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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 I. — The Indian Force to be Encountered.

OHIO was the first of those talismanic names which, dating back as early as 1750, in the days of Franklin and Washington, influenced the spread of the American population over the entire West. But the country so attractive to a civilized people was in possession of fierce savage tribes, who flitted through the wilderness like the genii of Arabic fable, acknowledging neither the laws of God, nor those of man. England was the first to teach to such of these western tribes as hovered around her colonies, the principles of industry, arts, and letters, and the incalculable advantages of the habits of civilization over barbarism. She was the first also, by the aid of her fleets and armies, to bring these savage hordes to effectual terms; and, adopting their own figurative style, to make them aware that the plow was superior to the tomahawk. She exercised a just supervision over a wide and exposed frontier, through the medium of lines of forts and agencies, and re-established, on better principles, the fur trade, that powerful stimulus to energetic action among the Indians, which has had a much greater influence on the early and middle ages of their history, than anything else. But, after effecting this object by a lavish expenditure of blood and treasure, and after having compelled the savages to acknowledge the British sway, this power would seem to have only been acquired by Britain, and strengthened, that it might be wielded against the Americans; for, after controlling this Indian influence during the brief period of fifteen years, it was directed against the colonies by the mother country, and

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proved, if not one of the most potent, at least one of the most inhuman and cruel auxiliaries of a despotic government, in its efforts to coerce and crush a brave and liberty-loving people.

To ascertain the precise strength of this Indian force, had been an object with the British government after the conquest of Canada, and it also became a point of much moment to the colonies on the breaking out of the Revolution. The results of the efforts made by the British authorities to determine their numbers, have just been stated. The first reliable estimates obtained by the colonies, were made under the auspices of the War Department, while the government was located at Philadelphia. The elements of the following schedule are extant in the handwriting of Mr. Madison. 352

FORCE OF THE INDIAN NATIONS ON THE OCCURRENCE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
I. IROQUOIS.
Tribes.
Warriors.
Gross Pop.
Locality.
Mohawks 100 500 Mohawk Valley.
Oneidas and Tuscaroras 400 2000 Oneida County, western New York.
Onondagas 230 1150 Onondaga Castle, &c., western New York.
Cayugas 220 1100 Cayuga Lake, &c., western New York.
Senecas 650 3250 Seneca Lake to Niagara, New York.
  1600 8000  
II. IROQUOIS OF THE WEST.
Wyandots 180 900 Detroit and Sandusky.
III. ALGONQUINS.
Ottowas 450 2250 Miami river to Michilimackinac.
Chippewas 5000 25,000 Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior.
Mississagies 250 1250 North of lakes.
Pottawattamies 450 2250 Detroit, St. Joseph's, and Wabash.
Miamies 300 1500 St. Joseph's of Miami, &c.
Piankashaws, Weas, under the name of Musketoons, &c. 800 4000 Wabash river, &c.
Monomonies 2000 10,000 West of Lake Michigan, &c.
Shawnees 300 1500 Ohio, &c., have been exceedingly active.
Delawares, Munsees 600 3000 Muskingum, &c.
  10,150 50,750  
IV. DAKOTAS.
Sioux 500 2500 Upper Mississippi.

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V. APPALACHIANS.
Tribes.
Warriors.
Gross Pop.
Authorities.
Cherokees 500 2500 Hutchins, Vol. III., p. 555.
Chickasaws 150 750 Hutchins, Vol. III., p. 555.
Choctaws 900 4500 Smith, Vol. III., p. 555.
Catawbas 150 750 Hutchins, Vol. III., p. 555.
Natchez 150 750 Hutchins, Vol. III., p. 555.
Muscogees Alabamas 600 3000 Hutchins, Vol. III., p. 555.
Cowetas 700 3500 Hutchins, Vol. III., p. 555.
  3150 15,750  
RECAPITULATION.
 
Warriors.
Gross Population.
1. Iroquois of New York 1600 8000
2. Iroquois of the West 180 900
3. Algonquins 10,150 50,750
4. Dakotahs 500 2500
5. Appalachians, southern tribes 3150 15,750
  15,580 77,900

It is evident, from scanning these details, that access had been obtained to persons conversant with the locations and population of the Indian tribes. Compared to the wild general estimates of Bouquet, made in 1764, they present a schedule evincing judgment and a commendable approach to accuracy. If the strength of some tribes is overrated, others are correspondingly underrated, leaving the average of the Indian force that could, by any probability, be brought into the field, very near the true standard. The Sioux, for instance, might, with a much nearer approach to accuracy, have been rated at 10,000, but there was no probability that more than 500 warriors could, under the most favorable circumstances, have been brought into action. In fact, it is believed that not a man of that stock ever drew a bow against the Americans, unless it be possible that one or two stray warriors of their ethnological connection, the Winnebagoes, can be conjectured to have wandered to Wyoming, or Stanwix. The Iroquois Six Nations are enumerated as having 350 warriors less than they are rated in the estimate of Sir William Johnson, made in 1763, which probably a little more than underrates their actual decline in thirteen years, under the combined influence of trade and alcohol. The Chippewas are over-estimated at 5000 men, on a limited area, and without tracing their scattered bands over a very wide and remote field. The enumeration of the Menomonies, who occupied the present area of Wisconsin, is also, under any circumstances, in excess; but this very nomadic people were in the habit of hunting over an extended territory on the upper Mississippi, where they were accompanied by their intimate associates, the Sauks, who have no place in the estimate. The Foxes, the Kickapoos, and their allies, the Mascotins, the aggregate population of which three tribes is computed at 2950, in Johnson's tables, are also entirely left out in this estimate, so that what was overrated on the one hand, was, with a considerable approach to accuracy, counterbalanced on the other. Nor is it probable, as Mr.

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Madison has stated, in a note attached to the estimate, 353 that his aggregate of 12,430 warriors was above the truth, or that this force was employed in the contest. It has been estimated that the number of fighting men employed by Great Britain during the war, was 770. 354

Congress, after its primary organization, placed the subject of the Indian intercourse in the hands of commissioners, under the direction of the Secretary of War. The trust was an arduous one, perpetually fluctuating in its aspects, and requiring great knowledge of the Indian character, as well as an accurate conception of the geographical features and natural resources of the country. It was evident, from the first, that the Six Nations would side with the mother country, from whom it was earnestly desired to detach them, and to persuade them to remain neuter in the contest. This was the policy prescribed by Washington, and was urged upon them by Mr. Samuel Kirkland, who resided among the Oneidas. He was charged personally by the President, to impress upon them the importance of pursuing a neutral line of policy; for then, no matter which party proved triumphant, the Indian interests would not receive injury; but if they were involved in the struggle, their interests would be likely to suffer. This reasoning prevailed with the Oneidas and Christian Indians under the energetic and popular chief, Skenandoah. A part of the Tuscaroras also sided with the Americans.

The ancient tribe of Mohicans of the Housatonic, whose history has been impressed upon popular memory by their long residence at Stockbridge, Mass., had been for a long period classed among the followers of the gospel; but, as the martial spirit of the era aroused all their warrior feelings, they enlisted themselves on the side of the colonies, and furnished an efficient company of spies and flankers for the American army. Directing the view to the west, there was but little encouragement in the prospect. The Delawares, who had finally abandoned central Pennsylvania, in 1749, influenced thereto partially by annoyance at the continued encroachments of the settlers, but more by fear of the Iroquois tomahawk, 355 were arrayed in opposition to the colonies.

The Shawnees, who claim a remote southern origin, appear to have divided in their primary emigration to the north; a part of the tribe pursuing the route within the range of the Alleghanies, to the territory of the Lenno Lenapi, or Delawares, directly north, and a part descending the Kenawha, to the Ohio valley, whence they ascended the Scioto river to Chillicothe, which became their western centre. Others located themselves a little below the influx of the Wabash, at a spot hence called Shawneetown.

There is a circumstance of much interest connected with the history of this tribe. According to the account of the Mohican chief, Metoxon, 356 that tribe was originally

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connected with the Delawares, but being a restless and quarrelsome people, had involved themselves in inextricable troubles while in the south, and, in the chief's language, had returned to sit again between the feet of their grandfather.

Those of the tribe who had reached their closely ethnological affiliated relatives, the Delawares, had either preceded the latter, or accompanied them, across the Alleghanies.

That portion of the Senecas, and of other tribes of the Iroquois, who had emigrated west, or who possibly held a footing there from remote times, were called Mingoes. 357 They were regarded as generally taking part with the western Indians in their hostilities. When Washington visited their chief, Tanacharisson, at Logstown, in 1753, this sachem expressed himself as being friendly to the Virginians; and it is believed that this particular branch of them were not included among those who formed the ambuscade against General Braddock, three years subsequently.

Of the Chippewas, Ottowas, Mississagies, and other Algonquin nations, embraced in the preceding estimate, it is not known, or believed, that any of them were friendly to the American cause. They had been firm friends of the French, but, after the offence which has been mentioned, they transferred their allegiance to the British. It requires to be noticed, however, that, being more remote from the scene of conflict than any other tribe, if we except the Mississagies of Canada, there was only one point from which they might or could have been employed against the Americans, viz: from the central location of Fort Niagara, which was officially visited by the western tribes, even from Michilimackinac and Lake Superior. 358 Sir William Johnson died in 1774, about the time of the occurrence of the tea riot in Boston. The title and office descended to his son John, whose hall, at Johnstown, having been taken during the following year by the revolutionists, and himself placed on his parole, he fled to Canada, carrying with him the Mohawk tribe. Subsequently, Fort Niagara became the seat of the royal influence, where marauding, plundering, and
scalping-parties were organized, and, to use the expressive epithet of Sir John's father, "painted and feathered" for war. 359

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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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