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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 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.

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

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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

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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.

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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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