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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: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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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 The English forces had been withdrawn to further projects of conquest in the West Indies; thus leaving but few troops on the frontiers.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

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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

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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

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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

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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: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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