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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 VIII. — The Post-Revolutionary War with the Western Indians is Terminated by the Victory of Maumee.

THE object for which the Indians had fought had proved to be illusory, and their defeat on the Miami of the Lakes terminated their struggle for the possession of the country north-west of the Ohio. This result could not, under any possible circumstances, have been averted. Had they possessed leaders who understood the effects of combination and discipline, and been supplied with the necessary means, they might have protracted for several years this contest against the white race. With ample supplies, and under competent leaders, this defeat would only have added fresh strength to their determination, and would have been succeeded by other battles, triumphs, and defeats; but, as the war was, in fact, a direct issue between civilization and barbarism, the ultimate result would have been precisely similar. The reasoning powers of the Indians did not, probably, enable them to arrive at this conclusion; but they appear to have intuitively deduced the truth of this fact from their late reverses, as, in a short time thereafter, they determined to bury the hatchet and smoke the pipe of peace.

It had been the recognised policy of Washington's administration, to use force against the Indians only when absolute necessity required it; and compulsory measures were never adopted until after every other means of accommodating existing differences had failed. They were, to a certain extent, regarded as public wards. The assassination of Harden and Trueman on the Ohio, with the olive-branch in their hands, after the defeat of St. Clair, and previous to the expedition of Wayne, is irrefragable evidence of this conciliatory policy. Even after Wayne had reached Roche du Bout, and but a day or two antecedent to the decisive battle, he tendered overtures of peace to the Indians, of which, it is affirmed, they were kept in ignorance by foreign agents. 465

In response to the renewal of these overtures, the Indians crowded to Wayne's camp, at Greenville, during the summer of 1795. The entire area embraced between the banks of the Ohio and Lake Erie, luxuriant with indigenous vegetation, had been

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trodden down, by the marching and countermarching of war parties and armies, from the period of the conclusion of the sham treaty made with Lord Dunmore, in 1774, and the no less unreliable one signed at Fort M'Intosh, in 1785; but, during the five years which had just closed, it had been beaten with hostile feet until it had become like one of their own chunk-yards. 466 The bitter chalice which they had so long held to the lips of the people of Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, was now being drained by themselves. After the demonstration at the Maumee Kapids, they fled to their wintering-grounds, and to the extensive forests of Lake Erie, Michigan, and Canada. The local foreign traders of these precincts, the very commandants of the posts, who had counselled them to war, could no longer be regarded by them as oracles. They had been unable to keep the whites east of the Ohio; nay, it began to be perceived, by these subtile sons of the forest, that the race could not, eventually, be confined within the limits fixed by the treaty of Versailles. Spring succeeded these desolating military movements of General Wayne; the genial warmth of May and June caused the wild flowers to raise their heads from the war-path, on which they had been crushed by the feet of contending partisans. The Indian derives many of his ideas from the mild teachings of Nature; and, at this time, wherever the eye turned, all its productions inculcated peace. Before the month of July arrived, the savage, with altered feelings, entered on the forest-paths that led to Greenville, where the American chief was seated, surrounded by all the panoply of war, with the emblems of peace intermingled. Wayne now impersonated their own Hiawatha.

Foremost among the tribes who turned their steps to his camp, were the proud and influential Wyandots, who had so long been regarded as wise men and umpires among the tribes of the West. Driven from the St. Lawrence valley, in 1659, by the Iroquois, they had, for a century and a half, held a high position in the West; sustained a part of the time by France, their earliest and most constant friend, and after the conquest of Canada, by the English. They were astute, reflective, and capable of pursuing a steady line of policy, which had been, with some lapses, the stay of the western tribes, who were willing to tread in their footsteps. This tribe was the last to assent to the scheme of Pontiac; and when the confederation was broken up by the British, they adhered to that power with extraordinary devotion.

In this train, also, followed the Delawares, who had been, since the time they first fled from Pennsylvania and crossed the Alleghanies, bitter enemies of the settlers in the West. There also came the Shawnees; the most vengeful and subtile of all the western tribes. Every day witnessed the arrival in the surrounding forests of delegates, decked off with all their peculiar ornaments, of feathers, paint, silver gorgets, trinkets, and medals. The Chippewas, Ottawas, Pottawatamies, Miamies, Weas, Kickapoos, Piankashaws, and Kaskaskias, were all present. The entire official power of the

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Algonquins was on the ground. Each delegation carried the pipe of peace, and expressed pacific desires. The whole camp presented a gorgeous display of wild and savage magnificence; and, for the number and variety of costumes, the scene has, probably, never since been equalled in America. All came bending to Wayne.

A treaty was signed on the 3d of August, 467 and constitutes our first reliable date in the history of treaty stipulations with the Indians. The draft of this treaty, sent to General Wayne from the War Department, was drawn up under the supervision of Washington, and appears to have been full and elaborate. It established the system of boundaries and reservations, and introduced the fundamental regulations as to trade and intercourse with the tribes, which have been embodied in all subsequent treaties. A donation of $20,000 in goods, and a permanent annuity of $9000, payable in merchandise, at invoice prices, to be divided pro rata among the different nations, were granted to the Indians. 468

Having traced the negotiation of treaties from their first inception under the American Government to this important period, when the Indians buried the hatchet, it will not be necessary to pursue the subject further. Subsequent negotiations with the tribes are connected with a lengthy detail of dates, names, and figures, which are readily accessible in the volumes containing the treaties between the United States and the Indians. The treaty of Greenville forms a definite era in the Indian history, from which the tribes may be viewed. Both parties regarded this peace as a final conclusion of the aboriginal war, which, following the close of the Revolution, had spread, as it were, a bloody mantle over not only the Ohio valley, but over the entire region to the north-west of it. The position attained by the United States through this treaty, had been the result of at least a decade of years, characterized by wars and negotiations, in which the sword and the olive-branch had either failed of effect, or only produced temporary results; and the length of time the treaty was observed by the aborigines, is, in part, attributable to the full assent it received from the united judgment of the principal chiefs of all the leading tribes, who were parties to it. On the part of the Wyandots, it received the signature of the venerated Tarhe, or the Crane; on that of the Delawares, it was subscribed to by the gifted Bukongehelas; the Shawnees assented to it through the venerable Cutthewekasaw, or Black Hoof, and Weyapiersenwaw, or Blue Jacket; Topinabi, or Thupenebu, signed it for the Pottawattarnies, and for the Miamies it was signed by Meshekunnoghquoh, or the celebrated Little Turtle; the latter of whom, with the Shawnee chief, Blue Jacket, had been the marshals or leaders of the Indians at the final battle on the Maumee. 469 As long as these chiefs, the last of the forest kings, lived, this peace was observed.

The lake posts were surrendered by the British in 1796, and American garrisons replaced those of the English at Niagara, Presque Isle, Maumee, Detroit,
Michilimackinack,

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and Green Bay. The Indians, who are quick at recognising the nationality of a flag, began to accommodate their visits and addresses to this new state of affairs. The Government also sought, as much as possible, to divert the Indian trade from foreign hands into those of the Americans; but this was a difficult matter, and required time to effect it. Along the Georgia and Carolina borders, this trade had been concentrated in the hands of, and continued to be carried on principally by, enterprising and talented Scotchmen, who intermarried with the Indians. The most noted of these were M'Intosh, M'Gillivray, Ross, and Rutherford; the latter somewhat better known as the Black Warrior of 1818. Throughout Louisiana, in all its amplitude of extension north and west, the French exercised the controlling influence; and this was especially the case in the territory now constituting the States of Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The same fact was true respecting the trade carried on in the basins of the upper lakes, and at the
sources of the Mississippi river, where the British and Scotch factors for many years controlled the trade and influenced the tribes.

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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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