NIU Libraries Digitization Projects
Lincoln/Net Prairie Fire Illinois During the Civil War Illinois During the Gilded Age Mark Twain's Mississippi Back to Digitization Projects Contact Us

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
Persistent link to this document:

Previous section

Next section

Section Twelfth. — Period Intervening from the Conquest of Canada to the Commencement of the American Revoloution. Chapter I. — Changes in the Relations of the Indian Tribes.

THE ensuing fifteen years of Indian history are crowded with the records of interesting events. The great question among the Indian tribes had been, "Is England or France to rule?" In a memorial to the States-General of Holland, dated October 12th, 1649, it is quaintly said: "The Indians are of little consequence." 286 Whichever power prevailed was destined to rule them, and the controversy was now drawing to a close. As the termination of the struggle approached, the agents of the government had lost their patience.

"Be not any longer wheedled, and blindfolded, and imposed on," said Sir William Johnson to the Iroquois, "by the artful speeches of the French; for their tongues are full of deceit. Do not imagine the fine clothes, &c., they give you, is out of love or regard for you; no, they are only as a bait to catch a fish; they mean to enslave you thereby, and entail that curse upon you; and your children after you will have reason to repent the day you begot them; be assured, they are your inveterate and implacable enemies, and only wish for a difference to arise between you and us, that they might pot you all out of their way, by cutting you from the face of the earth." 287

Champlain founded the city of Quebec in 1608, adopting the Algonquin catch-word,

-- 236 --

Kebik, "take care of the rock," 288 as the appellative for the nucleus of the future empire of the French. One hundred and fifty-two years, marked by continual strifes and negotiations, plots and counterplots, battles and massacres, all having for their object supremacy over the Indian tribes, had now passed away. Wolfe and Montcalm were both dead. The empire of New France, reaching from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico, would, thenceforth, only have a place on the pages of history. But had the Indians derived any advantage from the contest? Had they, in fact, struggled for any definite position, or had they only fought on the strongest side, anticipating better usage, more lucrative trade, greater kindness, or more even-handed justice, from one party, than was to be obtained from the other? Was this hope well defined and permanent, or did it fluctuate with every change of fortune, with the prowess of every warlike, or with the tact of every civic, character who trod the field? Did they not vacillate with every wind, being steady only in the preservation of their chameleon-like character, true when faithfulness was their only, or supposed, interest, and false or treacherous when, as frequently happened, the current of success changed?

Two prominent genera of Indian tribes existed in the north and west from the earliest settlement of the colonies, namely, the Algonquins and the Iroquois. The Algonquins trusted to the French to enable them to prevent the English from occupying their lands. The Iroquois looked to the English for aid to keep the French off their possessions. When, after the long struggle was over, and the English finally prevailed, the Indian allies of the French could hardly realize the fact. They did not think the king of France would give up the contest, after having built so many forts, and fought so many battles to maintain his position. They discovered, however, that the French had been defeated, and they, at length, became aware that, with their overthrow, the Indian power in America had also departed. The tribes of the far west and north were required to give their assent to what was done, which they did grudgingly. The name of SAGANOSH had been so long scouted by them, that it appeared to be a great hardship to succumb to the English. NADOWA, the Algonquin name for Iroquois, had also, from the earliest times, been a word of fearful import to the western Indians, and their shout was sufficient to make the warriors of the strongest villages fly to arms, while their families hid in swamps and fastnesses. Both the English and the Iroquois were now in the ascendant.

In a review of the history of this period, it will be found that nine-tenths of the western Indians were in the French interest. The Shawnees, ever, during their nomadic state, a vengeful, restless, perfidious, and cruel people, had left central Pennsylvania, as early as 1755-9, in company with, or preceding the Delawares. After the defeat of Braddock, and down to the close of Wayne's war, in 1793, their tracks, in the Ohio valley, had been marked with blood. The Delawares, during the year 1744, and

-- 237 --

subsequently, were, in truth, driven from central Pennsylvania, not by the Quakers, but by the fierce and indomitable Celtic and Saxon elements. Unfortunately for this people, they had the reputation of siding with the French. After the massacre of Conastoga, the Iroquois, who had once held sway over the whole course of the Susquehanna, fled back to Oneida, and other kindred cantons. That portion of the western Iroquois who bore the name of Mingoes, and were once under the rule of Tanacharisson, the half-king, and, subsequently, of Scarooyadi, were suspected of, and charged with, unfriendliness, after the stand taken by Logan. The numerous Miamies, Piankashaws, and Weas of the Wabash, were, ab initio, friendly to the French. The Wyandots, or Hurons, of Sandusky and Detroit, who had been driven out by the Iroquois with great fury, and who took shelter among the French and the French Indians, had always been hostile to the English colonies. The numerous and wide-spread family of the Chippewas, Ottawas, and Pottawattamies, had exerted a very varied influence on the English frontiers.

Turning our inquiries to the Illinois tribes, had they not, from the remotest times, found their worst foes in the Iroquois? For this information, consult La Salle and Marquette. The Peorias, the Cahokias, and the Kaskaskias, had, from the first discovery of the country, dealt with French traders, and were thought to be imbued with French principles. The Winnebagoes of Green Bay, representing the bold prairie tribes of the Dakotah stock, west of the Mississippi, at no period were not the friends of the French. Intimate relations had been maintained with the Kickapoos, and with the wandering tribes of the Maskigoes, by the French missionaries and traders. Among all the Algonquin tribes, the Foxes and the Sauks, who had, in 1712, assailed the French fort at Detroit, were the only enemies of the French; and they, previous to the conquest of Canada, had been driven to the Fox river of Wisconsin. On the west, the French were in alliance with the Osages, Missouries, Kansas, Quappas, and Caddoes; and, on the south, with the Cherokees, Choctaws, and Muscogees.

All the necessary arrangements for taking possession of the military posts lately occupied by the French, were promptly and efficiently made by General Amherst. Niagara having been garrisoned from the time of the conquest, Captain Rodgers was sent thence to Detroit, in 1761. This detachment was followed by Sir William Johnson, the Superintendent-General of Indian affairs, who placed the intercourse with the Indians on a proper footing. Rodgers afterwards proceeded to
Michilimackinac, where his proceedings subjected him to severe censure. 289 Forts Chartres, Vincennes, Presque Isle, and the other minor posts, were garrisoned by English troops. The Indians were still numerous, although they had suffered greatly in the war. The Indian trade yet required arrangement, and the commanding officers of these isolated western posts, at all times had far more need of the counsels of wisdom, than of military strength, and required more skill in the arts of Indian diplomacy, than in the active duties of the field.

-- 238 --

Chapter II. — War with the Cherokees.


While these fundamental changes were taking place in the relations and prospects of the northern tribes, those of the south remained quiescent, relying for security on the power of the French. The Cherokees, at that time, occupied the interior of South Carolina, extending from the head waters of the Savannah, and its principal branch, the Keowee, across the Appalachian chain to the Tennessee, then called the Cherokee river. Either instigated by wrong counsels, or indulging their natural proclivities for rapine and murder, these Indians had comitted several outrages on the frontier settlements of this province. At the close of the year 1759, Governor Littleton, having obtained from the legislature authority to raise a large body of men, with which to bring the tribe to terms, promptly marched into the Cherokee country at the head of 800 provincials, and 300 regular troops. This incursion, succeeding, as it did, a long period of inactivity and supineness, so much intimidated and surprised the tribe, that, being then entirely unprepared for open war, they did not hesitate to sue for peace, which was granted them in too much haste, without understanding the tru nature of the Indian character and policy.

At this time the territory of the Cherokees extended from Fort Ninety-Six, on the Carolina frontiers, and Fort Prince George, on the Keowee branch of the Svannah, to the main sources of that river, and across the Appalachian chain to, and down the Cherokee, or Tennessee, river, and its sourthern branches — a country replete with all the resources requisite in Indian life, possessing a delightful climate, and abounding in fertile, sylvan valleys, The tribe has been accused of operating against the southern frontier under the influence of the French, who supplied them with arms and ammunition.

The treaty concluded with Governor Littleton, refers to certain articles of amity and commerce entered into with these people, at Whitehall, September, 7, 1730, as well as to another pacification of November 19, 1758, and then proceeds, with the precision of the legal phraseology of the old black-letter lawyers, to rehearse grievances of a later date, for all which transgressions the tribe stipulates to make amends, and promises future good conduct. They actually delivered up two Cherokees who had committed murders, promised the surrender of twenty more, and gave twenty of their principal

-- 239 --

chiefs, as hostages for the due performance of the terms of the treaty. To this formal document the great chief of the nation, Attakullakulla, and five other principal chiefs, subsequently affixed their assent and guaranty. This matter being accomplished, Governor Littleton returned with his army to Charleston, and the Indians, after a short time, recommenced their depredations. It has been remarked by Major Mante, that "the Indians are of such a disposition, that unless they really feel the rod of chastisement, they cannot be prevailed on to believe that we have the power to inflict it; and, accordingly, whenever they happened to be attacked by us, unprepared, they had recourse to a treaty of peace, as a subterfuge, which gave them time to collect themselves. Then, without the least regard to the bonds of public faith, they, on the first opportunity, renewed their depredations. Negotiations, and treaties of peace, they despised; so that the only hopes to bring to reason their intractible minds, and of making them acknowledge our superiority, and live in friendship with us, must arise from the severity of chastisement." 290

Littleton has scarcely returned home, when the Cherokees renewed their ravages. They attacked with great fury the settlement of Long Canes, sparing neither planter, cattle, buildings, women, nor children. There were particularly severe on English traders. This attack was subsequently repeated by a party of 200 warriors, who extended their depredations to the forks of the Broad river, where they surprised and killed forty men. Inspirited by their success they made an attack on Ninety-Six, but the fort proving too strong, they proceeded to the Congaree, spreading devastation both by fire and sword around them. Littleton, on the receipt of the earliest news of these irruptions, sent an express to General Amherst, asking for reinforcements.

On the 18th of February, 1760, the Cherokees assembled around Fort Prince George, on the Keowee river, and attempted to surprise it. While the garrison was gazing at the force from the ramparts, a noted cheif, called Ocunnasto, approached, and desired to speak to Lieutenant Coytmore, the commandant, who agreed to meet him on the banks of the Keowee river, whither he was acoompanied by Ensign Bell, and Mr. Coharty, the interpreter. Ocunnasto siad he wished to go down and see the Governor, and requested that a white man might be allowed to accompany him. This request being assented to, he said to an Indian, "Go and catch a horse for me." This was objected to; but the chief, making a feint motion, carelessly swung a bridle which he held, three times around his head. This being a secret signal to men lying concealed, a volley was instantly poured in, which mortally wounded Coytmore, who received a ball in his breast, and inflicted deep wounds on the others.

This treachery aroused the indignation of Ensign Miln, commanding the garrison of the fort, who determined to put the twenty Cherokee hostages, and also the two murderers, in irons. But the first attempt to seize the assassins was instantly resisted;

-- 240 --

the soldier who was deputed to effect it was tomahawked and killed, and another one wounded. This so exasperated those within the fort, that all the hostages were immediately put to death. In the evening the Indians fired two signal guns before the fort, and, being ignorant of the manner in which the hostages had been disposed of, shouted to them, "Fight strong and you shall be aided." The works were then invested, and an irregular fire maintained all night, with but little effect. On searching the room which had been occupied by the hostages, several tomahawks were found buried in the ground, which had been stealthily conveyed to the prisoners by their visiting friends.

Meantime, Amherst, immediately on the receipt of Governor Littleton's express, had despatched to his relief 600 Highlanders, and an equal number of Royals, under Colonel Montgomery. On reaching Charleston, Montgomery immediately took the field. The celerity of his movements against the Cherokees took them completely by surprise. On the 26th of May he reached Fort Ninety-Six, and, June 1, passed the Twelve mile branch of the Keowee, with his baggage and stores, and, conveying them up amazingly rocky steeps, he pushed on, night and day, marching eighty-four miles before taking a night's rest. Having progressed forty miles further, he constructed a camp on an eligible site, and leaving his wagons and cattle, with his tents standing, under a suitable guard of provincials and rangers, he took the rest of his troops, lightly-armed, and directed his course toward the Cherokee towns. Thus far his scouts had discovered no enemy, and his rapid advance had been unheralded. His first object was to attack Estatoe, a town some twenty-five miles in advance, and for this purpose he set out at eight o'clock in the evening. After marching sixteen miles, he heard a dog bark on the left, at the town of Little Keowee, about a quarter of a mile from the road, of the location of which his guides had not informed him. He immediately detached a force with orders to surround it, and to bayonet every man, but to spare the women and children. This order was strictly executed; the men being found encamped outside the houses, were killed, and their families captured, unharmed. In the mean time the main force marched forward to Estatoe, in which they found but ten or twelve men, who were killed. This town comprised about 200 houses, which were well supplied with provisions and ammunition. Montgomery, determining to make the nation feel the power of the colonies, immediately attacked the other towns in succession, until every one in the lower nation had been visited and destroyed. About seventy Cherokees were killed, and, including the women and children, forty were taken prisoners. Only four English soldiers were killed, and two officers wounded. Montgomery then returned to Fort Prince George, on the Keowee, where he awaited proposals of peace from the Cherokees, but hearing nothing from them, he resolved to make a second incursion into the middle settlements of the nation. He marched his army from the fort on the 24th of June, and using the same despatch as on the previous occasion, in three days he reached the town of Etchowee.

-- 241 --

The scouts having discovered three Indians as they approached this place, took one of them prisoner, who attempted to amuse the colonel with the tale of their being ready to sue for peace; but he, not crediting the story, marched cautiously forward for a mile, when his advanced guard was fired on from a thicket, and in the melee its captain was killed. Montgomery, hearing the firing, ordered the grenadiers and light infantry to advance; who steadily pushed forward through an ambuscade of 500 Indians, rousing them from their coverts. As they reached more elevated and clearer ground, the troops drove the Indians before them at the point of the bayonet. Placing himself at the head of his force, he proceeded toward the town, following a narrow path, where it was necessary to march in Indian file, the surrounding country being well reconnoitered in advance by his scouts. On reaching Etchowee it was found to have been abandoned. After encamping on the open plain, Montgomery ordered out detachments in several directions, who performed gallant services, driving the enemy across a river, killing some, and taking several prisoners, when, scattering their forces, they inflicted upon the Indians a severe chastisement. He then returned to Charleston, by way of the fort on the Keowee, and rejoined Amherst in the north.

The Cherokees being disposed to retaliate these severe irruptions of Colonel Montgomery, the month of August had not elapsed before they began to give unmistakeable proofs of unabated hostility. Fort Prince George they had found too strong for them, but the garrison of Fort Loudon, on the confines of Virginia, being reduced in numbers, and in great want of provisions, was immediately besieged. After sustaining the siege until reduced to extremity, the commanding officer, Demere, with the concurrence of all his subordinates, very unwisely surrendered the fortification to his savage foe, August 6, 1760. The result of this ill-advised capitulation soon became apparent; the garrison and men being ruthlessly attacked before they had proceeded any distance from the fort, and both officers and privates cruelly massacred. Captain Stuart was the only officer who escaped, his salvation being due to the intervention of Attakulla-kulla himself, the leader of the attacking party.

Notwithstanding the reduction of Canada, the Indians in remote districts still continued their opposition to the English power. This was particularly the case with the Cherokees. To curb this tribe, Colonel Grant was, in 1761, ordered to march against them with an adequate body of troops, who soon compelled them to sue for peace. 291 Nothing further of note marked the military operations of this year. Major Rodgers was sent to take possession of the forts at Presque Isle and Detroit. General Monckton commanded at Fort Pitt.

-- 242 --

Chapter III. — The Confederate Algonquins and Hurons of the Upper Lakes, Under the Direction of Pontiac, Dispute the Occupation of that Region by the English.

OTHER tribes besides the Cherokees, manifested dissatisfaction, or broke out into open hostility. The Shawnees and Delawares of the Ohio valley had been inimical to the colonies ever since their migration, or, in effect, expulsion from Pennsylvania, in 1759. The entire mass of the Algonquin tribes of the upper lakes, and to the west of the Ohio, deeply sympathized with the French in the loss of Canada. They hoped that the French flag would be once more unfurled on the western forts, and this feeling, we are assured by Mante — a judicious historian of that period — had been fostered by the French, whose mode of treatment of the Indians he, at the same time, commends.

"For," he continues, "it soon appeared that, at the very time we were representing the Indians to ourselves completely subdued, and perfectly obedient to our power, they were busy in planning the destruction, not only of our most insignificant and remote forts, but our most important and central settlements." 292 Under this impression, General Amherst had ordered to the west, to keep the Indians in check, the regular forces which had been employed against Niagara, Quebec, and Montreal. Little more was done, in 1761, than supplying garrisons to the forts at Presque Isle, Detroit, and
Michilimackinac, by which, though the country was occupied, its native inhabitants were not overawed. Fort Pitt had been occupied from the period of its capture, in 1758; but its garrison having been reduced by the Indian wars in the west, it was, early in 1763, invested by the Shawnees, Delawares, and their confederates. The defection of the western tribes was found to be very great, extending from the Ohio valley to, and throughout, the whole series of lakes, into the valleys of the Illinois, Miami and Wabash.

At this time, there was living, in the vicinity of Detroit, a chief possessing more than ordinary intelligence, decision of character, power of combination, and great personal energy, named Pondiac, or Pontiac. He appears to have been the originator of this scheme of a western confederation against the English; for, in 1761, on the

-- 243 --

first advance of the relief of the French garrison, when Major Rodgers, who led the troops, had reached the entrance to the straits of Detroit, Pontiac visited his encampment, and, employing one of those bold metaphors which the Indians use to express much in a few words, assuming an air of supremacy, he exclaimed, "I stand in the path." 293 "To form a just estimate of his character, we must judge him by the circumstances in which he was placed; by the profound ignorance and barbarism of his people; by his own destitution of all education and information; and by the jealous, fierce, and intractable spirit of his compeers. When measured by this standard, we shall find few of the men whose names are familiar to us, more remarkable for all things proposed and achieved, than Pontiac." To him the conduct of the plot had been left. It had been secretly discussed in their councils for about two years, during which time he brought the principal tribes of the region into the scheme. The tribes which formed the nucleus of this plot were the Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawattamies, and the two bands of Hurons residing on the river Detroit. From facts gleaned after the submission of the tribes to General Bradstreet, in 1764, it appears that this combination was more extensive than has been supposed, and that the Miamies, Piankashaws, and Weas, had also been compromitted. The time appointed for a general rise having arrived, the whole line of posts on that frontier, comprising twelve in number, extending from Forts Pitt and Niagara to Green Bay, were simultaneously attacked, and, either by open force, or by finesse, nine of them taken. 294 The most singular mode of attack among the whole, was that practised at
Fort Michilimackinac. The fortress, at that period, occupied the apex of the peninsula of Michigan, where it juts out into the strait in a headland (called Picwutinong). It consisted of a square area, having bastions, built of stone, surmounted with pickets, which were closed by gates; and was capable of being defended against any attack. But stratagem was resorted to. The king's birthday (June 4th) having arrived, the Ottawas and their confederates engaged in a game of ball on the level boulevard, which led from the landing, up by the fort, into the village. The gates were open, and the officers attended the sport. While moving up and down this boulevard, the players struggling and rushing, the ball was dextrously thrown into the fort, and the contending parties rushed in after it. This was the signal for an attack. The war whoop was raised, and the tomahawk applied so rapidly, that not a drum was beat, or a rank formed, and the place became the scene of one of the most startling massacres. 295 One officer and seventy soldiers were killed; but, of three hundred Canadians in the fort, not one was molested. For a view of the ruins of this fort, with the island of Michilimackinac in the distance. (
See Plate LIII., Vol. II.)

Detroit was selected by Pontiac for the display of his own arts of siege and attack.

-- 244 --

Having, in a previous volume, 296 given a copy of a journal of this siege, kept within the fort, it is only necessary to furnish here a succinct abstract of the events which transpired. The fort was under the command of Major Gladwyn, who had a garrison of two complete companies of infantry, numbering one hundred and twenty-two privates, and eight officers. 297 There were also, within its walls, forty French traders and engagées. Pontiac invested the place, May 8th, 1763, with a total force of 450 warriors, 298 who had been instructed at the councils, drilled under his own eye, and painted and feathered for battle. But an attack was not his first move; he aimed to take the fort by a deeply laid plot, which was, in effect, to visit the commandant at his quarters, accompanied by a limited number of assassins, bearing concealed weapons, to smoke with him the pipe of peace, and to present him with a formal address, which was to be accompanied by a belt of wampum, the most solemn and honored custom in Indian diplomacy. This belt was worked on one side with white, and on the other with green beads. 299 Having finished his speech, with the white side turned towards his auditor, the reversal of it in his hands to the green side, was to be the signal of attack. The plan was well devised, and must have succeeded, had it not been revealed to the commandant, in a manner which it is unimportant to our purpose to state.

On the day appointed, Pontiac appeared at the gates with his aboriginal fellow-conspirators, demanding an audience. He was freely admitted, but, in passing the esplanade, observed an unusual display of the military. The garrison was under arms, and the sentinels doubled, which aroused Pontiac's fears; but his covert inquiries were met by a ready answer, that "it was to keep the young men 300 to their duty, and prevent idleness." The language employed by one who has collated the local traditions on the subject, while they were still within reach, may here be quoted. "The business of the council then commenced, and Pontiac proceeded to address Major Gladwyn. His speech was bold and menacing, and his manner and gesticulations vehement, and they became still more so, as he approached the critical moment. When he was on the point of presenting the belt to Major Gladwyn (and turning it in his hands) and all was breathless expectation, the drums at the door of the council suddenly rolled the charge, the guards levelled their pieces, and the officers drew their swords from their scabbards. Pontiac was a brave man, constitutionally and habitually. He had fought in many a battle, and often led his warriors to victory. But this unexpected and decisive proof that his treachery was discovered and prevented, entirely disconcerted him. Tradition says he trembled. At all events, he delivered his belt in the usual manner, and thus failed to give his warriors the concerted signal of attack. Major Gladwyn immediately approached the chief, and, drawing aside his blanket, discovered the shortened rifle, and then, after stating his knowledge of the plan, turned him out of the fort." 301

-- 245 --

Chapter IV. — Pontiac Holds Detroit in a State of Siege During the Summer of 1763.

FOILED in his attempt to take the garrison by stratagem, Pontiac commenced an open attack. He had no sooner left the walls of the fort, than he fired upon it, and his followers began to assail the scattered English settlers in its vicinity, while on every side could be heard the startling sassaquon, or war-whoop. A widow woman, and her two sons, were immediately murdered on the common. A discharged sergeant and his family, cultivating lands on Hog Island, were the next victims. Taking shelter behind buildings contiguous to the fort, an incessant fire was maintained against it, which was continued for several days; blazing arrows being discharged by the Indians, which set fire to some buildings within the walls. Determination of purpose marked every act, while the savage yells of the natives, and the continual reports of murders and outrages filled the garrison with apprehensions. The abandonment of the fort and embarkation of the troops for Niagara was contemplated, but the plan was opposed by the prominent French inhabitants, who were better acquainted with the true character of Indian demonstration and bluster, and particularly with the real dangers of such a voyage. A small vessel was, however, dispatched to Niagara on the 21st of May, soliciting aid both in provisions and men, through a country entirely occupied by Indians. The Indians unabatedly continued their attacks, absolutely confining the garrison within the walls, and preventing them from obtaining supplies of wood and water. Pontiac, meantime, conceived the idea of decoying Major Campbell into his camp, under the pretence of renewing pacific negotiations. This gentleman was favorably known to the Indians, as the immediate predecessor of Major Gladwyn, who had but recently relieved him in the command of the fort. By the advice of those most conversant with the Indian character, Pontiac's request was acceded to, and Campbell went to his camp, accompanied by Lieutenant McDougal. But all the projects of Pontiac were set at nought by an unforeseen occurrence. In one of the sorties from the fort, an Ottawa of distinction, from Michilimackinac, had been killed, and his nephew, who was present, determined to revenge his death. Meeting Major Campbell one day, as he was walking in the road near the camp of Pontiac, the savage immediately felled him to the earth with his war-club, and killed

-- 246 --

him. This act was regretted and disavowed by Pontiac, who, by the detention of Major Campbell, sought only to secure ulterior advantages through the person of his hostage.

Anticipating succors to be on their way to the fort, the Indians kept vigilant watch at the mouth of the river. This duty appears to have been committed to the Wyandots. On one of the last days of May, a detachment of troops from Niagara, having charge of twenty-three batteaux, laden with provisions and supplies, encamped at Point Pelée, on the north shore, near the head of Lake Erie, wholly unconscious that any danger awaited them. Their movements had, however, been closely reconnoitered by the Indians, who, having formed an ambuscade at this place, furiously attacked them near daybreak. During the resulting panic, the officer in command leaped into a boat, and, accompanied by thirty men, crossed the lake to Sandusky. The rest of the detachment were killed, or taken prisoners, and all the stores fell into the enemy's hands. The prisoners were reserved to row the boats. On the 30th of May, the first of the long line of batteaux was seen from the fort, as it rounded Point Huron, on the Canada shore. The garrison crowded the ramparts to view the welcome sight, and a gun was fired as a signal to their supposed approaching friends. But the only response was the gloomy war cry. As the first boat came opposite to the little vessel anchored off the fort, the soldiers rowing it determined to recapture it. While the steersman headed the boat across, another soldier threw overboard the Indian who sat on the bow. In the struggle both were drowned, but the boat was rowed under the guns of the fort. Lest the other captive rowers should imitate this example, they were landed by the Indians on Hog Island, and immediately sacrificed.

News of the treaty of peace concluded at Versailles, February 10, 1763, between France and England, reached Detroit on the 3d of June, while these events were in progress. From the French who were assembled on this occasion, the intelligence received a full and prompt acquiescence, as a conclusive sovereign act; but the Indians continued the siege. Pontiac finding he could not take the fort, proposed to the French inhabitants to aid him, but they refused. 302 About this time, the vessel which had been dispatched to Niagara, by Major Gladwyn, arrived at the mouth of the river with supplies and some sixty men. The winds being light and baffling, the Indians determined to capture her, and a large force left the siege and proceeded to Fighting Island for that purpose. While the vessel was lying at the mouth of the river, the Indians had endeavored to annoy her by means of their canoes, but the wind had forced her to shift her anchorage to this spot. The captain had ordered his men below decks, to keep the Indians in ignorance of his strength, having apprized them that a loud stroke of a hammer on the mast, would be a signal for them to come up. As soon as darkness supervened, the Indians came off in their canoes in great force, and

-- 247 --

attempted to board her; but a sudden discharge of her guns disconcerted them. The following day the vessel dropped down to the mouth of the straits, where she was detained six days by calms. Meantime, Pontiac determining to destroy her, for this purpose floated down burning rafts, which were constructed of the timbers from barns destroyed by the Indians, dry pine, and a quantity of pitch added, to make the whole more combustible. 303 Notwithstanding two such rafts were constructed and sent down the river, the vessel and boats escaped them. A breeze springing up on the 30th of June, the vessel was enabled to hoist sail, and reached the fort in safety.

General Amherst, the commander-in-chief, though weakened by the force withdrawn for the Indian war in the west, was fully sensible of the perilous position of the western posts, in consequence of the Indian hostility, and prepared to send at the earliest period, reinforcements to Forts Pitt, Niagara, and Detroit. The relief destined for the latter post was placed under the orders of his secretary, Captain Dalzell, who, after relieving Niagara, proceeded to Detroit in armed batteaux, at the head of a force of 300 men. To the joy of all concerned, this reinforcement arrived at Detroit on the 30th of July, when the place had been besieged upwards of fifty days. Captain Dalzell, who brought this timely accession to the garrison, proposed a night assault on Pontiac's camp, which the commandant assented to, not, however, without some misgivings. Two hundred and fifty men were selected for this duty, and, with this force Captain Dalzell left the fort, as secretly as possible, at half-past two o'clock on the morning of the 31st. At the same time, two boats were despatched to keep pace with the party, and, if necessary, take off the wounded. The darkness of the night rendered it somewhat difficult to discern the way, and made it a task for them to keep the proper distance between the platoons. After marching about two miles, when the vanguard had reached the bridge over the stream, which has since been known as Bloody Brook, a sudden fire was poured in by the Indians, which created a temporary panic among the troops, from which, however, they recovered. The intense darkness completely obscuring the enemy, a retreat was ordered; when it appeared that there was a heavy force in the rear, through which the column had been allowed to pass. The English were, in fact, in the midst of a well-planned ambuscade. Dalzell displayed the utmost bravery and spirit in this emergency, but was soon shot down and killed. Grant, on whom the command devolved, was severely wounded. The Indians were concealed behind the wooden picketing, which lined the fields, and sheltered the buildings of the habitans; but as the day began to dawn, the troops were enabled to discern their perilous position. They then embarked some of their wounded in the boats which had accompanied them, and, concentrating their forces, retreated toward the gates of the fort, which they entered in compact order. The loss in this attack was seventy men killed, including the commander, and forty wounded; being

-- 248 --

nearly one-half of the sallying party. It was a decided triumph for the Indians, who thenceforth pressed the siege with renewed vigor.

As the season for hunting approached, the Indians gradually dispersed; the siege languished, and was finally abandoned. There is no previous record in Indian history of so large a force of Indians having been kept in the field for so long a period; and this effort of the Algonquin chief to roll back the tide of European emigration, was the most formidable that was ever made by any one member of the Indian race. Rodgers styles Pontiac an emperor. He certainly possessed an energy of mind and powers of combination exceeding those of any other antecedent or contemporary chief. Opechanganough possessed great firmness, and was a bitter enemy of the white race; Sassacus only fought for tribal rights and supremacy; the course of Uncas was that of a politician; Pometacom battled, indeed, to repel the people whose education, industry, and religion, foredoomed his own; but Pontiac took a more enlarged and comprehensive view, not only of the field of contest, but also of the means necessary for the retention and preservation of the aboriginal dominion. At a later period, Brant merely fought for, and under the direction of a powerful ally; and Tecumseh but re-enacted the deeds of Pontiac, after the lapse of fifty years, when the scheme of repelling the whites was, in reality, preposterous.

-- 249 --

Chapter V. — The Western Indians Continue Their Opposition to the English Supremacy. Colonel Bouchet Marches to the Relief of Fort Pitt. The Battle of Brushy Run.

THE struggle of the Indians, in conjunction with the French, for supremacy in America, may be stated to have commenced in 1753, when Washington first originated the idea among the western tribes, that the Virginians were taking preliminary steps to cross the Alleghanies, and open the route for the influx of the entire European race. This notion may be perceived in the addresses of Pontiac. "Why," he exclaimed, repeating, as was alleged, the words of the Master of Life, "why do you suffer these dogs in red clothing to take the land I gave you? Drive them from it, and, when you are in distress, I will help you." 304 The policy of driving back the English accorded well with the views of the French, who carefully encouraged it, and first developed it at the repulse of Washington, before Fort Necessity, and again gave to it a new impetus the following year, at Braddock's total defeat and overthrow, which had the effect of arousing the passions of the Indians. From this date, they became most determined opponents to the spread of British power, and always formed a part of the French forces in the field. Such was their position under Montcalm, at Lake George, in 1757, and also at the sanguinary defeat of Major Grant, in 1758. The epoch for making this struggle could not have been better chosen, had they even been perfectly conversant with the French and English policy; and the result was, ten years of the most troublesome Indian wars with which the colonies were ever afflicted. As time progressed, it became evident that the long colonial struggle between the two crowns must terminate. If the English were defeated, not only the French, but the Indians would triumph; while it was equally true that, if the French failed, the Indian power must succumb. Pontiac perfectly understood this, and so informed his confederates. This question was, in effect, settled by the peace of Versailles; but the Indians did not feel disposed to drop the contest. Detroit was still closely invested; Fort Pitt was also beleagured; and the only road by which relief could reach it, passed through weary tracts of wilderness, and over high mountains. It was likewise located on a frontier, the inhabitants of which lived in a continual dread of the Indians.

-- 250 --

General Amherst ordered Colonel Bouquet to relieve this post with the remnants of regiments, which had returned, in a feeble and shattered condition, from the siege of Havana. The route lay through Pennsylvania, by the way of Carlisle and Port Bedford, and many discouragements were in the way. His troops and supplies came forward slowly. He reached Fort Bedford on the 25th of July, and, pushing on to Fort Legonier, relieved that post from a threatened siege. As soon as the Indians, who besieged Fort Pitt, heard of his approach, they left that place, and prepared to oppose his march. Bouquet had disencumbered himself of his wagons, as also of much heavy baggage, at Fort Legonier, and moved on with alacrity, conveying his provisions on horses. On entering the defile of Turtle Creek, his advance had proceeded but a short distance, when they were briskly attacked on both flanks. A severe and desperate battle ensued, which admitted of several manoeuvres, and developed some instances of Bouquet's gallantry. Captains Graham and McIntosh, of the regulars, were killed, and five officers wounded. As the day closed, an elevation was gained, on which the troops bivouacked. At daybreak the following morning, August 6th, the Indians surrounded the camp, and commenced a lively fusilade, making frequent sallies, alternately attacking and retreating. This became very annoying to the troops, who were greatly fatigued, and destitute of water. They fought in an extended circle. At length, the Colonel resorted to the ruse of withdrawing two companies from the outer line, and made a feint of retreating. By this movement, he decoyed the Indians into a position, where they were promptly charged with the bayonet, and repelled. Their retreat then became a rout, which also involved a part of the Indian forces hitherto unengaged. Bouquet then retired to Brushy Run, where there was abundance of water; but he had hardly posted his troops, when the Indians again commenced an attack, which was, however, speedily repulsed. The loss in these actions amounted to fifty men killed, and sixty wounded.

After these battles, the Indians did not renew the siege of Fort Pitt, but withdrew beyond the Ohio; and, four days subsequent to the action at Brushy Run, Bouquet entered Fort Pitt.

While these events were transpiring, the Indians were yet closely besieging Detroit, and the garrison began to suffer from fatigue and want of provisions. A vessel, manned by twelve men, and in charge of two masters, was despatched from Port Niagara, during the latter part of August, with stores for its relief. It reached the entrance to Detroit river on the 3d of September; but the wind being adverse, the crew dropped the anchor. About nine o'clock in the evening, the boatswain discovered a fleet of canoes approaching, containing about 350 Indians. The bow gun was fired, but too late, as the canoes had, by this time, surrounded the vessel. The Indians immediately cut the cable, and began to board her, notwithstanding the fire from the small arms, and also from a swivel. The crew then seized their pikes, a new weapon of defence with which they were provided, and, fighting with great bravery and determination,

-- 251 --

killed many of the foe. The Indians feared an explosion on board the ship, which, swinging around, disconcerted and confused the savages, who thought she was about to drift ashore: this enabled the crew to use their guns effectively. The master and one man were killed, and four men wounded; but a breeze springing up, the other seamen hoisted sail, and brought the vessel safely to Detroit. For this brave act, each of the crew was presented with a silver medal. 305

The garrison being thus provided with supplies, the further efforts of the Indians proved of no great consequence. As the season for hunting approached, the Indians mostly dispersed, except some small parties, who watched the fort, and prevented any egress from it. Open war never being carried on by the Indians during the winter, Major Gladwyn made such a judicious disposition of his means, as prevented any surprise during that season.

Fort Niagara had not been attacked, although its garrison was weak; but its precincts were continually infested by hostile Indians, which made it necessary to send out large escorts with every train despatched from it. To rid the Niagara valley of this annoyance, and open the route to Schlosser, a detachment of ninety men was directed to scour the surrounding country. Owing to the inconsiderate ardor of the officer in command, and, also, to his ignorance of Indian subtlety in time of war, the detachment was decoyed into an ambuscade, in which he, and all his men, with the exception of three or four, were killed. 306

-- 252 --

Chapter VI. — General Pacifcation Between the English, and the Indian Tribes, East and West. Treaty of Peace with the Senecas, Wyandots, Ottowas and Chippewas, Mississagies, Pottawattamies, and Miamies.

THE campaign of 1763 had the effect rather to inspire than to depress the hopes of the Indians. The English forces had been withdrawn to further projects of conquest in the West Indies; thus leaving but few troops on the frontiers. Forts Pitt and Detroit had, for many months, both been closely invested by the tribes, who completely impeded ingress and egress. The determination evinced by the forces of Pontiac at Detroit, his attacks on the shipping sent to its relief, the sanguinary encounter at Bloody Bridge, in which Dalzell was slain, and at Brushy Run, where Colonel Bouquet was so actively opposed, together with the utter destruction of a detachment of ninety men and its officers, on the Niagara portage, afforded an additional stimulus to the wrath of the Indians. These successes not only served to inflate the Indian pride, but likewise denoted a feeble military administration on the part of the British commander.

General Amherst was of opinion that more vigorous action, and a more comprehensive and definite plan were required for the campaign of 1764, while, at the same time, the ministry had crippled his abilities by withdrawing nearly all his regular troops. 307 Under these circumstances, he called for aid from the colonies, determining to send Colonel Bouquet with an efficient army against the western tribes, who beleaguered Fort Pitt, and overawed the valleys of the Ohio, Miami, Scioto, and Wabash, and at the same time to direct Colonel Bradstreet to proceed with a large force, in boats, against the northwestern tribes, at Detroit. To enable him to carry out his plans, he appealed earnestly to the respective colonial legislatures for troops, which were cheerfully supplied. Sir William Johnson determined to hold a general convention of the tribes at Fort Niagara, in connection with the Bradstreet movement, and to endeavor to induce as many Indians as possible to accompany that officer, on his expedition to the vicinage of the upper lakes. Having made these arrangements, Amherst, who had zealously and efficiently prosecuted the war against Canada, solicited leave to return to

-- 253 --

England, and was succeeded in the command by General Gage, an officer of very inferior character.

It being necessary to conduct the operations of Bradstreet's detachment by water, that officer superintended the work of constructing a flotilla of batteaux at Schenectady, on a plan of his own invention, each boat having forty-six feet keel, and being sufficiently capacious to contain twenty-seven men, and six weeks' provisions. As soon as this immense flotilla was ready, it was ordered to Oswego, where Sir William Johnson had also directed the Indians to assemble. His force, of all descriptions, on reaching Oswego, numbered about 1200. Three vessels were employed to transport the heavy stores to the mouth of the Niagara, and the Indians, in their canoes, followed the extended train of batteaux along the Ontario coasts, making the usual landings at the Bay of Sodus, 308 and Irondequot. They arrived at Fort Niagara in the beginning of July. This concourse of boats and men was, however, in reality, the smallest part of the display.

A large number of the Indian tribes had been summoned to a council by Sir William Johnson, who had collected 1700 Indians at Niagara. 309 Never had such a body of Indians been congregated under his auspices. The council was held in Fort Niagara. He had brought with him the preliminary articles of a treaty of peace, amity, and alliance, which had been prepared by him at Johnson Hall, where it had received the signatures of several of the leading chiefs. Major Gladwyn had sent Indian deputies from Detroit, and various causes had combined to swell the attendance at this great convention. Henry relates that one of Sir William's messages reached Sault Ste. Marie, at the foot of Lake Superior, and induced the tribe there located to send a deputation of twenty persons. 310 The Senecas, however, whose conduct had been equivocal during the war, did not make their appearance, although their deputies had signed the preliminary articles at Johnson Hall. Sir William sent to their villages on the Genesee, repeated messages for them, which were uniformly answered by promises. But promises would not serve, and, consequently, Colonel Bradstreet authorized the Baronet to send a final message, announcing that, if they did not present themselves in five days, he would send a force against them, and destroy their villages. This brought them to terms; they immediately attended the convention, and, at the same time, surrendered their prisoners. A formal treaty of peace was then concluded.

Colonel Bradstreet desired to depart immediately, but Sir William begged him to postpone his march until he had finished with the tribes, and given them their presents; for, although he had just concluded a treaty of peace with them, he had no faith in their fidelity, and feared that, if the troops were withdrawn, they would attack the

-- 254 --

fort. With this request Bradstreet complied. He at length departed, taking with him 300 Indian warriors as auxiliaries, although he was conscious they accompanied him rather in the character of spies. Sir William, having accomplished this important pacification returned home; and, on the 6th of August, Colonel Bradstreet proceeded on his protracted expedition along the southern coasts of Lake Erie. His intentions, as publicly announced, were, to conclude peace with such tribes as solicited it, and to chastise all who continued in arms. Being detained by contrary winds at l'Ance aux Feuilles, he there received a deputation from the Wyandots of Sandusky, the Shawnees and Delawares of the Ohio, and the bands of the Six Nations, residing on the Scioto Plains. The sachems deputed by these tribes, presented four belts of wampum as an earnest of their desire for peace, and, in their speeches to Bradstreet, excused their respective nations for the murders and outrages committed, on the usual pretext of not being able to restrain their young warriors, or of not being aware of the real state of facts, at the same time soliciting forgiveness for the past, and promising fidelity for the future. Variable weather having delayed Bradstreet, he was at length enabled to proceed forward, and, on the 23d of August, reached Point le Petit Isle, where intelligence was brought to him that the Indians, collected on the Miami of the lakes, were resolved to oppose his progress. He immediately determined to attack them in that position, whither Pontiac had then retired, but while yet on Lake Erie, pursuing his course to the mouth of the Miami, he received a deputation from the Indians of that stream, who requested a conference at Detroit. Visiting the Bay of Miami, and finding the Indian camp abandoned, he again returned to Point Petit Isle, and from this position detached Captain Morris, at the head of a body of men, with directions to march across the country and take possession of the territory of the Illinois, which had been ceded to England by the treaty concluded at Versailles, in 1763. 311 Bradstreet then proceeded to the head of Lake Erie, and, entering the straits of Detroit, reached the town and fort on the 26th of August. Never previously had such a large force, accompanied by so much military display, been seen in that vicinity. The long lines of batteaux and barges, filled with their complement of military, with their glittering arms, their colors flying, drums beating and bugles sounding, were followed by those containing the attaches of the quartermaster's and commissary's departments, and by the fleet of canoes containing the 300 auxiliary Mohawks and Senecas, together with the deputies of the surrounding tribes. Indians always judge from appearances, and every attendant circumstance indicated that the British government, which could send so numerous and well-appointed a force, to such a distant point, must in itself be strong. Bradstreet determined to land his army on the plain, extending from the fort along the banks of the river, and, as detachment after detachment filed past with military exactitude, to its position in the extended camp, the gazing multitudes of red men realized the peril of their past position, and trembled for the future. The commander

-- 255 --

did not take up his quarters in the fort, but directed his marquée, on which the red cross of England was displayed, to be pitched in the centre of this vast encampment. The 7th of September was appointed for the meeting of the council, when the aboriginal deputies were received, decked out with all their oriental taste, and bearing their ornamented pipes of peace. The first tribes on the ground were the Ottawas and Chippewas, who had been the head and front of Pontiac's offending. They were represented by Wassong, attended by six other chiefs, whose respective names were Attowatomig, Shamindawa, Ottawany, Apokess, and Abetto. Wassong made his submission in terms that would not have been discreditable to a philosopher or a diplomatist, He excused his nation for their participation in the war, laid the blame where it properly belonged, and then, appealing to the theology which recognises God as the great ruler of events, who orders them in wisdom and mercy, promised obedience to the British crown. While speaking, he held in his hand a belt of wampum, having a blue and white ground, interspersed with devices in white, green, and blue, which, at the close of his speech, he deposited as a testimonial of the truth of his words. He then, holding forth a purple and mixed belt, in the name of the Miamies, tendered their submission, depositing this belt also as their memorial. Shamindawa then addressed the council in the name of Pontiac, saying that he regretted what had happened, and requested it should be forgiven, adding that it would give him pleasure to co-operate with the English. He concluded by praying for the success of the Illinois mission, as though he considered it a perilous undertaking. The Hurons, who had been actively engaged in the war, next presented their submission, and affixed to the treaty the emblematic signature of a deer and a cross. A Miami chief, whose signature was a turtle, next presented himself in the name of his nation, to concur in the terms acceded to by the Ottawas and Chippewas. The Pottawattamies and Foxes then affixed their signature by the pictograph of a fox, an eel, and a bear. The Mississagies were represented by Wapacomagot, and signified their acquiescence by tracing the figure of an eagle with a medal round its neck. The entire number of Indians present at the conclusion of the treaty with Colonel Bradstreet, has been estimated at 1930. 312

-- 256 --

Chapter VII. — Re-occupation of the Lake Posts. The Indian Trade Extended Westward and Northward Under Bristish Auspices.

BRADSTREET, having successfully closed his negotiations with the Indians, reorganized the militia, and established the civil government in the French settlements on a firm basis, prepared to return to Sandusky, with the view of complying with his instructions from General Gage, directing him to bring the Shawnees and Delawares to terms. On reaching Sandusky, he received letters from General Gage, censuring him for offering terms of peace to the Shawnee and Delaware delegates, and for his general course in concluding treaties of peace with the Indians, without consulting Sir William Johnson, who was the Superintendent of Indian Affairs; and with whom he was directed to put himself in communication. This is the first instance of a collision of authority between the officers of the military and Indian service, of which the entire subsequent history of our Indian affairs affords abundant evidence, down to the present day. Prior to this period, he left a relief of seven companies in the fort at Detroit, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell. Two companies, under Captain Howard, together with a detachment of artillery, and two companies of the recently organized militia, were, at the same time, ordered to re-occupy
Michilimackinac. To supply the post effectually, a vessel, under command of Lieutenant Sinclair, of the fifteenth regular infantry, was directed to enter Lake Huron. This, it is declared, 313 was the first English vessel that ever attempted the passage, 314 and the voyage appears to have been considered an intrepid feat, from which we may reasonably infer, that the name of the lake and river Sinclair was thus derived. 315 Sinclair, tradition asserts, was the commandant of Michilimackinac, prior to the arrival of Captain Robinson, who held the command on the island, in 1783, 316 when a facade of its mural precipices fell down.

post of Michilimackinac was, in 1764, situated on a northern headland of

-- 257 --

the peninsula of Michigan, jutting into the straits, opposite to, and in sight of the island, and also of Point St. Ignace. This was the point which had been selected by Marquette, as the site of a mission; and to its simple graveyard his remains were conveyed and interred, after his decease at the little river bearing his name, on the east shores of Lake Michigan. 317 By order of General Amherst, the French garrison was relieved, after the capture of Montreal, and the troops sent for that purpose were led by Major Rodgers, of ante-Revolutionary memory, who had been succeeded by Major Ethrington, at the time of the massacre, in 1763. 318 At the date of the massacre, the Indians did not burn the fort, which, as the traders lived within it, would have destroyed their goods; and it was, therefore, reoccupied in 1664, the walls, bastions, and gates remaining entire. Tradition asserts, that this fort was visited and supplied by vessels for seven years subsequently. 319 The alarm produced by the American Revolution appears to have caused the transfer of the fortification to the island, which, tradition affirms, was made about the year 1780. 320 The Michilimackinac of the French was, therefore, located on the apex of the peninsula; that of the English, on the island.

Michilimackinac had, from an unknown period, been regarded by the aborigines as a sacred island, consecrated both by their mythology and history. It was believed to be the local residence of important spirits of their pantheon; and its caverns, as well as its cliffs, were calculated to favor this idea. They landed on it with awe, and its precincts were preserved from the intrusion of European feet. The bones found in its caves, its deep subterranean passages, the regular heaps of superimposed boulders, and the evidences of cultivation, still to be seen in many isolated spots, surrounded with impenetrable foliage, denote that it had not only been occupied from very early times, but that its occupancy was connected with their earliest history, superstitions, and mythology.

Traditions which have been carefully sought out, mention that the English were the first nation who were permitted to occupy its sacred shores with troops, 321 by whom a fort, in the form of a tailus, owing to the shape of the cliff, was placed on its edge. A village was laid out on the narrow gravel plain below. The harbor, though small, possessed a good anchorage, and was sheltered from all winds, except those from the east. Merchants, who supplied the traders to a wide extent of country, east, west, and north, located their places of business on the island. The traders fitted out annually by these merchants held intercourse with the tribes of Lake Superior, Michigan, Green Bay, the Mississippi, and the Illinois. British capital and enterprise established this trade on a new footing, and, from this time forth, it became a centre for a vast country, the

-- 258 --

Indians travelling thither, a distance of 1000 miles, in their canoes, bearing with them their weapons and the tokens of their bravery, and decorated with all their
feathers and finery. Detroit, Vincennes, Kaskaskia, Cahokia, St. Louis, Prairie du Chien, St. Peters, Chegoimegon, the vicinity of the Lake of the Woods, and Lake Winnipeg, as well as the valley of the Saskatchawin, became but dependencies of the new metropolis of Indian trade, Michilimackinac.

The great object of the campaign of 1764 was, however, not yet accomplished. The north was safe, but, in order to establish a permanent and general peace with the Indians, it was requisite that the war should be vigorously and successfully prosecuted in the south and west. Both the British commanders entrusted with the pacification must be triumphant. They must prove to the Indians, not only the ability of the English to take, but also to hold Canada. Pontiac was not the only aboriginal chief who had doubted this ability.

-- 259 --

Chapter VIII. — Peace Cconcluded with the Delawares, Shawnees, Miamies, Weas, Piankshaws, and Mingoes, or Trans-Ohio Members of the Six Nations in the West.

THE plan of Sir Jeffrey Amherst to bring the western Indians to terms, after the final conquest of Canada, was well devised. Had he directed but a single operation against them, both the southwestern and northwestern tribes would have united to oppose it; but, by sending a respectable and controlling force, under Bradstreet, to the northwest, through the great lakes, to Detroit, and, at the same time, another under Bouquet, from the present site of Pittsburg to the Tuscarawas and the Muskingum, against the tribes of the southwest, he effectually divided their force, and demonstrated to them the power and energy of the government claiming their submission, whose military prowess had caused the time-honored French flag to be struck at Quebec, Montreal, Niagara, and Du Quesne. His successor, General Gage, merely carried out this plan, but, if we may credit the testimony of a cotemporary officer, without much appreciation of the necessary precision in his orders. 322

The offer of terms of peace, to the Shawnees and other southwestern tribes, dubiously represented in the month of August, 1764, as made by Colonel Bradstreet while on his way to Detroit, was deemed to be a vainglorious assumption of power by the other officers in the field, and an unnecessary interference with the civic duties of Sir William Johnson. But his ardor and promptitude as a commander created a very favorable impression on the Indians in the region of the lakes; and his expedition to that, then remote point, inaugurated one of the soundest features of the British Indian policy.

Bradstreet did not leave Detroit until the 14th of September, 323 and on the 18th he reached Sandusky Bay, where he detached a party with orders to destroy a settlement of Mohicans in that vicinity, under Mohigan John; but the Indians eluded them. Single delegates from the Delawares, Shawnees, and Scioto-Iroquois, accompanied by a Tuscarora Indian, here met him, and made statements which, it is conceived, were not entitled to any weight, but were dictated by the spirit of Indian subtlety, which anticipated coming evil. He then proceeded with his army to Upper Sandusky, where

-- 260 --

a Wyandot village had been destroyed the previous year by Captain Dalzell. Here he received letters from General Gage, disapproving of his offers of peace to the Delawares and Shawnees. He had been directed to attack the Wyandots of Sandusky, and also the Delawares and Shawnees, then residing on the Muskingum and Scioto. The route to the former river, he was correctly informed, was up the Cuyahoga; and to the latter up the Sandusky. Both the carrying places were stated to be short, and the choice of either was left to him. But on making trial of the Sandusky, the water appeared to be too low, and his guides led him to think that, from the shortness of the portage, his provisions could be transported on men's shoulders. The portage between the Cuyahoga and the Tuscarawas fork of the Muskingum, was found to be, at that season, equally impracticable. In this dilemma, and to enable him to act as a check on the Delawares and Shawnees, against whom Bouquet was marching, Bradsteet determined to encamp on the Sandusky Portage. He opened a communication with Colonel Bouquet, who was advancing from Pittsburg, at the head of his army; and, by occupying this position he likewise exerted a favorable influence toward concluding a general peace with the western Indians, which effect resulted from that movement. From Indians who visited his camp he learned, that the Delawares and Shawnees were already tired of the war, and sought to make a peace on the best terms they could obtain. They were the more anxious on this point, because of the threat of the Six Nations, who were strongly in the English interest, to make war on them. To them, such a war was far more to be dreaded than the English armies, for they trembled at the very mention of the Iroquois. Everything, indeed, foreshadowed a favorable termination of the war.

Bouquet, who had attempted, in 1763, "to snatch a grace beyond the reach of art," at Brushy Run, and came near annihilation in the effort, had remained in garrison at Fort Pitt during the autumn and winter of 1763-64, where the Indians did not molest him. But experience had demonstrated that the subtlety and agility of the Indian movements, and their superior knowledge of the topographical features of the wilderness, required a degree of caution, on the march, beyond what would have been necessary in opposing civilized troops. The force destined for Bouquet reached Fort Pitt on the 17th of September, while Bradstreet was on his way from Detroit to Sandusky; but the former did not leave Fort Pitt until the 3d of October. He had under his command 1500 men, furnished with every needful supply. Having become an adept in the use of field maps, guides, and forest arts, he marched slowly and surely, his army covering a large space in the forest, and indicating great strength of purpose, as well as confidence of success. All this was observed and duly reported by Indian spies. The Indians, moreover, were aware that Bradstreet was on the Sandusky, at the head of even a larger force. To employ an Indian simile, these armies appeared like two converging clouds, which must soon overwhelm them.

On the 6th of October the army reached Beaver river, where they found a white

-- 261 --

man, who had escaped from the Indians. He stated that the latter were in much alarm, and those located along Bouquet's line of march had concealed themselves. On the 8th, the troops crossed the Little Beaver river, and on the 14th, encamped on the Tuscarawas. A competent observer, who visited the country in 1748, reported the number of Indian warriors in the Ohio valley, at 789. Of these there were Senecas, 163; Shawnees, 162; Wyandots, 140; Mohawks, 74; Mohicans, 15; Onondagas, 35; Cayugas, 20; Oneidas, 15; and Delawares, 165. 324 These figures would indicate an aggregate population of a fraction under 4000, and it is not probable that the number had varied much in sixteen years. While encamped on the Tuscarawas, two men arrived who had been sent by Bouquet from Fort Pitt as messengers to Colonel Bradstreet. On their return they had been captured by the Delawares, and conveyed to an Indian village, sixteen miles distant, where they were detained until the news arrived of Bouquet's advance with an army. From information subsequently received through Major Smallwood, one of the captives was finally surrendered by the Indians, a report being circulated that Bouquet was advancing to extirpate them. The effect of this news on the Indians implicated, was to determine them, with the connivance of a low-minded French trader, to massacre all the prisoners in their hands. The two messengers, however, were liberated, and commissioned to tell Colonel Bouquet, that the Shawnees and Delawares would visit him for the purpose of proposing terms of peace. Accordingly, their deputies arrived two days subsequently, and brought information that all their chiefs were assembled at the distance of about eight miles. The following day was appointed for a conference at Colonel Bouquet's tent. The first delegation which advanced comprised twenty Senecas, under the direction of their chief, Kigaschuta; next came twenty Delawares marshalled by Custaloga and Amik; and then six Shawnees, led by Keissnautchta, who appeared as the representative of several tribes. Each chief tendered a belt of wampum, accompanying its presentation by a speech, which embraced the usual subjects of Indian diplomacy; excusing what had been done during the war, placing all the censure on the rashness of their young men, promising to deliver up all their captives, soliciting a cessation of hostilities, and pledging future fidelity to their agreements.

Bouquet realized the advantage of his position, and a future day was appointed for his answer, which, when given, embraced all the points in question. He spoke to them as one having full authority; accused them of perfidy; upbraided them for having pillaged and murdered English traders; and charged them with killing four English messengers who carried a commission from the king. He also spoke to them of the audacity of their course in besieging the king's troops at Fort Pitt. The whole tone of his address was elevated, truthful, and manly. He concluded by informing them that, if they would deliver up to him all the prisoners, men, women, and children, then

-- 262 --

in their possession, not even excepting those who had married into the tribes, furnish them with clothing, horses, and provisions, and convey them to Fort Pitt, he would grant them peace; but, by no means, on any other terms.

He then broke up the conference, and put his army in motion for the Muskingum, it being a more central position, and one from which, if the Indians faltered in carrying out their engagements, he could the more readily direct his operations against them. While the army was encamped on the Tuscarawas, the Delawares brought in eighteen white prisoners, and also eighty small sticks, indicating the number still in their possession. The army broke ground on the Muskingum on the 25th of October, and on the 28th, Cocknawaga Peter arrived, with letters from Colonel Bradstreet. During the ensuing week the camp was a scene of continual arrivals and excitement. During the month of November, the Indians of the various tribes delivered up their captives. Such a scene was, perhaps, never before, and, certainly, has never since, been witnessed. They surrendered, of Virginians, thirty-two men and fifty-eight women and children; and of Pennsylvanians, forty-nine men and sixty-seven women and children. Major Smallwood, an officer who had been captured the previous year, near Detroit, by the Wyandots, was likewise restored to his friends. These comprised all who had escaped the war-club, the scalping-knife, and the stake; old and young were indiscriminately mingled together in the area. A solemn council ensued, at which Custaloga represented the Delawares, and Kigashuta the Senecas. The latter began:

"With this belt," (he opened the wampum) "I wipe the tears from your eyes. We deliver you these prisoners, the last of your flesh and blood with us. By this token we assemble and bury the bones of those who have been killed in this unhappy war, which the evil spirit excited us to kindle. We bury these bones deep, never more to be looked or thought on. We cover the place of burial with leaves, that it may not be seen. The Indians have been a long time standing with arms in their hands. The clouds have hung in black above us. The path between us has been shut up. But with this sacred emblem we open the road, clear, that we may travel on as our fathers did. We let in light from above to guide our steps. We hold in our hands a silver chain, which we put into yours, and which will ever remain bright, and preserve our friendship."

Similar sentiments were expressed by the other speakers, and a general cessation of hostilities resulted; the terms of pacification were agreed on, hostages were demanded and furnished, and six deputies appointed to visit Sir William Johnson. On the 18th of October, Bouquet set out on his return to Fort Pitt, which he reached on the 28th. From this point the rescued captives were sent to their respective homes. Bradstreet also returned, by way of Lake Erie, to Fort Niagara and Albany, a part of his army having marched thither by land. An effectual termination was thus put to the hostilities of the Indians against the British government, resulting from the conquest of Canada.

-- 263 --

Chapter IX. — Lord Dunmore's Expedition to the Scioto Against the Shawnees, Delawares, Wyandots, and Mingoes. Incident of Logan.

THE peace concluded with the Indians, influenced as they were by the presence of large armies, and compelled thereto by the force of circumstances, not being consonant to their feelings, exercised only a temporary restraint upon their actions. Canada having submitted to the British arms, they had no longer their ancient ally to rest on, and they had finally submitted, in 1764, to a power they could not continue to oppose; assuming the garb of peace, and breathing words of submission, while their hearts still glowed with their native predilection for war and plunder. The fire was merely smothered. This state of quasi amity and friendship continued for several years subsequent to the expeditions of Bradstreet and Bouquet. These expeditions had, however, been the means of making geographical explorations, which had developed districts of country so inviting in all their natural characteristics, the alluvions, called "bottoms," possessing a deep and fertile soil, surrounded by sylvan scenery of an enchanting character, that the desire for their acquisition by an agricultural people, became equally ardent and absorbing. The Indians were very soon regarded as a mere incumbrance on the land, and life was freely ventured in its acquisition.

The project for the settlement of Kentucky originated in 1773. A resolution was formed to make the attempt early the following spring, notwithstanding it was occupied by Indians, who had committed some mischief, and were suspected of hostile intentions. The mouth of the Little Kenawha was selected as the place of rendezvous. Reports of a very alarming nature deterred several persons from joining in the attempt. About eighty or ninety fearless and enterprising men met at the rendezvous, amongst whom was George Eodgers Clarke, the future conqueror of Illinois. The explorers remained encamped at this point for several days, during which time, a small party of hunters, who had gone out to obtain supplies of meat for the camp, were fired on, at a point on the Ohio below their camp. This act betokened a state of hostile feeling among the Indians. It being deemed necessary to select a commander, Captain Michael Cresap was chosen, who had acquired a reputation the previous year, and who, was known to he then on the Ohio, above, with a party. They had purposed attacking a Shawnee

-- 264 --

town, located on the Scioto river, at a place called Horsehead Bottom; but Cresap opposed it, on the ground that, although appearances on the part of the Indians were very suspicious, there was no open war, and that, being yet early in the spring, it was most prudent to await further developements. This advice was followed, and the whole party accompanied him up the river to Wheeling, 325 at which place they established their headquarters. The numbers of the armed explorers were quickly augmented by the surrounding settlers; a fort was erected, and, after some negotiations with the commander, at Pittsburg, acting under the authority of Lord Dunmore, the existence of a state of war was publicly announced.

This period of Indian history requires a moment's further attention, as a war with the Shawnees, Delawares, and Mingoes was on the point of commencing. A foul deed was committed a few days subsequently, by some reckless and unprincipled traders, or vandal scouts, who, according to Colonel Sparks, 326 unknown to Cresap, stole on Logan's lodge, and cruelly murdered his family. This crime introduced on the scene of action the celebrated chieftain, Logan, whose misfortunes have excited wide-spread sympathy, and whose simple eloquence has electrified the world.

Logan was born at Shamoken, on the Susquehanna, a spot whose precincts have been hallowed by the good deeds of the benevolent Count Zinzendorf and his followers, who there founded the mission of Bethlehem. 327 Logan's father, whose name was Shikelimo, was an Iroquois, of the Cayuga tribe. 328 The murder of his family and his relations, on the Ohio, in 1774, was not the result of the expedition from Virginia, which has just been described, but was attributable to the inordinate desire for acquisition, on the one part, and of exasperation of the races on the other, which has so long characterized the Indian trade on remote sections of the frontiers. The event occurred two days after the final decision at Wheeling, 329 and at a time when uncommonly great excitement existed between the Indians and the whites. Two canoes from the west bank of the Ohio stopped at a trader's station, at the mouth of Yellow river, some twenty miles below Wheeling. There is no evidence that the armed frontiersmen at the station knew that either Logan's wife, sister, or any relative of his, was among the number of these trading visitors, and the atrocious act must be regarded as a result of the then prevalent and rancorous hatred of the Indian race. The victims were shot down in their canoes, while crossing the Ohio, not because they were obnoxious as individuals; not because they were of the family of Logan; but simply on account of their affinity with the wild Turanian race. 330 Such is the generally acknowledged version of this base

-- 265 --

transaction. Colonel Sparks, while exonerating Cresap from complicity in this dark transaction, either personally, or through any orders or permission given to his men, reveals an entirely new feature in the case. No member of Logan's family was in the two canoes which stopped at Baker's Bottom; but they were killed in Logan's own lodge, on Mingo Bottom, during his absence on a hunting excursion. The cowardly deed was done by some of Cresap's men, who had stolen away from his camp, contrary to his wishes, while he was journeying from Wheeling to Pittsburg, and against his express orders, which were, to respect Logan's residence, and not to attack it. Not only was this so, but, when Cresap heard the firing, he immediately ran in the direction whence the sounds proceeded, and interposed his authority to stop the massacre. 331 There is also another misstatement which requires correction. The pusillanimous attack on the canoes at Yellow Creek was not committed by the men of Cresap's command, then on the Ohio, far less by Cresap himself, or by his orders. On the contrary, not only was Cresap a brave and worthy man, distinguished for his services in the Indian wars of that period, as well as during that of the Revolution, which succeeded it, 332 but he was also a friend of Logan, and, according to George Rodgers Clarke, opposed an attack on Logan's house, at Mingo Bottom. 333 In this exoneration of Cresap, Colonel Sparks, who was a private in Lord Dunmore's army, at the date of the delivery of Logan's speech, in Camp Charlotte, on the Scioto, concurs. 334

The force congregated at Wheeling soon became engaged in a struggle with the Indians. A day or two after their arrival at that place, some canoes containing Indians were discovered descending the river, under shelter of the island. They were pursued for fifteen miles, when a battle ensued, in which a few men were killed and wounded on each side. Hostilities having thus commenced, the entire country soon swarmed with armed Indians; and the settlers, to ensure their own safety, were compelled to huddle together in block houses.

An express was despatched to Governor Dunmore, at Williamsburg, with information as to the position of affairs on the frontiers. The legislature being then in session, measures were at once adopted for repelling the Indians. Early in the month of June, a force of 400 men, collected in eastern Virginia, reached Wheeling, whence they descended the river to the Indian town of Wappatomica, but without effecting anything, as the town was deserted, and the Indians had fled. In this expedition, the men suffered much for want of food; the Indians were not intimidated. After various manoeuverings, and much countermarching, during which several Indian towns were burned, and a few men killed, Indian subtlety proving more than a match for English discipline and rash confidence, the army returned to Wheeling, and was disbanded.

A more formidable expedition, however, was organized at the seat of the Virginia

-- 266 --

government, of which Governor Dunmore announced his determination to assume the command. By the 1st of September, a force, numbering from 1000 to 1200 men, was organized, under the immediate command of General Andrew Lewis. After marching nineteen days through the wilderness, General Lewis reached Point Pleasant, at the mouth of the Great Kenawha, where he was to have been joined by Dunmore; but, instead thereof, he received despatches from him, changing the plan of operations, and directing him to proceed to the Scioto river. While preparing to comply with this order, his camp was suddenly and unexpectedly attacked by a body of Shawnees and their allies, led on by the Shawnee chief, Monusk, or Cornstalk, and a fiercely-contested battle ensued. The Indians exhibited great daring, rushing to the encounter with a boldness and fury which has seldom been equalled, and accompanying their onslaught with tremendous noise and shouting. Colonels Lewis and Fleming were killed, and the troops were obliged to give ground for a time; but a reinforcement being ordered up, the Indians were, in turn, compelled to fall back. The battle raged from eleven o'clock in the morning until four in the afternoon, when the natives retreated. The Indians engaged were Shawnees, Delawares, Wyandots, and Mingoes. 335 Among the leaders of the latter was the celebrated Tah-ga-yu-ta, or Logan, whose eloquence has thrilled so many hearts. The Virginians acknowledge a loss of 150 men, and the Indians are estimated to have lost 200 warriors. Indian history nowhere records such an obstinately contested battle. The loss of the Virginians would have been much greater, had they not adopted the system of the natives, darting from tree to tree with the spring of a cougar, and taking aim with the precision of woodsmen and hunters.

Having properly interred the dead, and erected and garrisoned a temporary fort, General Lewis moved forward to the Scioto; but, in the meantime, Lord Dunmore had reached that stream by way of Pittsburg, and had established a camp, which he called Charlotte, at the mouth of a small stream, known as the Sippi. 336 At this camp, the Indians were collected, and a treaty of amity was concluded. In the council, Cornstalk spoke with a manly tone and demeanor, which excited remark; all the tribes which had been engaged in the battle, were there represented, except the Mingoes. 337 The latter, being under the influence of Logan, who had entered into this war with the most revengeful feelings, were restrained by him from coming forward. Lord Dunmore sent for the chief; but he declined attending, and transmitted to him the noted speech, 338 which has given to his name a literary immortality.

-- 267 --

Chapter X. — The Indian Trade Under British Rule.

THE subjugation of the Indians being at length effected, from this period we may trace the progress of the British toward a monopoly of the Indian trade, which tremendous engine of power was destined ultimately to operate in elevating or depressing the tribes, in accordance with the will of those who directed its movements. The trade with the Indians was a boon at which commerce clutched with an eager hand. To secure the coveted prize, no hardship was considered too severe, no labor too onerous; dangers and difficulties were laughed at, and life itself regarded as of little value. The Indians were incited to new exertions in pursuing the chase, little heeding that they were, in reality, destroying their main resource for the sustenance of life; for, when the fur-bearing animals were annihilated, their lands became in a great measure valueless to them. In the hands of the English, Quebec, Montreal, Detroit, Michilimackinac, and the Mississippi towns, not only equalled their progress under the French, but became still greater centres of trade. Though New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston contributed their capital to the extension of this trade, yet the above-named original interior towns of the traders still held their prominent position. The tribes, scattered over the continent, felt most severely the effects of this ever-extending empire of trade; they were literally driven from the face of the earth, by the rabid and uncontrolled pursuit of wealth, through the medium of the fur trade, which so long promised riches to those who engaged in it.

Sir William Johnson, who had been during forty years the Maecenas of the Indians, and knew the disastrous effects which unlicensed trade would have on Indian society, early saw the importance of so systematizing and controlling it, that it might become an element, not only of power, but of prosperity to the colonies and to the Indians. His letters and memoirs on this subject, 339 furnish abundant proof of his comprehensive views and of his integrity of character. Indeed, his activity during his entire management of Indian affairs, gave evidence that he shrank from no duty. In 1761 he visited Detroit, for the purpose of placing matters there on a proper basis, and his agents 340 had, for years, traversed the Ohio, the Scioto, the Maumee, and other districts of the west,

-- 268 --

collecting information, and transmitting to him the details of every occurrence. To him the British government owes a heavy debt of gratitude.

Nothing was more important in the re-adjustment of Indian affairs, and for securing their good will, than a proper organization of the fur trade. Prior to the conquest of Canada, the English traders had been principally confined to the sources of the streams flowing into the Atlantic; but after this era their operations were extended indefinitely, west and north. Under the French authority, a variety of regulations and limitations had been enforced, extraordinary privileges, and monopolies of particular districts having been specially granted. Something of the same kind was attempted at the commencement of the English domination, after the fall of Canada; the power of granting licenses to trade on the frontiers, having been at first exercised by the commanding officers of posts. From the time of the capture of Quebec, the Indian trade had been in a state of confusion, and, before the final surrender of the remote districts, the Indians had been prevented from obtaining their regular supplies of goods, wares, and merchandise, which had now become necessary to their comfort. They had long previously lost their old arts, and had become familiarized to the use of metallic cooking vessels, woollens, arms, and ammunition.

The several memoirs and letters which Sir William Johnson, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, addressed to the Lords of Trade, 341 on the subject before referred to, are good indications of the importance he attached to the correction of irregularities in the fur trade, of his care in placing before them the elements on which an equable system could be established, and of his solicitude for its early formation. When the Canadas were added to the area of his jurisdiction, it required some time to establish, on a proper footing, the new relations with all the distant tribes, which the occasion required. His great object was to secure political influence with the tribes, and for this purpose he had personally visited Detroit, Oswego, and Niagara. He kept in pay three deputies, who traversed a great part of the West, reporting to him the result of their observations and inquiries; and in the New York publications now before us, there is abundant evidence that he omitted no occasion of keeping the government advised concerning the true position of Indian affairs. It was not until after the return of the successful armies of Bradstreet and Bouquet, in the autumn of 1764, that an Englishman could, with any safety, carry goods into the newly-conquered districts. The very appellation, "English trader," was detested by the northern tribes, and instances occurred where Englishmen were obliged to conduct their operations in the names of the Canadian guides and interpreters in their employ. 342 Even the mere uniform of an English officer or soldier was loathed by them. "Why," said Pontiac, in 1763, "do you suffer those dogs in red clothing to remain on your land." 343

We are told that trade at
Michilimackinac began in 1766. 344 In 1765, Alexander

-- 269 --

Henry, who had escaped the massacre at Michilimackinac, obtained a license granting him the monopoly of the trade on Lake Superior, and, after one year's sojourn there, returned, bringing with him 150 packs of beaver, each weighing 100 pounds, besides other furs. 345 Mr. J. Carver, on his arrival there, in 1766, found this place to be the great centre of the English trade. 346 At first it was limited to Chegoimegon and Comenistequoia on Lake Superior, until Thomas Curry, obtaining guides and interpreters, penetrated as far as Fort Bourbon, on the Saskatchewine, and returned the following year with his canoes so amply filled with fine furs, that he was enabled to retire from the business. James Finley followed his track, the next year, to Nipawee, reaping equal profits, and was succeeded in the enterprise by Joseph Frobisher. 347 The way being thus opened, others recklessly braved the attendant dangers and hardships, and ardently pursued the business. Thus was inaugurated the North-west trade, which, during half a century has proved of more real value than any gold mines. It is no marvel that every toil was encountered in its pursuit, and health, as well as life itself, freely sacrificed to it.

The fur trade in the West also vigorously commenced about this period. It had been carried on, by the aid of pack-horses, across the Alleghanies, from Philadelphia and Baltimore to Fort Pitt, from the period of its capture; but, until after the return of the expedition of Bouquet in 1764, the territory beyond the Ohio could not be penetrated without incurring the greatest risks. At length, under the treaty of Versailles, British authority was established on the Mississippi, and, in September, 1765, Captain Sterling left Fort Pitt for the Illinois, with 100 men of the 42d regiment, in boats, and relieved the French garrison of Fort Chartres. The trading posts of Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Vincennes, and Peoria, were thus brought within the defined limits for trading operations. The following year, Matthew Clarkson, whose journal is contained in a former volume of this work, opened a trading station at Fort Chartres, under the auspices of a mercantile house in Philadelphia. 348

A line of British posts at this period extended from Fort Chartres, in Illinois, by way of Pittsburg to Niagara, Oswego, and Fort Stanwix, and thence, pursuing the line of trade, up the lake to Detroit and Michilimackinac. The tribes being thus restrained, made no further efforts to originate hostile combinations. They had lost many men in the war which began in 1755; they had been foiled in all their schemes, from South Carolina to the Straits of Michigan; and, although they had evinced great energy and activity under the direction of Pontiac, their efforts invariably resulted in defeat. Such evidences of the possession of power on the part of the British were also developed, as to prove to them that, though slow in action, and sometimes erring in their movements, yet the latter had perseverance, energy, and ability, sufficient to baffle all their efforts. The Indians had likewise suffered greatly, within a few years, in their trade, which had been purposely interrupted.

-- 270 --

Chapter XI. — Census of the Numbers, Names, and Position of the Indian Tribes, Taken After the Conquest of Canada.

HAVING conquered Canada, one of the first things necessary for the management of Indian affairs by Great Britain was, to ascertain the names and numerical strength of the Indians who had been transferred to her jurisdiction; which task was undertaken by Sir William Johnson, the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs. As a central point, he began with the population of the Iroquois, who were then, and had long been, the objects of his special care. In a census table prepared by him, in 1763, 349 for the Lords of Trade, he represents the number of men capable of bearing arms among the Mohawks, at 160; the Oneidas, at 250; the Onondagas, at 150; the Cayugas, at 200; the Senecas, at 1050; and the Tuscaroras, at 140. He places the outlying band of Oswegachys (Ogdensburg), at 80, and the Caghnawagas (St. Regis), at 300; making a total of 2330 warriors, who, agreeably to the usual rules of computation, would represent an aggregate population of 11,650 souls. He computes that, of Conoys, Tuteloes, Saponeys, Nanticokes, and other conquered and dismembered tribes, then living in the Iroquois country, agreeably to their policy, there were, at that period, 200 men, or 1000 souls.

After leaving the area of New York, there is less reliance to be placed on the census, which was made up, not from actual enumeration, but from the reports of persons journeying amongst, or trading with, the tribes, and from the statements of parties supposed to be best informed on the subject. Sir William Johnson estimates the Algonquins, or Adirondaks, at 150 men, or 750 souls; the Abinakies, at 100 men, or 500 souls; and the various tribes of Hurons, or Wyandots, of Canada, at 240 men, representing a population of 1200 souls. This enumeration would allow to the Indians of Canada below Lake Ontario, and to the Iroquois of New York, including the nations conquered by them, and residing among them, 2820 fighting men, or 14,100 souls, a total which is believed to be a little above the actual numbers.

But, if the population of the region with which Sir William was least acquainted, namely, the lower St. Lawrence valley, was sometimes over-estimated by his informants,

-- 271 --

that of the great west, beyond the Alleghanies and along the upper lakes, if we except errors of synonymes, is conceived to have been returned with excellent judgment.

The attempt to estimate the numerical force of the Pontiac confederacy, during that year, must be considered to have been made under great disadvantages. The Baronet had himself visited Detroit, the seat of this confederacy, in 1761, and gathered the elements of his estimates from persons resident there.

The Wyandots, or Hurons, of Michigan, are rated at 250 men, or 1250 souls; the Ottawas, dispersed in various localities, at 700 men, or 3500 souls; the Chippewas, among whom are included the Mississagies, of the region of Detroit, at 320 men; and those of Michilimackinac, at 400 men, together making an aggregate of 8350. The Pottawattamies of Detroit are set down as comprising 150 warriors, and those of St. Joseph, 200; both, conjoined, representing a population of 1750 persons.

In the valley of the Ohio, and the region of country immediately west of it, the means for making an enumeration were more ample and reliable.

The Shawnees are estimated, with apparently good judgment, at 300 men, or 1500 souls; and the Delawares, with nearly the same probable accuracy, at 3000 persons, which would give them 600 fighting men.

The Miamies of the Wabash valley, under their Iroquois name of Twightwees, are numbered at 230 men; the Piankashaws, at 100 men; and the Weas, at 200 men, making 2650 souls. In the same general district, there are enumerated 180 Kickapoos, and 90 Mascoutins, a tribe of prairie Indians, who appear in all the earliest estimates, but who have since lost that designation. The name would indicate that they were Algonquins. These add to the estimate 1350 persons.

In the region of Green Bay, comprising the present area of Wisconsin, the Monomonies are computed at 110 men, or 550 souls. This estimate is duplicated under their French synonyme of Folsavoins. But, irrespective of this mistake, the number of Monomonies, at that time, would not seem to have been overrated at 1100 souls. The Winnebagoes, called by the French, Puanis, are rated at 360 men, or an aggregate of 1750 individuals, which is not excessive. The Sauks are enumerated as having 300 fighting men, or a population of 1500 souls, a probable excess; and the Outagamies, or Foxes, 320 warriors, or 1600 souls. These two tribes had united their fortunes, after their unsuccessful attack, in 1712, on the fort of Detroit, which act procured them the hatred of the French.

The aggregate of these enumerations and estimates of the western and northern tribes, reaches 24,050 individuals. Add to this the 14,100 of the eastern or home table of Sir William's superintendency, and there is presented a gross population of 38,150 souls. This does not include the southern tribes, or those residing on the west banks of the Mississippi, both of which groups of tribes were beyond his jurisdiction, and, also, outside of the limits of the territory ceded by the treaty of Versailles, concluded February 10th, 1763.

-- 272 --

Means for testing this estimate were furnished by the respective expeditions of Bradstreet and Bouquet, in 1764. The estimate of the former, as given by Major Mante, p. 526, only related to the tribes assembled at, or living within, a circle of five or six days' march from his camp. This computation furnished data for an aboriginal population of some 9500 persons, of which number, 1930 are set down as warriors.

The statistics of the Indian population collected by Colonel Bouquet, and published at Philadelphia, in 1766, proceed to the other extreme, and, instead of confining the enumeration to tribes which were visited, contiguous, or known, he not only extended it to tribes residing beyond the region, and outside of the limits of the British territory, but, also, frequently, under various synonymes, or soubriquets, duplicated or triplicated the same tribes.

After discarding these redundancies, limiting the estimate of the tribes to the ratio of that of Sir William, and correcting the evident confusion existing between the number of fighting men and the gross population of the tribes, as in the note, 350 the table of Bouquet does not exhibit, on the same area, a gross variance from the corresponding parts of the Superintendent's list. He does not show that the entire Indian force in the west, residing east of the Mississippi river, numbered over 30,950 souls, or 6210 fighting men. To these he has added (see note below) 11,350 southern Indians, comprising the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and the small tribes of the Catabas and Natchez,

-- 273 --

who are estimated at 2250 warriors. As if to evidence the peril from which he had escaped, or to show the force that could be brought against the British frontiers, the Sioux, Kansas, and wild prairie tribes of upper Louisiana, west of the Mississippi, are introduced into the estimates. Thus, the entire number of fighting men in his estimates is set down at 56,500, which, by the data he furnishes, would indicate a gross population of 283,000 souls, a most extravagant computation. 351

-- 274 --

Previous section

Next section

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
Persistent link to this document:
Powered by PhiloLogic