THE Fort Wayne manuscript, or rather that part of it containing the Indian Speeches delivered in the two Councils held Sept. 4th and Oct. 2d, 1811, at Ft. Wayne, Ind., and hitherto unpublished, is a missing link of much interest and value in the border history of the Northwest. To illustrate the place it occupies in the chain of events and explain the relations it sustains to them, it becomes necessary to recur briefly to the condition which the Indian affairs in the Indiana and Illinois Territories were in, shortly before and at the time when these Ft. Wayne conferences were held.
About the year 1805, the peaceful relations, established by the treaty of Greenville in 1795, between the white and the red people became seriously disturbed through the conduct of two Shawnee brothers, "Te-cum-thea"
The Prophet claimed a mission from the Great Spirit to reform the manners of the red people, and to revive all those customs that had been discontinued by their two common and frequent intercourse with the white people. All the innovations in dress, food, arms, and manners derived from the whites were to be discarded; in reward for which they were promised a restoration of all the comfort and happiness enjoyed by their ancestors, of which they had so often heard their old sages speak, on condition however, of an implicit obedience to the will and orders of the Prophet. He pretended to foretell future events, declared himself invulnerable to the weapons of his enemies, and promised like immunity to those of his proselytes who would devote themselves wholly to his services.
Roving for a while among the surrounding tribes, making a convert here and there, the brothers took quarters at Gen. Wayne's old cantonment at Greenville, Ohio, and soon gathered with them about one hundred Shawnee warriors from the several bands of that nation, living in scattered villages on the head-waters of the Au Glaize, White River, the Mississinewa, and elsewhere, together with a few followers recruited from other tribes. Within a few months the number of Shawnees were reduced by desertions to about forty or fifty, and the residue of the Prophet's followers were chiefly composed of the riff-raff of other tribes, many of whom had fled for their crimes.
The Prophet's band remained at Greenville through the years 1806 and 7, increasing, the while, in its number of excited, religious fanatics, ready, it was feared, for any enterprise on which the Prophet or his brother might be inclined to lead them, and great fears were entertained by the inhabitants of the border white settlements for their own safety. Complaints were accordingly made, in response to which Capt. Wm. Wells, then Indian agent at Fort Wayne, sent Anthony Shane, a half-blood Shawnee, to Greenville with a copy the President's letter contained in a communication from the secretary of war; the substance of which was that Te-cum-the and his party, being upon grounds lately purchased by Gov. Harrison from its rightful owners, should remove to some point beyond the general boundaries stipulated
57in the treaty of Greenville in 1795. The council-fire being lighted, Shane stated the object of his mission, and invited the brothers to a conference at Fort Wayne. Whereupon Tecumthe, without consulting the opinions of those around him, arose and said to the messenger: "Go back to Fort Wayne, and tell Capt. Wells that my fire is kindled on the spot appointed by the Great Spirit above; and if he has any communication to make to me, he must come here."
The excitement increased, and in a letter from Capt. Wells to Gov. Harrison, of date May 25, 1807, it was stated that, within a short time then past, not less than fifteen hundred Indians had gone or returned through Ft. Wayne in their visitations to the Prophet and Tecumthe at Greenville. And, in the month of August of that year, persons living in the north and western parts of the Indiana Territory, and familiar with the state of Indian affairs, estimated the number of Indians at Ft. Wayne and Greenville, who were supposed to be under the influence of these Shawnee brothers, at seven or eight hundred men, most of whom were armed with new rifles, and well provided with ammunition, supplied from Canada. The governor of Ohio, being officially advised of these facts, took measures to rid his State of such a dangerous assemblage. Gov. Harrison, of the Indiana Territory, also took an active and efficient part in the common purpose to disperse the Prophet and his adherents. The result of these combined efforts was, that early in the year 1808 the Prophet and his partisans moved from Greenville, and, to the future and very great annoyance of Gov. Harrison, as well as to all the inhabitants claiming his protection, took up their residence in the Indiana Territory, on the west bank of the Wabash, a short distance below the mouth of the Tippecanoe River, where they established the village known to fame as "The Prophet's town".
Tecumthe and the Prophet claimed that the new grounds upon which they thus settled had been granted to them by the Pottawatomies and Kickapoos; these latter, however, had no title at all, being only squatters themselves, having years before, and by sheer force of superior numbers, intruded themselves into the domain of the Miamies, to whom all that part of the Wabash country rightfully belonged.
The Prophet had little influence among the immediately-adjoining tribes such as the Miamies, Delawares, Shawnees, and some of the Pottawatomies, whose chiefs and elder men knew he was an impostor, and would have nothing to do with his plans, in the execution of which they only foresaw harm to themselves and their families. It was with the remote tribes that his fame was blazoned, and to whom his miracles without number were communicated. The party attached to him, relying on his promises of food and raiment by divine interposition, neglected to hunt or plant, and were often starving for want of subsistence, while reports were spread abroad that they were enjoying every luxury and ease. Thus were the upper-lake Indians, and those between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi, and especially the Winnebagoes and the Kickapoos of the Illinois Prairies, deluded by fabulous reports, industriously circulated among them by Tecumthe and other emissaries of the Prophet. Tecumthe combined in his character great subtility, cunning, and an indomitable perseverance; and while his brother remained at home he was itinerating among the most distant tribes, and making proselytes to his and his brother's schemes. Keeping himself and his ulterior aims in the background, it is now known that he was the principal means by which the extravagant stories of his brother's supernatural powers were propagated.
The general discontent among the Indians, caused by the scarcity of game, the rapidly-advancing skirmish line of white settlements — the sure forerunner of a denser population — upon their hunting-grounds, and, perhaps, more than all, the threatened war with Great Britain, were eagerly seized upon by Tecumthe, and hastened the time when he thought he might come out from under the shadow of the Prophet, and declare his long-kept purpose of forming a confederation of all the Indian tribes; abrogate all treaties previously made with the United States relative to the cession of lands; drive the whites eastward and south beyond the Ohio River, and ever after hold the conquested territory as the common property of the victors, with no right of a disposal of any part of it, except with the given consent of all. It was a revival of the plan undertaken by Pontiac at the conclusion of
59the French-Colonial War; and again espoused by the confederated Northwestern tribes soon after the establishment of peace between the United States and Great Britain in 1784.
Matters grew daily worse at the Prophet's town, which had now become the common refuge of all the Indian vagabonds in the country; horse-thieves and pilferers of other property; wild blades who would, every now and then, surprise a pioneer's cabin, standing remotely out beyond the well-defined lines of white settlements, and cowardly murder the indwelling women and children found welcome shelter at the Prophet's town, and a ready friend and paliator for their crimes in the person of either Tecumthe or his brother. Gov. Ninian Edwards, of the Illinois Territory, made frequent complaints of depredations committed upon his settlements along the Mississippi, incited from or by perpetrators harbored at this plague-spot on the Wabash. Inhabitants of the lower Embarrass and in the neighborhood of Vincennes could only go about their work with their rifles always in hand; and the town itself was, time and again, threatened with destruction. Indeed, several peaceful Indians of the Delaware and Piankeshaw tribes warned the Governor of the great danger to themselves as well as to the whites, and said they intended to flee beyond the Mississippi to escape the storm that was threatening from the Prophet's town.
In the meantime, Gov. Harrison — in whom the people of the Indiana and Illinois Territories had unbounded confidence — continued his unremitting efforts to secure their peace and safety. His correspondence with heads of the departments at Washington abundantly shows that during the whole period covered by the events under consideration he kept the Government fully advised of the movements of the Prophet and Tecumthe, and as often suggested the necessity of active measures to arrest the mischief they were doing. He labored with a zeal then little understood, though now fully appreciated, and largely succeeded in keeping the bulk of the surrounding tribes from the contaminations of the Shawnee brothers, and in this way did much to save
60the settlements intrusted to his care from the terrible consequences that otherwise would have followed. He sent frequent messengers to the Miamis and Pottawatomies, demanding that they should drive the Prophet and his horde away from the domain claimed by these two tribes; but they, in their ignorance and terror at the threats of the Prophet, did not dare to resort to force. They could only look on silently and abide the result of events. No threats or persuasions would induce the Prophet to leave, who, with his brother, now additionally stimulated with words of encouragement of British-Canadian agents, threatened open war. The Governor again sent a messenger to the Prophet's town, to whom Tecumthe denied an intention of making war but most solemnly declared that it was not possible to remain friends of the United States, unless they would abandon all idea of making settlements further to the north and westward. "The Great Spirit," said he; "gave this great island to his red children; he placed the whites on the other side of the big water; they were not contented with their own, but came to take ours from us. They have driven us from the sea to the lakes; we can go no further. They have taken upon themselves to say this tract belongs to the Miamis, this to the Delawares, etc.; but the Great Spirit intended it as the common property of all. Our Father [Gov. Harrison] tells us that we have no business upon the Wabash, that the land belongs to other tribes; but the Great Spirit ordered us to come here, and here we will stay."
Seemingly the general government did not comprehend the situation, or was indifferent to the results that would follow from the course to which affairs in the western territories were rapidly drifting. At last matters culminated, on the 31st of July, 1811, when a public meeting was called at Vincennes, at which it was resolved, in substance, that no security to life and property could be had other than by breaking up the combination of the Shawnee Prophet on the Wabash; that it was impolitic and injurious to the inhabitants of the United States as to those of the Indiana Territory to permit a formidable banditti, constantly increasing in numbers, to occupy a position which enables them to strike the border settlements without the least warning; that the combination
61headed by the Shawnee Prophet was a British scheme, and that the latter's agents constantly inciting the Indians to hostilities against the United States. A committee, consisting of leading citizens, among whom was the venerable Francis Vigo, was selected to prepare an address to President James Madison, embodying the resolutions passed at the meeting. The address as forwarded. The Government, it appears, had anticipated the request; for the secretary of war, in two letters addressed, July 17th and July 20th, 1811, respectively, to Gov. Harrison, advised him that the 4th Regiment, U. S. Infantry, with a company of riflemen, making in all five hundred men, under command of Col. John P. Boyd,
The Governor, having his plans matured, his militia and other troops in hand, once more prepared a speech, addressed to the several Indian tribes, calling upon them to disperse the Prophet's band and calling upon its members to immediately return to their respective tribes; requiring from the Miamis an absolute disavowal of all connection with the Prophet, and, they being the owners of the land he occupied, to prevail upon them to express to him their disapproval of the Prophet and his adherents from longer remaining there. One of these speeches was taken to Fort Wayne by Capt. Tousant Dubois, and its explanation to the tribes assembled there in council called out the speeches of September
624th and October 2d, 1811, found in the Ft. Wayne manuscript.
The prelude of the war of 1812 was fairly upon us, although the formal declaration of it was made in the following June.
The portion of the Ft. Wayne manuscript following the Indian speeches shows the author of it to have been a well-informed and candid writer. His statements of facts, dates, names, etc. harmonize in the main with creditable works since in print — the most notable variance from them being his account as to the number of Indians engaged at the battle of Tippecanoe. He must have had an intimate and long acquaintance with the Indians; and the information preserved in his manuscript as coming to his knowledge from them as to their military engagements with the whites is, for the most part, not only new, but valuable historical matter.
Among the authorities consulted or drawn upon in the collation of the preface and notes, as well, also, the foot-notes running through the printed text of the Ft. Wayne manuscript, the following may be named: "The American State Papers"; "U. S. Treaties with the Indian Tribes"; "Life of Tecumshe", by Dr. Benj. Drake; Harvey's "Shawnee Indians"; Hall & McKinney's "History N. A. Indians"; "History of Ohio", by Caleb Atwater; Howe's "Ohio Historical Collections"; "History of Indiana", by the late John B. Dillon; "Historical Notes of the Northwest",
63by the same author — both works being of the highest historical value for their accuracy of statement; Judge John Law's "History of Vincennes"; Mann Butler's "History of Kentucky"; "History of the War [of 1812], and Views of the Campaigns of the Northwestern Army", by Samuel R. Brown; "History of the Late War in the Western Country", by Capt. Robt. M'Affe; "Memoirs of Gen. Harrison", by Moses Dawson; "Memoir of Gen. Harrison", by Judge James Hall; "Life of Gov. Ninian Edwards" [of Illinois]; The Indian Vocabularies respectively of Col. John Johnson, Prof. Edwin James; Thos. L. McKenney (of the Indian Department); Henry R. Schoolcraft; Capt. John Carver; Alexander McKenzie; David Zeisberger's and Edward F. Wilson's several Grammars and Dictionaries of the Delaware and O'Jebway languages; Albert Gallatin's "Synopsis of the Indian Tribes of North America". All which are acknowledged as sources of original and reliable information.
"The manuscript from which the following pages were set was received in April, 1882, from S. A. Gibson, superintendent of the Kalamazoo Paper Company, Kalamazoo, Mich., and was written in the same hand at different times, on twenty-eight pages of foolscap paper, apparently as old as the dates thereon. Each page has an anchor water-mark. Mr. Gibson took these pages, evidently torn from a book, from a large bundle of similar papers that had been recently received at the mills from Fort Wayne, Ind. — F.
Speeches Delivered in General Council at Fort Wayne, on the 4th day of September, 1811 by the different Chiefs of the Miamie Tribe of Indians, in Answer to a Speech from his Excellency, Wm. H. Harrison, Governor of Indiana Territory.
Speech of Laprusieur,
Orator for the Weas, a Branch of the Miamie Tribe of Indians.
WILLIAM H. HARRISON, GOVERNOR OF INDIANA TERRITORY, LISTEN TO WHAT I HAVE TO SAY:
You now tell us that we are on a wrong road, a road that will lead us to destruction. You are deceived. When I was walking along, I heard you speak respecting the Shawanoe (Prophet). You said we were of his party. I hold you and the Shawanoe both by the hand; I hold him slack. You have both told me one thing: that if I would adhere to you, that my people (the women and children) would be happy. The hearts of the Miamies are good. The Great Spirit has placed them on the choicest spot of ground; and we are now anxiously waiting to see which of you tells the truth.
Now, Father, for the first time your eyes are open. When you
66cast them on your children you see they are poor; some of them are even destitute of the necessaries of life. We want ammunition to support our women and children; this has compelled us to undertake our present journey.
Father, we have not let you go; we yet hold you by the hand; nor do we hold the hand of the Prophet with a view to injure you. I therefore tell you that you are not correct when you supposed we joined hands with the Prophet to injure you. Father, I listened to you a few days ago, when you pointed out to me the depredations of murder committed by the Indians on the Mississippi. I told you that I and my people had no wish to join in acts of that kind. I told you that we both loved our people, and that it gives us pleasure when we see them standing around us; that we should deprive ourselves of this pleasure if we commenced a war with each other, as a war would be the destruction of both parties. You always told me that our great Father, the President of the United States, has placed you here for good purposes; that his heart is good toward his red children! How then does it happen that our Father's heart is changed toward his red children.
Father, you have called upon us to fulfil the Treaty of Greenville.
Father, your speech has overtaken us here. We have heard it, it has not scared us; we are not afraid of what you say. We are going on to that country which has been frequented by Tecumseh, and we shall be able to know, in the course of our journey,
67whether he has told us lies or not: that all the Indians are of the same opinion that he is; but when we return, we shall be able to inform you whether what Tecumseh has told us be true or not.
Now, Father, you have heard what I have to say; you will hear it well what comes from me.
Father, you have told me twice you were angry with me. I went to see you with my warriors with me when we were sitting face to face, and toes to toes; you told me that the Indians on the Mississippi had struck your people, and I said nothing to you. You tell us that you sent a messenger after us; that we insulted your messenger, yourself, and our great Father. This is twice you have said you were angry with us! We have looked for the cause, but can find none.
Father, we, the Miamies, are not a people that are passionate: we are not so easily made angry as it appears you are! Our hearts are as heavy as the earth! Our minds are not easily irritated. We don't tell people we are angry with them for light causes; we are afraid if we did fly in a passion for no cause we should make ourselves contemptible in the eyes of others. We therefore hope you will no more say you are angry with us, lest you should make yourself contemptible to others. We have told you we would not get angry for light causes. We have our eyes on our lands on the Wabash, with a strong determination to defend our rights, let them be invaded from what quarter they may. When our best interests are invaded, we will defend them to a man, and be angry but once.
Father, now consider what your children, the Miamies, have said to you. You have offered the war-club to us; you have laid at our feet and told us we might pick it up, if we chosed. We have refused to do so; and we hope that this circumstance will prove to you that we are people of good hearts. We hope, Father, you will not be angry any more with us, we will not be angry with you. This is all I have to say to you at present.
Speech of Silver Heels, a Massassinway Chief.
He informed his people that he conceived it greatly to the interest of his nation that a decisive answer should be given to their great Father's speech; that he had asked for it, and he was entitled to receive it; that for himself he had always detested the Prophet and his party; and that the interest of their nation required that the Miamies should have no connexion with him; that in case a misunderstanding should take place between the United States and the Prophet, it is the interest of our nation to remain neutral, and hold our Father by the hand. My chiefs and warriors now present, I hope this will be the answer that you will send to our great Father, the President of the United States.
Address of Oseemit, a Puttawatamie Chief.
I do not want what I am now going to say to be written down; but I think it is the interest of my nation that I should make some few observations. It appears to me that some of my younger brothers, residing on the Wabash, have got in a wrong road; that our Father has told them of it, and it is not too late for them to return. We, the Puttawatamie chiefs, have told our young men not to listen to the Prophet, but, notwithstanding, some of them were foolish enough to believe what he said.
Address of Charley, an Eel-River Chief.
Laprusieure has come forward and made a speech, without consulting or knowing the opinion of the Indians, which I conceive to be very improper.
Speech of Little Turtle, a Miamie Chief.
Father, your speech by Mr. Dubois was communicated to us
Father, you have asked us whether we are prepared to take part with the Prophet, or still hold you fast by the hand. This Question causes us to believe that a misunderstanding has taken place between you and some of our people that have visited you lately; it also appears that you have made known your intentions to the Puttawatamies, respecting the Prophet. You have told the Puttawatamies and other Indians residing on the Wabash to
72leave him; you have told the Miamies the same; these are things that surprise us. The transactions which took place between the Indians and white people at Greenville are yet fresh in our minds At that place, we told each other that we would in future be friends, doing all the good we could to each other, and raise our children in peace and quietness. These are yet the sentiments of your children, the Miamies.
Father, you have told us you would draw a line; that your children should stand on one side and the Prophet on the other. We, the Miamies, wish to be considered in the same light by you, as we were at the treaty of Greenville, holding fast to that treaty which united us, Miamies and Puttawatamies, to the United States.
Father, listen to what I have to say; it is our request that you pay particular attention to it: We pray you not to bloody our ground, if you can avoid it. In the first instance, let the Prophet be requested, in mild terms, to comply with your wishes; and avoid, if possible, the spilling of blood. The lands on the Wabash are ours. We have not placed the Prophet there; but, on the contrary, have endeavoured to stop his going there. He must be considered as settling there without our leave.
Father, I must again repeat that you said you should draw a line between your children and the Prophet. We are not pleased at this, because we think you have no reason to doubt our friendship toward you. I have not said much to you, but I think I have said enough for the present; my words are few, but my meaning great. I shall close by requesting you will pay particular attention to what I have said. This is all, Father, I have to say; I have said it in the presence of your messenger, the commanding officer, your people, and all mine.
Speech of Oseemit, a Puttawatamie Chief.
I have said that I am here alone; I have come to attend to the interest of my women and children; I have thought it my duty to do so, as the other chiefs of my nation are absent.
When I heard the words of my Father, we, the Puttawatamies, inhabiting the Lakes, from Chicago around to the east, are of the same opinion as those of the Miamies, just delivered by the Little Turtle; notwithstanding some of our foolish young men have killed some of the whites. We, the chiefs of our nation, have told our young men not to listen to any bad birds that are flying in the air; but some of them have been led astray, inasmuch as they have not followed our advice, and have imprudently involved themselves in difficulties. We, the chiefs of the Puttawatamies,
73are determined that their faults shall not be charged to our nation. We, the Puttawatamies and Miamies, have been friends from our infancy. We shall continue to be so; their sentiments are ours, and ours theirs.
Father, what we said to each other at the treaty of Greenville is fresh in our memories. We there told each other that improper conduct of individuals should not reinvolve us in difficulties; this must also be fresh in your memories, as you wrote it down, and I hope it will long be remembered by both of us. I have nothing further to say.
Address of White Loon, a Wabash Chief.
You have heard what my uncle, the Little Turtle, has said; and my opinion is the same.
Little Turtle Addresses the Miamies.
I told my people, when they were going to see the Governor, not to say anything respecting the land; that they had signed the paper closing the sales of the land, and that the treaty for that land was a fair and honorable one. I also told them to have nothing to do with the Prophet, that the Prophet was an enemy of Governor Harrison's, and Harrison of his; that if they formed any kind of connexion with the Prophet, it would make Governor Harrison an enemy of theirs.
Speech of Five Medals, a Puttawatamie Chief.
FORT WAYNE, 2d October, 1811.
ADDRESSED TO HIS EXCELLENCY, WILLIAM H. HARRISON, GOVERNOR OF
74INDIANA TERRITORY; DELIVERED IN THE PRESENCE OF TOPENAPA,
Father and friend: We your children, the Puttawatamies and Miamies, now take you by the hand as friends, and thank the Great Spirit above in enabling us to do so.
Father, you have spoke to my brothers, the Miamies, and also to the Puttawatamies. Your words reached my place of residence during my absence, consequently I was not able to understand what you said as well as I wished, therefore I came to Fort Wayne.
Father, on my arrival at this place, I sent for my friend, the Little Turtle, in order that I might know to a certainty what you had said; I have seen him, and he has given me the information I asked for, and further states that he has himself already answered you; and it only remains for me now to answer you.
Father, I now tell you the opinion of your children, the Puttawatamies and Miamies; we are but one people, and we speak with but one voice, therefore, I now request you to pay particular attention to what I say, as I now speak the sentiments of them all.
When our chiefs arise in the morning and see the clear sky; when they see the beautiful streams of water that are running, which is to be used by their women and children in peace and quietness; when they see the beautiful green woods around them, which was made for their use, and their women and children enjoying these blessings in peace and quietness, they thank the Great Spirit for his goodness toward them, and pray to him that he may continue these blessings forever.
Father, the words which you are now listening to are the sentiments of your children. We wish to live in peace with all the world; and request of you to have pity on our younger brothers that reside on the Wabash.
Father, after I heard your words, I looked down the Wabash,
75and saw that the Shawanoe Prophet had led some of our younger people, Puttawatamies and Miamies, astray. I have understood, Father, that you wished to see me; whether to believe or disbelieve this information I know not; yet, if it is your wish to see me you should have given me information of it in writing, and that by the way of Fort Wayne.
Father, if you should want to say anything to us, speak to us through our old friend, Capt. William Wells,
Father, I do not know that I have much more to say to you at present, after observing that your knowledge of the Indians enables you to know that the Puttawatamies and Miamies are one people, and as our brothers, the chiefs of the Miamies, are present, perhaps they may have something to say to you.
Speech of Little Turtle, a Miamie Chief.
ADDRESSED TO HIS EXCELLENCY, WILLIAM H. HARRISON, GOVERNOR OF INDIANA TERRITORY.
Friend and Brother, you have listened to our chiefs, the Puttawatamies. You see that their sentiments and ours are the same, as respects the welfare of our people. It is true that some of our foolish young men have been deluded by the Shawanoe Prophet, and made to follow a path that is filled with thorns and briers. We pray you to have pity on these foolish people and forgive them the crimes they have committed.
My friend, I could not say anything more to you than what our great chief, the Five Medals, has said. He has told you to forgive those foolish people that have been led astray by the Prophet. Tell them the impropriety of their conduct, and request them to do better; and we hope they will do better.
My friend, these are the sentiments of our hearts; to live in are with all people, is our first wish; and we have entire confidence that the Treaty of Greenville is fresh in the mind of our Father, the President of the United States. I have nothing more to say at present.
Father, we all now take you by the hand and request the Great Spirit to incline your heart to be kind to your Red brothers.
A Letter from the Celebrated Miamie Chief, Little Turtle.
FORT WAYNE, 25th January, 1812.
To HIS EXCELLENCY, WILLIAM H. HARRISON, GOVERNOR OF INDIANA TERRITORY.
My friend: I have been requested by my nation to speak to you, and I obey their request with pleasure, because I believe their situation requires all the aid I can afford them. When your speech by Mr. Dubois was received by the Miamies, they answered it and I made known to you their opinion at that time. Your letter to William Wells, of the 23d November last, has been explained to the Miamie and Eel-River tribes of Indians.
My friend, altho neither of these tribes have had anything to do with the late unfortunate affair which happened on the Wabash, still they all rejoice to hear you say that if those foolish Indians, which were engaged in that action, would return to their several homes and remain quiet, that they would be pardoned and again received by the President as his children. We believe there are none of them that will be so foolish as not to accept of this friendly offer; while at the same time I assure you that nothing shall be wanting on my part to prevail on them to accept it.
All the Prophet's followers have left him (with the exception of two camps of his own tribe). Tecumseh
78to prevent it, and at the same time give you immediate information of their intentions.
We are sorry that that peace and friendship, which has so long existed between the red and the white people, could not be preserved without the loss of so many good men as fell on both sides in the late action on the Wabash; but we are satisfied that it will be the means of making that peace which ought to exist between us more respected, both by the red and the white people.
We have lately been told, by different Indians from that quarter, that you wished the Indians from this country to visit you; this they will do with pleasure, when you give them information of it in writing.
My friend, the clouds appear to be rising in a different quarter, which threatens to turn our light into darkness. To prevent this it may require the united efforts of us all.
We hope that none of us will be found to shrink from the storm that threatens to hurt our nations.
MISHECANOCQUAH or LITTLE TURTLE. X
For the Miamie and Eel-River tribes of Indians.
The Manners and Customs of the North-Western Indians. [HISTORICAL.]
The French were the first white people that were ever known among the North-Western Indians.
When the British and French commenced a war against each other in North America, the North-Western Indians joined the French, and some of the Six Nations of Indians joined the British.
After the British had gotten possession of this country from the French, a Tawa chief, by the name of Pontioch, renewed the war against the British, and took all the posts that were occupied by the latter, on the Lakes and their waters, in one day, (Detroit excepted) where Pontioch himself was. This wonderful achievement of military skill was performed by stratagem.
After this, in 1774, the first war commenced between the Americans and the North-Western Indians. The principal action that took place between the parties was at the mouth of the Big Canawa.
This was the war that ended at the Treaty of Greenville, in 1795, altho' at different times, individual Indians would treat or pretend to do so with the Americans, while at the same time, other Indians would be destroying some of the very people that their chiefs were treating with.
The Indians that opposed General Sullivan,
The Indians that defeated Colonel Crawford
80Ottaways, and a few of the Six Nations, said to be eight hundred in all. I never heard who commanded them, as the Indians always keep the number of their killed and wounded as secret as possible. I shall not undertake to say what number were killed and wounded in either of the actions above mentioned.
Bowman's campaign was against the Shawanoes,
My knowledge of the campaign carried on by General Clark
81against the Shawanoes, on Mad River and the Big Miamie, is not to be depended on.
When General Harmar
82Col. Hardin met three hundred Miamies at the head of Eel River who were commanded by the celebrated Miamie chief, Little Turtle. An action ensued, and the whites were defeated.
83Wabash, where he met with little or no opposition, as the warriors of the Weeas expected that General Scott was going against the Miamie Town, and had nearly all left their own village to meet him there. Eight men and two women were killed by the troops under General Scott at the Weeas' Town. The number of women and children that were taken prisoners, I do not recollect.
In 1790, an army of Indians, composed of Miamies, Delewares, Shawanoes, and a few Puttawatamies, three hundred in number, who were commanded by the Little Turtle, attacked Dunlop's Station, on the Big Miamie River. This Post was commanded by Lieut. Jacob Kingsbury.
There was an army of Indians composed of Miamies, Puttawatamies, Ottaways, Chippaways, Wyandotts, Delewares, Shawanoes, and a few Mingoes and Cherokees, amounting in all to eleven hundred and thirty-three, that attacked and defeated General St. Clair on the 4th November, 1791.
In the autumn of 1792,
The 30th June, 1794, an army of fourteen hundred and fifty Indians, composed of Miamies, Puttawatamies, Delewares, Shawanoes, Ottawas, Chippaways, and Wyandotts, with a number of French and other white men in the British employ, attacked Fort Recovery.
The Indians that fought General Wayne,
The Indians that fought the troops under the command of
The Indians and whites lived in peace and friendship from the treaty of Greenville, which was held in 1795, until the first raising of the Shawanoe Prophet, which was in 1807, from that time until the 7th November, 1811, the time that the Prophet's followers fought the troops under the command of Governor Harrison; that treacherous and nefarious scoundrel has been fostered by the British Government, and caused a considerable number of the North-Western Indians to be unfriendly toward the United States, and occasionally committed depredations of murder on our Western frontiers.
There appears to have been no separate cause for each campaign of the Indians against the whites. The war that began in 1774, which was the first that took place between the Indians and the Americans, and which was caused by the repeated ill-treatment the Indians received from the frontier settlements of the whites, was kept up by the Indians, owing to the great influence the British had among them. This influence was kept up by the annual supply of arms and ammunition, which the Indians received from the British Government.
From this it is evident that if the United States had got possession of the Military Posts on the Lakes, which the British Government was to deliver up to them in 1783, there would have been no Indian war after that time.
The Emigration of the North-Western Indians, and Their General Conduct.
The Miamie Nation are the oldest inhabitants of this country.
87From whence they emigrated is not known. The Eel Rivers, Weeas, Piankeshaws, and Kaskaskees are all branches of the Miamie tribe, and all speak the same tongue.
The Delewares emigrated to this country from the East, and are called by other Indians, Elanabah, or people from the sunrise.
The Shawanoes emigrated to this country from West Florida.
The Wyandotts, Chippaways, Ottaways, Puttawatamies, and Kickapoos emigrated from the North and North West.
The Wynebagoes and Melomenees, who at present inhabit the west side of Lake Michigan, emigrated from the West.
The Socks, Foxes, Johwees, and Nottawessies also emigrated from the North West.
There is a material difference in the language of the different nations of Indians; yet there is but little or no difference in their customs and manners; they are warm friends, but most inveterate enemies. The men are trained up to hunting and going to war, whilst all the laborious work is left for the women to do.
Each nation is divided into villages, and each village has one or more chiefs attached to it, according to its size, who keep their subjects in order by persecution, as arbitrary power is never made use of by them (except in cases of murder). The influence of a chief seldom extends further than his own village.
Male and Female Rites.
Both the male and female children are nurtured in such a manner as is best calculated to endure the greatest hardships. They are compelled to bathe their bodies in cold water every day, and fast for a certain length of time. The length of time a child has to fast is regulated by its age. A child that is eight years old will fast half a day, and one that is twelve or sixteen will fast a day. The person that is fasting has its face blacked, and is not permitted to wash it until the time of fasting is out. The face of the male is blacked all over; that of the female on the cheeks only. The male quits this practice at the age of eighteen, it is then said by the parents that his education is complete, and he is then old enough to be a man. His face is then blacked for the last time, and he is taken a mile or two from any house, where he has a small hut built for him out of bushes or weeds. After this, he is addressed by his father or guardian in the following words:
My son, it has pleased all the Great Spirits that live above the clouds, and all those that live on the earth, that you should live to see this day; they have all witnessed your conduct ever since I first blacked your face; they know whether you have at all times strictly adhered to the advice I have given you; and I hope they will reward you accordingly. You must now remain here, until myself or some of your friends come to you.
The man then returns home, takes his gun and goes a hunting, while his son is left five or six days, and sometimes eight days, without anything to eat or drink. When the father or guardian has procured meat enough for a feast, he invites some of his neighbors to come and partake of what he has. They accompany him to where his son has been staying for several days; the boy is then taken home, where he is immersed in cold water, his head shaved all over except a small spot on the top; victuals are then given him, which have been prepared in a separate vessel for that purpose. After he is done eating, a looking-glass is given him, and a bag of vermilion or paint; he is then told by the company that he is a man. After this, he is considered as such by the people of the village. They frequently go to war before being declared men in this manner, and they are respected according to their merit.
Immediately after a boy's face is blacked, which generally takes place at daybreak, he takes his bow and arrows and goes to the wood, from whence he does not return until the usual time of washing his face and eating comes on. I have accompanied boys for several years at different times, when their faces were blacked, and I never knew a single instance of their eating or drinking while in this situation, or without the knowledge of their parents.
Their minds are operated on by fears, as they are made to believe that if they eat or drink while their face is black, such an offence would be followed by immediate punishment from the Great Spirit, who watched strictly over all their actions.
When an Indian girl arrives at the age of puberty, and her monthly discharges or catamenia comes on, she is separated from the family, and a small hut is built for her, some distance from the house where her parents reside. She is put in the hut prepared for that purpose, where she remains until the menstrual discharge ceases; during which time no person is allowed to visit or keep company with her. Victuals are cooked in a separate kettle at a fire built out of doors for that purpose. All her cooking utensils and clothing are considered unclean until they are washed and purified for the purpose of using herself and being made use of by others. When this disease leaves her, she is directed to bathe herself in cold water; after which, a sweat-house is built, and she is taken into it by her mother, or some other female friend, and is scarified on her legs and arms with a piece of sharp flint; after this, she is sweated and purified for an hour or two, and then admitted into the family.
This practise prevails among all ages of the women, when their systems are in the condition above mentioned. It is in this
89manner that the systems of the Indians are prepared to bear hunger and all inclemencies of the different seasons.
If a woman is pregnant when traveling, and her time of parturition should come on, she will stop at the first convenient stream of water, where she will be delivered of her child. She will then wash the child all over in the cold water, and wrap it up in her blanket or any old clothing she may have along; she will then wash herself, and in two hours be ready to proceed on her journey.
Polygamy is universally admitted among the Indians. A man may have as many wives as he pleases, and can change them as often as it may suit his own views. Young men are instructed by their parents to get as many wives as they can, but never to have connexion with a married woman, and by no means to involve himself or his friends in a quarrel with their neighbors.
Marriages are performed in three different ways. 1st. If the male and female agree, they may cohabit with each other without any further ceremony. 2d. When a young man loves a girl, and she will not consent to have him without he first obtains the consent of her parents, which must be done with a present adequate to the character of the girl. If his present is received by the girl's friends, the marriage is fixed; if the present is returned, it is understood that they are not willing for the match. 3d. This is considered by much the most honorable and binding on the parties concerned. When an Indian has a son that he wishes to be married to a good and a virtuous woman, he assembles his friends and relations, and consults with them what woman his son shall marry. When a choice is made, the relations of the young man collect what presents they think are sufficient for the occasion, and take them to the parents of the girl or intended bride; they make known their business, leave the articles, and return home without an answer. The relations of the girl then assemble together, and consult each other on the subject. If they agree to the match, they collect suitable presents, dress the girl in her best clothing, and take her to the persons that made application for the match, where she and the presents are left. The marriage is then considered complete, as all the ceremony for the occasion has been regularly gone through. But if the friends of the girl or herself do not approve of the proposals, the presents that were given by the young man's relations are returned, which is considered a refusal.
When a warrior wishes to go to war, he informs one or two of his most intimate friends of his intentions and asks them to join
90him. The war party is then formed by their inviting as many men as they wish the party to consist of. Their intentions are kept secret from all the rest, as the person that is to command the party wishes such men only as will at all times obey his orders. After the party is completely organized, they leave the village secretly in the night. When they encamp, the captain or commander places the oldest men in front of the camp, and the youngest in the rear; the former do all the hunting for the party and keeps out a strict watch for the enemy; the latter do all the cooking, making of fires, mending moccasins, etc. Each party has a small budget, which they call the war budget, which contains something belonging to each person in the party, that represents some wild animal, (that is to say,) a snake's skin, a buffalo's tail, a wolfs head, a mink's skin, or the feathers of some extraordinary bird. This budget is considered sacred, and is always carried by some person chosen for that purpose, who always marches in front and leads the party to the enemy. He is never passed on the march by any of the company while he has the budget on his back. When the party halts, the budget is laid on the ground in front of them, and no person is permitted to pass it without orders from the property authority. No person is allowed to sit or lay his pack on a log, neither is any one allowed to talk of women while they are going toward the enemy. When a four-legged animal is killed by the party, the heart is carefully preserved by a person appointed for that purpose. When they encamp, a fire is built alongside of the war budget, and the heart cut in small pieces and burned in it. The sticks or spits upon which they roast their meat is split half down the middle, and then the meat is placed in the split; the stick is to be sharpened at but one end, which is to be stuck in the ground. No person is allowed to step across the fire, or walk round it in any other way than that in which the sun traverses.
It will readily be imagined that the order observed among the Indians when going to war is completely calculated to prevent accident or surprises, and keep up good discipline. When the enemy is to be attacked, the war budget is opened, and each man takes out his skin, or corpenyomer, or war bag, and ties it on that part of his body which he was directed to do by his ancestors in such like cases.
When an Indian attacks his enemy, he is generally stripped naked (except what is called his breech-cloth and moccasins). His body is painted in different colors, though generally red. After the action is over, each person returns his war bag to the commander of the party, who takes the same skin or cloth that
91they were formerly wrapped in, and carefully wraps them up again and gives the budget to the man that took the first prisoner scalp, who leads the party home in triumph. This is considered as a record of his bravery in the nation, and consequently great honor is attached to it. Should there be more than one of the enemy killed or taken prisoner, the person that gets the first scalp or takes the first prisoner is entitled to the first honor.
When the party returns home, the war budget is hung in front of the door of the person that carried it on the march against the enemy. It is suffered to remain there thirty or forty days, and some one of the party goes every night and sings and dances where it hangs; particularly those that have taken a prisoner or scalp.
When the person that commanded the party thinks proper, he assembles the party, and a feast is prepared by them for all the people of the village. They sing and dance all night. Those of the party that did the enemy most damage serves out the feast to the assembly. After this is over, the war budget is opened by the commander, and each person of the party takes out his corpenyomer or war bag, and the party is dissolved.
Their Religion and Mode of Worship.
Every Indian family has one or more of the skins or images above mentioned, which is called in the Miamie language Corpenohor Corpenyomer. It is those instruments that they consider sacred, and accordingly worship them. They say when the Great Spirit formed them, that he placed those things in their possession and told them if they would worship them that they would live to an immense age, and always remain happy; consequently, some one member of each respective family pays reverence to those divine images monthly. After singing all night such songs as he has been instructed to do on such occasions by his ancestors, which may be called religious songs; he then prepares a kettle of victuals and a few pipes of tobacco, and invites his neighbors to come and partake of what he has prepared for the occasion. When the company has collected, he tells them the cause of his calling them together. The company then proceeds to eating, with a great deal of ceremony too tedious to mention. Each person will throw a small piece of the victuals in the fire before he puts any in his mouth.
There are but few Indians that will give an opinion respecting a future state. They say that those things are only enquired after by fools and the white people. Some of them have told me that
92they believed there were two other worlds. One was intended as the place of residence for the spirits of the good people on this earth; and the other for the spirits of those that were bad, and that the bad ones were always assisting the evil spirit to do ill, while the good ones resided with the good spirit, and remained in peace and quietness.
I once asked a very distinguished chief what he supposed was necessary to constitute a good and a great man. He replied that a good father, a good husband, a good neighbor, a good warrior, and a lover of his nation, was all in his opinion that was necessary for a man to possess, to fulfil the expectations of the Great Spirit, who placed us on this earth; though, the Indians generally appear to care but little about a future state. They are only anxious to live to an old age in this world.
Ceremonies Among the Indians When One of Them Die.
When an Indian dies, his relations black their faces and fast for a certain time, which time is regulated by the head of the family. When it is known that an Indian has died, the neighbors assemble and bury the dead, after which the heads of such families that are friendly disposed toward the deceased person and their surviving friends, take some article of clothing, and address the friends of the deceased in the following words:
Friends: We are sorry that it has pleased the Great Spirit to call one of your family from you, though this is not uncommon among us people of this world. Our friend has only gone on the journey, a few days before us, which we shall all have to travel; we have therefore come to invite you to mourn no longer, and to cover the body of our departed friend.
After this, they all return home. The articles of clothing are left and preserved for the person that may be adopted in place of the deceased.
Their Mode of Adopting a Living Person in Place of One that has Died.
When an Indian loses one of his relations, he believes that if his place is not filled by adoption, that more of his friends will die.
If the deceased is a male, one of his most intimate male friends is chosen to fill the vacancy. If a female, one of her most intimate female friends is also chosen to fill the vacancy. If the deceased is a person of respectability, it frequently happens that
93two persons are chosen to fill the vacancy. After everything is prepared, the person, or persons, to be adopted is sent for, when the ceremony begins. If the deceased was a warrior, the adoption is exhibited by the warriors of the village, who assemble at the house of the deceased.
They commence by dancing the war-dance and singing the war-song in rotation. The warriors go through all the different manoeuvres that is customary when engaged with an enemy; after which, each one reports to the assembly the number of actions he has been in, and the number of scalps and prisoners he has taken.
During the time the warriors are dancing, they occasionally give the same yells and repeat the same words they did when they were in battle. All the while there is a constant yelling kept up by the assembly. When a warrior has gone through such of his exploits as he thinks proper, he hands the war-club to some other warrior, and sits down. The other rises up and repeats as many of his war exploits as he thinks proper. In this way the dance is continued until each warrior of the village is called on to relate his war exploits. Some are called on two or three times during the dance. The assembly is then dismissed by the speaker of the friend of the deceased, telling them that the hearts of the relations of the dead are glad.
The person or persons adopted sits among the relations of the deceased during the dance. After the dance is over, they are invited by their new relations to a private place, where they receive everything that belonged to the deceased, also the articles that were given by neighbors by way of a donation in adoption. They are then told that they are one of the family, and must consider themselves as such, and that they are entitled to the same authority and respect in the nation that the person was when living, whose place they fill.
When a common man or woman or child dies, the adoption is exhibited by a few persons of both sexes, by playing at some favorite game of the deceased. If it was a man that died, by shooting at a mark, running a foot-race, or some other game. If a woman, by playing some game she was fondest of.
Their Custom When Visiting the Grave or Graves of Their Deceased Relations.
When an Indian goes to the grave of his deceased friend or relation, he addresses himself to the grave, as though the corpse in it was living. He relates every misfortune that has happened in the family since the death of the person whom he supposes he
94is speaking to; after which he leaves a piece of tobacco, some victuals, or spirituous liquor, if he has any, and departs.
The Indians are an indolent race of beings, consequently they are fond of any kind of amusement that will serve to pass away their time and make them merry. They are very fond of gambling and dancing. They have a variety of games to play at, too tedious to mention, though the game at Moccasin is most generally practised among them. They are remarkably honorable in their gambling debts, and will strip the shirt off their backs to pay a debt incurred by gambling. They also have a variety of dances. The morning dance commences in the evening and continues until the following morning, at which time there is a feast prepared for the company. The outward dance is performed by a certain sect of Indians, which is supposed to possess supernatural powers, so that they can destroy their neighbor's property or life at any time they please, without being discovered by the person to whom the injury is done or any one else. All persons that enter this society are admitted with the strictest ceremony.
It is common for each person who dances to have an otter skin. The eldest members of the society place themselves in the middle of the floor, and the dance is then opened by their singing the songs of the society. A circle is instantly formed around those that are singing, and each person has an otter skin in his hand when he commences dancing. After a few minutes has elapsed, some one of the company makes a noise like an otter, shakes his skin, and walks or dances around on the inside of the circle. He then, with a sudden motion, points his skin at some one of the company, who screams out, and falls down as though he had been shot with a ball; in a few minutes he recovers, and handles his skin in turn, pretending to laugh up the ball he was shot with, when it appears that the bullet is in his mouth; he then puts the nose of the otter skin to his mouth, when it is supposed that his peace is loaded; he then goes around the circle as before, and shoots at who he pleases. In this way, the dance is continued until the managers of the society think proper to break it up. No member can quit the dance until the whole company is dismissed.
The members of this society were formerly treated with great respect by their neighbors; but on the contrary, they are at present treated with as much disrespect as they formerly were respected.
The begging dance is generally performed by the young men and boys, who dress like warriors and go about through the villages singing war songs. It is customary for the head of every family, whose house they dance at, to give them something. This
95is the dance that is generally performed when they visit a white person. There are a number of * * * * * the whites do, though they are not so tenacious of it as the whites. They are much more hospitable to their friends, neighbors, and visitors than the whites.
The Indians have little or no laws, no coercive power, nor any kind of government. Their most important combats are the internal sensation of right and wrong. When an Indian commits a crime which is not punishable by death, he is treated with contempt and excluded from society.
Religion and Medicine.
The Indians believe that thunder, lightning, and all other natural disturbances of this world, are distinct and independent powers or beings, and consequently worship them accordingly.
The Pow-wowers or Priests were formerly in high estimation amongst the Indians, as it was believed that they were the agents of the different great powers or spirits that govern the universe, and that they had power to kill or save, as they pleased.
Those supposed inspired beings generally act as doctors, and it is not uncommon for them to extract a hair ball on the whisker of a bear, a wolf, or a panther, from the body or joint of their patients (or at least make them believe so). They go through the village early in the morning, preaching and telling the people what appears most advisable for them to employ themselves at during the day. Those Pow-wowers, Priests, or Doctors are not so much respected at present as they were formerly.
The present mode of burying the dead among the Indians appears to have existed through all ages, tribes, and conditions. Some lay the dead body on the top of the earth and make a crib or pen over them with logs, and cover it with bark; others dig graves as white people do, they then lay the corpse in the grave, cover it with bark, and then all over with earth; others again will make a coffin out of strong boards, in which they will place the corpse, and hang it up in the top of a tree. It is customary for them to bury as much of the deceased's property with the dead body as can conveniently be placed in the grave or coffin with them. They frequently put a piece of bread or meat and a carrot of tobacco under the head of the person to be interred, as they believe they will be in need of some refreshment on their journey. They generally celebrate the death of a distinguished chief or warrior by drinking, feasting, dancing, and singing.
The Indians are subject to all the different diseases that the whites are (the gout not excepted).
The Mound Builders.
Ferdinand de Soto and his army were the first to discover the mounds. Mention is frequently made of them by the historians of the expedition. This mention is incidental, and so connected with the account of the people and the various incidents of the expedition as to escape notice, yet the descriptions correspond closely with the works as they were found. Some of the villages were surrounded by stockades, and were so situated as to be used for defenses or for fortifications, but a large number of them are also described as having elevated mounds which were used by the caciques for their residences and as observatories from which they could overlook the villages. It is not unlikely that some of the more prominent of these mounds may be identified. There are many of such mounds described in the narratives. One such is mentioned in Georgia, one in Alabama, and one in Mississippi. One mound is described around which there was a terrace wide enough to accommodate twelve horsemen. On another mound the platform was large enough to accommodate twelve or thirteen large houses, which were used for the residence of the family and the tenants of the cacique. This was not far from New Madrid, in Arkansas. It was upon the terrace of one of these mounds that De Soto stood when he uttered his reproaches against his followers, having found out the dissatisfaction and revolt which had arisen among them. This was after he had passed the Mississippi River, and about the time when he became discouraged in his fruitless expedition. The narrative shows that these prominent earthworks were associated universally with village life. Sometimes the dwelling of the cacique would be on the high mound which served as a fortress, the only ascent to it being by ladders. At other times, mention is made of the fact that from the summit of these mounds extensive prospects could be had, and many native villages could be brought to view. The villages are described as seated "in a plain, between two streams; as nearly encircled by a deep moat, fifty paces in breadth, and where the moat did not extend was defended by a strong wall of timber," "near a wide and rapid river, the largest they discovered in Florida" — this was the Mississippi. "On a high artificial mound on one side of the village stood the dwelling of the cacique, which served as a fortress."
Thus throughout this whole region, from the seaboard at Tampa Bay, in the States of Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, these ancient villages appeared, occupied by the various tribes, such as Creeks, Catawbas, Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Quapaws, Kansas, and possibly Shawnees. They were situated on all the larger streams in the more favorable localities, and the sites of many of them can be identified at the present time. — American Antiquarian.
The Weas, for whom A-she-non-qua was a leading orator, were a band of the Miami tribe having their principal village on the east bank of the Wabash, below Lafayette, and above Attica, Indiana, and known in early history as Ouitanon, or the Wea-town. The name is yet preserved, and the identity of the neighborhood retained, in its bestowal upon "Wea-Prairie" and "Wea-Creek." Vide Chamberlain's Indiana Gazetteer.
His people were swept over to the British by the current of events immediately following Gen. Hull's surrender of Detroit, and which carried with it nearly all the other Northwestern tribes. The failure of the attack upon Fort Harrison, near Terre Haute, Ind., September 4, 1812, and upon Fort Wayne early in this month, together with the energy Gov. Harrison displayed in organizing the militia of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, all ablaze with enthusiasm, to recover the prestige and territory lost by the unexplainable conduct of Gen. Hull at Detroit, thoroughly alarmed those of the Miamis who had taken sides with Te-cum-the and the British. Accordingly we learn, from an official letter of Gov. Harrison, dated Franklinton, O., October 13, 1812, that: "Before I left St. Mary's for Defiance, some Miamis had arrived, via Fort Wayne, with a flag and a message from their chiefs, begging for peace. I had no time then to listen to their speech, and, on my return here, I found the Owl [a distinguished chief, who had long been a confidential friend of the Governor], Charley, the Eel-River chief, the Turtle's son, and several others who had joined them. They came prepared to palliate or deny the hostility of their tribe, as one or the other might best suit their purpose. * * *"
Charley survived the war, and was living as late as October 6, 1818, when he, with other "chiefs and warriors of the Miami nation of Indians", executed the Treaty of St. Mary's; and he was dead before October 23, 1826, when, at the treaty held at the mouth of the Miss-iss-sin-e-wa, a reservation of "five sections of land, above the old village on the north side of Eel River," was made in favor of his son "Little Charley". Vide Indian Treaties with the United States.
Overruled in this, lead his own warriors in the battle of August 20, 1794, known as the "Battle of the Fallen Timbers", in which Gen. Wayne achieved a decisive victory. From this time forward, the Little Turtle was the open and abiding friend of the United States. He would before this have broken away from the malign influence operating from Canada through its agents and traders, hut he was powerless to carry his people with him until after they had suffered serious reverses.
At the Treaty of Greenville, he shone as the brightest light in the assembled orators, gathered at this great council-fire from the entire Northwest, to plead the cause of their tribes and of their starving women and children.
After the conclusion of peace, Little Turtle resided at his village, where the Government had built him a comfortable house. "He took," says Gov. Harrison, "great interest in everything that appertained to civilized life, and possessed a mind capable of understanding their advantages, in a degree far superior to any other Indian." In his character he combined, in an eminent degree, the qualities of the military strategist, the wily diplomat, the orator, and the philosopher, winning distinction in all.
He died of gout, July 14, 1812, on the side of the St. Marys River, opposite Ft. Wayne, in the orchard yard of his son-in-law, Capt. Wm. Wells, from whose house, at his own request, he had been removed to the open air. He was buried upon the spot with military honors, by the troops of the garrison, and with his remains were deposited the sword and large silver medal presented by President Washington, and his other war implements and ornaments. Vide "History of the War"; "Memoirs of Gen. Harrison"; Brice's Fort Wayne; etc., etc.
On the 12th of September, 1812, Gov. Harrison, with two thousand Kentuckians and several hundred citizen militia of Ohio, by severe and forced marches, arrived at Fort Wayne; the troops were broken up into several detachments and sent out southwest, west, and northwest on retaliative missions. On the morning of September 16, the detachment commanded by Col. Samuel Wells struck the Five Medal's Town, burned it to the ground — the inhabitants having fled two days before — captured a large quantity of corn, in process of drying upon scaffolds, and an abundance of beans, potatoes, and other provisions, besides which they totally destroyed seventy acres of corn. In the village were several coarse bags, appearing to have contained shot; pieces of gun and ammunition boxes with London and Maiden printed upon them, and abundant other evidence that, since his friendly speech of the previous October, the Five Medals, like all the rest of his nation, had gone over to the British.
"FT. WAYNE, 25 January, 1812. "GOVERNOR HARRISON: — My friend:"
here follows the Talk, ending with Little Turtle's name, as above, all which is verified thus:
"Witness. WM. TURNER, S. Mate, U. S. Army. "I certify that the above is a true translation. W. WELLS."
Mr. Dawson, the compiler of the Memoirs quoted, in introducing this address, says, "The Talk received from the Little Turtle, which so feelingly deplores the consequences of the late action, also appears to allude to the gathering storm that broke out in the June following [when the United States made a formal declaration of war against Great Britain]. This information the Little Turtle must have had from some communication, by himself or others, with British agents. The speech is given as a relic of that extraordinary genius who was fated not long to survive it."
A more extended sketch of Capt. Wells and the Little Turtle is now well advanced for the press by the author of these notes.