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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
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Section Second. — First European Acquaintance With the Indian Tribes. Chapter I. — Original Continental Point of Observation.

THE first Indian tribe recognised in America was the Caribs. They revealed themselves to the wondering eyes of Europeans with that peculiar set of physiognomical features and traits, physical and mental, which have been found to be generic throughout the continent. The Caribs were a mild and indolent people, who, living in a delightful tropical climate, were nearly in a state of nudity. They subsisted on spontaneous fruits, and the productions of the sea coasts. They were without anything which deserve the name of industry, arts, or government. The island of Hayti, the central point of their location, was but one of the Caribbean group, which stretches, in the form of a bow, from the capes of Florida, over seven degrees of latitude, to near the mouth of the Orinoco; and their residing in the beautiful district of Xaraqua, the elysium of the Antilles, and the memory of their thoughtless lives of pastoral ease, singing and dancing, and the fate and fortunes of their beautiful Queen Annacoand, [15] wreathed in flowers, are the only mementoes we have that the Carib nation existed. [16]

If history has awarded the just meed to Columbus of having first, in 1492, displayed the flag of civilization to the Caribbean group of tribes, it has been equally ready to ascribe to Cabot, in 1497, the merit of unfolding the British type of it to the Vesperic groups of hunter tribes between the St. Lawrence and the capes of Florida. No attempt at colonization was made by the latter. Nearly an entire century passed away

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before the English began to colonise. Meantime Spain had early discovered Florida, a name once covering the whole continent from the tropics to the Arctic; and it is to her that history must ascribe the first discovery of a more vigorous and formidable class of tribes, who existed north of the Gulf of Mexico, namely, the Appalachians, Chicoreans, and Cherokees. Against these tribes, supposing the country to conceal those treasures of gold and silver which Mexico had so abundantly yielded, she commenced that series of extraordinary expeditions, which almost equal the Crusades for the spirit and enthusiasm which they generated. A few details will suffice to show this.

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Chapter II. — The Landing of Ponce de Leon in Florida, and of Lucas Vasquez in the Ancient Chicora.


IT had required but twenty years to spread the Spanish power from St. Domingo, through the Caribbean islands and around the Cuban shores, to the straits of Florida. Ponce de Leon, in 1512, landed on the peninsula of Florida, as if he was about to realise the long-taught fable of the garden of the Hesperides. To his imagination its crystal fountains appeared, as the natives had depicted them, as the fountains of youth. It is known that the vast tertiary deposits of marine sands of this peninsula yield copious springs of the most transparent water. That these pure springs should excite the admiration and superstition of the Indians, and lead them to believe in extravagant notions of their sanative qualities, is not strange, nor that reports of their extraordinary virtues should be carried to the neighboring coasts of Cuba. But it is amazing that such stories should gain belief, even in the low state of medical knowledge at the opening of the sixteenth century. [17]

With such notions, however, De Leon landed. The balmy airs of a tropical spring, redolent with the aroma of flowers, which met and saluted his senses on landing, was not calculated to dispel his prior notions of an elysium. But from the fact of the day of his discovery being Easter Sunday, and the luxuriance of the vegetation, he named the country Florida. [18] He was informed that some of their limpid springs were of such wonderful virtue, that they would restore the vigor of youth to the person who bathed in them. In search of these fountains of youth he roved over the country. By these excursions the suspicions and animosity of the Indians were excited, and he at last paid the forfeit of his life for his credulity, [19] having died in Cuba from wounds received. [20] Geographical truth is of slow growth. From this time Florida appears to have been regarded as a garden of Hesperides. It chanced that a Spanish mariner named Miruela, visited the sea coasts of Georgia and Carolina in quest of traffic with the natives. In this traffic he received some small quantity of gold. The incident created a sensation on his return to St. Domingo, where a commercial company was formed to

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prosecute the discovery thus made. Several men in official positions engaged in this, the principal of whom, was Lucas Vasquez D'Allyon. Two vessels were dispatched to the coast, prepared for the trade. These reached the mouth of the river Combahee, in South Carolina, where a profitable traffic ensued. The coast is called Chicora, and the Indians Chicoreans. When the trade was finished the natives were invited to gratify their curiosity to go below decks, but they were no sooner got below than the hatches were closed, and the vessels immediately hoisted sail for St. Domingo. One of them foundered on the way, and all were lost. The other reached St. Domingo, and the Indians were sold as slaves. [21]

In the meantime Vasquez D'Allyon had visited the court of Spain, and made such representations of the regions of Chicora and its natives, that he returned with the commission of Adalantado of the newly discovered country, with authority to found a colony. On reaching St. Domingo, a squadron of three ships, with Miruela for chief pilot, [22] was fitted out for the purpose, and guides taken to conduct them to the scene. Entering by the straits of Helena, he proceeded to the mouth of the Combahee, where the largest of the three vessels was stranded. Here he resumed the traffic with the Indians. During this time nothing was revealed on their part, to indicate that they had any remembrance of, or resentment for, the carrying off of their countrymen. Having finished his trade, Vasquez went to seek a suitable site for his colony, and pitched on a spot on the waters of Port Royal sound, at, or perhaps a little south of, the present town of Beaufort, South Carolina. A part of his crews had landed, to prepare for the new town, a small number still remaining on board the vessels at anchor in the roadstead. They had hardly commenced their labors, when a deputation of the Combahee Indians arrived to invite the men to attend a great feast at the village at the mouth of the Combahee. Two hundred persons accepted this invitation, and were received and treated with the most friendly hospitalities. They were feasted for three days. [23] When the feast was over and the men were sunk into a sound sleep, the Indians arose, near the break of day, and massacred the whole party. Not a man was spared. The Indians then proceeded, in hot haste, to the selected site of the new town of Vasquez, where they knew there was lax discipline. They fell on the parties of men in their disorganized state, and put many to death. A terrific tragedy ensued. Indian clubs, spears, and arrows, were arrayed against swords and matchlocks. [24] Vasquez escaped, wounded, to his vessels, and died. Thus failed the first attempt to found a colony in the area of the United States. This incident furnishes a dark spot in Spanish colonial history, that has been but little dwelt on by historians. [25]

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Chapter III. — France Enters the Field of Discovery. Verrazani, an Italian in Her Service, Discovers the Coast from the Latitude of Tropical Plants to New York and New England. He Lands in the Great Bay of Manhattan.


THE next reconnoissance of the Vesperic Atlantic coast tribes was made by John De Verrazani. France was not unobservant of events passing in the West Indies and Florida, and determined to share North America with Spain. Florida was then a geographical term, which comprehended all North America north of the Gulf of Mexico. [26] Verrazani was a noted mariner in her service, an Italian, a native of Florence, who had been employed by France for some time, with four public vessels, in cruising against the Spanish commerce. Separated from his consorts in a tempest, he resolved to undertake a voyage of discovery, and reconnoissance, of the then unbounded region of Florida, on the North Atlantic. He left the outer isle of the Madeira group of barren isles, called the Deserters, on the 17th January, 1524. About the middle of March he made the coast, in latitude 34°, which is about the present position of Wilmington, North Carolina. [27] Thence he sailed south in search of a harbor, to the appearance of "Palm trees," consequently to the area of South Carolina or Georgia. He then changed his course, holding towards the north, and, running down the coast, with occasional landings, till he reached his former latitude, found himself passing a flat diluvial coast of sand hills and islets, peopled with Indians, but without a harbor; he anchored off the coast, and landed. The Indians were in the greatest excitement, running to and fro in wonder and fear. Having, by signs of friendship, induced some of them to approach, they were gradually quieted, and brought him some provisions. They were naked, save an azian, or small apron of furs. They ornamented their heads with bunches of feathers.

They were well shaped, with black eyes, and straight black hair, and were very swift of

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foot. It is impossible, from so generic a description, to tell what group of tribes he was among, or what latitude he was in. If he saw, at this landing, "cypress, laurels, and palm trees," he had but hardly retraced his steps to latitude 34°, and, from the descriptions, was off the low sandy coasts of North Carolina, not remote from Cape Hatteras. Still sailing on, and coming to a part of the coast trending east, and seeing many fires ashore, and the natives friendly, he sent his boat ashore, but the surf was too violent to permit landing. One of the sailors here offered to swim ashore with some presents, but when he came near his fears prevailed, and, throwing out his presents, he attempted to return to the ship; but the waves cast him on the strand half-dead, and quite senseless. The Indians immediately ran to his assistance, carried him ashore, dried his clothes before a fire, and did everything to restore him. His alarm, however, was excessive. When they pulled off his clothes to dry them, he thought they were going to sacrifice him to the sun, which then shone prominent over the hills. He trembled with dread. As soon as he was restored, they gently led him to the shore, and then retired to a distance, until the ship's boat had been sent for him, and they saw him safely get on board.

Verrazani now went on, and observed the coast still trending northward. After a run of fifty leagues, he anchored off a fine forest country, where twenty of his men landed, and went two leagues into the interior. The Indians fled into the forest. The sailors caught an old woman and a young woman, hid in the grass. The old woman carried a child on her back, and had, besides, two little boys. The young woman had charge of three female children. Both shrieked vociferously as soon as they were discovered. The elder gave them to understand that the men had fled to the woods. She accepted something to eat at their hands, but the young woman refused it with scorn. She was a tall and well shaped person, and they tried to take her with them, but she made such cries and struggles, it was impossible. They took one of the boys.

These coast Indians had nets. Their canoes were made from solid trees, burned out with fire. Their arrows were pointed with bone. They were partly clothed with a vegetable tissue. No houses were seen. The trees denoted a more northerly climate, but had vines climbing to their very tops. Three days were spent in the reconnoissance of these manifestly ichtheopagi. He was now, evidently, on the coasts north of the capes of the Chesapeake, or of the Delaware, which were inhabited by numerous small tribes of the Algonquin family, who were without forest meats; subsisting chiefly on the productions of the sea coasts; who navigated the inlets and shores with log canoes, and used bone, and not flint, or hornstone, or jasper, as the material of
fishing, hunting, and war. These bands stretched, apparently, along the entire Maryland and New Jersey coasts, to the Navasink mountain, and the Metoacs.

He continued his voyage along these coasts, until he came to the out-flow of a "large river," and, entering it, found a good harbor in north latitude 41°. This,

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historians determine to have been the bay of New York. [28] It was thus an Italian footstep that was first planted on these shores. [29] the surrounding country is described as being very pleasant. The Indians, who are pronounced a very fine race, showed him where the deep water was. A storm coming up, they landed on a well-cultivated island (probably Staten Island), beyond which spread the harbor, where they observed numerous canoes. We are indebted to Hackluyt, for preserving Verrazani's description of this harbor. [30]

"This land is situated in the parallel of Rome, in forty-one degrees, two tierces, but somewhat more cold by accidental causes. The mouth of the haven lieth open to the south, half a league broad, and, being entered within it, between the east and the north, it stretcheth twelve leagues, when it weareth broader and broader, and maketh a gulf about twenty leagues in compass, wherein are five small islands, very fruitful and pleasant, full of high and broad trees, among the which islands any great navy may ride safe, without any fear of tempest or other danger." [31]

In this ample harbor he remained fifteen days, during which he frequently sent his boat and men, and went ashore himself, to obtain supplies and examine the country. Some of the men stayed two or three days on one of the islands. Their excursions extended five or six leagues into the interior, which was found to be "pleasant, and well adapted to the purposes of agriculture."

With the natives, who were, as we now know, of the Mohican family of the Algonquins, he had frequent intercourse, and he speaks of them with kindness. They were uniformly friendly, [32] and always accompanied his parties, in more or less numbers, ashore. He describes them as of a russet color, with large black eyes, black hair, of a good stature, well favored, of a cheerful look, quick witted, nimble and athletic. He compared them to Saracens and Chinese. The women wore ornaments of wrought copper; wood only was used in the construction of their wigwams, which were covered with coarse matting, called by him "straw."

This is the first description we have, of the great Algonquin family of the shores of the north Atlantic. Verrazani appears to have had an aptitude for observing the character and condition of the natives, and the geographical features of the country. The strong physical traits noticed by him, were confirmed by the observations, a hundred years later, of the respective landings in Virginia, under Raleigh, by Hudson in New York, and the English in Massachusetts.

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Having refreshed himself, and recruited his provisions at this point, on the 5th of May he continued his voyage northward; after a run of one hundred and fifty leagues, [33] he discovered high lands overgrown with forests. The Indians were found to be of savage habits. They lived on roots and other spontaneous products. A large party of the crew, who landed here, were received with a volley of arrows. He continued his voyage to north latitude 56°, which, Forster observes, is about the position of Nain, on the coast of Labrador, and, having given the name of New France to his discoveries, he returned to Dieppe, whence he writes his letter to Francis I., bearing date 8th July, 1524.

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Chapter IV. — Spain Explores Florida. Narvaez Invades the Indian Territory, and Brings the Appalachian, or Floridian, Group of Tribes to Our Notice.

We are informed that the northern coasts of the Mexican gulf had been explored as early as 1516. Cordova discovered Yucatan in 1517, and, the following year, Grizalba commenced an exploration of the Mexican coasts. During the year which witnessed the fall of the Mexican empire, (1521), Garay received a royal patent to colonize the coasts of the Mexican gulf, stretching north of Panuco. [34]

Pamphilio de Narvaez had been defeated, in 1520, by Cortez, at Zempoala, in an attempt to arrest him in his unauthorized career. After seven years' attendance at the court of Spain, expended in vain efforts to obtain redress for a gross civil and military wrong, he returned to Cuba, with the appointment of Adalantado of Florida, and the grant of full powers to conquer and govern the country. It is affirmed by De Vaca, that he left Spain in July, 1527, with six hundred men, well officered by cavaliers and gentlemen. Owing to incidental delays, at St. Domingo and Cuba, it was not until the 13th of April, 1528, that he landed at Tampico Bay, in Florida. His force had then been reduced to four hundred men, and forty-two horses. [35] With this small army he entered a country, the geographical features of which opposed great obstacles to a direct march. It was covered with alternate thickets, lagoons, and swamps, and was soon found to be unable to yield an adequate subsistence for either the men, or the horses. Beside this, Narvaez had no interpreter through whom he could communicate with the Indians. This was the more to be regretted, because he was of a haughty and imperious temper, and aimed to strike terror into the natives by acts of tyranny and cruelty. He was thus continually exposed to be misunderstood and misapprehended. To ferret the Indians out of their impenetrable jungles and fastnesses, he carried bloodhounds along with him. He did not appear to know that the Indians, inured to the severest vicissitudes from infancy, and fortified by savage maxims, from age to age, are not possessed of very vivid sensibilities; and that acts of harshness, cruelty, and injustice, only served to infuriate and embitter their minds. Within a few leagues of his point of departure from the coast, he came to the village of a chief,

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named Hirrihagua, whom, for some non-performance, it would seem, of a former agreement, he mutilated by cutting off his nose, and also caused his mother to be torn in pieces by bloodhounds. The prestige of this act, spreading among the natives, caused the name of Spaniard to be hated.

Caba de Vaca represents the toil, and privations endured on this march, to be beyond all precedent in civilized warfare. When the soldier had journeyed through blind paths all day, he had nothing to refresh him at night; and, at every defile, he was subject to be harassed by a concealed foe, who fled when attacked, and no body of whom could be encountered together. The army was forty-seven days in marching to the Sawanee river.

But toilsome marches were the least of the difficulties Narvaez encountered. It does not seem possible for a commander to have evinced less knowledge of the geography and resources of the country. He had parted from Caba de Yaca, who did not like him, and had, after the first fifteen days, absolutely no commissariat. He was buoyed up with the prospect of soon arriving at some populous town, where he might find resources; but in this he was deceived by rumors and by the guides, whom he took, and compelled to serve him, beyond the Sawanee. The Indian name of one town after another was constantly used, as some catchword to inspire hope. At length expectation was centred on the name of "Apalache." For this point the army marched with renewed exertions, and thither it eventually arrived. It appears to have been an Indian village, on the waters of the Appalachicola river, [36] called by Narvaez "Madalena." It consisted of forty humble Indian abodes, covered with cane or thatch. A dense forest of high trees, and several large bodies of water, surrounded it. The adventurers found fields of maize fit for plucking. There was also some ripe as well as dried maize, and stone mortars wherein to pound it. There were dressed deer skins in the lodges, and some woven mantalets of thread, made from a species of hemp. At first, the men had fled precipitately, leaving the women and children; but, opening negotiations, they returned to beg leave to carry off their families. Narvaez granted this, but detained the chief, to serve as a hostage for their good conduct. Next day they made a fierce attack on his camp, but he repulsed them, killing one man.

At Apalache he remained twenty-five days, recruiting the strength of his men, and of his horses. During this time, he procured some information respecting the country. The Indians represented it as abounding in great lakes and solitudes; that its population was small and scattered, there being no place at all equal to Apalache, where they then were. They stated that it was but nine days' march south, to the sea, and that there was a wealthy town in that direction, called "Aute."

For this location Narvaez therefore directed his course, but it soon appeared that the Indians' estimate of a day's march was widely different from his. After travelling

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fifteen days, he arrived at "Aute;" but his journey thither was obstructed by large bodies of water, in the passage through which, the Indians attacked the Spaniards with arrows, killing and wounding some of the men and horses. These Indians were men of fine stature, great activity, and expert and accurate bow-men. In these skirmishes two of the natives were killed. The town was found to have been abandoned, but the neighboring fields yielded an abundant supply of maize, beans, and pumpkins.

By this time, enough was ascertained to convince Narvaez that a part of his followers were engaged in a conspiracy. Nothing had transpired as had been expected. There were neither rich towns, nor mines, nor evidences of any high or respectable art, or civilization. They had found hostile tribes, separated by impassable fastnesses, and a country destitute of resources. Narvaez was unwell himself, his men dispirited, his horses reduced to skeletons, and everything presenting the worst aspect. In this exigency he resolved to find the sea, by journeying along the banks of the river, and, having done this without finding his fleet, he encamped at its mouth, designing to build boats with which to explore the coast towards the west. But how was this to be done without means, or tools? While pondering over his difficulties, a soldier came to him, and said, he could make pipes of wood, and convert them into bellows by the aid of deer skins. The idea was instantly acted on. It was only necessary to construct a blacksmith's forge, and immediately stirrups, spurs, cross-bows, &c., were converted into nails, saws, and axes. The pine yielded pitch. A kind of oakum was obtained from the palmetto. Hair from the tails of horses was twisted into ropes, and the shirts of the men supplied sails. The horses were killed, and their flesh used for food. The men searched the bays for oysters, while others were sent on perilous trips to forage for Indian corn. All worked so diligently that, in sixteen days, they had constructed five boats, each of which was twenty cubits long, and capable of containing fifty-six men; the remnant of the army comprising two hundred and eighty-one men. [37]

Narvaez had now proceeded about two hundred and eighty miles along the gulf coast, from his point of debarkation. He had reason to believe that his ships could be found in the vicinity of the coast, and that, by putting his troops into boats, he could continue the exploration, which he had found it impossible to complete by land. The energy manifested in the construction and equipment of his flotilla, without artisans, or materials suitable to the work, manifests a capacity for conquest which no other part of his conduct so well sustained. No sooner were the boats completed than the adventurers eagerly embarked. The season had now so far advanced that the high winds began to prevail, added to which the gunwales of his boats were too low to sustain the shock of the seas. He proceeded, therefore, with embarrassment, the men often wading through sands and shallow bays, to avoid the heavy waves. This close and careful

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hugging of the shore was continued for seven days, before they put out to sea. The capture of five Indian canoes enabled them to lighten the boats, which were also protected by waste boards. They suffered greatly from the failure of both water and provisions, and were compelled to coast along the shores and islands, as the best position for obtaining supplies. All this time they had, in the Indians, a fierce enemy to contend against on shore, who never omitted an opportunity to annoy them with arrows.

Agreeably to Caba de Vaca, for thirty days they proceeded by slow stages, down the gulf coast, toward the Mississippi. But nothing was seen of the vessels. The miseries of the men were every day augmented, and, meantime, the winds increased in severity. Some of the soldiers became delirious from drinking sea water, and four of their number died. One night they were attacked by Indians, while sleeping in camp, or on an island; but the assailants, having but few arrows, were repulsed. In the contest, Narvaez received a severe blow in the face from a stone. Tortured with hunger, and parched by thirst, they continued their course until the 1st of November, when the boats separated in a storm. One of them soon foundered. The last that was seen of the boat of Narvaez was in the vicinity of the Perdido. The storm was blowing off the coast, and during its continuance the whole flotilla perished. The next morning nothing was seen of it. The boat in which Caba de Vaca embarked was cast on the shore of a little island, where the survivors were kindly treated by the natives; for, when they saw that their enemies had not the power to inflict further injury, their enmity was at an end, and they treated with humanity the few castaways whom the tempest had spared.

The expedition of Narvaez is important, as embracing the materials of Indian history, inasmuch as it gives us the first view, however unpremeditatively, of the Appalachian group of tribes, [38] who may be regarded as the extreme southern outcrop (to use a geological term) of the wide-spread Vesperic class.

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Chapter V.— France Resumes Her Discoveries. The Algonquins are Found to Inhabit the Atlantic Coast, North, Up to the River St. Lawrence. They are Succeeded in Position, in Ascending That Valley, by the Iroquois.


THE voyage of Verrazani, under the French flag, promising but trifling, or no advantage to the revenues of France, attracted little attention, and was, for some time, forgotten. In 1534, the admiral, Philip Chabot, represented to the king the advantages to be derived from sharing, with Spain, the rich prize of North America, by establishing a colony. In accordance with this suggestion, Jacques Cartier, of St. Malo, in Normandy, was presented to the king, and approved as a person suitable for the undertaking.

He sailed from the port of St. Malo on the 20th of April, 1534, with two ships, and one hundred and twenty two men. His crew took a solemn oath, before sailing, "to behave themselves truly and faithfully, in the service of the most Christian king, Francis I." The excitement concerning American discoveries was still the order of the day in the European courts. The conquest of Mexico had been completed but thirteen years before, and Pizarro was now in the height of his triumphs at Truxillo, Guanuco, and Caxamarca.

After an unusually prosperous voyage, of twenty days, Cartier made Cape "Buona Vista" in Newfoundland, which he states to be in north latitude 48° 30'. Here, meeting with ice, he made the haven of St. Catherine's, where he was detained ten days. This coast had been known since the voyage of Cabot in 1497, and had been frequently resorted to by fishing vessels. Jean Denis, a native of Rouen, one of these fishermen, is said to have published the first chart of it in 1506. Two years afterwards, Thomas Aubert brought the first natives from Newfoundland to Paris, and this is the era, 1508, commonly assigned as the discovery of Canada. The St. Lawrence remained, however, undiscovered; nor does it appear that anything, beyond a general and vague knowledge of the coast, and of its islands, had then been ascertained. The idea was still entertained (indeed, it will be seen, by subsequent facts), that America was an island, and that a passage to the Asiatic continent existed in those latitudes.

On the 21st of May, Cartier continued his voyage, sailing "north and by east" from

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cape Buona Vista, and arrived at the Isle of Birds, so named on account of the unusual abundance of sea-fowl found upon it, with the young of which the men filled two boats; "so that," in the quaint language of the journal, "besides them which we did eat fresh, every ship did powder and salt five or six barrels." He also observed the godwit, and a larger, but vicious bird, which received the name of margaulx. While at this island, they descried a polar bear, which, in their presence, leaped into the sea, and thus escaped. Subsequently, while crossing to the main land, they encountered, as supposed, the same animal, swimming towards land, and, "by main strength overtook her, whose flesh was as good to be eaten as the flesh of a calf two years old." This bear is described to have been, "as large as a cow, and as white as a swan."

On the 27th, Cartier reached the harbor of "Carpunt," in the bay of "Les Chasteaux," latitude 51°, where, on account of the accumulation of ice, he was constrained to lay by until the 9th of June. The narrator of the voyage describes certain parts of the coast of Newfoundland, and adjoining seas, the islands of St. Catherine, Blanc Sablon, Brest, the Isle of Birds, and a numerous group of islands, called The Islets; but these memoranda are unconnected with any important observations or discoveries. Speaking of the island of Brest and Bird island, he says, they afford "great store of godwits, and crows with red beaks and red feet," which "make their nests in holes underground, even as conies." Near this locality "there is great

On the 10th of June, he entered a port in the newly discovered island of Brest, to procure wood and water. Meantime, boats were despatched to explore the islands, which were found to be so numerous "that it was not possible they might be told, for they continued about ten leagues beyond the said port." The explorers slept on an island, and the following day continued their discoveries along the coast. Having passed the islands, they found a haven, which was named
St. Anthony, and, one or two leagues beyond, discovered a small river named St. Servansport, where they reared a cross. Distant about three leagues from the last mentioned, another river of larger size was discovered, in which salmon was found. Upon this stream they bestowed the name of St. Jacques.

While at St. Jacques, they descried a ship from Rochelle, on a fishing cruise, and, rowing out in their boats, directed it to a port near at hand, in what is called "Jacques Cartier's Sound," "which," adds the narrator, "I take to be one of the best in all the world." The face of the country examined by the explorers was, however, of the most sterile and forbidding character, being little else than "stones and wild crags, and a place fit for wild beasts; for in all the north island," he continues, "I did not see a cart-load of good earth. Yet went I on shore, in many places, and in the island of White Sand (Blanc Sablon) there is nothing else but moss and small thorns, scattered here and there, withered and dry. To be short, I believe that this was the land that God allotted to Cain."

Immediately following this, we have the first account of the natives. The new

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are described as being "of an indifferent good stature and bigness, but wild and unruly. They wear their hair tied on the top, like a wreath of hay, and put a wooden pin within it, or any other such thing, instead of a nail, and with them they bind certain birds' feathers. They are clothed with beast skins, as well the men as women, but that the women go somewhat straiter and closer in their garments than the men do, with their waistes girded. They paint themselves with certain roan colours; their boats are made of the bark of birch trees, with which they fish, and take great store of seals. And, as far as we could understand since our coming thither, that is not their habitation, but they came from the main land, out of hotter [39] countries, to catch the said seals, and other necessaries for their living."

From this exploratory trip, the boats returned, on the 13th, to the newly styled harbor of Brest. On the 14th, being the Sabbath, service was read, and the following day Cartier continued his voyage, steering southerly, along the coast, which still wore a most barren and cheerless aspect. Much of this part of the narrative is occupied with the details of distances and soundings, as well as the denomination of capes and islands, of very little interest at the present day. On the 18th, the voyagers saw a few huts upon the cliffs, and named this part of the coast "Les Granges," but they did not stop to form any acquaintance with their tenants. Cape Royal was passed, and duly named, on the 17th, and is described as "the greatest fishery of cods there possibly may be, for in less than an hour we took an hundred of them." On the 24th, the island of St. John was discovered. Myriads of birds were seen upon the group of islands named "Margaulx." five leagues westward of which they discovered a large, fertile, and well-timbered island, to which the name of "Brion" was given. The contrast presented by the soil and productions of this island, compared with the bleak and waste shores they had previously visited, aroused their warm admiration; and, under the influence of this excitement, they here saw "wild corn," peas, gooseberries, strawberries, damask roses, and parsley, "with other sweet and pleasant herbs." Here, also, they observed the walrus, bear, and wolf.

Very little can be gleaned from the subsequent details of the voyage, until the arrival of the expedition in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Mists, head winds, barren rocks, sandy shores, storms, and sunshine, alternate in the landscape presented to view. Much caution was observed in tacking back and forth, on an iron-bound coast, and the boats were frequently made use of in exploring the shores of the main land. While thus employed near a shallow stream, called the "River of Boats," they saw natives crossing it in their canoes, but the wind commencing to blow toward the land, they were compelled to retire to their vessels without opening any communication with them. On the following day, while the boats were traversing the coasts, they saw a native running

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after them along the beach, who made signs directing them, as they supposed, to return toward the cape they had left. As soon as the boats turned, however, he fled, but, notwithstanding, they landed, and fastening a knife and a woollen girdle to an upright staff, as a good-will offering, returned to their vessels.

This part of the Newfoundland coast impressed them as being greatly superior, both in soil and temperature, to the portions which they had before seen. In addition to the productions previously found at Brion's island, they noticed cedars, pines, white elm, ash, willow, and what are denominated "ewe trees." Among the feathered tribes, the "thrush and stockdove" are mentioned; the latter, without doubt, being the passenger pigeon. The "wild corn," here again mentioned, is said to be "like unto rye," from which it may be inferred that it was the zizania, although the circumstance of its being an aquatic plant is not mentioned.

While running along this coast, Cartier appears to have been engrossed with the idea, so prevalent among the mariners of that era, of finding a passage to India, and it was probably on this account, that he made such a minute examination of every inlet and bay, as well as of the productions of the soil. Whenever the latter afforded anything favorable, there appears to have been a strong predisposition to admiration, and to derive inferences therefrom correspondent with the pre-existing theory. It must be recollected that, seventy-five years later, Hudson entertained similar notions, while sailing up the North River. Hence, the application of several improper names to the animals, as well as to the productions of these latitudes, and the apparently constant expectation of beholding trees laden with fruits and spices, "goodly trees," and "very sweet and pleasant herbs." That the barren and frigid shores of Labrador, and the northern parts of Newfoundland, should have been characterized as a region subject to the Divine curse, is not calculated to excite so much surprise, as the disposition evinced, with every considerable change of soil and verdure, to convert the favored region into a land of oriental fruitfulness. It does not appear to have been sufficiently understood, that the increased verdure and elevation of temperature were, in a great measure, owing to the advancing state of the season. Cartier arrived off the coast on the 10th of May, and prolonged his stay through July. Now, however, it is very generally known, that the summers in high northern latitudes, although short, are attended with a great degree of heat.

On the 3d of July, Cartier entered the gulf, to which, during a subsequent voyage, he gave the name, St. Lawrence, the centre of which he states to be in latitude 47° 30'. On the 4th, he proceeded up the bay to a creek called St. Martin, near Baie du Chaleur, where he was detained eight days by stress of weather. While at anchor there, one of the ship's boats being sent off to make explorations in advance, proceeded seven or eight leagues, to a cape of the bay, where two parties of Indians, "in about forty or fifty canoes," were observed crossing the channel. One of the parties landed, and beckoned to the explorers to follow their example, "making a great noise," and showing

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"certain skins upon pieces of wood," i. e. fresh-stretched skins; but, fearing their numbers, the seamen kept aloof. The Indians in two canoes prepared to follow them, in which movement they were joined by five canoes of the other party, "who were coming from the sea side." They approached in a friendly manner, "dancing, and making many manifestations of joy, saying, in their tongue, Napew tondamen assuatah." [40] The seamen, however, suspecting their intentions, and finding it impossible to elude them by flight, discharged two shots among them, by which they were so terrified, that they fled precipitately to the shore, "making a great noise." After pausing some time, the "wild men" re-embarked and renewed the pursuit, but, after coming alongside, they were so terrified by the thrusts of two lances, that they again fled in haste, and made no further attempt to follow.

This appears to have been the first rencontre of the ship's crews with the natives. On the following day, by the approach of said "wild men" in nine canoes, an interview was brought about, which is thus described: "We being advertised of their coming, went to the point, where they were with our boats; but so soon as they saw us they began to flee, making signs that they came to traffic with us, showing us such skins as they clothed themselves withal, which are of small value. We likewise made signs unto them that we wished them no evil, and in sign thereof, two of our men ventured to go on land to them and carry them knives, with other iron wares, and a red hat to give unto their captain. Which, when they saw, they also came on land, and brought some of their skins, and so began to deal with us, seeming to be very glad to have our iron wares and other things, still dancing, with many other ceremonies, as with their hands to cast sea water on their heads. They gave us whatever they had, not keeping anything, so that they were constrained to go back again naked, and made signs that the next day they would come again, and bring more skins with them."

Observing a spacious bay, extending beyond the cape where this interview had been opened, and the wind proving adverse to the vessels quitting the harbor, Cartier despatched his boats to examine it, for the purpose of ascertaining whether it might not afford the desired passage; for it must be kept in mind, that he was diligently seeking the long-sought passage to the Indian Ocean. While engaged in this examination, his men discovered "the smokes and fires" of wild men" (the term constantly used in the narrative to designate the natives). These signs were observed upon the shores of a small lake, communicating with the bay. An amicable interview resulted, the natives presenting to the navigators cooked seal, and the French making a suitable return "in hatchets, knives and beads." After these preliminaries, which were conducted with considerable caution, by deputies from both sides, the male natives approached in their canoes, for the purpose of trafficking, leaving most of their families behind. About 300

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Indian men, women, and children, were estimated to have been congregated at this place. They evinced their friendship by singing and dancing, as also by rubbing their hands upon the arms of their European visitors, and then lifting them up towards the heavens. An opinion is expressed that these people (who were in the position assigned to the Micmacs, in 1600, in Mr. Gallatin's ethnological map,) might very easily be converted to Christianity. "They go," says the narrator, "from place to place. They live only by fishing. They have an ordinary time to fish for their provisions. The country is hotter than the country of Spain, and the fairest that can possibly be found; altogether smooth and level." In addition to the productions before noticed, as indigenous on Brion's island, &c., and which were likewise found here, he enumerates "white and red roses, with many other flowers of very sweet and pleasant smell." "There be also," says the journalist, "many goodly meadows full of grass, and lakes wherein plenty of salmon be." The natives called a hatchet, Cochi, and a knife, Bacon. [41] It was at this time near the middle of July, and the degree of heat experienced on the excursion induced Cartier to name the inlet, Baie du Chaleur; a name it still retains.

On the 12th of July, Cartier left his moorings at St. Martin's creek, and proceeded up the gulf; but encountering bad weather, he was forced into a bay, which appears to have been Gaspe, where one of the vessels lost her anchor. They were forced to take shelter in a river of that bay, and were there detained thirteen days. Meanwhile, they opened an intercourse with the natives, who were found in great numbers,
engaged in fishing for mackerel. Forty canoes, and two hundred men, women, and children, were estimated to have been seen during their detention at this place. Presents of "knives, combs, beads of glass, and other trifles of small value," were made to the Indians, for which they expressed great thankfulness, lifting up their hands, and dancing and singing.

These Gaspe Indians are represented as differing, both "in nature and language," from those before mentioned, being abjectly poor, but partially clothed in "old skins," and possessed of no tents to protect them from the weather. "They may," says the journalist, "very well and truly be called wild, because there is no poorer people in the world; for, I think, all they had together, besides their boats and nets, was not worth five sous." They shaved their heads, with the exception of a tuft on the crown; sheltered themselves at night under their canoes, on the bare ground, and ate their provisions but partially cooked. They were unacquainted with the use of salt, and "ate nothing that had any taste of salt." On Cartier's first landing among them, the men expressed their joy, as those at Baie du Chaleur had done, by singing and dancing; but they had sent all their women, except two or three, into the woods. A comb and a tin bell, given to each of the women who had ventured to remain, excited the avarice

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of the men, who quickly brought their women, to the number of about twenty, from the woods, to each of whom the same present was made. They caressed Cartier by touching and rubbing him with their hands, and also sung and danced. Their nets were made of a kind of indigenous hemp; and they also possessed a species of "millet" called "Kapaige," beans called "Sahu," and nuts called "Cahehya." If anything was exhibited with which they were unacquainted, they shook their heads, saying, "Nohda." It is added that they never come to the sea, except in fishing time; which, we may remark, was probably the reason why they had no lodges, or much other property about them. They would naturally desire to disencumber their canoes as much as possible, in these summer excursions, that they might carry a large return freight of dried fish. The language spoken by these Gaspe Indians is manifestly of the Iroquois type. "Cahehya" is, with a slight difference, the term for fruit in the Oneida.

On the 24th of July, Cartier erected a cross, thirty feet high, bearing the inscription, "Vive le Roy de France." The natives, who were present at the ceremony, seem, on a little reflection, to have conceived the true intent of it, and their chief complained of it in a "long oration," saying, in effect "that the country was his, and that he should not set up any cross without his leave." Having quieted the old chief's fears, and used a little duplicity to induce him to come alongside, Cartier seized two of the natives, named Domaigaia and Taignoagny (Iroquois), with the view of conveying them to France, and, on the following day, set sail up the gulf. After making some further explorations, and being foiled in an attempt to enter the mouth of a river, Cartier began to think of returning. Being alarmed by the rapidity of the tide setting out of the St. Lawrence river, and the weather becoming remarkably tempestuous, he assembled his captains and principal men in council, "to put the question as to the expediency of continuing the voyage." The result of their deliberations was as follows: Considering the easterly winds began to prevail, "that there was nothing to be gotten;" the impetuosity of the tides was such "that they did but fall," and storms and tempests beginning to reign, it was evident that they must either promptly return home, or else remain where they were until spring. Under these circumstances it was decided to be expedient to return; and with this counsel Cartier complied. No time was lost in retracing their route along the Newfoundland coast, and they arrived at the port of "White Sands" on the 9th of August. On the 15th, being "the feast of the Assumption of our Lady," after the religious services of the day were concluded, Cartier set sail for France. "About the middle of the sea" he encountered a heavy storm of three days' continuance, and arrived at the port of St. Malo, on the 5th of September, after an absence of four months and sixteen days. [42]

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Chapter VI. — Further Explorations in the St. Lawrence Valley, by the French.


THE account which Cartier gave of his discoveries, and the prospective benefits therefrom promised to the future commerce of France, verified as the narrative was, by the presence of Domaigaia and Taignoagny, the two Iroquois captives, induced the Vice-Admiral Melleray to recommend him to the king for further employment. Accordingly, early in the spring of 1535, he was placed in command of another squadron, consisting of three ships, well provisioned and manned, for the purpose of still further prosecuting his researches in those latitudes. On the 6th of May, he, together with the crews of his vessels, attended divine service at the cathedral of St. Malo, where they received the ecclesiastical benediction. He sailed from St. Malo on the 19th of May, taking with him a number of young gentlemen, who were ambitious to seek their fortunes under his auspices. On the outward passage a severe tempest was encountered, during the continuance of which the vessels parted company. Cartier arrived at Newfoundland on the 7th of July, where, after waiting until the 26th, he was rejoined by the rest of his squadron. The succeeding day he carefully continued his voyage along the coast, taking soundings, with the view of finding good-anchor-ground, and tracing out the bays and harbors of this dangerous locality. Onthe 8th of August he entered the gulf visited by him the previous year, and now named it the St. Lawrence. After some preliminary reconnoissances of the capes, as also of the main land, and obtaining more definite information concerning the geography of the country, from Domaigaia and Taignoagny, who accompanied him, he sailed up the river, and, on the 1st of September, anchored at the mouth of the Saguenay river, which locality appeared to be familiar to the two captives. At this point the explorers met four canoes containing Indians, who evinced their usual caution and shyness; but, being hailed by the captive Iroquois, they came freely alongside of the ships, and a friendly interview took place.

As Cartier continued to advance up the river, the tides attracted his notice, as being very swift and dangerous. Tortoises were found in this vicinity, and for the first time they here observed the sturgeon, which is pronounced "savoury and good to be eaten." After ascending for seven days, the vessels reached the island of Orleans, where,

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having cast anchor, he ordered the boats to be manned, and went ashore, taking with him Domaigaia and Taignoagny as interpreters, through whose influence the fears of the Indians were appeased, and a friendly feeling established. The latter evinced their joy by dancing, and loaded him with presents, comprising several sorts of fish, and a large quantity of the zea maize, called "great millet." On the following day, the chief Donnaconna, accompanied by his entire band, arrived in twelve canoes, ten of which he directed to stop at a distance, and with the other two he pulled toward Cartier's ship. Donnaconna stood up as he approached, and, with violent gesticulations, addressed Cartier in a long speech. The captives related to him what they had seen abroad, and how kindly they had been treated, with which Donnaconna was so much pleased, that he desired Cartier to extend his arm over the side of the vessel, that he might kiss his hand. He then laid Cartier's arm fondlingly about his neck, whereupon the latter descended into the chief's canoe, and, having ordered bread and wine to be brought, they ate and drank together, and parted mutually gratified with the interview. Thus happily commenced the intercourse of the French with the Iroquois.

Cartier, having determined to ascend the river to Hochelaga, the present site of Montreal, anchored his larger vessels in the entrance of a small river, on the north shore, opposite the head of the island called by him Santa Cruz, and, on the 19th of September, in his smallest vessel, accompanied by two boats, and fifty men, he commenced the undertaking. To prevent this movement the Indians had in vain employed all their arts, and resorted to the most extravagant demoniacal dances; but all this served no other purpose than to encourage him in his design. A voyage of ten days' continuance brought him to an expansion of the river, named by him Lake Angolisme, but which is now called St. Peters. Finding the river was becoming shallow, he left his vessel at anchor, and proceeded forward with the two boats, and twenty-eight armed men. He was charmed with the scenery, the fertility of the soil, and the luxuriant productions of the new country. Every where above this point the Indians received him with friendship, and brought him presents of fish, corn, and game. When he anchored for the night, the natives assembled on shore, built fires, danced, and uttered shouts of joy; in this manner making his voyage resemble a triumphal journey. He arrived at Hochelaga on the 2d of October, where a multitude of the natives, of both sexes, old and young, awaited his arrival, and expressed their joy by dancing. Cartier having arrayed himself in gorgeous clothing, landed on the following morning, accompanied by a band of twenty mariners. Following, for four or five miles, a well-beaten path through the forest, he came to an open spot where a bright fire was burning. Here he was received by a deputation from the town, and desired to rest himself. A speech of welcome was then addressed to him, after which the procession advanced, without further interruption, to the town of Hochelaga, which was situated amidst cultivated fields, and surrounded with rude ramparts, constructed for defence. Mats having been spread for him, he was ceremoniously seated, and was soon joined by

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the chief, Agouhanna, an old man afflicted with palsy, who, sitting on a stag skin, was borne on the shoulders of men. Around his forehead he wore a band, or frontlet, of red-colored hedgehog skins, but, in other respects, he was not dressed better than his people. As neither Domaigaia or Taignoagny would accompany Cartier, he had no interpreter, and, during the interview, communication was principally carried on by signs. After the close of the conference he ascended to the top of the neighboring mountain, accompanied by natives. It afforded an extensive view of all the surrounding rivers, rapids, plains, and mountains. Transported by the scene, he bestowed on this elevation the name of Mount Royal. Having asked the Indians the name of the adjacent country, they replied, "Canada;" having, without doubt, understood him as referring to the town.

Thus having, on the 3d of October, 1535, terminated this eventful interview, Cartier hastened to return. Favored by both wind and tide, he reached his vessel in Lake St. Peters on the following day, and the post of the Holy Cross on the 11th. At this place he endured a cold winter, from the middle of November to the middle of March; the ice in the St. Lawrence is said to have been "two fathoms thick," and the snow four feet deep. Twenty-five of his men died of scurvy. He was detained in the river of the Holy Cross until the 6th of May, when he sailed for France, carrying with him the chief Donnaconna, and his two former captives, Domaigaia and Taignoagny. He reached the French coast, and cast anchor in the harbor of St. Malo, on the 6th of July, 1536.

Speaking of the Iroquois, he says: "They possess all property in common, and are clothed in skins during the winter. The men perform but trifling labor, and are addicted to smoking. The
condition of the women is one of servitude and drudgery. Polygamy is tolerated; the young women are dissolute, and married women condemned to remain widows after the death of their husbands. Both sexes are very hardy."

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Chapter VII. — Expedition of De Soto to Florida. Appalachian Group of Tribes.


UP to this period all attempts to found colonies in America had proved complete failures. De Leon, Vasquez, Narvaez, and Cartier, had each added their quota to geographical knowledge, and recorded details of the manners and customs of the Indians, but no one of them had established even the first outlines of a colony. Nine years after the disastrous termination of the expedition of Narvaez, Ferdinand de Soto determined to effect the conquest and colonization of Florida. As the origin of this expedition cannot be well understood, without reference to events which occurred on the north-western confines of Mexico, it becomes necessary to enter into some details respecting them.

In 1530, an Indian, named Tezon, a native of New Gallicia, told the governor of that province a wonderful tale, about the existence of seven cities in the terra incognita, north and east of the river Gila, each of which cities were as large as Mexico. He stated that the country so abounded in the precious metals, that entire streets in these cities were occupied by goldsmiths. In confirmation of what he asserted, he said that his father, then dead, had been a trader in ornamental feathers, and, in return for his goods, had brought from that quarter large quantities of gold and silver. This was the germ of the long prevailing myth of the seven golden cities of Cibola.

It so happened that, while this story was yet credited, Caba de Vaca, with three companions, one of whom was an African, arrived at Compostella, the capital of New Gallicia, after having been nine years traversing the continent. De Vaca had been the treasurer of Narvaez, and was the only officer of his army who had escaped the fury of the waves, and the vengeance of the Indians, on the Florida coast. The very fact of his safe passage over vast territories, occupied by hostile tribes, was of itself a wonder; but yet, not more so than the extraordinary tales he related, of the state of semi-civilization in which he had found some of the tribes whom he had encountered, andof the arts and wealth they possessed. These disclosures rekindled the latent cupidity in the imaginations of the Spanish adventurers, who were seeking their fortune in Mexico. All classes believed in the new land of golden promise, and fresh vitality was imparted to the stories of Tezon. De Vaca was summoned to the vice-regal court of Mexico,

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where his presence created a great excitement. The Viceroy, Mendoza, questioned him respecting the strange incidents of his escape, and as to the state of arts and civilization among the Indians. De Vaca represented the tribes on the Rio Grande and Gila, as wearing woven stuffs, living in large houses, built of stone, and possessing rich mines. From Mexico his fame preceded him to the court of Charles V., where he arrived in 1537, and where he was lionized on account of his adventures, sufferings, and the tales of golden wealth to be found in America. Nothing was too extravagant for the credulity of his audiences. Sufferings and perils he had indeed encountered; but, instead of plainly telling the Spaniards that Florida was a country containing no gold mines, destitute of cities, possessing no agriculture, roads, bridges, or any traces, either of high art, or semi-civilization, and that it was solely inhabited by savages, who cherished determined hostility to the Spanish race, he conformed to the preconceived notions of the court, the nobility, and the people, and represented, if he did not himself believe, that it was another Mexico — another Peru. The public mind was engrossed with the idea. Prominent among the believers of this tale was Ferdinand de Soto, who had been the most valuable assistant of Pizarro, in Peru, and had shared largely in the plunder of the Inca, Atahualpa.

De Soto determined to organize a new expedition for the conquest of Florida; one which should, and which in reality did, exceed in means and splendor anything of the kind which, at that period, had ever visited the New World. Gentlemen, and noblemen of rank and means, vied with each other for the honor of participating in the scheme. The finest horses of Andalusia and Estremadura, the most chivalric and enthusiastic cavaliers, and the bravest footmen, all armed and equipped in the most ample manner, as well as in the most glittering style, and well provided with drums, trumpets, and banners, formed the materiel of the army of De Soto. He received from the king the commission of Adalantado, together with the most ample powers for the establishment of a government.

During his transit to Cuba, where he spent a year, and augmented his forces, nothing occurred to dampen the ardor of his followers. Meantime, four natives, who were captured on the Floridian coast, were taught Spanish, that they might serve as interpreters. All his preparations having been completed, he embarked with his entire force, and arrived in the Bay of Espirito Santo, now Tampa, about the middle of May, 1539, having been twelve or thirteen days on the passage. He remained at anchor six days, while making reconnoissances. It was evident that the Indians designed meeting him in a hostile manner, for, though they had abandoned the coast, they had kindled fires to alarm the neighboring tribes.

On leaving the Spanish coast his force numbered 900 men, accompanied by twelve priests, and eight inferior clergy. At Cuba, numbers of adventurers joined him, who possessed many of the finest blood horses. At this time, his entire army must have exceeded 1000 men, a large body of whom were mounted. On the 31st of May, 300

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men were landed to take possession of the ground, and serve as a cover for the general debarkation. No enemy appearing, they bivouacked unmolested; but, just before daybreak on the 1st of June, they were aroused by the horrid yells of the Indians, who suddenly attacked them with arrows and clubs. Many of the Spaniards were wounded, notwithstanding their bodies were protected by armor. Panic-struck, they fled to the shore in confusion, where they were reinforced from the ships, but by that time the Indians had gained the shelter of the forest. In this engagement the Spaniards lost only a single horse, which was pierced by an arrow, which, after passing through the saddle and housings, buried one-third of its shaft in the body of the animal. The whole army then debarked. [43]

The antipathy of the Indians to the Spaniards, and their apparent determination to contest, with all their natural ferocity, the invasion of their territory, could be judged of by this attack. Fired with the spirit of adventure, flushed with the hope of finding mines of the precious metals, and having a large body of the most spirited cavaliers of Spain and Portugal to lead his squadrons, De Soto pushed forward with extraordinary energy. The natives could not mistake his object: he came to conquer and rule, not with the peaceable design of seeking to obtain wealth from the earth by the aid of the plough. They fled before him, awed by the presence of such a large force, and by the evil prestige of the Spanish name; which nation had, from the advent of De Leon, sent military expeditions into the country, with no other objects than conquest and plunder.

Soon after entering Florida, De Soto heard that a white man was detained in captivity at one of the Indian villages. By negotiation with the chief, this man was surrendered, and proved to be John Ortez, one of the adherents of Narvaez, who had taken shelter in an Indian lodge, married, and learned the language. Owing to the similarity in the dialects of the Appalachian group, Ortez succeeded in holding communication with the Indians until the army reached the eastern shores of the Mississippi river; although, on some occasions, it had been found necessary to make use of several dialects, or languages, in order to communicate (as it were, through a succession of links), with particular tribes.

De Soto was a man of energy and decision of character, capable of directing a great enterprise. He had enacted no insignificant part in the overthrow of the Indian empire of the South, and in Florida he had expected to encounter a race of Indians equally unfitted for making a bold and determined resistance. But, instead of the mild Peruvians, he had to deal with an implacable race, whose policy was a subtle one. They fled before him, and again rallied their forces in his rear, occupying the country through which he had passed. They continually harassed his flanks, and waged a guerilla warfare, peculiar to themselves. In their negotiations with him, the most

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profound concealment and dissimulation was practised. They amused him with false reports of mines, which kept him marching and countermarching over immense districts, in pursuit of this golden ignis fatuus. He penetrated dense forests, crossed rivers, traversed valleys, skirted swamps, and marched over open and dry plains, parched with thirst and tormented with hunger, until he had explored the whole breadth of northern Georgia, and reached Cofatchequi, now Silver Bluffs, in South Carolina; but, not finding any gold mines there, he determined to seek them elsewhere. Diverging west and northwest for the Appalachian mountains, he entered a part of the Cherokee country, whence he descended in a southerly direction, to the waters of the Flint, Coosa, and Alabama, following the latter to its junction with the Tombigbee. In this march he carried with him an influential chief, called Tuscaloosa, or Black Warrior, who eventually induced him to encamp, with all his baggage, in a formidable timber fort, called Mauvilla; but, before the remainder of his army arrived at this place, the Indians attacked him with desperate fury, and drove his garrison out of the fortification. They then closed the gates, lowered themselves down from the walls, and attacked him. The contest was maintained for three hours with great obstinacy on both sides; but at length De Soto, having been reinforced by a body of cavalry which had been left at his last encampment, ordered the gates to be hewn down with battle-axes, and entered the fort. The fight was here renewed, on the part of the natives, with a courage and desperation such as Spaniards had never before witnessed in America. To prevent the Indians from retaining possession of certain buildings within the area of the fort, of which they had obtained control, some Spanish soldiers fired them. The result of this act was most disastrous; the entire fortification was soon in flames, and with it were consumed the Spanish baggage, commissariat, medicines, camp stores, and supplies of every kind. In this battle and siege the Spaniards acknowledge a loss of eighty-two men, among whom were several distinguished officers. They had also forty-two horses killed. But the casualties among the Indian warriors present a vast disparity, being stated at 2500 by the historian. [44]

Toilsome marches, insufficient food, and hard fighting, having by this time cooled the ardor of some of the officers, they had arrived at the sage conclusion that the auriferous prize, which had lured them from their homes, was not easily attainable. The results of the last battle were so dispiriting, that De Soto accidentally overheard conversations which he deemed treasonable. Some of his cavaliers expressed a strong desire for a re-union with the fleet, which was supposed to be at that time in what is now called Mobile Bay. Nothing, however, could dampen his ardor or spirits. Stung by the remarks, of which he had been an auditor, he determined to proceed northward in his career of exploration. The blow struck by the Appalachian tribes at Mauvilla, could

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not fail to be very severely felt; but, had it not been for the disclosure of dissatisfaction on the part of his followers, it is doubtful whether he would have determined to proceed towards the north and west. Instead, therefore, of descending the Mobile river to the Bay, meeting his vessels, and establishing his colony there, as he had intended, he directed his march toward the north. He crossed the rivers Black Warrior, Tombigbee, and Yazoo, though not without strong opposition, and directed his course in a northwesterly direction to the town of the Chicaza, which was found to have been deserted on his approach. It being at this time late in December, and the weather assuming a wintry aspect, he determined to encamp his army and pass the winter at this place. During two months the army enjoyed comparative repose, making no movement, except when necessity required them to forage for provisions, or to repulse the guerilla attacks, to which they were subjected night and day. At length the Chickasaws resolved to burn the encampment; the buildings having been constructed of poles, canes, reeds, and other inflammable materials. A dark and windy night having been chosen, the camp was fired in several places, the savages at the same time uttering furious yells, and making a desperate attack. The high winds fanned the flames into irresistible fury, and for a time the confusion rendered it impossible to resist the impetuosity of the assailants. Discipline and courage, however, regained the ascendency, and the enemy was repulsed. But the camp was totally destroyed, together with all the arms, saddles, accoutrements, and provisions belonging to the army. All that had been spared by the conflagration at Mauvilla, was here annihilated. The droves of hogs which had formed their main resource for provisions, were burned in their pens. The temper of their swords had been impaired by the action of the fire, and almost every valuable article of equipage was consumed. Forty Spaniards had fallen, and fifty horses had been slain. [45] The effects of this conflagration were even more disastrous than that at Mauvilla. But nothing could diminish the zeal, or divert the purpose, of De Soto, who may truly be styled, a hero in disaster as well as in victory. He formed a new camp, on an eligible spot, distant four leagues from his former one, naming it Chickasilla. [46]

The 1st of April had arrived before he could repair his losses, and place his army in condition to continue his march; it was only, however, to encounter renewed opposition. A hostile spirit was aroused in every direction, which expended its fury in guerilla attacks, no body of the enemy being willing to encounter De Soto in the field. He soon came to a strongly stockaded and well defended fort, called Alabama, erected on the banks of a stream. This he carried by a desperate assault, in which he lost fifteen men. He then moved on, through tangled paths, to a village called Chisca, which was immediately stormed. It had been deserted by the warriors, but all the women,

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children, and old men were captured, and retained as hostages for the good behavior of the Chickasaws. De Soto then continued his course to the north, by easy marches, during four days, when, to the joy of the entire army, they deployed on an elevated plain of cleared ground, having bluff banks, which were washed by the rushing waters of a great river, which De Soto named Rio Grande. It was the Mississippi river. He had probably reached the lower Chickasaw Bluffs, in north latitude, about 32°.

On this elevated and eligible spot, De Soto rested for twenty days, while engaged in making preparations to cross that magnificent stream, and pursue his explorations to the west of it, in the direction of the Pacific Ocean. By a most eccentric line of march, [47] he had traversed the area of the present States of Florida, Georgia, a part of South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee, and at every point had encountered, either an open or secret enmity from the Indians, especially the Muscogees, Choctaws, and Chickasaws, who had fought with unexampled ferocity. They were a poor, but brave and warlike people, determined to protect their country and their natural liberties. Tribes which had formerly been at variance, united to repel this formidable invasion. They were, ethnologically speaking, branches of one great stock. During the previous twenty-five years they had acquired bitter experience of Spanish invasion, and hence hated the race with such intensity, that they determined to die rather than surrender the country. That the Spanish character had been well weighed by them, and that their dislike was deep-rooted, as well as general, may be gathered from the following quotation from Garcellaso de la Vega.

"Others of your accursed race," said Acuera, a Muscogee chief, to De Soto's messengers, "have, in years past, poisoned our peaceful shores. They have taught me what you are. What is your employment? To wander about like vagabonds, from land to land, to rob the poor, to betray the confiding, to murder the defenceless in cold blood. No, with such a people, I want no peace — no friendship. War, never-ending war, exterminating war, is all the boon I ask." [48]

Two younger brothers of the Micco of Vitachucco, a Muscogee chief, having been captured, sent messages to him, speaking favorably of the Spaniards, and imploring submission. "It is evident enough," he replied, "that you are young, and have neither judgment nor experience, or you would never have spoken as you have done, of these hated white men. You extol them greatly as virtuous men, who injure no one. You say that they are valiant, that they are children of the sun, and merit all our reverence. The vile chains which they have hung upon you, and the mean and dastardly spirit which you have acquired during the short period you have been their slaves, have caused you to speak like women, lauding what you should censure and abhor.

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"You remember that these strangers can be no better than those who formerly committed so many cruelties in our country. Are they not of the same nation, and subject to the same laws? Do not their manners of life prove them to be children of the Evil Spirit, and not of the sun and moon — our gods? Go they not from land to land, plundering and destroying? taking the wives and daughters of others, instead of bringing their own with them — and, like mere vagabonds, maintaining themselves by the labor of others?" [49]

All the Indians encountered in Florida, from Tampa Bay to the Mississippi river, were characterized by a very decided spirit of independence, and the most deep hostility to all foreign aggression. [50]

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Chapter VIII. — De Soto Crosses the Mississippi River, and Traverses the Present Area of Missouri and Arkansas. Family of Dakotahs, or Prairie Tribes.


DE SOTO, having recruited his army on the high and beautiful elevation of the Chickasaw Bluffs, and restored its failing strength, every means which an able commander could adopt, were resorted to for repairing his losses. Forges were erected, where the swords and spears of his soldiers were re-tempered. Buckskin was ingeniously employed in repairing the burnt saddles and accoutrements. The horses regained their strength when pastured on the rich prairie grass, and all the arms were re-burnished. Once more the squadrons of De Soto were able to assume a martial bearing. Plumes nodded, and glittering steel again flashed before the eyes of the wondering natives. The gallant men, and fine horses, lost at Mauvilla, at Fort Alabama, on the Yazoo, and at Chickaza, were at the moment forgotten, and the old chivalric character of the Spaniard shone forth with renewed lustre, as he marched down to the margin of the Mississippi, and prepared to pass that boundary, which he was destined never again to recross, but, like another Alaric, to make its bed his mausoleum. The month of May had but just manifested its arrival by its mild airs, and the expanding vegetation, combined with the increased flow of the waters, which served to give life and animation to the scene.

Boats had been constructed to convey the whole army over in divisions, at the old Indian crossing above the mouth of the St. Frances. The Indians presented themselves on the opposite banks in a hostile attitude. The horse and infantry were embarked in as proud array, and as compact masses as possible. To protect the debarkation of the troops, a body of picked men, with their horses, had been ferried over before daybreak, and effected a landing without meeting with any opposition. The river was estimated to be half a league in width, but pronounced swift and deep. Two hours before sunset the whole army had crossed; the Indians not having made any combined effort to oppose it, not a man was lost. De Soto immediately made arrangements to put his columns in motion for the high grounds. But his position was one of embarrassment. He had rid himself of the Chickasaws, and their affiliated tribes, on the east banks of the river, but was surrounded by others, characterized by more savage manners and

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customs, and actuated by a still fiercer spirit of enmity. Their language, also, being entirely different, John Ortez could no longer make himself understood, and the tedious circumlocution in the translation, sometimes made four different renditions imperative. These tribes were of the Issati, or Dakotah, lineage.

Dense forests, rearing their towering growth on swampy lands, surrounded him; but onward he marched, following the Indian footpath. After a journey of five days' length, he reached the table lands of Missouri, and encamped near a village of the Casqui (Kaskaski), on the St. Francis. The Casqui received him joyfully, and entered into a treaty with him. But it was a league which had nearly proved fatal to De Soto, as they were a weak tribe, and at war with the Kiapaha (Quappas). The latter had their strong-hold on the right banks of the Mississippi, apparently near the present site of New Madrid. The Casqui offered to accompany them in full force, ostensibly for the purpose of carrying the baggage of the army, but they had no sooner arrived in the vicinity of the Quappa villages, than they slily advanced and furiously attacked them. The latter, who were temporarily absent from the principal village, soon rallied, and proved themselves to be most brave and determined enemies. They at last fled to a strong position on an island in the Mississippi, where the Spaniards, having followed them, were, in the end, compelled to retreat. This was the first tribe of the great prairie group, or Dakotahs, that De Soto had encountered.

While at the Kiapaha village, he sent messengers westward to inquire into the truth of rumors of mineral wealth; but they found nothing but copper. They, however, penetrated into the western plains, and discovered the Buffalo.

De Soto then returned to the country of the Casqui, where he spent many days, to allow the army time to recruit their forces. This vicinity afforded plenty of food, and had the advantage of being an open country, where cavalry could manoeuvre. His army having been refreshed, he moved south to Qiquate, where rumors of mineral wealth reaching him, drew him north to a spot called Caligoa, [51] at the sources of the St. Francis. He was at this time in the granite tract of St. Michael's, Missouri, celebrated for its volcanic upheavals, and pinnacles of Azoic rocks, its iron mountains, its lead mines, and its ores of cobalt. [52]

Reports of new and tempting mineral regions in the south, soon led him in search of a country called Cayas. He crossed the Unica, or White river, at Tanico, [53] and allowed

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his troops to rest for twenty days in a fine valley, at a place called Tula. The Indian residents of this place were "ill-favored, tattooed, and ferocious." The army then marched five days toward the west, over an elevated, uninhabited region, comprising the broad and rugged district of the modern Ozark Mountains. Beyond this broken chain De Soto entered the country of the Quipano (Pani, or Pawnee), [54] which has a comparatively level surface. A few days' farther march westward, he found himself in a territory abounding in game, well supplied with grass, and dotted over with prairies. Having discovered the Arkansas river, he here determined to establish his winter quarters. Ordering stalls to be constructed for his horses, and a regular encampment to be formed, on this spot he passed the winter of 1541-42. The site of this camp appears to have been on the banks of the Neosho, and was in the midst of beautiful natural meadows.

When spring had opened sufficiently to warrant him in moving forward, he proceeded down the Arkansas, crossing that stream near the present site of Van Buren, or Fort Smith, and, following its southern plains down to Little Rock, again crossed to the north, and directed his course along the banks of the stream, till he reached its mouth, notwithstanding he was greatly embarrassed by the deep inlet of White river. Being in a feeble state of health, and a fever beginning to prostrate him, De Soto here encamped, and calmly contemplated his approaching end. After having appointed Moscoso, his camp-master, to succeed him, surrounded by his officers, who had followed him through scenes of danger and trial, over nearly half the continent of North America, he calmly yielded up his spirit. At first his body was interred in the vicinity, great precautions being taken to conceal the spot, lest the Indians should exhume, and mutilate his remains. Finally, his followers placed the corpse in a sarcophagus, formed from the hollowed trunk of a tree, which they conveyed in a boat at midnight to the centre of the Mississippi river, and sunk beneath its turbid waters.

With the death of De Soto, that intrepid daring and noble emulation, which had been called into action by his master mind, began to flag; but, though the enterprise was, in fact, crushed, the truth did not immediately appear.


As soon as the sad funereal rites were finished, Moscoso prepared to lead a new expedition toward the west. He ascended the southern banks of the Arkansas, directing his course in a southwesterly line, across the Washita,and the smaller affluants of the Arkansas and Red rivers. He encountered the most determined opposition from all the tribes he met. They fought with a desperation which was extraordinary, and were repulsed with that chivalrous and dashing bravery which had, from the first, characterized the entire operations of the expedition. He eventually reached the buffalo plains, which stretch from the Canadian fork of the Arkansas to the sources of the Red river. Though it was expected that they should,

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somewhere in this vicinity, meet parties of Spanish military explorers from the south, this hope was at last relinquished, and the army retraced its steps to the mouth of the Arkansas, amid great perils, and with unparalleled toil.

To found a colony at a point so remote from the sea, with the crippled and inadequate means in their possession, and subject to the active hostility of all the Indian tribes, both east and west of that stream, appeared to be so impracticable, that Moscoso resolved to build boats, and descend the Mississippi in them to its mouth. As soon as they were completed, the whole force embarked, the horses being placed in long, narrow boats, with their fore feet in one, and their hind feet in another. The Indians exulted on seeing the Spaniards making preparations to leave their country, and, embarking in their canoes, pursued the retiring troops with the utmost boldness and energy. Sometimes they attacked the flotilla in front, sometimes from the bank. Their arrows could be impelled with such force, that they had been known to pierce a horse, after passing through the skirts of a saddle. The retreating forces were often obliged to deploy and defend themselves, and in these skirmishes the Spaniards suffered the most severely. The armor of the soldiers was proof against the arrows of the foe, but the flanks of the poor horses being exposed, these noble animals were thinned off, day by day, until, on arriving at the mouth of the river, there was not a single horse left alive.

As soon as Moscoso entered the gulf, he steered for the coast of Panuca, where he finally arrived, after encountering great perils, both from the warring elements and the disagreement of the pilots. Thus terminated an expedition, which had been organized with extraordinary fame and splendor, and the members of which comprised some of the most chivalrous and able officers of the age. Nearly three years had been spent, in traversing the immense plains and forests intervening between the peninsula of Florida and the plains of Arkansas. Everywhere the Indians had been found to be inimical to the Spanish race, and had manifested a spirit and daring, in repelling the invaders, which well merited the appellation of heroic. [55]

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Chapter IX. — Coronado's Expedition into the Territory which has Acquired the Name of New Mexico. The Zuni, Moqui, Navajo, and Cognate Tribes.


THE enthusiasm of all who credited the story of Tezon received a new impulse, and large accessions were made to the number of believers, by the accounts given by Caba de Vaca, of the Indian tribes he had seen during his extraordinary peregrinations, extended through a term of eight or nine years, between the point where he was wrecked, on the Florida coast, and New Gallicia, on the Pacific. Not only did his presence in Spain give origin to the expedition of De Soto, but, at the same time, to the almost equally renowned one organized by Mendoza, the Viceroy of Mexico, and placed under the command of Coronado. This expedition had been preceded by one sent by Guzman, the Governor of New Gallicia, in search of the seven cities of Cibola; but this party penetrated no farther than Culiacan, whence it returned with accounts of the difficulties attending the enterprize. This effort only tended to stimulate the equipment of the more formidable organization of the Viceroy.

As a preliminary step, Mendoza had despatched Marcos de Niza, accompanied by two friars, and Estevan, the African brought to Mexico by De Vaca, to make explorations of the country. On reaching Culiacan, De Niza and his companions rested a few days. Meantime, Estevan pushed forward, crossed the Gila, and entered the valley of Cibola, while De Niza was still sixty leagues behind. The first thing he did at this place, after the caziques assembled, was to demand their gold and their wives. After questioning him as to his authority for making such a demand, having reason to suspect him as a spy of some invading force, they determined to put him to death, which sentence was immediately executed. De Niza, on learning the fate of Estevan, returned to Compostella, and thence to Mexico, where, however, both in his reports, and in an account of his discoveries, which he published, he greatly exaggerated the resources and the value of the country. These statements secured his appointment as the guide for the expedition, to which he devoted all his energies. Mendoza appointed Francisco Vasquez Coronado as commander, who was, at the same time, nominated the successor of Guzman, in the government of New Gallicia. Three hundred men were

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enlisted, of whom an extraordinary large proportion consisted of cavaliers and gentlemen. Mendoza, himself, went as far as Compostello with the troops, where they were joined by 800 Indians, whose duties were to carry baggage, and act as guides, as well as pioneers. It is somewhat remarkable that this expedition set out at the same time that De Soto was traversing the broad plains of Florida, and actually reached the waters of the Rio Gila, when he crossed the Mississippi. Both armies eventually explored portions of the great buffalo plains of Arkansas. Coronado met De Niza at Chiametta, on his return from making reconnoissances. He reported that they had penetrated 200 leagues, as far as Chichiticala, but gave so vague an account, that, between his representations of its being "barren," and a "good" country, Coronado and his army were completely bewildered. On, however, they marched. Reaching Chichiticala, they discovered the ruins of a large house, built of dry clay, surrounded by the remains of a population, which had evident claims to be regarded as belonging to a higher type of civilization than any of the existing tribes. [56] Crossing the Gila, Coronado led his army onward over a desert, until they reached a small stream, by following the valley of which, they soon arrived before the lofty natural walls of Cibola (Old Zuni). On the top of this stood the town, composed of high, terraced buildings, whose first stories could only be reached by movable ladders, the natural defence of semi-civilization against savage incursions. [57] The Indians cultivated corn in the valleys below,
wove coarse stuffs for clothing, manufactured

assaulted the town. The natives rolled down stones, one of which struck Coronado and knocked him down. The place being taken, after an hour's struggle, the troops found provisions, but no gold; and so great did the excitement become against De Niza, for his falsehoods, that he was obliged to flee.


It is not necessary to enter into a further detail of the incidents attending Coronado's invasion of New Mexico, to denote that he was resisted at every point by the native tribes. He passed one winter in the country, and then returned to New Gallicia, leaving the troops under the command of subordinates. The following year was devoted to an exploration of this territory, extending to the Colorado on the west, and to the Rio Grande on the east. The expedition crossed this stream, passing the head waters of the Pecos, and pursued their route to the buffalo plains of the Arkansas. If De Soto was amused by Indian rumors, which led him from place to place, in Florida, Coronado and his officers were equally misled by reports of towns, cities, and mines, said to exist throughout New Mexico, including the extreme western portions of Texas, and the southwestern part of Louisiana and Arkansas. The country was only conquered while the Spaniards remained. They found no large

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or well-built towns; neither roads, nor bridges, nor elaborate temples; and no mines of the precious metals. Discovering it to be but a barren conquest, difficult of maintenance, and destitute of resources, the Spanish army prepared to abandon it to its original owners, and, after passing their second winter in the high and bleak elevations west of the Rio Grande, they returned to Mexico.

Thus terminated the celebrated expedition of Coronado, by which we first acquired a knowledge of the manners, customs,


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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
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