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

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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

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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.

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