money; when this is wanting, they are assessed in 
labor or the productions of the soil. Foreigners pay nothing but a 
voluntary capitation tax of a trifling amount annually." 

" A great interest is manifested in education ; the law provides 
schools and teachers for all children; encouragement for agricul 
tural enterprises is freely afforded, and bounties for the introduction 
of the useful arts and productions, and for those whose time and 
abilities shall be made of public benefit. An enlightened spirit 
pervades the whole system; in its present incipient stage it cannot 
be expected to bear the fruits of maturity, but on such a foundation 
a fair and firm fabric will doubtless arise. The government, not to 
let their laws and enactments become a dead letter, has provided 
for their monthly exposition, by the judges and subordinate officers, 
to the people. If they do not eventually become what their legis 
lators would have them, the burden will rest upon their own 


shoulders. Government has opened wide the door of moral and 
political advancement; and no more efficient aids to the cause 
exist than His Majesty, Governor Kekuandoa, and some chiefs of 
lesser degree. In 1840, to the surprise of the foreigners, who pre 
dicted the customary leniency towards rank, the majesty of the 
laws was fully asserted in the hanging of a chief of high blood for 
the murder of his wife. Later still, in 1841, the English consul 
was fined by a municipal court for riotous conduct, while the judge 
addressed a withering rebuke to him, as the representative of an 
enlightened nation, for setting aside all respect for his office or cha 
racter, and appealed to the other official gentlemen present for their 
countenance in the support of good order." 

'* The annual assemblages of the king and council have been held 
at Lahaina, the capital of the kingdom. Every succeeding one has 
manifested an improvement on the last. Legislative forms are be 
coming better understood, and modifications of the code made to 
suit the necessities of the times. In 1842, a treasury system was 
adopted, which, in its infancy, has given a credit to the govern 
ment it never before possessed. Instead of the former squandering 
methods, by which moneys were entrusted to courtiers or depend 
ents, and never strictly accounted for, they are deposited in a regu 
lar treasury, at the head of which is Dr. G. P. Judd, a man emi 
nently qualified to give satisfaction to all classes. Assisted by 
intelligent natives, accounts of receipts for taxes, port charges, and 
the customs, for which, within the past year, a slight duty on im 
ports has been laid, are kept, and from the proceeds the expenses 
and debts of the government are regularly paid. Instead of living 
upon their tenants, the officers receive stated salaries; but these 
and other changes are too recent to be chronicled as history; they 
are but landmarks in the rapid improvement of the nation." 

"From the great quantity of liquors introduced, and their cheap 
ness, it was feared, and with reason, that the old thirst for ardent 
spirits would be awakened. Many did drink to excess, and men 


and women reeling through the streets were common sights. As it 
was impossible to exclude the temptation, the chiefs, though partial 
to their use themselves, determined to restrict the sale by prevent 
ing the demand. The natives were prohibited from manufacturing 
ardent spirits; temperance societies were formed; and by combina 
tion and addresses the enthusiasm of the nation enkindled ; thou 
sands, particularly of the young, joined them, and finally the king, 
setting an example which was followed by most of the chiefs, 
pledged himself to total abstinence." 

" In religious knowledge the progress of the nation has been 
respectable. In 1841, there were sixteen thousand eight hundred 
arid ninety-three members of the Protestant churches, and this 
number was increasing. Upwards of eighteen thousand children 
are receiving instruction in the schools, most of which, however, 
embrace simply the elementary branches ; these are so generally 
diffused, that it is uncommon to find a native who cannot read or 
write, and who does not possess some knowledge of arithmetic and 
geography. In the High School, and some of the boarding schools, 
a much more extended education prevails, sufficient to qualify the 
pupils for becoming teachers, or eventually filling more responsible 
professions. It is a striking fact, that of all the business documents 
in possession of the Hawaiian Government, accumulated in their 
intercourse with foreigners, one-half bear the marks of the latter 
who were unable to write ; while there is but one instance of so 
deplorable ignorance on the part of the natives, and that was Kai- 
koewn, late Governor of Kanai, whose age and infirmities were a 
sufficient apology for his neglect. If a belief that the Bible con 
tains the revealed will of God, the sacred observance of the Sab 
bath, the erection of churches, the diffusion of education, gratuitous 
contributions of money for charitable purposes to a large amount 
annually, a general attendance on divine worship, and interest in 
religious instruction, and a standard of morality rapidly improving, 
constitutes a Christian nation, the Hawaiians of 1842 may safely 


claim that distinction. Rightly to appreciate the change, their ori 
ginal character should be accurately known." 

" At their re-discovery by Cook, heathenism had waxed hoary 
in iniquity and vileness. Little better than miserable hordes of 
savages, living in perpetual warfare, writhing under a despotism 
strained to its utmost tension, and victims to the unsatiable avarice 
of a bloody-minded priestcraft, they had reached that period when 
decline or revolution must have ensued. By the adventitious aids 
of commerce, the aspiring Kamehamela effected the latter; blood 
was freely spilt ; but, under his universal rule, the horde of priestly 
and feudal tyrants were merged into one himself whose justice 
and benevolence, imperfect as they were when viewed in the light 
of increased wisdom, are allowed, by the concurrent testimony of 
Hawaiians and foreigners, to have formed a new era in their his 
tory. During his reign civilization had full scope for its effect 
upon barbarism; good men advised, moral men were examples; 
and the result was in accordance with the strength of the principle 
brought to bear upon them. The Hawaiians became a nation of 
skilful traders, dealing with an honesty quite equal to that which 
they received ; mercantile cunning succeeded former avaricious 
violence; good faith became a principle of interest; scepticism 
weakened bigotry. This was all the spirit of gain, in its civilized 
costume, could accomplish; it had bettered the condition of the 
savage, inasmuch as it was itself superior to brute lust. It carried 
them to the height upon which it was itself poised, a modern 
Pisgah, from which glimpses of the promised land could be seen. 
By inoculating their minds with the desire, though crude, for 
better things, it became- the instrument of the rising of the spirit 
of liberty, and the first step toward mental ascendency. Further 
progress could only be gained b/ the active recognition of the 
Divine command, ' Go ye and teach all nations.' This was obeyed 
by that people who have been most alive to its commercial advan 
tages. The struggles and labors of twenty -one years of missionary 



exertions, and their general results upon the political and religious 
character of the nation, have been depicted. During that time 
upwards of five hundred thousand dollars have been devoted by 
the ' American Board of Foreign Missions' for this purpose ; more 
than forty families of missionaries employed throughout the group : 
the advantages of well-regulated domestic circles practically shown ; 
one hundred millions of pages printed and distributed, among 
which were two extensive editions of the Bible, and translations 
and compilations of valuable school and scientific books. The 
multiplicity of religious works have been varied by others of his 
torical and general interest; newspapers printed; in fine, the 
rudiments of a native literature formed, which bids fair to meet 
the increasing wants of the nation. Several islanders have mani 
fested good powers of composition, and, both by their writings and 
discourses, have been of eminent advantage to their countrymen. 
Neither have the mechanical arts been neglected by their in 
structors. Under their tuition the labors of the needle have been 
made universal. Weaving, spinning, and knitting have been 
introduced. With the same illiberality which characterized some 
of the earliest white settlers, who refused to instruct the natives for 
fear they would soon ' know too much,' a number of the mechanics 
of the present day associated themselves to prevent any of their 
trade from working with, or giving instruction to natives. But 
their mechanical skill was not thus to be repressed ; with the 
assistance of the missionaries, numbers have become creditable 
workmen ; among them are to be found good masons, carpenters, 
printers, bookbinders, tailors, blacksmiths, shoemakers, painters, 
and other artisans. Their skill in copper engraving is remarkable. 
They are apt domestics, expert and good-natured seamen, hard 
workers as laborers, and in all the departments of menial service 
faithful in proportion to their knowledge and recompense." 

" It is no injustice to the foreign traders to attribute this general 
prosperity mainly to missionary efforts. By thorn the islands have 


been made desirable residences for a better and more refined class 
of whites ; these have been instruments of much good, and even of 
counteracting the somewhat too rigid and exclusive tendencies of 
the mission. But they came for pecuniary gain, and the good 
resulting from their intercourse was incidental. The whole undi 
vided counsels and exertions of the mission have been applied to 
the spread of Christianity and civilization. How far they have 
been successful, let the result answer." 

The question, so important to humanity, and so long considered 
doubtful, as to the practicability of civilizing the various' tribes of 
savages scattered over the face of the earth, may now be considered 
as settled. The experiment at the Sandwich Islands was com 
menced under the most unfavorable auspices. Human nature had 
reached there its lowest point of degradation. The darkness of 
ignorance in which they were plunged was complete not a ray of 
light illumined it. They had all the vices of savages, and were 
destitute of that manliness of character which sometimes gives 
dignity to the barbarian state. They were inferior to the North 
American Indian in courage, in self-command, in discipline, and 
in decency of deportment, and far inferior in bodily activity. Yet 
from the first regular and sustained effort to introduce civilization, 
that noble enterprise has gone forward with scarcely any inter 
ruption; and they are now a civilized people, having a written 
constitution, a regular government, a settled commerce, laws, 
magistrates, schools, churches, a written language, and the Gospel 
of salvation. 

To produce an effect equally happy upon our own Indians only 
requires the same energy of effort directed by the same singleness 
of purpose. Whenever the civilization of our Indians shall be 
undertaken by the Government, with an eye single to that object, 
it wia oe accomplished with a facility which will astonish even 
those who are neither unfriendly to such a result, nor incredulous 
as to its actual consummation. We desire to be fully understood 


in this proposition. We have in another place spoken of our 
Government and people as decidedly friendly to this humane 
object ; they have expended millions of treasure with this avowed 
purpose. But this has been done without system, and much of the 
munificence of the Government has been wasted by careless appli 
cation, intercepted by fraud, or misdirected by knavish hypocrisy. 
The civilization of the Indians has been a secondary object, lost 
sight of in the multiplicity of other concerns, and has never 
engaged the share of attention demanded by its importance and 
solemnity'. Whenever it shall be attempted with earnestness, in 
good faith, under the immediate sanction of the Government, and 
under the influence of a public sentiment fully awakened to the 
subject, it must succeed. 


CAN the North American Indians be civilized ? Are their minds 
open to the same moral influences which affect the human family 
in common, or are they the subjects of any constitutional pecu 
liarity, which opposes a permanent barrier to an improvement of 
their condition? Perhaps the shortest reply to these questions 
would be found by asking another Is the Bible true? Are all 
men descended from Adam and Eve? If we believe that there"* is 
but one human family, the conclusion is inevitable, that however, 
by a long process of degeneration the race may have become divided 
into varieties, that operation may be reversed through the agency 
of the same natural causes which produced it. We cannot enter 
tain the doctrine of multiform creations, or with any show of reason 
admit the existence of separate races, miraculously established after 
the flood, by the same power which brought about the confusion 
of tongues, and the dispersion of the inhabitants of the earth. But 
if we did, it would bring us back to the same point ; we should still 
acknowledge a common ancestry, and claim for every branch of the 
human family a common destiny. The promises were given to all ; 
no exception is made in the offers of salvation. If it be admitted 
that men were divided into races, and certain distinctions of color 
and physical structure established, to separate them permanently, 
still they are all the intelligent creatures of God ; the subjects of 
his moral government, and the objects of a great system of rewards 
and punishments, which he has vouchsafed to reveal, without de 
barring any from its benefits, or absolving any from its obligations 



We cannot, consistently with these views, give up any portion of 
the human race to hopeless and everlasting barbarism. 

In a former part of this work we alluded to the rapid progress 
in civilization, made by the natives of the Sandwich Islands, as 
affording ample testimony on this subject; and we shall now at 
tempt to corroborate those views, by reference to what has been 
done towards reclaiming the Indians of our own continent. 

In summing up this evidence, we beg the reader to bear in mind, 
the proofs we adduced in the former parts of this essay, of the ori 
ginally favorable disposition of the savages towards the whites, as 
evinced by their kind reception of the first colonists. In the settle 
ment of Pennsylvania, for instance, the most amicable intercourse 
was maintained between the stranger races, for a series of years, 
and a mutual kindness, respect, and confidence towards each other 
was established. This experiment must be satisfactory, as far as it 
goes, to the most incredulous ; to our own mind it is conclusive : for 
we consider the question to be, not whether the Indian intellect is en 
dowed with the capacity to receive civilization, but whether his 
savage nature can be so far conciliated, as to make him a fair sub 
ject of the benevolent effort. The question is not as to the possi 
bility of eradicating his ferocity, or giving steadiness to his erratic 
habits, but as to the practicability of bringing to bear upon him, 
the influences by which his evil propensities and his waywardness 
must be subdued. The wild ass may be tarned into the most docile 
of the servants of man ; the difficulty is in catching him in placing 
him under the influence of the process of training. Whenever the 
bridle is placed upon his head, the work is done; all the rest fol 
lows with the certainty of cause and effect in the contest between 
the man and the brute, between intellect and instinct, the latter 
must submit. So it is between the civilized and savage man. The 
difficulties to be overcome, are the distance by which the races are 
separated, and the repulsion which impedes their approach. There 
is no sympathy between the refinement of the civilized man and 


the habits of the savage ; nor any neutral ground upon which they 
can meet and compromise away their points of difference. They 
are so widely separated in the scale of being, as to have no common 
tastes, habits, or opinions ; they meet in jealousy and distrust ; dis 
gust and contempt attend all their intercourse ; and the result of 
their contact is oppression and war. And why? The repulsive 
principle is never overcome, the attraction of sympathy is never 
established. The parties do not gaze upon each other patiently, 
long enough to become reconciled to their mutual peculiarities, nor 
sit together in peace until they become acquainted. The habit of 
enduring each other's manners is not established, nor the good fel 
lowship which results from pacific intercourse, even between those 
who are widely separated by character and station. 

We have said that the first European visitors were kindly re 
ceived. They were so : but it was not from any thing attractive in 
their appearance, or from any love or sympathy impelling the poor 
savage to the practice of hospitality. Fear and wonder quelled the 
ferocity of the Indian, and curiosity impelled him to seek the pre 
sence of these singular beings, who came mysteriously to his 
shores, in human shape, but wielding apparently the powers of the 
invisible world. It was the white man who dispelled an illusion so 
advantageous to himself, by the exhibition of meanness, weakness, 
and vice, which demonstrated his human nature so clearly, that 
even the ignorant savage could not mistake. 

From the general misconduct of the whites, there were some no 
ble exceptions, and from these we select the settlement of Pennsyl 
vania, as the most prominent. The Quakers were sincere in their 
religious professions. They did not make religion the cloak of a 
rapacious spirit of aggrandizement, nor murder the savage in the 
name of a Creator w 7 ho commands love, and peace, and forgiveness. 
They met the savage on terms of equality, overlooking the vast 
disparity of intellect and education, and breaking down all the bar 
riers of separation. The first step was decisive; there was no 


room for distrust ; no time for prejudice to rankle, and ripen into 
hatred. The Indian threw aside his fears and his wonder, and met 
the Quaker as a brother. They dwelt together in unity ; for more 
than half a century they lived in peace, in the daily interchange of 
kindness and benefits. The experiment was successful ; because, 
whenever the civilized and savage man can be brought into amica 
ble and protracted intercourse, the latter must unavoidably and im 
perceptibly acquire the arts and habits of the former. 

The history of the Praying Indians of New England is fraught 
with instruction on the subject of this essay, and forms a pathetic 
episode in the history of this people. Although the conversion of 
the heathen is alleged in nearly all the royal charters and patents, 
as one of the pretences for taking possession of newly discovered 
countries, and for granting them to individuals and companies, it 
does not seem to have occupied much of the attention of the first 
colonists. The name of John Eliot is justly entitled to honor, as 
that of the pioneer of this noble enterprise; for, previous to his 
day, we do not find that any systematic effort was made to com 
municate the Gospel to the Indians of New England. Resolving 
to devote himself to their service, he first proceeded to qualify him 
self for the office of teacher, by learning the language of the Nip- 
mucks, and he was probably the first white man who studied the 
language of the Indians for their advantage. He is said to have 
effected this in a few months, by hiring an Indian to reside in his 
family. His first meeting with the natives for the purpose of con 
versing with them, in their own language, on the subject of reli 
gion, was on the 28th of October, 1646, which was twenty -six 
years after the landing at Plymouth. In this and subsequent con 
ferences he endeavored to explain to them the leading points in 
the history and doctrines of the Bible, and was met with all those 
popular and obvious objections which are used by the ignorant, or 
those who are but superficially acquainted with the sacred volume. 
The chiefs and conjurers, also, opposed the introduction of the new 


religion; for wherever government and religion are controlled by 
the same persons, or by persons who act in concert, all reform is 
objected to, as subversive of ancient usages, and dangerous' to the 
ruling powers. The most enlightened aristocrat, and the most 
ignorant savage chief, are equally alive to an instinctive dread of 
change, and especially of changes which appeal to the reflective 
faculties of the people, and lead them to independent thought and 
action, instead of the more convenient plan for the ruler, of being 
wielded in masses like machines. Notwithstanding this opposition, 
a number of the Indians became attached to Mr. Eliot, and placed 
themselves under his teaching, while a still larger number were 
willing to intrust their children to be instructed by him. 

Eliot became sensible of the necessity of separating his converts 
from the rest of their people, as well to shield them from the bad 
influence of the unconverted, as to train them in the arts and habits 
of civilization. It was an axiom with him, that civilization was an 
indispensable auxiliary to the conversion of the savage. Proceed 
ing upon this principle, he collected his proselytes in towns, in 
structed them in rural and mechanical labors, and gave them 
a brief code of laws for their government. Some of these laws 
afford curious evidence of the simplicity of the times ; for instance : 
" If any man be idle a week, or at most a fortnight, he shall pay 
five shillings." " If any man shall beat his wife, his hands shall 
be tied behind him, and he shall be carried to the place of justice 
to be severely punished." " Every young man, if not another's 
servant, and if unmarried, shall be compelled to set up a wigwam, 
and plant for himself, and not shift up and down in other wig 
wams," " If any woman shall not have her hair tied up, but hung 
loose, or be cut as men's hair, she shall pay five shillings." " All 
men that wear long locks shall pay five shillings." 

The whole of the Bible was translated into the Indian tongue, by 
Eliot, and also Baxter's " Call," Shepherd's " Sincere Convert," and 



" Sound Believer," besides a variety of other books, such as gram 
mar, psalters, catechisms, &c. 

Cotton Mather remarks of Eliot's Indian Bible : " This Bible 
was printed here at our Cambridge ; and it is the only Bible that 
was ever printed in all America, from the very foundation of the 
world," The same author tells us, " The whole translation was 
writ with but one pen, which pen, had it not been lost, would have 
certainly deserved a richer case than was bestowed upon that pen 
with which Holland writ his translation of Plutarch." 

That worthy and quaint compiler, Drake, from whose Book of 
the Indians we have taken this and some other valuable items, 
appends in a note the following lines, which Philemon Holland, 
"the translator general of his age," made upon his pen : 

" With one sole pen I write this book, 

Made of a gray goose quill ; 
A pen it was, when I it took, 
And a pen I leave it still." 

The towns established under the auspices of the Missionary Eliot, 
are said to have been fourteen in number, and the aggregate popu 
lation is stated to have been eleven hundred and fifty ; but as this 
enumeration includes whole families, the number of converts must 
have, been much less. At the close of Philip's war, 1677, the num 
ber of towns, according to Gookin's account, was reduced to seven, 
but when an attempt was made during the war, to collect the Pray 
ing Indians in one place for safety, but about five hundred could be 
found, and this number was reduced to three hundred at the close 
of the war. Six years after that war, there were but four towns, 
and the number of inhabitants are not stated. 

It is difficult to ascertain with precision the results of the early 
efforts, on the part of the English colonists generally, to convert 
the Indians, because the accounts of these transactions are not only 
incomplete, but greatly perverted by prejudice and exaggeration. 


There were among the early Puritans many excellent men who 
fervently desired the conversion of this branch of the human 
family, and labored zealously in the cause, and we have good 
reason to believe, in regard to some of them at least, that their 
zeal was according to knowledge. But we have their own testi 
mony, that the sympathies of the public were not with them in 
this good work, and that the dislike of the whites towards their red 
neighbors interposed a barrier which thwarted the best exertions 
for the civilization of the latter. We have before us the " Histori 
cal Account of the Doings and Sufferings of the Christian Indians 
in New England, in the years 1675, 1676, and 1677, impartially 
drawn by one well acquainted with that affair, and presented unto 
the Right Honorable the Corporation, residing in London, and 
appointed by the King's Most Excellent Majesty, for Promoting 
the Gospel among the Indians in America." The author was 
" Master Daniel Gookin," of whom Cotton Mather wrote : 

"A constellation of great converts there 
Shone round him, and his heavenly glory were. 
Gookins was one of these." 

He was superintendent of the Indians, under the jurisdiction of 
Massachusetts, during many years ; was a man of high standing, 
distinguished for his humanity, his courage, and his fidelity to the 
cause of the Indian. The publishing committee of the American 
Antiquarian Society, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a prelimi 
nary notice of this work, say : 

" The policy adopted by Gookin towards the Indians did not at 
all times escape the censure of the public ; for during the troubles 
that arose from the aggressions of the hostile tribes, the people 
could with difficulty be restrained from involving in one common 
destruction the whole race ; and while it required the most deter 
mined spirit, on the part of the superintendent, to stem the torrent 
of popular violence, he did not fail to draw on himself undeserved 


odium and reproach. Gookin was eminently the friend of the 
Indians, and never hesitated to interpose his own safety between 
the infuriated white man and the unoffending object of his ven 

The immediate purpose of Master Daniel Gookin is to describe 
the sufferings of the Praying Indians, in the war between the 
whites and Indians, during the period covered by his narrative. 
The Christian Indians, having nothing to expect from the savage 
tribes of their own race, who despised and hated them, for their 
adhesion to the faith of the white men, were solicitous to be received 
as allies of the colonists ; and as their towns lay along the frontier, 
contiguous to the white settlements, their friendship would have 
been valuable had it been cultivated in good faith, as the towns of 
the friendly Indians would have covered the most exposed settle 
ments from the inroads of the savages. The protection would have 
been mutual, and the community of danger, and military service, 
would have strengthened the bands of friendship, while the con 
verted Indians would have been confirmed in their new faith, and 
the prejudices of both parties softened by an intercourse so bene 
ficial to each. The public manifestation on the part of the colo 
nists, of a disposition to adopt and protect the converted heathen, 
connected with the evidence of power to render that protection 
effectual, must have produced a salutary effect upon the savage 
mind. The policy pursued was unfortunately the very reverse of 
that dictated by sound prudence and Christian charity. No sooner 
were hostilities commenced than the friendly Indians became 
objects of suspicion and persecution from both sides. Although 
they volunteered their services to the colonists, and were often 
employed both as warriors and guides, they were continually 
subjected to all the insult and injury which the petty tyranny of 
military officers and the malignity of a bigoted popular sentiment 
could inflict on them. Their fidelity to the whites is attested by 
Mr. Gookin, and other men of high character, yet they were sus- 


pected to be traitors, and almost every disaster and reverse of 
fortune was attributed to their agency, and drew down upon their 
devoted heads the vengeance of an infuriated populace. The work 
of Mr. Gookin is filled with incidents of this kind, of the most 
pathetic interest, in which these unfortunate people are seen on the 
one hand warning the colonists of approaching danger ; guiding 
them through the mazes of the wilderness, or sharing with them 
the dangerous vicissitudes of the battle ; while on the other, we see 
them falsely accused, arrested, beaten, imprisoned, their property 
plundered, and their families turned out to starve. That the red 
man should shrink with utter aversion from a civilization offered 
him upon such hard terms, and turn with scepticism and disgust 
from a Gospel offering such bitter fruit, cannot be surprising. 

We learn from this work that the " Praying Indians" were 
numerous, which is a sufficient proof of their willingness to receive 
the Gospel, if it had been offered to them in an acceptable manner. 
" The situation of those towns was such," says this writer, " that 
the Indians in them might well have been improved, as a wall of 
defence about the greatest part of the colony of Massachusetts ; for 
the first named of those villages bordered upon the Merrimack 
River, and the rest in order, about twelve or fourteen miles asun 
der, including most of the frontiers. And had the suggestions and 
importunate solicitations of some persons, who had knowledge and 
experience of the fidelity and integrity of the Praying Indians, 
been attended and practised in the beginning of the war, many 
and great mischiefs might have been (according to reason) pre 
vented; for most of the praying towns, in the beginning of the 
war, had put themselves in a posture of defence against the com 
mon enemy." " But such was the unhappy state of their affairs, 
or rather the displeasure of God in the case, that their counsels 
were rejected, and on the contrary, a spirit of enmity and hatred 
conceived by many against those poor Christian Indians, as I appre 
hend without cause, so far as I could ever understand, which was, 


according to the operation of second causes, a very great occasion 
of many distressing calamities that befell both one and the other." 

The worthy author conceiving it both practicable and desirable 
to conciliate the Indians, and willing to apologize for his country 
men for their failure to discharge so obvious a duty, proceeds to 
argue the matter thus : "I have often considered this matter and 
come to this result, in my own thoughts, that the most holy and 
righteous God hath overruled all counsels and affairs, in this and 
other things relating to this war, for such wise, just, and holy ends 
as these : 

" First. To make a rod of the barbarous heathen to chastise and 
punish the English for their sins. The Lord had, as our faithful 
minister often declared, applied more gentle chastisements, gra 
dually, to his New England people ; but these proving in a great 
measure ineffectual, to produce effectual humiliation, hence the 
righteous and holy Lord is necessitated to draw forth this smarting 
rod of the vile and brutish heathen, who indeed have been a very 
scourge unto New England, and especially unto the jurisdiction of 

" Secondly. To teach war to the young generation of New 
England, who had never been acquainted with it ; and especially 
to teach old and young how little confidence is to be put in the 
arm of flesh. * 

" Thirdly. The purging and trying the faith of the godly Eng 
lish and Christian Indians certainly was another end God aimed at 
in this chastisement. And the discovery of hypocrisy and wicked 
ness in some that were ready to cry ' Aha !' at the sore calamity 
upon the English people in this war, and, as much as in them lay, 
to overthrow God's work in gospelizing the poor Indians. 

"Fourthly. Doubtless one great end God aimed at was the 
destruction of many wicked heathen, whose iniquities were now 
full." * * * 

The author proceeds to state that " the Narragansetts, by their 


agent Potuche, urged that the English should not send any among 
them to preach the Gospel, or call upon them to pray to God. But 
the English refusing to concede to such an article it was withdrawn, 
and a peace concluded for that time. In this act they declared 
what their hearts were, viz : to reject Christ and his grace offered 
to them before. But the Lord Jesus, before the expiration of 
eighteen months, destroyed the body of the Narragansett nation, 
that would not have Him to reign over them, particularly all their 
sachems, and this Potuche, a chief counsellor and a subtle fellow, 
who was then at Rhode Island, coming voluntarily there, and 
afterward sent to Boston and there executed." It appears fronr 
other authorities that this Potuche was an eminent warrior, that he 
was a prisoner of war, and that his only offence was that of being 
taken in arms against the enemies of his country. The whole of 
this account affords a singular exposition of the spirit of the times. 
An intolerant people, brooking no religion but their own, nor any 
form of their own, but that which they professed, enforcing their 
own harsh dogmas upon an ignorant nation by the edge of the 
sword, yet coolly averring themselves to be the passive instruments 
of Providence in this work of carnage ! An eminently religious 
people, actuated by a benevolent desire to convert the heathen, yet 
defeating their own noble purpose by the very means employed to 
effect it ! 

We find the following note attached to Gookin's History by the 
Committee of Publication: "No remark on the contempt in 
which the poor Indians were held by men on so many accounts to 
be venerated can be more appropriate than the following note by 
Governor Hutchinson. 'It seems strange,' says he, 'that men, 
who professed to believe that God hath made of one blood all the 
nations of the earth, should so early, and upon every occasion, take 
care to preserve this distinction. Perhaps nothing has more effect- 
ally defeated the endeavors for Christianizing the Indians, li 
seems to have done more ; to have sunk their spirits, led them to 


intempsiance, and extirpated the whole race.' This remark was 
made upon a passage in Major Gibbon's instructions, on being sent 
against the Narragansetts in 1645, in these words : ' You are to 
have due regard to the distance which is to be observed betwixt 
Christians and barbarians, as well in war as in other negotiations.' ' 

In another note to the same book we read : " So obnoxious were 
the friends of the Praying Indians to the mass of the people, that 
Gookin said on the bench, while holding a court, that he was 
afraid to go along the streets ; and the author of ' A Letter to 
London,' says, that his (Gookin's) taking the Indians' part so 
much, had made him a by-word among men and boys." 

As a further evidence of the cruelty and bad faith which were 
observed towards the Indians by the people of New England, we 
quote the following passage from Drake's " Book of the Indians." 

On the 4th of September, 1676, according to Church's account, 
Tispaquin's company were encamped near Sippican, doing " great 
damage to the English, in killing their cattle, horses and swine." 
The next day Church and his rangers were in their neighborhood, 
and after observing their situation, which was " sitting round their 
fires in a thick place of brush," in seeming safety, the captain 
ordered every man to creep as he did ; and surrounded them by 
creeping as near as they could, till they should be discovered, and 
then run on upon them, and take them alive, if possible (for their 
prisoners were their pay.) They did so, taking every one that was 
at the fires, none escaping. Upon examination they agreed in 
their story that they belonged to Tispaquin, who was gone with 
John Bump and one more to Agawam and Sippican to kill horses 
and were not expected back in two or three days." Church pro 
ceeds : " This same Tispaquin had been a great captain, and the 
Indians reported that he was such a great powwau, priest or con 
juror, that no bullet could enter him. Captain Church said, he 
would not have him killed, for there was a war broken out in the 
pastern part of the country, and he would have him saved to go 


with him to fight the eastern Indians. Agreeably, he left two old 
squaws of the prisoners, and bid them tarry there until their cap 
tain Tispaquin returned, and to tell him that Church had been 
there, and had taken his wife, children, and company, and carried 
them down to Plymouth ; and would spare all their lives and his 
too if he would come down to them, and bring the other two that 
were with him, and they should be his soldiers, &c. Captain 
Church then returned to Plymouth, leaving the old squaws well 
provided for, and biscuit for Tispaquin when he returned." 

" This, Church called laying a trap for Tispaquin, and it turned 
out as he expected. We shall now see with what faith the English 
acted on this occasion. Church had assured him, that if he gave 
himself up he should not be killed ; but he was not at Plymouth 
when Tispaquin came in, having gone to Boston, on business for a 
few days ; ' but when he returned, he found to his grief that the 
heads of Annawon, Tispaquin, &c., were cut off, which were the 
last of Philip's friends.' " 

"It is true," continues Mr. Drake, "that those who were known 
to have been personally engaged in killing the English, were, in 
time of the greatest danger, cut off from pardon by a law ; that time 
had now passed away, and like many other laws of exigency, it 
should then have been considered a dead letter ; leaving out of the 
case the faith and promise of their best servant, Church. View 
it therefore in any light, and nothing can be found to justify this 
flagrant inroad upon the promise of Captain Church. To give to 
the conduct of the Plymouth government a pretext for this murder, 
(a milder expression I cannot use,) Mr. Hubbard says, ' Tispaquin 
having pretended that a bullet could not penetrate him, trial of his 
invulnerableness was resolved upon. So he was placed as a mark 
to shoot at, ' and he fell down at the first shot !' ' 

" This was doubtless the end of numerous others, as we infer 
from the following passage in Dr. Mather's ' Prevalency of Prayer 
He asks, ' Where are the six Narragansett sachems, with all then 

. 61 


captains and counsellors ? "Where are the Nipmuck sachems, with 
all their captains and counsellors? Where is Phillip, and squaw 
sachem of Pocasset, with all their captains and counsellors ? God 
do so to all the implacable enemies of Christ, and his people in New 
England !' " 

If the pious men of that day could thus pray for the blood of the 
Indian, what could be expected from the unreflecting portion of the 
community, and especially from that portion of them who were 
trained to war ? And what degree of efficacy could we attribute to 
the prayers and efforts for the conversion of the heathen, mingled 
with such ejaculations of triumph for their destruction, and so pro 
digal a shedding of their blood ? 

There is not a more touching passage in the history of this de 
voted people, than that which records the pious labors of the Mora 
vian brethren, and the melancholy catastrophe by which the fruits 
of their exertions were blasted. The Moravian missionaries seem 
to have been persons of irreproachable purity; humble and simple 
minded; who brought to their work a truly apostolic singleness of 
purpose. Their preaching was not connected with any plan of 
colonization, aggrandizement, or conquest; nor was it accessory to 
the propagation of a particular form of faith. It did not contain 
within itself the elements of discord, as has been the case with too 
many of the professed plans for converting the heathen, even under 
the most imposing auspices. The missionaries had no other object 
in view, than the conversion of the Indians ; and we contemplate 
the adventures of Heckewelder, Jung, Zeisberger, Senseman, and 
Edwards, with sentiments of respect for them, and sorrow for the 
fate of their enterprise. 

The missionary, Frederick Post, visited the Indians on the Ohio, 
in 1758, and several others penetrated into the wilderness at an 
early period. The Moravian towns, whose history we learn from 
the publications of Heckewelder and Loskiel, were founded previ 
ous to that time They were situated on the Muskingum River, in 


Ohio, and were established while that country was yet an unbroken 
wilderness. Here the Moravians collected a number of converts, 
from among the Delaware Indians, estimated by some writers at 
about four hundred, and erected them into a religious community, 
inhabiting three villages, Salem, Schoenbrund, and Gnadenhutten. 
These villages were six or seven miles apart, and were situated 
south from the present town of New Philadelphia, from which 
place the nearest of them was distant about fifteen miles. They 
w r ere sixty or seventy miles west of Pittsburg, which was then the 
nearest place inhabited by civilized men. The country in that 
vicinity is healthful and fertile, and well adapted to agricultural 
purposes ; and the little fraternity of believers, who separated them 
selves from the world, to cultivate and enjoy the peaceful fruits of 
religion, combined with useful labor, might have found here the 
happiness they sought, and have created a blooming paradise in the 
wilderness, had not the unsettled state of the times left them unpro 
tected, and exposed to insult and finally to destruction. It is im 
possible to ascertain, what progress was made by these converts, in 
the arts of civilization, as their existence was brief, and their history 
little known to any whites but the missionaries. It is certain that 
they embraced the Christian faith, abandoned war, and resorted to 
agriculture for subsistence. They became essentially a pacific peo 
ple, and prospered so far as was dependent on their own exertions. 
But the times were not propitious to a fair trial of the experiment. 
The Revolutionary War was about to break out, and the agents of 
the British Government were busily employed in the incendiary 
work of inciting the savages to war. The adventurous backwoods 
men of Pennsylvania and Virginia had crossed the Alleghany 
Mountains, and were exploring the luxuriant forests of the West, 
in search of fertile lands. They had surmounted the barrier which 
the Indians had supposed would protect their hunting-grounds, and 
which the officious foreigner had pointed out to them as a natural 
boundary between the white and red races. The excitement was 


great throughout the whole frontier, and at no time in our history 
have the hostilities between these parties assumed a more fierce and 
unrelenting character, than that which characterized the wars of 
this period. Two of the British emissaries, McKee and Girty, 
were men who, to great industry and perseverance in their despica 
ble office, added a cold-blooded and sanguinary cruelty, for which 
a parallel can scarcely be found in the annals of crime. The savage 
mind, already irritated by the encroachments of the white settlets, 
became infuriated by the inflammatory harangues of these agents, 
accompanied by presents, by promised rewards, by the hope of 
plunder, by the lust of revenge, and, by that most fearful engine of 
destruction, the intoxicating draught. 

The Moravian villages were situated about midway between 
some of the Indian towns and the advanced settlements of the 
whites, and as they practised a pacific demeanor towards both par 
ties, receiving both alike with Christian kindness and hospitality, 
they soon became suspected by each of secretly favoring the other. 
The rights of unarmed neutrals are seldom respected by warriors 
with arms in their hands, and with appetites whetted for plunder. 
The rough militia from the frontier, and the painted savage, equally 
despised the humble convert of the cross, and branded as hypocrisy 
and cowardice that spirit of non-resistance which they could not 

Under all these disadvantages the community continued to flou 
rish until the actual breaking out of the Revolutionary War in 1775. 
Up to that period there had been encroachments, jealousy, quarrels, 
marauding excursions, and occasionally a petty border warfare ; but 
now there was a general war of a bitter and unsparing character. 
The American Colonies, barely able to maintain the contest on the 
sea-board, against the fleets and armies of Great Britain, had no 
troops to send to the frontier, where the pioneers were obliged to 
defend themselves against the combined British and Indian force. 
It was a warfare such as we trust will never again disgrace the flag 


of any Christian people, or pollute the soil of 'our country a war 
against individuals, which brought distress and ruin to the fireside, 
without any perceptible effect upon the national quarrel, or any 
advantage to either of the principal parties. The burning of the 
settler's cabin the murder of women and children the plunder of 
an indigent peasantry, whose whole wealth yielded to the ruffian 
invader nothing but the fruits of the earth and the spoils of the 
chase, all this was poor game for the diplomatic skill and military 
energies of a first-rate European power. The backwoodsmen, left 
to contend unaided against this formidable allied power, imbibed 
the bitter feeling, and adopted the savage warfare of their enemies, 
so that the contest became not only fierce and bloody, but was 
marked by cruelties of the most atrocious character. 

The war parties of either side, in passing the villages of the 
Christian Indians, often found it convenient to stop, and were always 
kindly entertained by this pacific community, who would not have 
dared, even if so disposed, to refuse the rites of hospitality to armed 
men. It was not easy, under such circumstances, to avoid the sus 
picion of partiality. Even their benevolence, and their aversion to 
the shedding of blood, led them into acts which, however humane, 
were incautious. They sometimes became apprised of the plans of 
the Indians, to surprise and massacre the whites, and by sending 
secret messages to the latter, saved them from the impending 
destruction ; and when the famished and way-worn fugitives, who 
had escaped from captivity, sought a refuge at their doors, they se 
creted and fed them, and assisted them in eluding their pursuers. 
The red warriors, on the other hand, were always received with 
hospitality, and experienced, no doubt, all the kindness which was 
extended to our own people. The charities of this kind people 
were probably numerous, for it was a rude season, and many were 
the sufferers driven by the blasts of war to seek shelter within their 
doors. It followed naturally, that whenever a secret plan failed of 
success, in consequence of its being discovered and frustrated by 


the opposite party, the Moravians were charged with the disclosure. 
Their habitual kindness was forgotten, the benevolence of their mo 
tive was not taken into account, and they were cursed as spies and 
traitors, for actions of w r hich they were wholly innocent, or which 
were honorable to them as men and as Christians. 

The Moravian villages were called " the half-way houses of the 
warriors," and this phrase was used in fierce derision by the law 
less men, who despised the meek professors of a pacific creed, who 
were content to till the soil, taking no side in the portentous war, 
whose thunders were rolling on every side. The neutrality im 
plied in the term half-way house, was any thing but pleasing to 
warriors embittered by an implacable hatred ; and the helplessness 
that should have protected the brethren only invited insult. 

As early as 1754, they are said to have been oppressed by a tri 
bute exacted from them by the Hurons ; and about the same time a 
plot to remove their residence to Wajonick, on the Susquehanna, 
was set on foot by the " Wild Indians," in alliance with the French, 
for the purpose of getting the Moravians out of the way, that they 
might with more secrecy assail the English settlements. Many of 
the brethren fell into this snare, and some of the chiefs among them 
were tempted to advocate the measure, from a latent desire to re 
turn to the war path. The missionaries discovered the moving 
springs of the intrigue, and refused to sanction the removal ; but 
about seventy of their followers emigrated to that and other places. 

In the spring of 1778, the English emissaries McKee, Elliot, 
Girty, and others, having been arrested at Pittsburg as tories, made 
their escape, and passing rapidly through the tribes, proclaimed 
that the Americans were preparing to destroy the Indians, and 
called upon the latter to strike at the settlements in self-defence. 
The whole frontier was thrown into a ferment by this incendiary 

About the year 1780 a large Indian force was collected for the 
urpose of striking a decisive blow at the settlements of Western 


Virginia, but on reaching the points intended to be assailed, full of 
expectation, and flushed in advance with the hope of plunder, they 
were disappointed by finding that preparations were made for their 
reception. Mortified with this result, they retreated to a safe dis 
tance, and having taken a number of prisoners, they deliberately 
tortured and murdered them, with every refinement of savage 
cruelty. The sufferers were so numerous, and the barbarities prac 
tised upon them so aggravated, as to cause an extraordinary excite 
ment in the American settlements. In 1781 Colonel Broadhead, of 
Pennsylvania, led an expedition against the hostile Indians; and 
halting near Salem, directed the inhabitants to collect their people 
and remain within doors, that they might not be mistaken for ene 
mies by his exasperated troops. While this officer was assuring 
the Rev. Mr. Heckewelder that the Moravian Indians should be 
protected, the incensed militia were preparing to destroy the towns, 
and it was only by the most strenuous exertions of the officers that 
the poor Indians were saved from destruction. 

Not long after this event, a chief called Pach-gaut-schi-hi-las 
appeared suddenly at Gnadenhutten, at the head of eighty war 
riors, and surrounded the village, so as to allow no one to escape. 
The panic-stricken brethren, expecting that the hour for their 
extermination had arrived, prepared to meet their fate. The chief, 
however, relieved their fears by demanding the delivery of certain 
leading men, who were found to be absent. After consulting with 
the brethren, the chief greeted them kindly, spoke with respect of 
their pacific habits, and deplored their exposed position on the very 
road over which the hostile parties must pass to reach each other. 
They had just escaped destruction from one of these parties, and 
he advised them to remove to a distance from the war-path. The 
Christian Indians, relying upon the innocence of their lives, de 
clined to remove. 

In the autumn of 1781, "a troop of savages, commanded by 
English officers," surrounded and pillaged the unprotected villages 


of the Moravian Indians. The corn-fields, just ready for the bar 
vest, were ravaged by the ruthless invaders, " two hundred cattle, 
four hundred hogs, and much corn in store" were taken from them. 
Their houses were broken open, their altars desecrated, and them 
selves treated with merciless contempt. A young Indian woman, 
who accompanied the warriors, was so touched by the distresses of 
the brethren, some of whom were her own tribe and kindred, that 
she left the camp secretly, and taking a horse of Captain Pipe, the 
leader of the marauding Indians, rode to Pittsburg, where she gave 
intelligence of the misfortunes which had befallen the brethren. 
This spirited woman was a near relative of Glikhikan, a distin 
guished chief of the Delawares, described by Heckewelder as " an 
eminent captain and warrior, counsellor and speaker," who was 
now a member of the Christian community, and on him the 
savages determined to wreak their vengeance, on the discovery of 
the mission of his kinswoman. He was seized at Salem, and 
carried to Gnadenhutten, singing his death-song. It was proposed 
to cut him in pieces at once ; and the Delawares, who were exas 
perated against him for having quitted the usages of his people, 
were clamorous for his instant execution ; but he was saved by the 
interposition of a chief, who insisted that he should be fairly tried. 
Upon examination he was found to be innocent, in regard to the 
matter which had caused his arrest, and he was set at liberty, but 
not until his persecutors had given vent to their malignity by 
loading him with the vilest epithets. Their rage was now directed 
to the missionaries, and the chiefs were nearly unanimous in the 
conclusion to put them to death. On so important a matter it was 
considered requisite to consult one of their sorcerers, whose reply 
was that " he could not understand what end it would answer to 
kill them." The chiefs then held a counsel, at which it was 
resolved to put to death not only the missionaries and their families, 
but those of the Indian converts who were prominently engaged in 
religious duties. But the sorcerer again interposed the powerful 


shield of his protection ; he said that some of the chief men among 
the brethren were his friends, and that he would serve them at 
every hazard. "If you hurt any of them," said he, "I know what 
I shall do." The threat was effectual ; and the Christian ministers 
were rescued from a cruel death, by the priest of superstition. But 
the sufferings of this devoted community did not end here. The 
missionaries were carried to Detroit, and arraigned before the 
British commandant as traitors and enemies of the king. The 
modern Felix, after a full examination of the charges, was com 
pelled to admit the innocence of the prisoners, and they were 
discharged. But the object of the instigators of this flagitious 
transaction was accomplished. The Indians were driven for the 
time from their villages. Heretofore, though often pillaged and 
threatened, their lives and persons had been spared, and some 
respect was attached to their character : but this bold outrage, 
sanctioned by the British authority, destroyed all feeling of re 
straint on the part of the savages, and they were now T continually 
harassed by the war parties. Compelled to quit their once quiet 
habitations, they wandered through the wilderness to the plains of 
Sandusky, distant about one hundred and twenty-five miles, where 
many of them perished miserably of famine during the succeeding 

In the ensuing month of February, a wretched remnant, number 
ing about a hundred and fifty of these persecuted converts, returned 
to their former habitations, to seek among their ruined huts and 
desolated hearths some relics of the former abundance, to save 
themselves from starvation. Here they met with a party of militia 
from the settlements, who in the brutal indulgence of that hatred 
for the red men, which embraced every branch of that unhappy 
race, slew ninety of these starving fugitives. The remainder 
crawled back to their companions at Sandusky. 

However broken and disheartened by these various calamities, 
the Moravian Indians still clung to their bond of union, for in 1782 



they were again collected at their villages. Their previous mis 
fortunes seem to have- been attributable to the intrigues of Elliot, 
Girty, and McKee, the British agents, who were always their 
implacable persecutors. But they were singularly unfortunate in 
having no friends on either side, for the American borderers were 
not less their enemies. Exasperated by the continual incursions of 
the Indians, and the atrocious cruelties perpetrated by them, they 
imbibed a spirit of revenge which was too bitter and too blind to 
leave any power of discrimination between the guilty and the inno 
cent. They assumed, strangely enough, that the Praying Indians 
of the Muskingum were the tools of these foreign agents, of whom 
in fact they were the victims equally with themselves. Nourish 
ing a deadly rancor against the whole race, they took no pains to 
inquire into the justice of their suspicions, for revenge is always 
blind and incapable of any just measure of retribution. In 1782, 
an expedition was planned by the settlers in Western Virginia, 
under Colonel William Crawford, against the hostile Indians, and 
the destruction of the Moravian towns was deliberately contem 
plated as a part of the plan. Unhappily the hand of desolation had 
already performed its work so effectually as to leave little to be 
done ; but that little was now completed. The followers of Craw 
ford found desolated fields and ruined habitations, tenanted by a 
few broken-spirited wretches, who were again driven forth into the 
wilderness, never to be re-assembled. While the unresisting Chris 
tian fell thus a prey to every fierce marauder, the sword of retribu 
tive justice was not sleeping in its scabbard ; it was now ready to 
fall on the head of the offender. The ill-fated troops of Crawford 
proceeded to the plains of Sandusky, where they encountered a 
large Indian force, and a battle ensued which lasted from noon 
until sunset. The next day the savages increased in number, the 
camp was surrounded, and the most gloomy apprehensions began 
to be entertained. The troops were brave and hardy volunteers, 
but thev were raw and insubordinate, and there seems to have 


been but little skill or firmness among the officers. A retreat was 
resolved upon ; but hemmed in by a numerous and active foe, this 
measure was scarcely practicable. Discordant counsels were added 
to the difficulties ; a difference of opinion arose as to the mode of 
retreat, some proposing that the army should retire in a compact 
body, while others advised a division into a number of parties, who 
should cut their way through the enemy in different directions. 
Both plans were attempted, but neither of them with energy. The 
troops became panic-struck, discipline was thrown aside, and every 
movement was the result of mere impulse. The routed troops 
retreating in disorder were cut to pieces or captured in detail, and 
but few escaped to tell the dismal story. Crawford himself was 
taken prisoner, and carried to an Indian town, where he was 
beaten, tortured with lingering torments, and burnt at the stake 
with every indignity and aggravation of suffering which the 
malignity of the savage could suggest. Girty, the British agent, 
witnessed these shocking rites, laughed at the agonies of the suf 
ferer, and was an active party in the bloody and atrocious scene. 

We have already seen that the bad faith which marked the con 
duct of the English towards the Aborigines, was not confined to any 
locality, or to any sect of the Colonists. To show the universality 
of that misconduct, it is only necessary to open at random the his 
tory of the early-settlements, which are fraught with instances of 
the reckless imprudence, or desperate perfidy of the English ad 

General Oglethorpe, who landed in Georgia in 1732, was kindly 
received by the Indians, who professed a high degree of veneration 
for the character of the English, in consequence of the amicable 
intercourse which had prevailed between themselves and a com 
mander who had visited them a century before, supposed to have 
been Sir Walter Raleigh. Oglethorpe carried several of their 
chiefs to England in 1734, where they were entertained with great 
hospitality, and whence they returned with the most favorable im- 


pressions towards the white people. It is lamentable to remark 
that an intercourse commenced under such promising auspices, 
should have been almost immediately broken up by the misconduct 
of individuals. As early as 1743, when Georgia was invaded by 
the Spaniards, the natives were enlisted as auxiliaries on both sides, 
and thus placed in a position which must inevitably be ruinous to 
them, by drawing upon them the resentment of the whites. In the 
expedition against Fort Du Quesne the Cherokees were prevailed 
upon to join the English; but they became soured by the military 
restraints under which they were placed, by suspicions of their 
fidelity, which they alleged to be unfounded, and by various other 
injuries, either real or imaginary. Having lost their horses, and 
being worn with the fatigue of a long journey, they unfortunately, 
on reaching the frontiers of Virginia, supplied themselves by taking 
some horses which were found running at large. The inhabitants, 
as usual, proceeded to inflict summary justice, and about forty of 
the Cherokee warriors were shot down, in cold blood, in different 
places, as they passed through the settlements. After Braddock's 
defeat, the English offered a reward for Indian scalps, a cruel and 
inexcusable expedient, which, doubtless, led to the murder of many 
of their own allies, as their agents, in paying for the bloody trophy, 
could not distinguish between those taken in battle from their ene 
mies, and those torn, for a wretched bribe, by the- mercenary hand 
of murder, from the heads of their own friends. Another instance 
occurred about the same period, in which a party of Cherokees, 
who had been regaled at the house of a white man, under the im 
plied safeguard of hospitality, were surrounded, and shot down by 
ruffians lying in ambuscade, as they passed from the place of enter 
tainment ! No provocation could excuse such deeds. The capture 
in the woods of a few wild horses of little value, by savages un 
skilled in the laws relating to property, afforded no just plea for the 
shedding of blood ; and no offence could justify a deliberate viola 
tion of good faith, by the murder of confiding guests. In this re- 


spect the Indians themselves displayed a more generous conduct. 
When the intelligence of these massacres reached the Cherokees, 
they rushed to arms, and would have slain several Englishmen, 
who were then in their country on some business connected with 
the negotiation of a treaty; but their chief Attakullakulla inter 
fered, and secreted the whites, until he calmed the excited feeling 
of his people. He then assembled his warriors in council, and pro 
posed an immediate war against the English. " The hatchet shall 
never be buried," said he, " until the blood of our people be avenged. 
But let us not violate our faith, by shedding the blood of those who 
are now in our power. They came to us in confidence, bringing 
belts of wampum to cement a perpetual alliance. Let us carry 
them back to their own settlements, and then take up the hatchet 
and endeavor to exterminate the whole race of them." The Indians 
not only adopted this advice, but proceeded regularly to demand 
the murderers from the English authorities, who refused to comply 
with the request ; and the result was a war attended with the usual 
atrocities of border warfare, and followed by the common, and still 
more lamentable result of such hostilities, a lasting hatred between 
the parties a hatred, the more calamitous to the Indian, as it 
placed an insuperable barrier between him and all the blessings of 
Christianity and civilization. 

Without multiplying any further our instances from American 
history, it may be perceived that the Colonists never acted towards 
the Indians with any system ; no rule either of justice or humanity 
regulated their conduct, no limit restrained the dictate of caprice, 
or the hand of violence. Every man behaved himself towards the 
savage as seemed good in his own eyes : to cheat the savage was 
not dishonest, to rob him not criminal, to slay him not murder ; 
while the attempt to protect him from injury, or to teach him the 
way of salvation, was scarcely deemed meritorious. For all these 
atrocities, the European governments are responsible, who inter 
posed no restraint between their own subjects who came to this 


continent for mercenary purposes, and the natives who were de 
livered over to their tender mercies. In the charters and patents 
granting territory to the North American colonists, extensive boun 
daries were set forth, but no reservation was made in favor of the 
ancient inhabitants, no recognition of their present occupancy, nor 
any mode prescribed for the purchase or extinguishment of their 
title. We do not assert that they were not attended to, nor deny 
that they were sometimes mentioned in terms of affected benevo 
lence ; but we do say that they were not recognized in those solemn 
public documents, as nations or individuals having rights to be 
respected. The intercourse with them was left to be directed by 
circumstances; and this momentous interest, fraught with conse 
quences so portentous to them and to us, was modified and moulded, 
riot only by the characters of the various leaders, but the caprice, 
the interest, and the passions of all those who came in contact with 
the natives. Hence the multifarious incidents, and diverse causes 
and influences which have operated in producing the present con 
dition of that people, and in forming our opinions concerning them. 

Previous to the Revolution we find a better feeling growing up 
in most of the Colonies. The aspirations of our forefathers for 
liberty, enlarged their minds, and implanted noble and generous 
sentiments, in regard to the whole scheme of government, and the 
entire system of human rights and happiness. Among the first 
acts of the new confederation were measures of a considerate, and 
just, and conciliatory character towards the Indians ; the right of 
the Indians to the occupancy of their lands was distinctly avowed, 
and a system adopted for the gradual extinction of their title by 
purchase, which, in most cases, has been observed. 

The boundaries of the Colonies extended from the sea-coast, into 
the interior, so far, in most cases, as to embrace large districts of 
wild land, occupied by the Indians. Some of them extended in 
definitely to the west, and we believe that none of them acknow 
ledged any other boundary than that of a sister Colony, or some 


European possession, except where the ocean set bounds to the 
sway of man. The country was divided without, regard to the 
Indians, who were included in the new sovereignties, and whose 
removal or extinction was assumed as inevitable in the natural 
course of events. The newly formed American States adopted the 
same boundaries, and were obliged to take the country subject to 
the existing state of things. There were the Indians, and there 
\vere the white population, trained up in the belief that the wilder 
ness before them was destined to be reclaimed and to blossom as 
the rose, and that they were the appointed instruments to effect 
the transformation. There was the fixed and hardened public 
sentiment dooming the Indian to extirpation, and decreeing the 
descendant of the Saxon to a destiny as brilliant as vanity, self- 
love, interest, and ambition, could imagine. What government 
would dare to protect a wretched remnant of savages, by arresting 
the march of improvement, and palsying the energies of a free, 
great, and enlightened people ? There were the prejudices, the 
hatred, the rankling feuds, the cherished memory of mutual and 
oft-repeated injuries, transmitted through successive generations, 
and gaining continual accessions from the tributary streams of cur 
rent aggression. All these were encumbered upon the inheritance 
of our fathers, and unavoidably influenced their councils. 

There was this marked difference between the policy of the new 
States and that of the colonial governments which preceded them, 
that while both contemplated the removal of the Indians from 
within the boundaries of their several States, that removal was 
on the one hand proposed to be voluntary, on the other compul 
sory : the E uropean governments took the land of the natives 
whenever it pleased them to do so; the American States volun 
tarily pledged themselves to leave the Indians unmolested until 
their title to the lands they occupied could be extinguished, peace 
ably, by purchase. 

By the union of the States the intercourse with the Indians 


became complicated by a further modification. In adjusting the 
division of power between the General Government and the several 
States, respectively, of the confederacy, the intercourse with foreign 
nations was given up to the former, while the latter reserved to 
themselves all their sovereignty, as regarded the internal police of 
their States. The intercourse with the Indians was specially dele 
gated to the United States, embracing the whole subject of negotiat 
ing for their lands; while the respective States, members of the 
Union, by their own proper sovereignty, and in the necessary 
maintenance of their police, claimed jurisdiction over such indi 
viduals or tribes as fell within their boundaries. It is true that 
this jurisdiction was, in practice, seldom extended over the unceded 
territory of the Indians ; but that States, claiming without dispute 
certain boundaries, might exercise sovereignty, co-extensive with 
these boundaries, for all the legitimate purposes of government, can 
hardly be denied. x The United States, reserving the right of pre 
emption to the lands of the Indians, and denying alike to foreign 
states, to States members of the Union, and to individuals, the 
privilege of purchasing such lands, or of treating with the Indians, 
assumed the immediate guardianship over the latter, and became 
bound to the States to remove them from within their boundaries, 
whenever that desirable measure could be effected by peaceable 

The system that embraced the removal of the Indians from thor 
ancient hunting-grounds to lands allotted them west of the Missis 
sippi, was, as a system, doubtless, a humane one. While within the 
jurisdictive limits of States, they w r ere subject to the action of the 
anomalous relations growing out of such a position. Beyond those 
limits, and away from the consuming effects necessarily attendant 
upon a close approximation of trie two races, a season of rest had 
been afforded them, in which to improve themselves, and be bene 
fited by the agency of those Christian labors, which, if their 
present possessions are secured to them, by a title as indestructible 


as a fee-simple right can make it, and the appropriate relations are 
established between them and the United States, will result in their 
preservation as a race, and in advancing them to the high destiny 
of a civilized and Christian people. 

Notwithstanding the angry contentions which were continued 
down to the period of the removal of the Indians, between citizens 
of the States, and, in some instances, State governments and them 
selves, several of the tribes, especially the Cherokees, had resorted 
to agriculture ; some were converted to Christianity, schools were 
established, and missionaries kindly entertained. Their improve 
ment was rapid, and there was a gratifying prospect of an auspi 
cious result. They had even invented an alphabet, established a 
press, and given to themselves a written language. They adopted 
a written constitution, and organized a regular government. Here 
the State of Georgia interposed her authority The Cherokees 
were within the limits claimed by her, and recognized by the 
other States and the Union, and she could not be expected to con 
sent to the erection of an independent State within her boundaries. 
The formation of such a State would be inadmissible under the 
Constitution of the United States, each member of w r hich, as well as 
the confederacy, would be bound in good faith to protest against it 
The United States especially, being bound to the State of Georgia, 
to extinguish the title of the Cherokees to their land, by purchase, 
as soon as the same could be done " peaceably, and upon reasonable 
terms;" could neither consent to, nor connive at, a proceeding 
which would render the performance of her own undertaking 
impossible. Nor do we understand that this view of the case 
necessarily involved the expulsion, as individuals, of such portion 
of the Cherokees as w^ere engaged in agriculture, or the mechanic 
arts. As a people they were denied a political existence within the 
State of Georgia; they were offered a price for their lands, and 
other lands with full territorial jurisdiction and a national organiza 
tion beyond the limits of the States of the Union. But any indi 



vidual who chose to remain, to submit to the laws of Georgia, and 
to live the life of a civilized man, might have done so. 

We shall now speak of the condition of the south-western tribes 
of the United States, for the purpose of showing the actual amount 
of civilization existing among them, previous to their removal, and 
the causes, so far as we can ascertain them, of the changes which 
have taken place, in the mode of life, and especially of such of 
these causes as bear upon the future prospects of these tribes. 

The advances in civilization made by the Creeks, Cherokees, 
Chickasaws, and Choctaws, afford ground for the strongest en 
couragement on this subject. These were among the most power 
ful and warlike of the aboriginal tribes as wild, as ferocious, as 
untameable as any of their race. Driven across the Alleghany 
Mountains by the pressure of the white population, they became 
stationary in the fertile country lying between those mountains and 
the Mississippi, and within the boundaries of Tennessee, Georgia, 
Alabama, and Mississippi. The tide of civilization, pressing to the 
west, rolled over them, and left them in an insulated position : 
Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana became interposed between 
them and the native tribes lying still further to the west, leaving 
them surrounded by a white population. Their hunting-grounds 
were still sufficiently extensive to keep up around them an im 
mense wilderness, and to aiford room for the free exercise of 
savage customs; but there were countervailing causes, which 
gradually restrained and limited the nomadic habits and propensi 
ties, and brought about a great revolution. The first of these we 
have alluded to; the geographical position of the tribes, obliged 
them to become stationary ; their villages became permanent ; and 
their warlike propensities were curbed. Their rich country and 
fine climate tempted a number of traders to settle among them, who 
married Indian women, and became identified with the tribes. 

The first and most effectual of the causes which have been 
brought to bear upon this portion of the Indian race, has been the 


mixture of whites the introduction into the tribes of persons 
already civilized. We have elsewhere remarked upon the singu 
lar facility with which the Indians admit the naturalization of 
foreigners among them. Jealous as they are, and as all ignorant 
people are, of strangers, yet when a white man settles among 
them, and adopts their mode of life, he soon gains their confidence, 
and ceases to be in any respect an alien. Cautious and suspicious 
in all their doings, they receive such persons with hesitation, and 
watch their conduct narrowly for a while, but their confidence, 
when given, is without reserve. The adoption of white prisoners 
into the Indian families is not an uncommon occurrence ; the 
person adopted takes the place of one who has been lost, succeeds 
tj all his rights, and in all particulars is treated precisely as he 
would have been whom he represents. They seem to be wholly 
unconscious of that prejudice of color, which is so strong with us ; 
and the superior knowledge of the white man, instead of causing 
dislike, recommends him to favor. 

The children of the intermarriages between the whites and 
Indians are not placed under any disability, nor does any dislike 
or prejudice attach to them. On the contrary they are usually a 
favored class, and the only observable distinction is to their advan 
tage. Their position places them a little in advance of the Indian ; 
They have the advantages of speaking two languages, and of being 
taught by one parent the warlike habits and manly exercises of the 
savage, and by the other the arts of civilized life ; and they thus 
become the orators, the interpreters, the counsellors, and the