Service of Indians in Civilized Warfare
Indian Treaties, and Laws and Regulations relating to Indian Affairs; to which is added an Appendix, containing the Proceedings of the Old Congress, and other important State Papers in relation to Indian Affairs. Compiled and published under Orders of the Department of War. 8vo. pp. 529. 1826. Washington. Way & Gideon.
WE have placed the title of this work at the head of the present article, not only because it is a valuable compilation, judiciously executed, but because it contains many important documents, exhibiting the general policy of our government in its intercourse with the Indians. The true character of this policy has not been well understood, even in this country, and abroad it has too often furnished the motive or the pretext for grave accusation and virulent invective. This subject we now propose to examine, and in connexion with it briefly to review the conduct of the two rival nations, whose general measures in peace and war had produced the most permanent effects upon the manners, and morals, and condition of the Indians, previously to the existence of the American government. The operation of the British policy has been so much more extensive and durable than that of the French, that in the observations which we shall submit to our readers, this relative importance will be kept in view.
The peace of 1763 terminated the long contest between the French and British, for superiority upon the North American continent. During its continuance, which exceeded a century, the Iroquois were in the English interest, and the other
4tribes in the French. We speak in general terms, and without adverting to the inconsiderable exceptions, occasioned by the local residence of some small tribes, and by other partial causes. The great contending parties availed themselves of the passions and wants of the Indians to harass their enemies, and employed them without scruple, wherever their services were useful; and each was more successful in arraigning the conduct of its rival, than in defending its own, for this atrocious practice, equally repugnant to their duty, as civilized and as Christian nations.
We feel no disposition to look back upon the revolting scenes of these times gone by. The Indians were employed with a full knowledge of their habits and propensities; and many a traditionary story, as well as the more permanent memorials of history, has brought down to us, even through successive generations, afflicting details of these enormities. The cupidity of the savages was stimulated by pecuniary rewards, and human scalps, as proofs of death, were bought and sold in christian markets.
As the fortunes of the French waned, and the superiority of the British became more and more manifest, the zeal and exertions of the Indians in the interest of the latter gradually relaxed, and they became spectators rather than actors, in the great drama, which was rapidly approaching its termination. The Iroquois appear to have become sensible, that in exalting one power and annihilating the other, their policy had been directed by very limited views, and that it would convert an ally into a master. Even as early as the reign of Queen Anne, their deputies, in an address to that sovereign, portrayed, with
5great truth and feeling, the calamitous issue, which awaited them. ‘We doubt not,’ said they, ‘but our great Queen has been acquainted with our long and tedious war, in conjunction with her children, against her enemies the French; and that we have been as a strong wall for their security, even to the loss of our best men.’
It is evident from many circumstances, that the Indians justly appreciated the motives of the Christian belligerents. Pownall says, ‘They repeatedly told us, that both we and the French sought to amuse them with fine tales of our several upright intentions. That both parties told them, that they made war for the protection of the Indian rights, but that our actions fully discovered, that the war was only a contest, who should become masters of the country, which was the property, neither of one, nor the other.’ (Vol. I. p. 244.) And the Indians told Sir William Johnson, ‘that they believed soon they should not be able to hunt a bear into a hole in a tree, but some Englishman would claim a right to the property of it, as being his tree.’ (Ib. p. 188.) A change in the counsels of the Iroquois was the natural result of this state of feeling, and decided indications of this change are found in the vacillating conduct of their chiefs upon the Ohio, towards Washington, when engaged in his adventurous military embassy to the French posts in that quarter. This state of things became every day less and less equivocal, and in 1774, it led to open hostilities.
But at an earlier period, the unsettled state of their Indian relations must have satisfied the British government, that in succeeding to the power of the French, they had not succeeded to their influence and interest with the Indians. Pontiac's war, and the contemporaneous attack upon most of the posts on the northwestern frontier, and the capture of many of them;
6the expeditions of Broadstreet and Bouquet in that quarter, and of Grant in the south, together with many other military expeditions of subordinate interest, mark the excited feelings, which prevailed among the Indians, from Michilimackinac to Florida. There is a peculiar elasticity in the French character, and we stop not to inquire whether it be feeling or philosophy, by which a Frenchman accommodates himself to any situation, in which he may be placed. Upon the Seine and upon the St. Lawrence, if not equally pleased, he is equally pleasant; and during two centuries, in the depths of the American forests, he has associated with their rude tenants, and, as he could not elevate them to his own standard, he has descended to theirs.
When we look back upon the long interval of Indian intercourse, which elapsed between the first settlement on the shores of the Atlantic, and the final consolidation of the British power, nothing but a dreary waste meets the eye. Not a verdant spot cheers the sight, nor a single Oasis in this worse than Libyan desert. Remote and feeble colonies had become important and flourishing provinces, and the aboriginal inhabitants had disappeared, or receded, before the mighty tide of population, which already, from the summit of the Allegany, was spreading with exterminating force over the forests and prairies of the west. We hold no fellowship with those, to whom the sound of the Indian's rifle is more attractive than that of the woodman's axe, nor are we believers in that system of legal metaphysics, which would give to a few naked and wandering savages, a perpetual title to an immense continent. But it will not at this day be disputed, that when, in the progress of improvement, the hunting grounds of the Indians give place to cultivated fields, it is our duty to render them a full equivalent. The British government is responsible for the whole course of measures; in relation to the Indians in this country, until die war of the Revolution. Their orders were executed by their
7own officers, and during a part of this period, a superintendent of Indian affairs for the northern, and another for the southern department, were appointed by the crown.
Not a vestige remains of any permanent advantage derived by the Indians from the cessions or sacrifices they made. Their actual relations with the British government may be emphatically stated in few words. They were useful, and were used, in war to fight, and in peace to trade. Queen Anne, indeed, presented sacramental vessels to the Mohawks, and other furniture for a chapel, and this is about the extent, as far as we have been able to discover, of the direct interference of the British government in any plan to improve the moral condition of the Indians. Pious and benevolent men were engaged then, as they are now, in this interesting task, and the names of Eliot and Brainerd have come down to us with apostolic sanctity. The Society for Propagating the Gospel attempted something; but they discovered, as they said, ‘that the Indians obstinately rejected their care,’ and abandoned the effort, without suspecting, that the fault was in the plan of the teacher, and not in the docility of the scholar. Generally, however, great indifference prevailed, and it is said in the Biographia Britannica, that Lord Granville reproved the converting of the Indians, ‘because a knowledge of Christianity will introduce them to a knowledge of the arts, and such a consummation will make them dangerous to our plantations.’ Of a similar character is the policy, stated by Hutchinson to have been pursued, that of keeping up so much contention among the Indians, as to prevent a combination, and to make an appeal to us as umpires necessary from time to time.
In the few Indian treaties which have escaped from the official bureaus, a piece or two of ‘strouding,’ some ‘duffils,’ ‘kettles,’ ‘flints,’ &c. constitute the whole value paid for important cessions. These presents were top inconsiderable for general distribution, and they disappeared almost as speedily as the council which produced them. A permanent arrangement, by which an annual consideration should always be given, and a supply thus provided for never ending wants, was neither adopted nor proposed. This plan of permanent annuities, which constitutes an era in the relations existing between the white and the red man upon the continent, was introduced
8under the American government, and was first extensively embodied in Wayne's treaty of 1795; a treaty to which no parallel can be found in history. The Indians had waged a bloody and causeless war against our settlements for many years. They had been finally overthrown in a signal battle, and their confidence in themselves and their cause utterly destroyed. They were invited to a general council at Greenville, where the same terms were granted, which had been offered to them long before. Many important advantages were secured to them, and perpetual annuities were guarantied to each tribe.
If any restraints were imposed by the British authorities, before our revolution, upon the Indian traders, either in relation to their general conduct, or the price of their goods, such restraints have escaped our investigation. We speak advisedly when we say, that none such now exist. Nor is there any prohibition against the introduction of spirituous liquors into any part of their Indian country. We may close this branch of the subject in few words. There was no attempt to provide a permanent residence for the Indians. There were no schools, and no efforts to introduce agriculture, or the mechanic arts. There were no annuities, no regulations to direct the conduct of the traders, and no law to prevent the sale of ardent spirits. A century and a half had passed away since the first settlement of the country. The rulers who governed it, heedless of the condition and sufferings of its aboriginal inhabitants, abandoned them to that current of events, which is yet hurrying them onward to their doom. The records of history cannot furnish a more cold blooded, heartless document, than the official report of Sir Jeffery Amherst, the British commander in chief, dated Albany, 13 August, 1763, and communicating the result of Colonel Grant's expedition against the Cherokees. He states, that ‘Colonel Grant had burnt fifteen towns, and all the plantations of the country; destroyed fourteen hundred acres of corn; and driven about five thousand men, women, and children into the woods and mountains, where, having nothing to subsist upon, they must either starve or sue for peace.’
But that great revolution had now approached, which has already produced, and is yet destined to produce, important changes in the social and political systems of the world. The American government, at the commencement of its operations,
9used every effort to prevent the Indians from taking part in the contest, and the desperate struggle in which the early patriots were engaged, still left them time to devise plans for the moral and physical melioration of their unhappy neighbors. On the 30th of June, 1775, Congress resolved,
‘That the committee for Indian affairs do prepare proper talks to the several tribes of Indians, for engaging the continuance of their friendship to us, and neutrality in our present unhappy dispute with Great Britain.’
And on the 17th of the following month it was again resolved, in the same spirit of conciliation and humanity,
‘That it should be recommended to the commissioners of the northern department to employ Mr. Kirkland among the Indians of the Six Nations, in order to secure their friendship, and to continue them in a state of neutrality, with respect to the present controversy between Great Britain and these colonies.’
But in January and February of the next year, two resolutions were passed, which provided more full security for the protection and improvement of the Indians, than all the measures of the preceding government.
‘Resolved -- That all traders shall dispose of their goods, at such stated prices, as shall be fixed and ascertained by the commissioners, or a majority of such as can conveniently assemble for that purpose, in each respective department, and shall allow the Indians a reasonable price for their furs and skins, and take no unjust advantage of their distress and intemperance; and to this end, they shall respectively, upon receiving their licenses, enter into bond to the commissioners, for the use of the United Colonies, in such penalty as the acting commissioner or commissioners shall think proper, conditioned for the performance of the terms and regulations above prescribed.’
‘Resolved -- That a friendly commerce between the people of the United Colonies and the Indians, and the propagation of the gospel, and the cultivation of the civil arts among the latter, may produce many and inestimable advantages to both, and that the commissioners for Indian affairs be desired to consider of proper places in their respective departments, for the residence of ministers and schoolmasters, and report the same to Congress.’
When the infancy of the government, and the object and spirit of these resolutions are maturely considered, they will be found honorable to the body which adopted them. With what little effect attempts were thus made to counteract the efforts of the British authorities, and to restrain the habitual disposition
10of the Indians for war and plunder, was soon demonstrated by events, and impartial history has recorded.
The employment of the savages by the French and British, and of bloodhounds by the Spaniards, to destroy their enemies, are among the most atrocious acts, which Christendom has been called to witness. We shall not here tax our own recollection, nor the feelings of our readers, by any recital of the enormities we have seen, or of which we have heard or read. The imagination can furnish no aid towards a just conception of these scenes. There is nothing more appalling than the reality. The Indians are impelled to war by passions, which acknowledge no control, and death and desolation are the objects of their military expeditions. From infancy, they are taught to inflict cruelties upon their enemies, and to bear with stern fortitude, whatever may befall them. They are equally prepared to endure and to torture, and in either situation without the slightest symptom of human frailty or feeling. They have not only no principles of religion or morality to repress their passions, but they are urged forward in their career of blood by all around them; by the examples of their fathers, and by the deeds of their companions. He is the most renowned warrior, whose tomahawk flies swiftest and sinks deepest.
There is a horrible institution among some of the tribes, which furnishes a powerful illustration of this never tiring love of vengeance. It is called, the Man-eating Society, and it is the duty of its associates to devour such prisoners, as are preserved and delivered to them for that purpose. The members of this society belong to a particular family, and the dreadful inheritance descends to all the children, male and female. Its duties cannot be dispensed with, and the sanctions of religion are added to the obligations of immemorial usage. The feast is considered a solemn ceremony, at which the whole tribe is collected, as actors or spectators. The miserable victim is fastened to a stake, and burned at a slow fire, with all the refinements of cruelty, which savage ingenuity can invent. There is a traditionary ritual, which regulates, with revolting precision, the whole course of procedure at these ceremonies. The institution has latterly declined, but we know those, who have seen and related to us the incidents, which occurred on these occasions, when white men were sacrificed and consumed. The chief of the family, and principal member of the society
11among the Miamies, whose name was White Skin, we have seen, and with feelings of loathing excited by a narrative of his atrocities, amid the scenes where they occurred.
There are but two serious occupations, connected with the ordinary business of life, to which an Indian willingly devotes himself. These are war and hunting. Labor is performed exclusively by the women, and this distribution of duties is a marked characteristic of all barbarous nations. The passion for war is fostered and encouraged by institutions, which are admirably adapted to make the warrior brave and enterprising. Nothing in the systems of the ancient republics was better devised to stimulate the ardor of their citizens. And when assembled Greece proclaimed the victor at the Olympic games, and crowned him with the olive wreath, she furnished no more powerful motive for exertion and distinction, than is provided in the institutions of our aborigines. It is the same love of distinction, which impels the warrior to tear from the head of the writhing and reeking victim, the bloody trophy of savage victory, and at the next war dance in his distant village, to strike the post, and to recount the atrocities, which, by the aid of the Sag-a-nosh,
An Indian war dance is an important incident in the passing events of a village. The whole population is assembled, and a feast provided for all. The warriors are painted and prepared as for battle. A post is firmly planted in the ground, and the singers, the drummers, and the other instrumental musicians, are seated within the circle, formed by the dancers and the spectators. The music and the dance begin. The warriors exert themselves with great energy. Every muscle is in action, and there is the most perfect concord between the music and their movements. They brandish their weapons, and with such apparent fury that fatal accidents seem unavoidable. Presently a warrior leaves the circle, and with his tomahawk or cassetéte strikes the post. The music and dancing cease, and profound silence ensues. He then recounts, with a loud voice, his military achievements. He describes the battles he has fought, the prisoners he has captured, the scalps he has taken. He points to his wounds, and produces
12his trophies. He accompanies his narrative with the actual representation of his exploits, and the mimic engagement, the advance and the retreat, are exhibited to his nation as they really occurred. There is no exaggeration, and no misrepresentation. It would be infamous for a warrior to boast of deeds he never performed. If the attempt were made, some one would approach, and throw dirt in his face, saying, ‘I do this to cover your shame, for the first time you see an enemy you will tremble.’ But such an indignity is rarely necessary and as the war parties generally contain many individuals, the character and conduct of every warrior are well known. Shouts of applause accompany the narration, proportioned in duration and intensity to the interest it excites. His station in the circle is then resumed by the actor, and the dance proceeds till it is interrupted in a similar manner.
In the poem of Ontwa, a scene like this is so well described, that we cannot resist the temptation to transfer it to our pages. Of all who have attempted to embody in song the ‘living manners’ of the Indians, the anonymous author of that poem has been most successful. His characters, and traditions, and descriptions, have the spirit and bearing of life, and the whole work is not less true to nature than to poetry.
‘A hundred warriors now advance,
All dressed and painted for the dance,
And sounding club and hollow skin
A slow and measured time begin;
With rigid limb and sliding foot
And murmurs low, the time to suit,
Forever varying with the sound
The circling band moves round and round.
Now slowly rise the swelling notes,
When every crest more lively floats,
Now toss'd on high with gesture proud,
Then lowly 'mid the circle bow'd;
While clanging arms grow louder still,
And every voice becomes more shrill,
Till fierce and strong the clamor grows,
And the wild war whoop bids it close.
Then starts Shauktonga forth, whose band
Came far from Huron's storm beat strand,
And thus recounts his battle feats,
While his dark club the measure beats.’
But this scenic representation must not be confounded with the ordinary Indian war songs, which are sung by the warriors, when leaving their villages upon a hostile excursion, and whenever, during the march, the excitement of music is necessary to stimulate the party to encounter the fatigues or dangers of the expedition. The chief warrior commences the song, and after its termination, he is greeted with the well known exclamation,yeh, yeh, from all the warriors.
A scalp is the most honorable trophy a warrior can exhibit. Authors have already remarked, that Herodotus describes this custom as existing among the Scythians, and Polybius, among the Carthaginians. It is commonly taken from the crown of the head, but Long, an English traveler in the Indian country, during our revolutionary war, tells us, that "some of the Indians in time of war, when scalps are well paid for, divide one into five or six parts, and carry them to the nearest posts, in hopes of receiving a reward proportioned to the number." p. 23. Some strong moral or religious barrier would be necessary to restrain the Indians from the perpetration of cruelties, to which they are impelled by the powerful motives, which we have described. But no such barrier exists; and the experience of two centuries has demonstrated, that in all their battles with the whites, when resistance ceases the slaughter begins. Man in his strength, woman in her weakness, and infancy in its innocence, are alike devoted to destruction, and frequently with circumstances of atrocity, to which no parallel can be found in other ages or nations.
No terms of reprehension can be too strong for the employment of such a force. The nation, which authorizes it, should be arraigned at the tribunal of Christendom. It is a force which will not be controlled. Human power cannot stay the tide of slaughter. And ‘allies,’
14direct tendency they are aware, is responsible for the conduct of that force. Mr. Madison has justly said, that ‘for these enormities they are equally responsible, whether with the power to prevent them, they want the will, or with the knowledge of a want of power, they still avail themselves of such instruments.’
That the savages could not be restrained, was well known to the British authorities, and has been repeatedly avowed by their officers, and even with menaces of the consequences. Such was the avowal in Burgoyne's proclamation, and such was the menace in General Brock's demand of surrender to General Hull, wherein he says, ‘You must be aware, that the numerous body of Indians, who have attached themselves to my troops, will be beyond my control the moment the contest commences. This example was also followed by Proctor in his summons to General Harrison, at Fort Meigs; and at the catastrophe of the River Raisin, General Winchester states in his official report, that he ‘was informed by the British commanding officer, that unless a speedy surrender took place, he would not be responsible for the conduct of the savages.’ And that these were not empty threats, we have many heart rending proofs, and none more decisive than the British official account of the battle at the River Raisin, published at Quebec, February 8, 1813. It is there coolly stated, ‘that at daybreak on the 22d January, Colonel Proctor, by a spirited and vigorous attack, completely defeated General Winchester's division, with the loss of between 400 and 500 slain; for all, who attempted to save themselves by flight, were cut off by the Indians!’ The incidents connected with the employment of the savages, during the progress of our revolutionary war, are embodied in the history of our country. The gasconading proclamation of Burgoyne, which gave the assurance of official sanction to the measure, and in which he says, ‘I have but to give stretch to the Indian forces under my direction (and they amount to thousands), to overtake the hardened enemies of Great Britain and America;’ the numerous hordes, which accompanied his army, and the melancholy catastrophe, which, in the murder of Miss M'Crae, gave more horrible celebrity to their employment; the devastation of the country upon the Mohawk; the massacre of Wyoming; the numerous war parties,
15which were detached from time to time, to lay waste the frontiers of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky; these are but some of the more prominent events in that long and bitter contest.
But it was at Detroit, that this influence was most successfully exerted. That place was then the central point of Indian negotiation and intrigues, and the savages were there collected from every part of the surrounding country, and fed and clothed at the expense of the British government. Many of the principal Canadians received commissions from the provincial authorities, constituting them officers of the savages, in order that their influence might be exerted in raising war parties, whenever circumstances rendered it expedient to attack and lay waste our exposed frontier. We annex a copy of one of these commissions, as well to authenticate the statements we have made, as to hold up to public abhorrence this nefarious practice. As it is copied verbatim, we disclaim all responsibility for the accuracy of the language in which it is written.
When it was determined to detach a war party upon duty, these officers were directed to raise the necessary number of warriors; and in doing so, they depended on the effect of their personal influence, and on presents, and promises, and war dances, and all the moral and physical excitements, to which the Indians most readily yielded.
When the party returned, they were formally introduced to the commanding officer. The scalps were thrown down before him in the council house, and the principal warrior addressed him in terms like these, ‘Father, we have done as you directed us; we have struck your enemies.’ They were then paid and dismissed, and the scalps were deposited in the cellar of the council house. We have been told by more than one respectable eye witness, that when this charnel house was cleansed, it was a spectacle, upon which the inhabitants gazed with horror.
The Indians, however, were not always ready to undertake these distant and dangerous expeditions. In 1779, Governor Hamilton prepared a feast, and invited all the warriors to a dance. He was desirous of engaging them in an attack upon some of our settlements. The principal chief was a Kickapoo, who, declining to join in the dance, was reproached by Hamilton in the metaphorical language so common among the Indians. ‘Your body is very heavy. You do not dance. You will not go against my rebellious children.’ The chief replied, ‘True, it is heavy. But so is yours. Take one end of this tomahawk, and I will take the other, and we will go together. But no; you will not go yourself. Is it not a shame, that you send us out like dogs, to fight the Americans, while you remain at your own fire? If I have rebellious children, I throw cold water on them
We are indebted for the following relation to a respectable gentleman of Detroit, James May, Esq. and as it elucidates important traits in the Indian character, and discloses facts not generally known, we shall give it in his own words.
‘During the American revolutionary war, when the Indian war parties approached Detroit, they always gave the war and death whoops, so that the inhabitants, who were acquainted with their customs, knew the number of scalps they had brought, and of prisoners they had taken, some time before they made their appearance. Soon after I arrived in Detroit, the great war party, which had captured Ruddle's station in Kentucky, returned
from that expedition. Hearing the usual signals of success, I walked out of the town, and soon met the party. The squaws and young Indians had ranged themselves on the side of the road, with sticks and clubs, and were whipping the prisoners with great severity. Among these were two young girls, thirteen or fourteen years old, who escaped from the party, and ran for protection to me and to a naval officer, who was with me. With much trouble and some danger, and after knocking down two of the Indians, we succeeded in rescuing the girls, and fled with them to the Council House. Here they were safe, because this was the goal, where the right of the Indians to beat them ceased.
‘Next morning, I received a message by an orderly sergeant, to wait upon Colonel De Peyster, the commanding officer. I found the naval officer, who was with me the preceding day, already there. The Colonel stated, that a serious complaint had been preferred against us by M'Kee, the Indian Agent, for interfering with the Indians, and rescuing two of their prisoners. He said the Indians had a right to their own mode of warfare, and that no one should interrupt them; and after continuing this reproof for some time, he told me, if I ever look such a liberty again, he would send me to Montreal or Quebec. The naval officer was still more severely reprimanded and threatened to have his uniform stripped from his back, and to be dismissed from his Majesty's service, if such an incident again occurred! And although I stated to Colonel De Peyster, that we saved the lives of the girls at the peril of our own, he abated nothing of his threats or harshness.’
And in the biography of David Zeisberger, published in the Christian Herald of February 3d, 1821, an incident is related, which is not less shocking to the moral sense of mankind, than the reputed attempt of the Austrian tyrant to render the Swiss patriot the executioner of his son.
‘About this time (1778) a large sealed letter had been handed to him by a Wyandot Indian, signed by the governor of Detroit. It contained a positive injunction, with formidable threats annexed to it, to wit, "The teachers of the Christian Indians shall, without delay, go on an expedition with us against the rebels, on the other side of the Ohio, kill them, and deliver up their scalps.’"
In the same memoir, and in Heckewelder's history of the Moravian Missions, will be found an account of the final destruction of this flourishing mission, and the forcible removal
18of the Christian Indians and their teachers. In commenting upon these transactions, the London Christian Observer of August 31st, 1826, deems it ‘incredible’ ‘that our countrymen,’ among whom British officers are mentioned, ‘should have countenanced a scheme for the assassination of a band of peaceful Christian Missionaries, and the destruction of their unoffending converts.’ And it adds, ‘that the narrators of these events were Germans,’ and that ‘it may not unreasonably be presumed, that the narrators were under some misunderstanding respecting the secret springs of the whole affair.’ What these ‘secret springs’ were, the pious conductors of that excellent work can now determine.
The recognition of our independence terminated these flagitious scenes, and they were succeeded by a few years of comparative tranquillity. But the relations between the two countries were not permanently established, and discussions soon commenced, which assumed a character of severity. They were fortunately closed by Jay's treaty, at the moment when a wax appeared inevitable.
But during the progress of these discussions, the usual indications of Indian hostilities, such as have preceded and accompanied all our differences with the British government, gave unerring warning of the storm, which was approaching. It burst upon our frontiers, and during the administration of General Washington, this unprovoked war embarrassed and perplexed the infant government. We have neither time nor space to review its incidents. We can only group together a few of the principal facts, which demonstrate, that the savages did not want other counsels, and influence, and aid, in the commencement and prosecution of the war. Detroit was then, as in the period of the revolution, the British Indian headquarters. The elder M'Kee was at the head of the Indian department, and he was aided by Elliott and Girty, men well qualified to serve in such a cause, where hands that stayed not, and hearts that relented not, and zeal that tired not, could furnish examples, which even savages might admire in despair.
From 1783 to 1790, not less than three thousand persons were murdered or dragged into captivity, from the frontiers of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky. The scalps and the prisoners travelled the old war path.
19department was numerous and active. A personal inspection was made by Lieutenant Governor Hunter, and a fort was commenced upon the Miami. The hopes of the Indians were elated by the celebrated war talk of Lord Dorchester. Profuse issues of clothing, provisions, and ammunition, were made to them. Several intercepted letters of British officers were published, which leave no doubt of the influence exerted upon the Indians. General Wayne in his official report states, ‘that he had obtained a victory over the combined force of the hostile Indians and a considerable number of the volunteers and militia of Detroit.’ And this, too, in a time of profound peace between the American and British governments!
When the Indians fled from the victorious army of Wayne, they applied for admittance into the British fort at the foot of the Rapids of the Miami. Assurances, that they would find shelter there, should the fate of the day prove adverse, had been long before given. The commanding officer, however, took counsel of his prudence, rather than his promises, and closed his gates to the flying savages. This conduct has never been forgotten by the Indians, and Tecumthé in his celebrated speech to Proctor, reproached the British with this gross deception. ‘At the battle of the Rapids last war,’ said the indignant chief, ‘the Americans certainly defeated us; and when we retreated to our father's fort at that place, the gates were shut against us.’ And in the speech of Walk-in-the-water, the Wyandot chief, when the Wyandots of Brownstown were importuned to cross the Detroit river, and join the British standard, this untimely occlusion of the fort yet lingered in the memory of the Indians.
In 1812 commenced our second war with England. It was preceded in 1811 by hostilities upon the Wabash, where Tecumthé and his brother the Prophet had collected a considerable band of disaffected Indians, seceders from the established authorities of their tribes. This spirit, however, never extended far, and it was repressed by the vigorous and decisive campaign of General Harrison. Tranquillity was restored upon the borders, until Christian hands again offered the tomahawk to the Indians, and Christian presents and promises induced them to accept it. In 1812, as in 1775, did the American government exert every effort to save the Indians from embarking in a hopeless contest, in which they had neither rights to assert, nor wrongs to avenge; but which was prosecuted for objects that they understood as little as they regarded.
The talk of Mr. Madison to the Indians in 1812, at the commencement of the war, contains sentiments so honorable to himself and his country, and so appropriately and beautifully expressed, that we shall submit to our readers a part of this interesting document. It may be considered as the manifesto of the American government, establishing the principles of its intercourse with its aboriginal neighbors in the critical circumstances, which imposed new duties upon both. And the contrast between this course, and that pursued by the British government, must awaken reflections here and elsewhere, which although tardy may yet be useful.
‘The red people who live on the same great Island with the white people of the eighteen fires, are made by the great Spirit out of the same earth, from parts of it differing in color only. My regard for all my red children has made me desirous, that the bloody tomahawk should be buried between the Osages, the Cherokees, and the Choctaws. I wish also that the hands of the Shawnese and the Osage should be joined in my presence, as a pledge to cherish and observe the peace made at St. Louis. This was a good peace for both. It is a chain that ought to hold them fast in friendship. Neither blood nor rust should ever be upon it.’
‘I am concerned at the war which has long been kept up by the Sacs and Foxes against the Osages; and that latterly a bloody war is carried on between the Osages and Ioways. I now tell my red children here present, that this is bad for both parties. They must put under my feet then evil intentions against each other; and henceforward live in peace and good will; each hunting on their lands, and working their own soil.’
‘A father ought to give good advice to his children and it is the duty of his children to hearken to it. The people composing the eighteen fires, are a great people. You have travelled through their country. You see they cover the land, as the stars fill the sky, and are as thick as the trees in your forests. Notwithstanding their great power, the British king has attacked them on the great water beyond which he lives. He robbed then ships and carried away the people belonging to them. Some of them he murdered. He has an old grudge against the eighteen fires, because when he tried to make them dig and plant for his people beyond the great water, not for themselves, they sent out warriors, who beat his warriors; they drove off the bad chiefs he had sent among them, and setup good chiefs of their own. The eighteen fires did this when they had not the strength they now have. Their blows will now be much heavier, and will soon make him
do them justice. It happened when the thirteen fires, now increased to eighteen, forced the British king to treat them as an independent nation, one little fire did not join them. This he has held ever since. It is there that his agents and traders plot quarrels and wars between the eighteen fires and their brethren, and between one red tribe and another. Maiden is the place where all the bad birds have their nests. There they are fed with false tales against the eighteen fires, and sent out with bloody belts in their bills, to drop among the red people, who would otherwise remain at peace. It is for the good of all the red people, as well as the people of the eighteen fires, that a stop should be put to this mischief. Their warriors can do it. They are gone and going to Canada for this purpose. They want no help from their red brethren. They are strong enough without it. The British, who are weak, are doing all they can by their bad birds, to decoy the red people into the war on their side. I warn all the red people to avoid the ruin this must bring upon them. And I say to you, my children, your father does not ask you to join his warriors. Sit still on your seats; and be witnesses that they are able to beat their enemies, and protect their red friends. This is the fatherly advice I give you.’
‘I have a further advice for my red children. You see how the country of the eighteen fires is filled with people. They increase like the corn they put into the ground. They all have good houses to shelter them from all weathers; good clothes suitable to all seasons; and as for food of all sorts, you see they have enough, and to spare. No man, woman, or child, of the eighteen fires ever perished of hunger. Compare all this with the condition of the red people. They are scattered here and there in handfuls. Their lodges are cold, leaky, and smoky. They have hard fare, and often not enough of it.’
‘Why this mighty difference? The reason, my red children, is plain. The white people breed cattle and sheep. They plough the earth, and make it give them every thing they want. They spin and weave. Their heads and their hands make all the elements and productions of nature useful to them. Above all, the people of the eighteen fires live in constant peace and friendship. No tomahawk has ever been raised by one against another. Not a drop of blood has ever touched the chain that holds them together as one family. All their belts are white belts. It is in your power to be like them. The ground that feeds one lodge by hunting, would feed a great band by the plough and the hoe. The Great Spirit has given you, like your white brethren, good heads to contrive, strong arms, and active bodies. Use them like your white brethren; not all at once, which is difficult, but by little and little, which is easy. Especially, live in peace with one
another, like your white brethren of the eighteen fires; and like them your little sparks will grow into great fires. You will be well fed; well clothed; dwell in good houses, and enjoy the happiness for which you, like them, were created. The Great Spirit is the friend of men of all colors. He made them to be friends of one another. The more they are so, the more he will be their friend. These are the words of your father to his red children. The Great Spirit, who is the father of us all, approves them. Let them pass through the ear, into the heart. Carry them home to your people. And as long as you remember this visit to your father of the eighteen fires, remember these are his last and best words to you.’
In the same spirit a council was held on the western frontier, by three distinguished gentlemen, Governors Meigs, Worthington, and Morrow, the objects and result of which were communicated by them to the public, in the following terms.
‘The council with the Indian tribes on the western frontier having been concluded, the Commissioners deem it their duty to give to their fellow citizens a concise view of the proceeding and result.’
‘The Commissioners, according to their instructions, have endeavored to ascertain their views and dispositions. They informed them of the inevitable consequences of any act of hostility on their part, that the President stood in no need of their assistance in the war with Great Britain, and that for their own sakes, he desired them to remain quiet and pursue their usual occupations. The chiefs, in behalf of the tribes that attended, have made professions of friendship and attachment to the United States, and have, in the most positive manner, declared their intention to adhere to and observe the existing treaties, to remain neutral in the present war, and to reject the overtures of the British (which they state to have been repeated and pressing) to engage in it.’
Most unfortunately for this devoted race, these overtures sometimes assumed a shape, which few Indians can resist. In Buchanan's Sketches, to which we have already referred, the speech of Cornplanter to the Governor of Pennsylvania is quoted in these terms. ‘Great Britain requested us to join with them in the conflict against the Americans, and promised the Indians land and liquor,’ (p. 56.) When such objects are attained by such means, a fearful responsibility is assumed, no less at the tribunal of public opinion, than of justice and morality. These means were but too successful. Many of the northern Indians joined the British standard, and as the vicissitudes
23of war left our frontier exposed or defenceless, they did the accustomed work of death and desolation.
But no event, since the discovery of the continent, has produced greater changes in the character, feelings, and situation of the Indians, than this war. During the latter part of 1812, and the whole of 1813, the north and the west were almost depopulated. Their ordinary occupations were abandoned, and men, women, and children assembled around the British headquarters upon the Detroit river, the warriors for blood, pay, and plunder, and their families for food and clothing. It is said that twelve thousand rations were daily issued to this subsidized host.
24and clothing upon their ‘allies,’ whose capture or retreat appeared but too probable. These causes produced their full effect. A grievous mortality prevailed among them, and when the American army made its descent upon the Canadian shore in 1813, there was no foe to oppose it. Proctor had fled with the warriors who adhered to his cause. But much of his savage force had previously disappeared, either in the recesses of the forest, where shelter was nearest, or in the grave. Horrible stories are told of the miseries they endured. We had no pleasure in hearing them, and we should now have none in relating them. Whatever, in the extremity of human suffering, man has done or endured, these wretched outcasts were doomed to do and bear. ‘Father,’ said the Indians to General McArthur, at the first interview, which they sought with an American officer, after the retreat of Proctor, ‘Father, we are now unarmed. We are at your mercy. Do with us as you think proper. Our squaws and children are perishing. We ourselves are also perishing. If you take us by the hand, we are willing to take up the tomahawk against any power, white or red, which you may direct.’ But this physical wretchedness was not the only evil entailed upon them by their participation in the war. Their spirits were broken. The series of disasters which occurred, destroyed all confidence in themselves; and when the peace of Ghent restored the American and British governments to their accustomed relations, and the Indians found that all the promises of ‘land and liquor,’ which had been made to them, had ended in the loss of one half of their people, and the return of the other to their dependence upon the American government, they yielded with sullen indifference to the fate which they could not avoid.
This feeling was well expressed by WÅbeshÅ, the principal Sioux chief, to the British commanding officer at Drummond's Island, in 1815. WÅbeshÅ is venerable for his age, and has always maintained a decided influence over his people. He was treated with marked attention, and valuable presents were spread before him. ‘My Father,’ said he to Colonel McDowell, then commanding the post, ‘what is this I see before me? A few knives and blankets. Is this all you promised us at the beginning of the war? Where are those promises you made us at Michilimackinac, and sent to our villages on the Mississippi? You told us you would never let fall the hatchet until the Americans were driven beyond the mountains. That our
25British Father would never make peace, without consulting his red children. Has that come to pass? We never knew of this peace. We are now told, it was made by our Great Father beyond the water, without the knowledge of his war chiefs; that it is your duty to obey his orders. What is this to us? Will these paltry presents pay for the men we have lost, both in battle and on the road? Will they soothe the feelings of our friends? Will they make good your promises to us? For myself, I am an old man. I have lived long, and always found the means of supporting myself, and I can do so still.’
In this general retrospect, it has been no part of our object to excite feelings which time has happily allayed. For ourselves, we were willing, that the story of these enormities should be forgotten. The losses and sufferings were our country's, and we had little reason to expect, that any attack upon its character and conduct, from the party which inflicted the injury, would render a public examination of these facts necessary. But so it is; imposing charges have gone forth to the world against us, and our relations with our aboriginal neighbors have furnished the occasion for accusations, which have been preferred in no measured terms. The subject has been frequently discussed in the British journals, and always in a tone of reproof and severity; but it was reserved for the sixtyfirst number of the London Quarterly Review, formally to arraign and censure the United States, in an article, not less reprehensible for its temper and sentiments, than false in its statements and conclusions. Its whole scope can be fully understood only by an examination; but its tone and spirit may be estimated from a few quotations.
‘If the mode of warfare of the Indians was ferocious, that of the enemy with whom we had to contend [the American] was equally so.’ P. 102.
‘However it may be attempted to preserve appearances by fraudulent and compulsory purchases of land, and declarations of benevolent intentions towards their injured possessors, it, has always been the boast of American policy, that "the Indians shaft be made to vanish before civilization, as the snow melts before the sunbeam." ’ [The words printed in italics, are marked in the original as a quotation, and the idea is thus conveyed, that this ferocious sentiment is an acknowledged maxim of the American
government. Let the place be pointed out, where this sentence is to be found, in a connexion to justify the inference obviously deducible from it, and we shall then have reason not to believe it a fabrication.] ‘How far,’ continues this journal, ‘the practice has been assimilated to the design, may be gathered from the butchery by the Kentuckians, of Indian families in cold blood, after their surprise at Tippacanoe on the Wabash; from massacres committed by General Harrison's troops in their attacks on the Indian settlements in the autumn of 1812; from the murder, after the affair at the Moravian Town, of squaws and children, who received no more mercy, than did the wounded warriors; and from the more recent and authorized horrors of General Jackson's Seminole war.’ P. 108.
‘We affirm without fear of contradiction or of error, that there is not to be found, on the face of the globe, a race of men, so utterly abandoned to vice and crime -- so devoid of all fear of God and regard towards man, as the outsettlers of Kentucky, Ohio, and the other back states.’ P. 94.
‘It would surely have been a despicable submission to the mawkish sensibility of our patriots, to have rejected the cooperation of the Indians in repelling an invading enemy, who at least equalled them in bloodthirsty qualities.’ P. 102.
This article has gone forth to Christendom, and as yet uncontradicted. The whole discussion is in this temper, and specific charges are urged against us, with all due formality, evincing equal disregard of courtesy and truth. And shall our countrymen sit still, with folded arms, while the civilized world are believing, and judging, and condemning, deceived, as they well may be, by such bold assumptions, and by the imposing particulars of time, place, and circumstance, with which the statements are surrounded? And this, too, because all must be bland and courteous in literary discussions? We confess that we have no part in such frigid philosophy. Vainly shall we look back with pride, or forward with hope, or around us with congratulation, if we do not cherish a sacred regard for national character, and an unshaken determination to maintain and defend it against the detractions of malevolence, and the attacks of unprincipled illiberality.
It is certainly among the wayward inconsistencies of human nature, and excites our surprise, while we deplore its occurrence, that, a literary journal, which has produced powerful effects upon public opinion, and whose general execution is honorable to the age and nation, which it has so often instructed
27and delighted, should systematically display, upon some important topics, a deep malignity of feeling and of purpose, equally incompatible with the discharge of the high functions it has assumed, and offensive to every reader of generous sentiments, from the St. Lawrence to the Ganges. Whenever its peculiar dogmas, religious or political, are impugned, all sense of right, equity, and truth, seems to be forgotten or abandoned, or else all knowledge to be turned as by a miracle into total ignorance. This predetermined hostility has been heretofore too visible on all subjects, connected with the social and political institutions of the United States; with their past history and future prospects; their government, laws, religion, civil condition, and progress in the arts. These topics are the withering blast of the Simoom to its genius, taste, and learning. We are told that a better spirit is now gaining ground in its pages, and we are glad that some recent proofs would seem to encourage this expectation. Let it be understood that we are not here speaking of what this Journal is or will be, but of what it has been. It is only of sins already committed, that we complain.
By peculiar circumstances we have been led to a knowledge of many of the occurrences, which form the groundwork of the charges, in the article to which we have referred, and we are persuaded that a correct relation of them will redeem our country from the imputations with which it has been assailed. Our Indian relations have frequently furnished, either directly or indirectly, the pretence for these misrepresentations; and ‘we think it due to the’ world, which may ‘have been deceived, to state the real merits of the case, and to refute, as we trust we shall be able to do, these slanders, which in our opinion have been suffered to remain too long unanswered, through the same medium, the press, in which they have been conveyed.’
Influenced by these considerations, we have been led in the preceding part of this article to a retrospective view of the conduct of the British and American governments towards the Indians. If we are not greatly deceived, the facts, we have placed before our readers, will be deemed as discreditable to the one government, as they are honorable to the other. This general historical examination was necessary to a distinct view
28of the subject, and to a more particular investigation of the accusations boldly preferred by the Quarterly. These we shall proceed to meet and confute.
The tenure, by which the primitive inhabitants of this continent held their land, is a question of metaphysical speculation, rather than one of practical right. All will agree, that they were entitled to as much as would supply them with subsistence, in the mode to which they were accustomed. And there will probably be an assent, little less general, to the proposition, that whatever was not thus wanted and employed might be appropriated by others to their own use. The new race of men, who landed upon these shores, found that their predecessors had affixed few distinctive marks of property in the forests where they roamed. There were none of those permanent improvements, which elsewhere by universal assent become the evidence and the security of individual appropriation. From Hudson's Bay to Gape Horn, the various nations of Europe have formed settlements, and have gradually by force or purchase reduced the aboriginal inhabitants to a state of vassallage, or driven them into the interior. European sovereigns have divided this immense country, by their charters or their treaties, into many colonies and provinces, and have assumed a general jurisdiction over them, without the slightest regard to the primitive occupants. And the hoisting of the first flag, and the burying of the first bottle, are important incidents, which have occasioned many a perplexing discussion to grave diplomatists.
Almost all the country, now composing the Atlantic portion of the United States, was thus acquired by England. Our colonial records contain the history of many of these negotiations and purchases, but time has swept away almost every vestige of the consideration paid to the Indians. Since the establishment of their independence, the United States have adopted the system of acquiring the aboriginal title by peaceable purchase, but they have adopted it with an important change, consolatory to all, who look with sympathy upon this falling race. The plan of permanent annuities guaranties to the Indians a never failing resource against want, and its beneficial effects are apparent in the improved condition of the Wyandots, the Shawnese, and the Miamies. But one instance in the history of the United States can be found, where they have acquired any title to the unappropriated country by force:
29and that was at the termination of the wanton and unprovoked hostilities of the Creeks, originating probably in foreign influence, but prosecuted in a spirit of atrocious cruelty, not often displayed, even in Indian warfare. Peace, without exemplary chastisement, would have been but an invitation to new aggressions.
The condition of our primitive people, is a moral phenomenon, perhaps without a parallel in the whole history of man. During two centuries, they have been in contact with a civilized people. They have seen our improvements, and felt our superiority. They have relinquished their bows, and arrows, and skins, and flint knives, and stone tomahawks, and have adopted our arms and ammunition, our cloths, and many of our instruments of iron and steel. But in their own moral qualities, if they have not receded, they certainly have not advanced. A principle of progressive improvement seems almost inherent in human nature. Communities of men, as well as individuals, are stimulated by a desire to meliorate their condition. There is nothing stationary around us. We are all striving in the career of life to acquire riches, or honor, or power, or some other object, whose possession is to realize the day dreams of our imaginations; and the aggregate of these efforts constitutes the advance of society.
But there is little of all this in the constitution of our savages. Like the bear, and deer, and buffalo of his own forests, an Indian lives as his father lived, and dies as his father died. He never attempts to imitate the arts of his civilized neighbors. His life passes away in a succession of listless indolence, and of vigorous exertion to provide for his animal wants, or to gratify his baleful passions. He never looks around him, with a spirit of emulation, to compare his situation with that of others, and to resolve on improving it. In a season of abundance, he never provides for a season of scarcity. Want never teaches him be provident, nor misery to be industrious. This fatuity is not the result of ignorance. Efforts, however ill directed, have not been wanting to teach and reclaim him. But he is perhaps destined to disappear with the forests, which have afforded him food and clothing, and whose existence seems essential to his own.
Under such circumstances, what ignorance, or folly, or morbid jealousy of our national progress does it not argue, to expect that our civilized border would become stationary and some of
30the fairest portions of the globe be abandoned to hopeless sterility. That a few naked wandering barbarians should stay the march of cultivation and improvement, and hold in a state of perpetual unproductiveness, immense regions formed by Providence to support millions of human beings? And has England furnished us with any example of such a system of self denial or rather of canting weakness? We will not inquire in India, for there no barbarians, strictly speaking, are found. But the Australasian continent is now a British province, acquired and settled within the memory of the present generation. And where are its aboriginal inhabitants? Let the following extract from the Sydney Gazette of December 16th, 1824, answer this question.
‘The overseer, finding that they had nearly expended their arms, he and his men dismounted, tied their horses together and faced about, commencing a fire of musketry on the natives, then charged them with the bayonet, until they were completely routed and dispersed. The natives left sixteen men dead on the field, and their weapons were completely destroyed.’
‘After the fight, the party returned in safety to Mudgee’
That nothing short of that whole continent, exceeding Europe in extent, will satisfy the forbearance of the British government, we have full evidence in the measures, which are in progress.
31neighbors? We hear of no treaties of cession, no ‘purchases compulsory,’ or voluntary, no mutual discussions, no annuities for future relief. The land is wanted, and it is taken.
But the conversion of our gloomy forests into cultivated fields, which is described as the peculiar reproach of the American government, was commenced and zealously prosecuted, as we have already seen, before that government existed, and with such effect, that the royal authorities, some years before their overthrow, had begun to cover with their grants the great valley of the Mississippi.
At the cession of Canada to England, the French settlements were principally confined to the country upon the St. Lawrence, about Montreal and below it. A few small military posts, in the extensive regions to the west, with little cultivated belts surrounding them, constituted the whole of the results of French power, and the whole evidence of French enterprise. The integrity of the Indian territory, north of the great lakes, was almost inviolate. Since then, the population of the country has been more than quadrupled, and its settlements have advanced to the upper lakes, and now rest upon Lake Superior. Here, as elsewhere, the tide of civilization has borne before it the tenants of the forest, and from Montreal to Lake Huron, a few small reservations are all, that are left to them of the vast possessions they inherited. We have not the elements of an accurate calculation in our power, but we are satisfied, that the number of Indians living in the unsettled country, within the limits of the United States, is far greater, in proportion to its extent, than can be found in any part of Canada. Nor is the progress of the English settlements limited to this frontier of the British dominions. They have reached the Arctic Circle, and are spreading through the vast possessions of the Hudson's Bay Company. The mercantile sovereigns, to whom that country was granted by the British crown, are establishing their posts, half commercial, half military, wherever a band is to be subjected or a muskrat to be caught.
32decide, which we shall quote by and by, from Captain Franklin and Dr. Richardson, who have lately traversed those distant regions.
But the most extensive speculation, we have ever known in the acquisition of Indian title, for we cannot call it purchase, unless the word be technically used, was that made by Lord Selkirk, upon Red river, the settlement of which was commenced in 1812. This country was granted to him by the Hudson's Bay Company, and in the project for settlement it is stated, that ‘a tract of land of some millions of acres, in point of soil and climate inferior to none of equal extent in British America, is to be disposed of.’ This tract contained 117,000 square miles,
There is a branch of our Indian relations, which it may be well to examine in detail, as it has been sometimes misunderstood, and sometimes misrepresented. The subject is thus sneeringly introduced in the article, which we have before quoted.
‘By what degree of fair dealing the purchases of Indian lands have been regulated, since the peace, may be learnt from an abstract in Mr. Buchanan's work, (p. 152). By the items in this formal account current it appears, that to the year 1820, above 190 millions of acres had been purchased from the Indians, for which they had received in annuities something more than two millions and a half of dollars! while the profits of the republican government, in vending their acquisitions by retail, or "the balance of gain," as Mr. Buchanan calls it on the part of the United States in dealing with the Indians, amounted to above two hundred and thirteen millions of dollars.’ p. 109.
In all of this, there is enough of truth, to elude the charge of deliberate falsehood, and yet so much of error, as to present a result, utterly fallacious.
Assuming Mr. Buchanan's statement and estimate to be nominally correct, still every one, in the slightest degree acquainted with the operation of our land system, must be aware, that such calculations of the value of the property could be made, only by the most sanguine political economist, or a most blind political adversary. A considerable proportion of the land in every part of the western country, where these cessions have been obtained, is unfit for cultivation and improvement. Ages will pass away, before it can be all amalgamated with the common mass of property. And during that period, it will remain an unproductive fund, unless the proposition submitted by Colonel Benton to the Senate of the United States should be adopted. His proposition is founded on this very fact, that the duration of the present system of land sales will be indefinite, if the price be not reduced. He therefore proposes, that this reduction should be made at short and fixed intervals, and that eventually a gratuitous distribution should be made of all that is unsold. He illustrates the subject, by the operation of the present system in Ohio, where, after an experiment of thirty years, more than half the land is the property of the government.
The expense of surveying the public land amounts to no inconsiderable sum, and the annual appropriation for this object is about $70,000. The fees and salaries of the officers, and the various contingent claims, inseparable from such an extended system, present another important deduction from this estimate of profits. In all the new states, inchoate rights have been acquired by actual settlers, which have in many instances been confirmed by the General Government, and extensive districts have been thus gratuitously alienated. There has been also assigned for the support of common schools, and wisely and providently, assigned, one thirtysixth part of all the national domains, besides two or more townships in each State and Territory, formed from it, for the support of seminaries, devoted to the higher branches of learning. And in one section of the country, another thirtysixth part has been appropriated to the maintenance of a religious establishment; not in a form prescribed by law, but as each local vicinage should determine.
Such was the operation of the several causes, affecting the sale of the public land, that up to the 30th of June, 1819, within six months of the period alluded to in the Quarterly, as we are officially informed by the reports of the treasury
34department to Congress, the whole amount received on account of these sales, from the organization of the government, was but $18,287,828 dollars.
An experienced and intelligent senator, Mr. King, who has since retired from the councils of his country, after a long life devoted to its service, instituted, a minute inquiry into this subject, with a view to ascertain its actual effect upon the fiscal operations of the government. The reports, which were received from the executive officers, in consequence of his suggestions, disclosed all the facts, necessary to a correct decision. And it was his opinion; on a careful examination of the subject, that as a mere pecuniary question, the acquisition and sale of lands by the United States had proved an unprofitable adventure. It requires but a moderate portion of that profound science of profit and loss, which is not confined to ‘republican governments,’ to show, that the value of any article must be estimated by its use, or its power of immediate conversion into money, and if the article itself is useless and unproductive, and cannot be sold for an almost indefinite period of time, it has in reality, no present actual value. Almost any reasonable sum paid for it, would, by the ordinary operation of interest, exceed in a few years the worth of the property.
After deducting the waste and sterile land, the gratuitous concessions, the specific appropriations, and the expenses of survey and sale, from the present actual value of the land, where shall we find that ‘balance of gain,’ which Mr. Buchanan, in his ignorance, and the Quarterly, in its worse than ignorance, have swelled to so formidable an amount? The soundest statesmen in the United States do not look to the public lands as a source of revenue. In the annual estimates submitted by the treasury department to Congress, this branch of national income is computed at a million of dollars.
35in 1826, it was $1,009,741. Every year brings with it peculiar circumstances, which vary the amount appropriated. Such, during the past year, were the sufferings of the Florida Indians, and the incidents connected with the Creek negotiation. These objects require specific appropriations. But so interesting and extensive are the relations, existing between the United States and the Indians, that we have no reason to anticipate any very considerable diminution of this expenditure. It commenced with the commencement of the government, and has gradually and steadily increased; and it will continue, as long as Providence shall continue the Indians in their present state of want and imbecility. In the annual message of the President of the United States, transmitted to Congress December 5th, 1826, it is stated, that the ‘appropriations to indemnify these unfortunate remnants of another race, unable alike to share in the enjoyments and to exist in the presence of civilization,’ have increased to an unexpected amount. They are applied to the payment of annuities, promised in our various treaties with the Indians; to aid the efforts, which are making to improve their condition; to procure for them occasional supplies of food and clothing; to the purchase of horses and other domestic animals, to improve and promote their agricultural operations; to the support of blacksmiths and other artizans, employed to labor for them; and to the payment of the various officers, necessary to protect them, and to serve as the means of communication, between them and the government and citizens of the United States. If, then, the produce of this public stock is barely equal to the expense entailed upon the country by its acquisition, we shall in vain seek for ‘the profits of the American government.’
‘But our search in another direction will be more successful, and justly offensive as it may be to delicate nerves, it is nevertheless true, that a regal government is trafficking in this proscribed article. We are not able to exhibit the items of a formal account current,’ for these matters have been managed in the Canadas, with prudential secrecy. Much of the public land there has been granted upon a system of favoritism, as rewards for past services, or as motives of future ones. But time and experience produce wonderful changes in the affairs of this world, and it is not now considered disreputable for the regal government to exchange solid acres for sordid pelf. We shall quote, in proof of this assertion, a document, whose
36authenticity will not be questioned. It is the public notification of the Executive Council of the Province of Upper Canada, signed by order of his Excellency, the Lieutenant Governor, in council. It thus commences.
‘For the information of persons arriving in Upper Canada as settlers, the following summary of the rules, which his Majesty's government has thought fit to lay down for the future regulation of grants of land in the Province, in conformity to the system, which has been recently adopted with reject to other Colonies of his Majesty, has been prepared in conformity to instructions from Lord Bathurst.’
It then proceeds to establish nineteen regulations on this subject, three of which we shall, quote.
‘1. A valuation will be forthwith made of the lands throughout this Colony, and average prices will be struck for each district.’
‘2. All the lands in the Colony, not hitherto granted and appropriated for public purposes, will be offered for sale at the average prices thus fixed.’
‘3. The purchase money is to be paid by four quarterly, or five annual instalments, as the party applying may desire, but in the latter case, legal interest shall be charged, and shall be payable annually from the time of making the agreement. A discount of ten per cent will be allowed for ready money payments.’
The quarterly and annual instalments, the legal interest, and the discount of ten per cent, are highly creditable to the fiscal knowledge of Lord Bathurst, and it is due to candor to say, that not a member of the republican cabinet could have devised a better system for ‘vending these acquisitions by retail,’ and so highly is it esteemed, that it is extended to ‘other colonies of his Majesty.’
But the newspapers have informed us, that a contract was made between the British government and certain individuals for the conveyance to them of one seventh part of the public lands in Upper Canada. The details of this bargain we have never seen. But commissioners were sent from England to appraise the lands, and it is understood, that the arrangement has been completed. The consideration paid was said to be one million of pounds sterling, about one fourth part of the sum received by the United States for the sale of all its public lands, from the organization of the government to July, 1819. And this for one seventh part only of one of the most remote colonies of the British crown.
But even Lord Selkirk, with all his pride of ancestry, did not overlook the important consideration of money, while projecting his colonizing schemes. In the project to which we have before alluded, he says, the land ‘will be sold extremely cheap.’ All this is as it should be. No government, not wholly abandoned to a system of favoritism or prodigality, would be so regardless of the future, as to cast away a source of income, so unexceptionable as this. Such ‘mawkish sensibility’ will find little sympathy in the present age. But what shall be thought of the practical wisdom of a journal, which flouts such a principle? This, too, when it has been recognised by its own government, and is in active and profitable, operation! Whether it be owing to ignorance, or to any less pardonable quality, let its readers determine.
But it is not alone in ‘vending these acquisitions,’ that the influence of the republican example has been felt. It has begun to operate with equal force, in obtaining them. The inquiries, which we have instituted, have satisfied us, that no system of permanent annuities has heretofore been adopted in the Canadas, as a consideration for cessions obtained from the Indians. But in June, 1825, an arrangement was made at Amherstburg by the British authorities with a band of the Chippewas, residing upon the River St Clair, for the extinction of their title to a tract of country, extending from that river to Matchedash Bay in Lake Huron. Two small reservations were made, and an annuity of $3000 was secured to the grantors. But there was a principle engrafted in this treaty, which may teach even the republican government a salutary lesson of thrift, and which has never probably occurred to their commissioners, as it is not to be found in any of their compacts with the Indians. With a profitable regard to the rapid declension and eventual extinction of these hapless people, a stipulation was introduced into this instrument, providing, that when one half of the band shall become extinct, one half of the annuity shall cease. And the human and the pecuniary reduction are thus to proceed, pari passu, until death shall have done its office.
We have not ourselves seen this treaty, but a friend to whom Wawwawnosh, the chief of the band, exhibited the counter-original, has given us an abstract of its stipulations. In the United States, these conventions are annually published in the statute books, and are thus spread before the nation and the
38world. But in the British possessions, publicity is never given to them.
If in any branch of this examination we may appear to treat the subject with undue levity, we can assure our readers, that the tone is assumed with the hope to repress more indignant feelings. We look with deep sympathy on the condition of this feeble remnant, who, like the autumnal foliage of their own forests, are scattered by every blast, but to whom no spring will bring renovation; and we regard with deep solicitude, every effort for their preservation and melioration. Not even a partiality for the character of our country would tempt us to conceal their wrongs, or to magnify their errors. But the callous malevolence of the article, which has rendered this discussion necessary, cannot always be met with perfect equanimity, and we may be allowed to sneer at assertions and insinuations, whose falsehood is too palpable for serious refutation.
There is one consideration, connected with the cession of land by the Indians, too important, in a fair examination of the subject, to be overlooked. The advance of the white settlements is the signal for the recession of the game. There is always an extensive interval of border country between our cultivated frontier, and the permanent possessions of the Indians. Their unremitted efforts to procure food and clothing, cause a rapid diminution of wild animals in this district; and as these animals flee from destruction, they are followed by those, who look to them for sustenance. The district, thus abandoned, becomes useless to the natives, and this is the land, which is generally acquired by our treaties. In many instances, and we speak from personal observation, the amount paid for these cessions has been more valuable to the Indians, than all the animals existing there, whose flesh and furs are sought by them.
We come now to other topics. ‘It is not necessary to prove in this place for the fiftieth time’ says the Reviewer, ‘that our cause was common with that of the Indian nations. Against them, as against us, the Americans had been the real aggressors.’ With what truth these assertions are advanced, will be best determined by a brief examination of the various acts of the American government towards the Indians, and by a comparison of these with the course which has been pursued by the British government.
Our attention has already been railed to the unremitting exertions
39of the republican government to restrain the Indians from hostilities; to induce them, whenever a contest between their white neighbors appeared unavoidable, to remain in their own country, and suffer the storm to pass away, without exposing themselves to its violence. In the same spirit, hostile tribes have been brought together, and the tomahawk buried beneath the ashes of the council fire.
The whole history of the intercourse, between the aboriginal inhabitants of this continent, and the European invaders and their descendants, does not furnish a more consolatory spectacle than the council held at Prairie du Chien upon the Mississippi in August, 1825. During many generations, a war had been waged between the Chippewas and the Sioux. Its origin is lost in the depths of time, and no other motive for its prosecution has existed, since these tribes have been known to us, than the thirst of revenge, and the necessity of having some enemy, from whom trophies of victory might be won. More recently the Sacs, and Foxes, and Ioways joined the Chippewas, and a crisis seemed fast approaching in the northwest, which threatened to anticipate the operation of all the other causes, to which the sufferings and declension of the Indians are attributable. Nothing could have averted this result, but the powerful interference of the United States, and it was interposed promptly and efficaciously. That ‘the Indians might not vanish as the snow melts before the sunbeam,’ commissioners were appointed to meet the various tribes, interested in this procedure, and to conclude a peace among them. This was brought about at the expense of the United States, and the preamble of the treaty so fully explains its objects, that we shall quote it, as another proof of the ‘exterminating’ policy of die republican government.
‘The United States of America, have seen with much regret, that wars have for many years been carried on between the Sioux and Chippewas, and more recently, between the confederated tribes of Sacs and Foxes, and the Sioux, and also between the Ioways and the Sioux; which, if not terminated, may extend to the other tribes, and involve the Indians upon the Missouri, the Mississippi, and the Lakes, in general hostilities. In order therefore to promote peace among these tribes, and to establish boundaries among them and the other tribes, who live in their vicinity, and thereby to remove all causes of future difficulty, the United States have invited the Chippcwa, Sac, and Fox, Menomonie, Ioway,
Sioux, Winebago, and a portion of the Ottawa, Chippewa, and Potawatomie tribes of Indians living upon the Illinois, to assemble together; and in a spirit of mutual conciliation, to accomplish these objects, and to aid therein, have appointed,’ &c.
The instrument then proceeds to establish a peace among these tribes, and it affords us great satisfaction to add, that this peace has been thus far preserved inviolate, and there is every reason to believe it will be permanent. The same principle was pursued in 1826, and at a greater expense, by convening a council upon Lake Superior, for the purpose of explaining and enforcing in that remote region, the objects of the treaty of Prairie du Chien. And at St. Louis in September last, the Delawares and their allies, and the Osages, were convened, and an arrangement happily effected for the termination of the hostilities existing between these contending tribes.
The amount annually expended by the government of the United States, upon the various matters connected with their Indian relations, has been already stated, as have also the objects to which this expenditure is applied. It has been shown, that the sum now received from the sales of the public lands, is barely sufficient to meet this demand upon the treasury. But during many years, the United States supported an establishment, devoted to the purpose of supplying the Indians with those articles of civilized manufactures, which long habit has rendered essential to their comfort or subsistence. This plan was first adopted in 1796, and was continued by successive legislative enactments, until 1822, when the law regulating it was suffered to expire by its own limitation. A superintendent and agents were appointed, and a capital finally equalling $500,000 was vested in this concern. The salaries of all the officers were paid from the treasury, and the merchandise was required to be sold to the Indians, upon such terms, as would merely preserve the integrity of this capital. Even this utterly failed, owing to causes arising out of the war. It was eventually thought expedient to leave this trade to private competition and to regulate the conduct of the traders, so as to prevent those impositions, which, at an earlier period, were apprehended from the limited capital and few persons engaged in this distant and hazardous traffic.
The laws of the United States, regulating trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, have made every provision, which could be devised, for protecting the rights of the Indians,
41and restraining our citizens from injuring them. Among these provisions the following are the most prominent.
Places are designated, where the traders must reside, in order that their conduct may be more open to observation, than it would be, if they were suffered to roam at pleasure through the country.
No person can enter the Indian country to trade, without first obtaining a license from the proper agent, and giving bond with sufficient sureties for his good conduct.
These licenses must be annually, or at most biennially renewed, and any maleconduct prevents their renewal.
An invoice must be submitted to the agent, previously to the granting of the license, that proper articles only may be introduced into the Indian country.
An abstract of these licenses is required to be annually submitted to Congress, and thus are they subject to the supervision of the national legislature.
These are the principal provisions, by which the government of the United States has attempted to regulate the conduct of its citizens in their intercourse with the Indians. That they are wholly effectual, or that they are never violated, no one needs to be told, who knows what feeble barriers statutory regulations frequently interpose between ignorance and cupidity. But their object and tendency cannot be misunderstood, and it is difficult to conceive what other general system can be adopted, better suited than this to attain the desired end. Our laws also contain other regulations, not less honorable to the government than useful to the Indians.
All persons are prohibited, under heavy penalties, from hunting or trapping, or settling upon the Indian lands, or from driving horses or cattle to feed thereon.
The purchasing or receiving from any Indian a ‘gun or other article commonly used in hunting, any instrument of husbandry, or cooking utensil of the kind usually obtained by the Indians in their intercourse with the white people, or any article of clothing, except skins or furs,’ are rendered indictable offences.
The United States guaranty to the Indians full payment for injuries done to them by any citizen, who shall pass the boundary line. In all disputes between the Indians and the whites, respecting property, the presumption is declared to be in favor of the Indian, where possession has ever been with him.
There is also a permanent act which appropriates a sum of money annually, ‘for the civilization of the Indian tribes adjoining
42the frontier settlements.’ The first section of this act is a memorable proof of the feelings of the government of the United States, towards the Indians, and is, in itself, too interesting to be passed by unnoticed.
‘For the purpose of providing against the further decline and final extinction of the Indian tribes, adjoining the frontier settlements of the United States, and for introducing among them the habits and arts of civilized life, the President of the United States shall be, and he is hereby authorized, in every case, where he shall judge improvement in the habits and condition of such Indians practicable, and that the means of instruction can be introduced with their own consent, to employ capable persons of good moral character, to instruct them in the mode of agriculture suited to their situation; and for teaching their children, reading, writing, and arithmetic, and for performing such other duties, as may be enjoined, according to such instructions and rules, as the President may give and prescribe, for the regulation of their conduct in the discharge of their duties.’
And yet ‘it is the boast of American policy, that the Indians shall be made to vanish before civilization as the snow melts before the sunbeam!’
The inordinate indulgence of the Indians in spirituous liquors is one of the most deplorable consequences, which has resulted from their intercourse with civilized man. Human nature, in its vast variety of aspects, presents no phenomenon like this. Among other nations, civilized and barbarous, excessive ebriety is an individual characteristic, sometimes indulged and sometimes avoided. But the Indians in immediate contact with our settlements, old and young, male and female, the chief and the warrior, all give themselves up to the most brutal intoxication, whenever this mad water can be procured. This propensity was remarked at a very early period, for Le PÄre Ducreu, in his Historia Canadensis, says, IIi austerá iliá non suavitate, sed acrimonyá barbarice capti, sine modo legeque, pellium permutatione coëmptum hauriunt. (p. 62.) There is no reason to believe, that prior to the discovery of America, the Indians north of Mexico used any artificial liquor whatever. We can find no trace of any preparation similar to the ava of the Polynesian islands, or to the intoxicating liquor of the Mexicans. This remarkable abstinence, of which few examples can be found, has been succeeded by a melancholy reaction, equally unprecedented. Elsewhere habitual drunkards have paroxysms of intoxication followed by sobriety; but as long as
43the stimulus can be obtained, an Indian abandons himself to its indulgence, with the recklessness of desperation.
At the treaty of Chicago, in 1821, the commissioners ordered, that no spirits should be issued to the Indians, and informed them, in their own manner, that the bungs were driven into the barrels. A deputation of the chiefs was sent to remonstrate against this precautionary measure, and at its head was Topnibe, the principal chief of the Potawatomie tribe, a man upwards of eighty years of age. Every argument was used to convince them that the measure was indispensable; that they were exposed to daily murders, and that while in a state of intoxication, they were unable to attend to the business, for which they were convened. All this was useless, and the discussion was only terminated by the peremptory refusal of the commissioners to accede to their request. ‘Father,’ said the hoary headed chief, when he was urged to remain sober, and make a good bargain for his people, ‘Father, we care not for the money, nor the land, nor the goods. We want the whiskey. Give us the whiskey.’
But fortunately, these revolting scenes are confined to the vicinity of the settlements, where spirituous liquors can be more easily procured. In the interior, the transportation of all articles is so expensive, that whiskey cannot be profitably sold in any considerable quantity. The ascent of rapid streams, and the crossing of numerous portages, where boats and their lading must be conveyed by human labor, render the Indian trade hazardous and expensive. And if the laws could be eluded, still the trader would be admonished by his own interest, not to attempt the sale of this deleterious article. If introduced at all, its introduction must be to the exclusion of commodities, essential to the subsistence of the Indian, and consequently to the object of the trader. We have seen many Indians, remote from the white settlements, who had never tasted of spirituous liquors, and we can testify, from personal knowledge, that the evil itself is almost unknown there.
Every practicable method has been adopted by the government of the United States, effectually to prevent this traffic. The introduction of spirituous liquors into any part of the Indian country is rendered penal, and subjects the offender to fine and imprisonment, and to absolute forfeiture of all his goods. And the officers upon the frontier are enjoined to search all packages entering the country, and to seize and
44confiscate all outfits, among which this proscribed article shall be found. These regulations are rigidly enforced, and as there are certain great avenues of communication, by which alone, merchandise can he imported into the Indian country it is not difficult to control the arrangements of the traders. These routes are the Mississippi and Missouri, the Fox and Ouisconsin rivers, the Illinois river, the St. Peter's river and the straits of St. Marie. By closing these great natural highways, all entrance into the country beyond is effectually interdicted, and upon or near all of them, military posts are established, where a rigid system of surveillance is maintained. The police of the Indian trade is here in active operation and every security is provided against fraud and oppression, which can be applied in such a complicated and extensive concern.
The cultivated frontier of the United States, with which the Indians are placed in contact, extends from Detroit to Nachitoches, a distance upon this line of fifteen hundred miles. Settlements occur at intervals, of greater or less extent along this whole border. There is nothing to prevent a daily intercourse between the inhabitants and the Indians; and where the passion for spirituous liquors is so strong, and the determination to indulge it at all hazards, so fixed, it is easy to conceive, that opportunities would not be wanting, even were our institutions less free than they are.
A solitary settler, whose nearest neighbor is some miles distant, has little to fear from the operation of a law, whose violation there is none to witness. And this is the difficulty, which has heretofore rendered abortive every exertion wholly to suppress this traffic, in the vicinity of our settlements. The peculiar organization of our government has vested in the United States complete jurisdiction over the Indian country and as we have already seen, their duty has been fearlessly performed, by the enactment of laws to prevent the introduction of spirituous liquors, and by an efficient administration of them. But as soon as the Indian title to any part of this country is extinguished, the jurisdiction of the general government, for all the purposes of internal police, ceases, and that of the proper state or territory commences. All the states and territories upon the western frontier have also passed laws to correct this evil, and why these laws have been less effectual than those passed by Congress, the facts we have stated will fully explain.
During the administration of Mr. Jefferson, that distinguished philanthropist regarded with deep solicitude the condition and prospects of the Indians, and promoted with untiring zeal every measure for their improvement. He addressed a circular letter to the governors of the several states and territories, upon the Indian frontier, respecting this traffic in spirituous liquors; and as this letter discloses the views of the government upon this important subject, we shall insert it below, as another evidence of this ‘exterminating’ policy, as it was exercised twenty years ago; and similar proofs we might adduce even to the ‘fiftieth time,’ if it were necessary
To the judgment of the world we may safely commit the conduct of the American government, in regard to the particulars here touched upon. That full success has not attended their measures, is obviously attributable to the peculiar circumstances which we have examined, circumstances that embarrassed the French government in their efforts to protect the Indians from this deleterious indulgence. The earlier historians of Canada have recorded the edicts and instructions of the French king for preventing ‘la traite d'eau-de-vie,’ et ‘l' yvrognerie Å laquelle ces peuples ont un penchant.’ With what little success, is evident from the whole course of the narrative, and from the reiterated and peremptory interference of
46the government. The true cause of the failure is stated by Charlevoix, who concludes his account of one of these efforts by the just reflection, that ordinary authority acts feebly against certain passions, ‘et que l'intérét de la religion est un motif peu capable de toucher des coeurs dominés par la cupidité!’ On a retrospect of all that has been attempted and effected, it can excite but little surprise, that the American government has but partially succeeded, when the first possessors of Canada, with military authority, an inconsiderable population, and but one avenue of communication with the interior, were unable to suppress this desolating traffic.
But in the actual state of our Indian relations, the missionary establishments for the education of Indian youth, founded and supported by voluntary contributions and aided by an annual appropriation from the national treasury, almost offer an atonement for the past, and certainly strong encouragement for the future. With a full knowledge of all that has heretofore been done, these institutions are proceeding upon more rational principles. And whatever may be the result, of this great and interesting, and we may probably add, final experiment, but one opinion can exist respecting the motives and views of those who are conducting it. Of these establishments there are fortyone in operation, upon the frontiers of the United States. We do not know the number of pupils they contain, but then expenditures were $191,606 in 1824, and $202,070 in 1825. The returns for 1826, we have not seen. They will doubtless exhibit a proportionate increase. When it is recollected, that the value of their own agricultural products, and the labor of their teachers, artisans, and others, which is wholly gratuitous, constitute no part of this amount, some conception may be formed of the value of these eleemosynary foundations. The children, male and female, are here fed, and clothed, and taught, and they are prepared, by a regular discipline for those duties, which subsequent events may probably call them to perform. We shall hazard no predictions concerning the result. Whatever that may be, no holier effort can be found in all the records of human charity.
We shall advert to but one other plan which has been proposed for meliorating the condition of the Indians, and preserving them from further decline and eventual extinction. This is the scheme for removing them to the country west of
47the Mississippi, and there establishing them in a permanent residence. It is well known, that this proposition was submitted by the President to Congress two years since, accompanied by a project of the various arrangements required to give it full effect. It has been slightly discussed in the legislative halls, and more fully in the public papers before the nation; and the general opinion on its practicability and consequences is yet unsettled. All agree, that the expense is unworthy the consideration of the government, and that the only important inquiry is, what effect it would produce upon the Indians themselves. The magnitude of the subject is imposing, and its possible consequences appalling. Doubts and difficulties surround the question, and we do not here introduce it, that we may prejudge or even discuss it. We have brought it before our readers merely as an evidence of the feelings of the American government, and of their earnest desire to discharge with fidelity a great moral debt, which is neither concealed nor denied.
But when has England stretched forth a hand, to stay this wasting pestilence, which is sweeping before it all that time has spared us of the race of red men? The whole continent north of the United States, is under her control. From the gulf of St. Lawrence to Nootka Sound, she exercises undisputed sovereignty. In those extensive regions, many tribes of Indians yet remain, if not with primeval manners, yet with strong claims upon the sympathy of the government and people, who assert and exercise jurisdiction over them. There is here no want of physical wretchedness, or of moral depravity. The climate is rigorous, and the country sterile, and a scanty and precarious subsistence is furnished by the rivers and lakes and forests of these hyperborean regions. The living fountain of depravity has sprung up here, and the white man has presented that poisonous draught, which brings forgetfulness of the past and recklessness of the future; ‘which converts an Indian into a demon, with every baleful passion excited, and every moral barrier prostrated, exhibiting a loathsome spectacle, of which no conception can be formed by those, who have seen only the excesses of civilized life.
Our inquiries, concerning the measures which have been adopted by the British government on this important subject have been direct, and the answers have been brief. To Upper Canada, however, these inquiries have been principally
48fined, because there our opportunities have been most favorable, and because in Lower Canada the original population has almost disappeared. What has been done, no one has told us. What has been left undone, embraces the whole circle of duties, which the relative situation of the parties imposes upon the christian power. There is no law to prevent the sale of spirituous liquors to the Indians; none to prevent persons from hunting and trapping upon the Indian lands. There is no law to prevent the introduction of spirituous liquors in any quantity into the Indian country; or to require Indian traders to be licensed or to give bonds; or to regulate their conduct; but they trade, when, and where, and how they please. No annuities are paid to the Indians; or rather none is known to be paid to them, except in the case we have already mentioned. And in Mr. Halkett's historical notes, respecting the North American Indians, published in 1825, we are told, that ‘in Canada, there is but one regular protestant Indian mission!’
We have not heard, that any plan has been digested or proposed for removing the Indians from any part of the lands they now occupy, where they are peculiarly exposed to temptations and danger, to more remote positions, beyond the reach of the advancing tide of civilized vices and population. Mr. Buchanan has indeed suggested, that the country on the eastern coast of lake Huron should be appropriated as a land of refuge, where these timeworn pilgrims may find rest and safety. But unfortunately for the success of this well intended project, this tract has been purchased by the British government, since the promulgation of Mr. Buchanan's scheme, and the compass and chain are already preparing it for division and sale and settlement.
The reviewer in the Quarterly has also expressed his approbation of this plan of protection and seclusions but his benevolence is not less catholic, than it is disinterested. He proposes, that the Indians, living within the United States, should be received, and protected, and improved in the British dominions. But he shall speak for himself.
‘With us, humanity and policy dictate but one course. As the stream of American population continues to drive the tribes before it, some part of their remaining numbers may be forced northward, within the nominal [?] boundary of our possessions. There the fugitives should find shelter and protection, and opportunities of social improvement. There the remains of the primitive people of that vast continent might yet be collected.’ P. 110.
This is as just as it is generous, for we are assured, that to the Indians, ‘is the preservation of Upper Canada, in the first year of the war, mainly to be attributed.’ (p. 100.) That after these essential services, and after being compelled to abandon the ‘Michigan country, of which it was intended to give them lasting possession,’ (p.78) a district should be assigned for their permanent occupation, would not be unreasonable to expect. And, in the philanthropy evinced by the proposition, we must find an excuse for the total ignorance displayed of the course of Indian migration, which will never be directed towards the arctic regions. But unfortunately, the concluding sentence, by disclosing the true object of it, converts this benevolent scheme into a mere interested defensive preparation.
‘There the remains of the primitive people of this vast continent might yet he collected; and their settlement on the western flank of our cultivated country might form no contemptible barrier and point of support against future aggressions, by which it is idle to suppose, that the Canadas are not yet to be menaced.’
Hapless people! Still destined to fight the battles of others, after your own are fought and lost! You are to become a living bastion on the flank of the Canadian defences! And this after all is the object of the proposition. The Indians are to be concentrated on our boundary, and thence they are to descend upon the cultivated country, as the Goths descended upon Rome, involving in one indiscriminate destruction the monuments and arts of civilized life, and those who reared and cultivated them.
The total absence of all restrictions upon the Indian trade in the British dominions has naturally led to the most revolting scenes. We shall extract from Captain Franklin's narrative a few passages, exhibiting facts, to which nothing similar can be found, from the mouth of the St. Croix to the mouth of the Colombia.
In describing York Factory, the principal establishment of the Hudson's Bay Company, Captain Franklin observes, speaking of the Crees,
‘The inmates had a squalid look, and were suffering under the combined afflictions of the hooping cough and measles: but even these miseries did not keep them from an excessive indulgence in the use of spirits, which they unhappily can procure from the traders with too much facility; and they nightly serenaded us with drunken songs.’ P. 23
‘The tribe of Indians, who reside in the vicinity and frequent these establishments is that of the Crees or Knisteneaux. They were formerly a powerful and numerous nation, which ranged over a very extensive country, and were most successful against their neighbors, particularly the northern Indians, and the tribes on the Saskatchawin and Beaver rivers; but they have long ceased to be held in any fear, and are now perhaps the most harmless and inoffensive of the whole Indian race. This chance is to be (entirely attributed to their intercourse with Europeans [Englishmen ?], and the vast reduction in their numbers, occasioned, I fear, by the injudicious introduction among them of ardent spirits. They are so passionately fond of this poison, that they will make any sacrifices to obtain it.’ p. 50.
‘It might be thought the Crees have benefited by their long intercourse with civilized nations. That this is not so much the case as it ought to be, is not entirely their own fault. They are capable of being and I believe willing to be taught, but no pains have hitherto been taken to inform their minds, and their white acquaintances seem in general to find it easier to descend to the Indian customs and modes of thinking, particularly with respect to women, than to raise the Indians to theirs. Indeed, such a lamentable want of morality has been displayed by the white traders, in their contests for the interest of their respective companies, that it would require a long series of good conduct, to efface from the minds of the native population, the ideas they have formed of the white character.’ p. 59.
‘It often happens,’ says Doctor Richardson, ‘that the meat, which has been paid for, if the poisonous drafts it procures them, can be considered as payment,’ &c.
But the full developement of the principles and practice of this trade will be found in the seventieth page of this work, and to it we must refer all, who are anxious to ascertain what are the effects of this intercourse, where there is no authority to check or restrain it. We cannot introduce into this journal the facts, which are disclosed. But the canon of commercial ethics, by which these shocking scenes are permitted and justified, we shall here quote for the benefit of some future Vattel, who may prepare a code of fur regulations for the ‘republican government.’ ‘The masters and wintering partners of the companies, deemed this criminal indulgence to the vices of their servants, necessary to stimulate them to exertion for the interests of their respective companies.’ And this atrocious principle is thus avowed, not by one of the ‘outsettlers of Kentucky, Ohio, and the other back states,’ but by two great companies, one of
51them constituted by the British crown, sovereigns over an immense country, peopled by many tribes of Indians, and the other exercising actual sovereignty, without any delegated authority, over regions as extensive, and as extensively inhabited. Well may the reviewer in the Quarterly commiserate the late of the Indians, when abandoned to traders like these!
But the contests of these rival companies assumed, at one period, a much more portentous aspect, than the ordinary competition of commercial jealousy. Armaments were prepared, allies engaged, forts captured, and battles fought, by these peltry lord, in open contempt of their government, and to their own everlasting disgrace. Scenes were exhibited to the Indians in that quarter, which never were, and we may proudly say, never can be witnessed in the United States.
52‘These Indians,’ we are told in the pamphlet just referred to ‘are often kept in the forts of the Northwest Company in a state of intoxication, until they are deprived of all they possess.’ (p. 53.) Nor was this civil war terminated, as it should have been, by the efficient interposition of the British government. A proclamation of Sir John Sherbrooke is almost the only public measure, which is known to have been adopted. Some of the parties were apprehended by the exertions of their rivals, and committed to prison at Montreal, but they finally escaped with impunity. Lord Selkirk was understood to be at the head of the Hudson's Bay Company, which was influential in London, and Mr. M'Gillivray, a member of the Council of Lower Canada, was at the head of the Northwest Company, which was equally influential at Quebec. But a union of the rival companies has terminated all these difficulties. The bustle and noise of war have disappeared, and have been succeeded by the calm, still operations of trade. It is a silence, which will not soon be interrupted. It is already becoming the silence of desolation. In those impassable regions, the oppressor and the oppressed are almost severed from the human family, and there are few now to disclose the deeds of the one, or the sufferings of the other. A vague estimate of them may however be formed from the facts before us.
In Captain Franklin's Narrative, there is a full confirmation of these statements, but it appears from his account, that both of the companies, now consolidated into one, are guilty of these nefarious practices. After informing us of the methods by which the Indians are induced to dispose of their furs, and particularly the enticement of spirituous liquors, he adds,
‘Neither has any attention been paid to the original cost of European articles, in fixing the tariff, by which they are sold to the Indians. A coarse butcher knife is one skin, a woolen blanket, or a fathom of coarse cloth, eight, and a fowling piece, fifteen. P. 74.
He has already told us, that a skin in the language of the
53trade, is a beaver skin, and is the standard of value; and we are thus enabled to compute the prices of the articles mentioned, and to form some general conception of the enormous profits of this traffic. The expense of transportation is inconsiderable, when compared with the excessive prices, at which the goods are sold; for the pamphlet before quoted informs us, ‘It is well ascertained, that the conveyance of goods through Hudson's Bay, to the Red River Settlement, is not more expensive, than the conveyance of goods from England to York, in Upper Canada’ (page 67); and again it is said, that ‘these goods are sold at an advance of one thousand per cent. upon the Montreal prices’ (page 40). We are told by M'Kenzie, (Travels, vol. I. page 24,) that thirteen thousand three hundred and sixty-four skins of fine beaver weigh nineteen thousand two hundred and eightythree pounds,‘ giving about one pound and a half as the average weight of each skin. This at five dollars a pound, which is the usual price, would fix the value of a skin at seven dollars and a half. A butcher knife, which probably costs in England 3 Ëd. sterling, would thus sell for seven dollars and a half; a blanket or two yards of coarse cloth, which cost two dollars, would sell for sixty; and a fowling piece, which M'Kenzie (Vol. I. p. 19) says ‘costs no more than twenty-one shillings in Great Britain,’ would sell for one hundred and twelve dollars and a half. We may safely affirm, ‘without fear of contradiction or error,’ that human avarice has never devised a more stupendous system of fraud and rapine, and that a more iniquitous traffic, or one evincing a more utter destitution of ‘all fear of God and regard towards man,’ has never adminisistered to the insatiate thirst for riches. The extracts we have furnished exhibit a full view of this trade. A hunter is enticed in the autumn, to receive, what, in the language of the trade, is called ‘credits,’ or such articles as are essential in the altered condition of the Indians, to the subsistence of his family. With the products of the chase, he is anxious to discharge the debt, but he is allured to another post, and supplied with ardent spirits at ‘one thousand per cent advance,’ till his reason is overpowered, and his little stock dissipated. He is then turned out, with a miserable family about him, and the frigid zone before him.
These are the effects of an unrestrained trade. We have sketched them briefly, but truly. And that the moral degradation of the Indians is not confined to these countries, we have
54the evidence of the anonymous author of the ‘Remarks on the Indians of North America,’ who is understood to be Mr. Bannister, Attorney General of New South Wales, and who says, ‘The Indians in Nova Scotia are perhaps more degenerated than any other tribes.’ (p. 37.) We trust the outsettlers and traders of the back States, will not again be taunted by a British journal with ‘their vicious lives,’ and ‘the poison of ardent spirits,’ until the general character of the Indian trade in the British dominions shall have approximated to the standard, which is established by the laws of the United States, and to which their citizens have approached, if they have not conformed.
The Reviewer dismisses with affected indifference, as we have seen, the question of the employment of the savages by the British government in the late war. ‘Against them, as against us, the Americans had been the real aggressors.’ This pretence of fighting the battles of the Indians is a stale artifice, and one which they themselves well understand, as is sufficiently evinced by their declaration already quoted from Pownall. Mr. Bannister is more candid. He says, ‘Nor must it be forgotten, that Indian hostilities have rarely been carried on in the absence of European instigations.’ (p. 27.) We have no disposition to tax the patience of our readers by investigating the causes of our second war with Great Britain. He, who has yet to learn, that it originated in a series of maritime aggressions, unexampled in duration and extent, must seek it in the history of the times. The hope of possessing Canada had no more influence upon the declaration of war, than the possession of Paris in 1814, by the allies, had upon the origin of the war, which was consummated by that event. In all belligerent operations, injuries are mutually inflicted, until the parties are willing to relinquish the contest, with or without an adjustment of the difficulties, which caused it.
The war with the tribes, here alluded to, was the hostile movement upon the Wabash in 1811, which commenced in the fanatical or political schemes of Tecumthé and his brother, the Shawnese prophet, and was terminated by the battle of Tippacanoe. The Reviewer, with characteristic ignorance, denominates this a furious war with the Indian tribes. It was a very partial affair, in which not a single tribe was engaged. During several preceding years, a fanatical spirit had gone forth among the Indians, of which the Prophet was rather the dupe than the cause. Circumstances, partly the result of his personal
55character, but still more of his situation and associations, gave to his rhapsodies an influence and to his name a celebrity, which the prophets of other tribes have never acquired. But the same phrenzy prevailed through the whole extent of the Indian country, and was felt amid the ice and snow of the polar regions. It was not alone upon the frontiers of the United States, that a prophet appeared to rouse his countrymen, by religious denunciations, to cast away the manufactures of the white man, and to bid the forest resume its empire over his cultivated fields. The disaffected party under the influence of the Prophet, which threatened our frontiers in 1811, before the movements of General Harrison's army, and which was dispersed by his successful operations, was composed of deserters from a few of the tribes. The acknowledged government of each tribe disavowed any participation in their projects. And they were in fact a lawless, predatory band, obeying no common authority, and seeking no rational object.
The Reviewer is either not aware of the fact, or conceals it from his readers, that some of the most important tribes never joined the British interest, but faithfully preserved their friendly relations with the United States. It is usual to consider the Indians as one people, with the same feelings, views, and policy. But they are broken into independent communities, frequently enemies and always rivals, claiming and occupying separate districts of country, and receiving for their cessions separate considerations.
The intercourse of the United States with the Delawares, had been varied and extensive, and they had gradually retired as our settlements advanced, ceding in succession the lands possessed by them; and at the declaration of war, they were established upon White river, an important tributary of the Wabash. They withstood every temptation, and not a Delaware raised a weapon against the United States, during the whole contest.
The Shawnese were also faithful. Their history is involved in much obscurity. Their language is Algonquin, and closely allied to the Kickapoo and other dialects, spoken by tribes, who have certainly lived for ages north of the Ohio. But they are known to have recently emigrated from the south, where they were surrounded by a family of tribes, Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, &c. with whose language their own had no known affinity. Their traditions assign to them a foreign origin, and
56a wild story has come down to them of a solemn procession to the brink of the ocean, and of a miraculous passage through the great deep. That they are closely connected with the Kickapoos, the actual identity of language furnishes irrefragable proof, and the incidents of the separation yet live in the oral history of each tribe. We are strongly inclined to believe, that not long before the arrival of the French upon the great lakes, the Kickapoos and Shawnese composed the tribe, known as the Erie; living on the southern shore of the Lake, to which they have given their name. It is said, that this tribe was exterminated by the victorious Iroquois. But it is more probable, that a series of disasters divided them into two parties, one of which, under the name of Kickapoos, sought refuge from their enemies in the immense prairies between the Illinois and Mississippi, and the other under the name of Shawnese fled into the Cherokee country, and thence farther south. Father Sagard in 1632, called the Eries, the nation du chat, or of the raccoon, on account of the magnitude of those animals in their country; and that is the soubriquet, which to this day is applied by the Canadians to the Shawnese. But however this may be the tribe itself, like the Delawares, had been migratory, and had removed its council fire from place to place, as the white man advanced to extinguish it. They, too, had made important cessions, and occupied the country at the sources of the great Miami. Their relations with the United States were scrupulously preserved; but Tecumthé and the Prophet, instigated by personal ambition, abandoned their brethren, and with a little party of seceders, estimated in the Quarterly at half a score,’
The Miamies had long been stationary in the country between Lake Michigan and the Ohio, and had yielded to the United States, for valuable returns, valuable tracts of country. At the commencement of the war, and for some months afterwards, they adhered to their engagements, and forty of their warriors accompanied William Wells, who was sent to conduct the garrison of Chicago to Fort Wayne. When our operations in the northwest were palsied by imbecility, and one disaster seemed to make way for another, this tribe yielded to the combined effects of threats and promises, and accepted the tomahawk, which was tendered to them by the British officers.
The Senecas, who also occupied a portion of the country, south of Lake Erie, were a shoot from the main stem in New York. They preserved their integrity with honorable firmness.
The history of the Wyandots, we shall presently examine. We have here but to remark, that their claims extended over important sections of the country, and that they were parties to various treaties, by which the American government had acquired extensive jurisdiction. The great body of the tribe resided upon the Sandusky river, and there its legitimate government was established. Neither people nor government abandoned their friends, nor forgot their duties.
These were the tribes upon our frontier, with whom our relations had been most complicated, and they were the tribes, who evinced the strongest disposition to remain neutral, or to join us in the contest.
The Chippewas, Ottawas, and Potawatomies are more closely connected, than any other tribes. They have one council fire, and almost an identity of interest. The Chippewas extend from Lake Erie far to the north and west, and their different bands have no common point of union, but manage their concerns like independent tribes. Those in the peninsula of Michigan are associated with the Ottawas and Potawatomies, and previously to the war of 1812, not an acre of the country belonging to these tribes, had ever been occupied by the United States. The settlements were confined to the districts, acquired by their predecessors, French and British, and although a cession of territory had been made in 1807, yet not a white man had settled upon it, and the entire usufruct was in the Indians. The northern Chippewas, the Menomonies, the Winebagoes, and the Sioux, who are enumerated in the Quarterly as active allies, and who probably constituted three fourths of the British savage force, had never been brought into contact with the American government, nor ever ceded to it the smallest portion of their lands. Nor to this day has a rood of their country been bought, or claimed, or settled, or occupied. The little insulated communities at Green Bay and Praire du Chien are now, as they were at the capitulation of Montreal.
What then becomes of the pretext, that the Indians engaged in this war ‘for the preservation of their territory?’ When, in fact, those, who had ceded most, were most anxious to remain at peace. And when those, who had ceded nothing, and who
58will for ages cede nothing, clutched the tomahawk with as little scruple as it was presented. Was it a provident regard for the future, that dictated to the aboriginal politicians the necessity of providing for events, which, if they ever come, must come when some mighty physical revolution shall render the southern coast of Lake Superior and the table land of the Mississippi pleasant residences for civilized man? Such prospective wisdom is rarely found among the Indians. It would disclose, not a mere trait of character, but a new feature of human nature, if these improvident beings, with whom the past is forgotten and the future contemned, and whose whole existence is absorbed in the present, should encounter the United States in war, lest their country might be sold after the lapse of centuries.
But it is felt, that some justification is necessary for this union of St. George's cross and the Indian Kukewium,
We shall now proceed to examine another subject, which may properly be considered in this place.
‘The surrender of Hull,’ says the Quarterly, ‘had been shortly preceded by the accession of the tribe of Wyandots or Huron
Indians, to our alliance. Inhabiting the banks of the Detroit river or strait, these people form a singular exception to the degeneracy, which usually attends the intercourse of the Indians with the whites. The Wyandots have all the energy of the savage warrior, with the intelligence and docility of civilized troops. They are christians,’ &c. p. 103.
As the occurrence, here mentioned, forms no uninteresting episode, and developes the system of operations, by which the Indian alliance was secured, we shall give the history of the transaction, as we know it happened.
Charlevoix long since described the Wyandots as ‘the nation of all Canada, the most remarkable for its defects and virtues.’ When Jacques Cartier ascended the St. Lawrence, he found them established near Hochelega, now Montreal; and when Champlain entered the same river, their war with the Iroquois had already commenced, and that enterprising officer accompanied one of their parties in a hostile expedition against their enemies. The events of that war were most disastrous, and they were driven from their country to the northern shore of Lake Huron. But distance afforded no security, and the Iroquois pursued them with relentless fury. Famine, disease, and war made frightful havoc among them, and the accounts of their sufferings, given by the old missionaries, who witnessed and shared them, almost task the belief of the reader. They were literally hunted from their resting place, and the feeble remnant of this once powerful and haughty tribe owed their preservation to the protection of the Sioux, in whose country, west of Lake Superior, they found safety and tranquillity. In a few years, however, the power of the Iroquois was crippled by their wars with the French, and the Wyandots descended Lake Superior, and occupied the land about old Michilimackinac. When the French fort at Detroit was first established in 1701, this tribe was invited to settle in its vicinity, and their services were important in resisting the hostile operations, which the Foxes long conducted against the infant colony. Their final migration was to the plains of Sandusky, and here they resided, when the ill fated expedition of Crawford was consummated by his horrible sacrifice at the stake.
This tribe is at the head of the great Indian family. How this preeminence was acquired, there is none now to tell. They were the guardians of the great council fire, and they alone had the privilege of sending their messengers, with the well
60known credentials, wampum and tobacco, to summon the other tribes to meet their uncle, the Wyandot, when any important subject required general deliberation. In the calamities, occasioned by the victorious career of the Iroquois, the site of this fire had been often changed, but always with the prescribed ceremonial, and with proper notice to all, who had a right to convene around it. In 1812, the fire was at Brownstown, at the mouth of the Detroit river; but it was extinguished in blood. And the whole institution has now disappeared, and will soon be remembered only in the traditionary stories, which it is the province of age to repeat, and of youth to learn.
The Wyandots are divided into seven bands or tribes. There are three Turtle tribes; namely, the Little Turtle, the Water Turtle, and the Large Land Turtle tribes; the Porcupine tribe, the Deer tribe, the Bear tribe, and the Snake tribe. Their offices are in form elective, but in reality hereditary, and the succession is through the female line. A chief is succeeded by his sister's son, or by the nearest male relative in that descent. There was formerly a great chief, called Sarstaritzee, and by the English the Half King. But the office, not being suitable to the declining fortunes of the Wyandots, has been abolished. A peace chief is at the head of each tribe, and the chief of the Porcupine tribe is now the acknowledged head of the nation. The seven chiefs are called the counsellors, and they constitute the actual government of the Wyandots.
In 1812, Tarhé or the Crane, an aged and venerable man, was the principal chief of the Porcupine tribe of the Wyandot nation. He lived at Upper Sandusky, about one hundred miles from the mouth of the Detroit river, and there he was surrounded by his counsellors, and by almost all his people. A small party, amounting to about sixty persons, including men, women, and children, lived upon the River Aux Canards near Malden, in Canada, and another party of about two hundred and fifty persons, lived on the American shore of the Detroit river, nearly opposite the British post at its mouth. Such was the distribution of the Wyandot nation at the declaration of war in 1812.
When the Crane became satisfied, that a war between the United States and Great Britain was inevitable, he directed the proper measures to be taken for convening a general council at Brownstown; and alarmed at the situation of his own people,
he attended in person with his confidential counsellor, Between-the-logs, and with the principal Shawnese chief, Black-hoof. At this council the Wyandots were asked by the Potawatomies, Chippewas, and Ottawas, whether they intended to take hold of the British hatchet, which was offered to them. Walk-in-the-water, who was at the head of the Wyandots on the American side of the river Detroit, and was the chief speaker of the nation, answered; ‘No, we will not take up the hatchet against our father the Long-knife. Our two fathers are about to fight, but we red men have no concern in their quarrel, and it is best for us to sit still, and remain neutral.’ This advice was generally approved; but the result of the council having been communicated to the British authorities, immediate measures were taken to counteract a decision so adverse to their hopes. A council was convened at Malden, which was attended by the chiefs of the various tribes in the vicinity. Elliott, the Indian agent, and the British commanding officer were present. The former demanded of the Wyandots, whether they had advised the other tribes to remain neutral. To this, Walk-in-the-water answered; ‘We have, and we believe it is best for us, and for our brethren. We have no wish to be involved in a war with our father, the Long-knife, for we know by experience, that we have nothing to gain by it, and we beg our father, the British, not to force us to war. We remember, in the former war between our fathers, the British and the Long-knife, we were both defeated, and we the red men lost our country; and you, our father, the British, made peace with the Long-knife, without our knowledge, and you gave our country to him. You still said to us, my children, you must fight for your country, for the Long-knife will take it from you. We did as you advised us, and we were defeated with die loss of our best chiefs and warriors, and of our land. And we still remember your conduct towards us, when we were defeated at the foot of the rapids of the Miami. We sought safety for our wounded in your fort. But what was your conduct? You closed your gates against us, and we had to retreat the best way we could. And then we made peace with the Americans, and have enjoyed peace with them ever since. And now you wish us, your red children, again to take up the hatchet against our father, the Long-knife. We say again, we do not wish to have any thing to do with the war. Fight your own battles, but let us, your red children, enjoy peace.’
Elliott here interrupted the speaker, and said; ‘That is American talk, and I shall hear no more of it. If you do not stop, I will direct my soldiers to take you and the chiefs, and keep you prisoners, and will consider you as our enemies.’ Walk-in-the-water then took his seat, to consult the other chiefs, and Round-head, who had openly espoused the British interest, and who was the chief of the small party of Wyandots living in Canada, immediately rose, and said; ‘Father, listen to your children. You say, that the talk just delivered by my friend Walk-in-the-water, is American talk, and that you cannot hear any more of it; and if persisted in, you will take the chiefs prisoners, and treat them as enemies. Now hear me. I am a chief, and am acknowledged to be such. I speak the sentiments of the chiefs of the tribes, assembled round your council fire. I now come forward, and take hold of your war hatchet, and will assist you to fight against the Americans!’ He was followed by Tecumthé and the Prophet, and by two Wyandot chiefs, Worrow and Split-log, the former residing in Canada, and the latter in the United States. Walk-in-the-water, and his associates, still declined the invitation. Elliott then arose and said; ‘My children, I am now well pleased at what you have done; that you have accepted the hatchet of your British father, and are willing to assist him in fighting against the Americans. As for these men, my friend Walk-in-the-water, and the others, I shall bring them and their people to this side of the river, where I can have them under my own eye, for they are in my way at Brownstown.’
Walk-in-the-water made no reply, but left the council house, and recrossed the river, to communicate the result to the Crane. Apprehensive for his personal safety, the old chief and his attendants instantly left Brownstown, and returned to their people at Upper Sandusky. A detachment of the British troops, under the command of Captain Muir, with a party of the militia under Captain Caldwell, amounting to about three hundred men, accompanied by Round-head and Tecumthé, with two hundred Indians, crossed the river the same night. They surrounded and took prisoners, the Brownstown Wyandots, and compelled them to embark in their boats. They were then carried to Malden. A few days before this occurrence, this party had sent a deputation to the American general at Detroit, at the head of which was Walk-in-the-water, representing their exposed condition, and requesting that a block
63house might be erected at Brownstown for their defence. Why this obviously useful measure was not adopted, we cannot tell. The proposition evinces the earnest desire of the party to be protected in their neutrality. And this is the ‘sagacity’ displayed by the tribes, who ‘hastened’ to join the British troops.
But we shall develope the whole progress of this Wyandot ‘alliance,’ as the incidents, connected with it, reflect much light upon the secret management of Indian ‘cooperation.’
About a year after this forced ‘accession,’ the Crane proposed to General Harrison, who was then encamped with his army at Seneca, that a formal embassy should be sent by the Wyandots, to their brethren in the British camp, and to all the Indians, who adhered to the British cause, advising them to consult their true interest, and retire to their own country. The proposition was approved by General Harrison, and the Crane was requested to take such measures, as appeared most proper to give it effect.
Between-the-logs was appointed the ambassador, and a small escort of eight warriors, commanded by Skootash, the principal war chief of the nation, was selected to accompany him. Two speeches were sent by the Crane, one to be delivered privately to his own people, and the other publicly to the British Indians.
The Wyandot embassy arrived at Brownstown in safety, and the following morning a general council assembled to hear the message from their uncle. The multitude was prodigious, and Elliott and McKee, the British agents, were present. We have been told, that Between-the-logs arose in the midst of this host of enemies, and delivered with unshaken firmness the following speech from the Crane, which had been entrusted to him.
‘Brothers, the red men, who are engaged in fighting for the British king, listen! These words are from me, Tarhé, and they are also the words of the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawnese, and Senecas.’
‘Our American father has raised his war pole, and collected a large army of his warriors. They will soon march to attack the British. He does not wish to destroy his red children, their wives, and families. He wishes you to separate yourselves from the British, and bury the hatchet you have raised. He will be merciful to you. You can then return to your own
lands, and hunt the game, as you formerly did. I request you to consider your situation, and act wisely in this important matter; and not wantonly destroy your own people. Brothers, whoever feels disposed to accept this advice will come forward and take hold of this belt of wampum, which I have in my hand and offer to you. I hope you will not refuse to accept it in presence of your British father, for you are independent of him. Brothers, we have done, and we hope you will decide wisely.’
Not a hand moved to accept the offered pledge of peace. The spell was too potent to be broken by charms like these; but Round-head arose, and addressed the embassy.
‘Brothers, the Wyandots from the Americans, we have heard your talk, and will not listen to it. We will not forsake the standard of our British father, nor lay down the hatchet we have raised. I speak the sentiments of all now present, and I charge you, that you faithfully deliver our talk to the American commander, and tell him it is our wish he would send more men against us, for all that has passed between us, I do not call fighting. We are not satisfied with the number of men he sends to contend against us. We want to fight in good earnest.’
Elliott then spoke. ‘My children; as you now see that my children here are determined not to forsake the cause of their British father, I wish you to carry a message back with you. Tell my wife, your American father, that I want her to cook the provisions for me and my red children, more faithfully than she has done. She has not done her duty. And if she receives this as an insult, and feels disposed to fight, tell her to bring more men, than she ever brought before, as our former skirmishes I do not call fighting. If she wishes to fight with me and my children, she must not burrow in the earth like a ground hog, where she is inaccessible. She must come out and fight fairly.’
To this, Between-the-logs replied, ‘Brothers, I am directed by my American father to inform you, that if you reject the advice given you, he will march here with a large army, and if he should find any of the red people opposing him in his passage through this country, he will trample them under his feet. You cannot stand before him.’
‘And now for myself, I earnestly entreat you to consider the good talk I have brought, and listen to it. Why would you
devote yourselves, your women, and your children, to destruction? Let me tell you, if you should defeat the American army this time, you have not done. Another will come on, and if you defeat that, still another will appear, that you cannot withstand; one that will come like the waves of the great water, and overwhelm you, and sweep you from the face of the earth. If you doubt the account I give of the force of the Americans, you can send some of your people, in whom you have confidence, to examine their army and navy. They shall be permitted to return in safety. The truth is, your British father tells you lies, and deceives you. He boasts of the few victories he gains, but he never tells you of his defeats, of his armies being slaughtered, and his vessels taken on the big water. He keeps all these things to himself.’
‘And now, father, let me address a few words to you. Your request shall be granted. I will bear your message to my American father. It is true, none of your children appear willing to forsake your standard, and it will be the worse for them. You compare the Americans to ground hogs, and complain of their mode of fighting. I must confess, that a ground hog is a very difficult animal to contend with. He has such sharp teeth, such an inflexible temper, and such an unconquerable spirit, that he is truly a dangerous enemy, especially when he is in his own hole. But, father, let me tell you, you can have your wish. Before many days, you will see the ground hog come floating on yonder lake, paddling his canoe towards your hole; and then, father, you will have an opportunity of attacking your formidable enemy in any way, you may think best.’
This speech terminated the proceedings of the council. All the Indians, except the Wyandots, dispersed, and they secretly assembled to hear the message sent to them by their own chief.
Governments frequently preserve their forms, long after essential changes occur in their institutions, and the Turkish edicts are yet dated from the Imperial stirrup, although the successors of Amurath have long since exchanged the camp for the seraglio. The Crane's message was a peremptory mandate, evincing in its manner, that the time has been, when sterner authority was exercised by the Wyandot chiefs, than they would now assume, or the warriors obey.
The Wyandots were directed to quit Skorah
This message was faithfully delivered to the Wyandots, and produced its full effect upon them. They requested Between-the-logs to inform the Crane, that they were in fact prisoners, but that they had taken firm hold of his belt of wampum, and would not fire another gun. They promised that on the advance of the American army, they would quit the British troops, as soon as it was safe to take that decisive measure. And such in fact was the result. When Proctor left the country, his Wyandot allies abandoned him, a few miles from the mouth of the River Tranche and retired into the forest. Thence they sent a message to General Harrison, imploring his mercy.
But this formal interposition of the tribe, which has stood for ages at the head of the great Indian confederacy, produced an excitement, visible and menacing. To counteract it, the usual means were employed, and the embassy was directed to leave the country instantly. So apprehensive were their friends, that even the sacred character attached to them, would not protect them from the machinations of Elliott, that a party of the warriors accompanied them, some miles on their return. No sinister accident however occurred.
‘A watchful care and a fortunate degree of influence over our Indian allies, prevented the infliction of such enormities in the
Canadian war, and after the moment of slaughter in action, the Indians yielded their prisoners to our ransom.’ p. 100.
‘And the exertions of our officers which so generally obtained quarter for the prisoners, who fell into their hands,’ &c. p. 102.
‘It was customary for the British to secure the lives of prisoners by paying head money for every American delivered up in safety by the Indians.’ P. 106.
‘A watchful care and fortunate degree of influence!’ Never have public and notorious facts been so openly contemned. The writer of this article could not have known the extensive circulation of the journal, in which his misrepresentations have been embodied. He could not have known, that it would reach those, who had heard the Indian war whoop; who had seen these atrocious cruelties, which yet flit, like pale spectres, across the memory. This affectation of mercy, and of merciful exertions, we shall proceed to expose, and to reveal some of the horrible enormities which are here passed over.
We have already seen the official account in the Quebec Gazette, of the four or five hundred men, who were slaughtered by the Indians at the battle of the River Raisin in 1813, because they attempted to effect their escape. This account is signed by Edmund Baynes, Adjutant General, and there is inserted in it the following complimentary notice. ‘The Indian chief, Round-head, with his band of warriors, rendered essential service by his bravery and good conduct.’ But the most authentic evidence yet exists, of the barbarities, which were perpetrated upon the prisoners taken in this ‘brilliant
68action.’ We shall introduce a part of it here, and leave to our readers to judge for themselves, of the ‘watchful care, and fortunate degree of influence,’ which are thus loudly proclaimed to the world. The facts which we are about to quote, were taken at the time from eye witnesses under oath, whose names are attached to their testimony.
‘Joseph Robert says, that on the next day after the battle on the River Raisin, a short time after sunrise, he saw the Indians kill the American prisoners with their tomahawks; that the Indians set the houses on fire, and that in going out, the prisoners were massacred and killed as aforesaid; that is; three were shot, the others were killed in the houses and burned in the houses.’
‘Antoine Boulard says, that on the next day after the last battle at the River aux Raisins, he saw the Indians kill the Secretary of the American General, who was on the horse of the Indian who had taken him prisoner, with a rifle shot; that the prisoner fell on one side, and an Indian came forward with a sabre, finished him, scalped him, and carried away his clothes. The body remained two days on the high way, before the door of the deponent.’
‘Louis Bernard states the same fact, respecting the massacre of the Secretary of the American General, and also, "that on the next day after the battle, I was near the house of Gabriel Godfrey, Junior, and the house of Jean Baptiste Jereaume, where a great number of prisoners were collected, and that I heard the screaming of the prisoners, whom the Indians were tomahawking; that the savages set the houses on fire,’"&c.
Ensign Baker was left by General Winchester to take care of the prisoners, and in his report, of these outrages, after stating the names of many whom he knew to have been killed by the Indians subsequently to the battle, adds,
‘Many fresh scalps have been brought in since the battle, and dead bodies seen through the country, which proves that others have been killed whose names I have not been able to find out, independent of those reported to Colonel Proctor.’
‘The fifteen or eighteen mentioned in the remarks to the return made to Colonel Proctor, whose names do not appear, were not known by those who saw them killed.’
‘For the greatest number of our unfortunate fellow citizens being sent from Detroit, we are indebted to the exertions of our
fellow citizens there, who with unexampled generosity,’ &c. ‘lavished their wealth for their ransom.’
‘Hubert Lacroix deposes, that on the day succeeding the massacre at the River Raisin, he was proceeding from the battle ground of the preceding day to Sandy Creek in company with another person, and on arriving near the creek, their attention was attracted by violent screams, apparently of same one in extreme terror or agony, issuing from a house near them. After hesitating a moment, they cautiously approached the house and looked in, when they saw standing in the middle of the room a wounded American soldier, bound hand and foot and tied to a stake. Bundles of straw were attached to him, as high as his breast, and around him, singing a death song, were dancing a number of Indians, with lighted torches in their hands, with which at short intervals, they kindled the straw around the prisoner. The next morning the deponent saw the dead body of the prisoner, mangled and half burned, lying in the door yard before the house, where it had been thrown by the Indians, as soon as death had put a period to their tortures.’
To this we might add the mass of testimony presented to a committee of the House of Representatives appointed to examine the subject, and all tending to confirm the same shocking facts; as well as innumerable proofs from other quarters. But we forbear. These details are as afflicting to us as they can be to our readers, and we shall therefore only refer to the massacres, which followed the surrender of Colonel Dudley's detachment on the north side of the Miami on the 5th of May, 1813. The particulars will be found in the public journals of the times.
But we here terminate this recital of horrors, and pass by the conflagrations and murders, which studded our exposed frontier with burning dwellings and mangled corpses, from Lake Erie to the gulf of Mexico.
‘It was customary,’ says the Quarterly again, ‘for the British to secure the lives of the prisoners, by paying head money for
every American delivered up in safety by the Indians; and this measure was generally successful.’ Pp. 105, 106.
We shall probe this matter to the bottom. The war was commenced in June, 1812, and the cooperation of the British and Indians was confined almost exclusively to the northwestern frontier. The services of the Indians upon the Niagara and St. Lawrence were scarcely felt, and certainly produced no effect upon the operations of the war. Incursions were made upon our territory, in that quarter, in a few instances only, and mere were no aggressions there to mark the ‘alliance.’ The surrender of Detroit opened our whole frontier to the enemy, and it required the most vigorous exertions for many months to retrieve the effects of this unlocked for disaster. During this period, Winchester's troops were defeated at the River Raisin, Fort Meigs was twice besieged, and an attempt was made to carry Lower Sandusky, by a coup de main. This last attack was made on the 2d of August, 1813, and it terminated the offensive operations of the British in this quarter. General Harrison had been embodying and disciplining his troops, and collecting all the necessary matériel, preparatory to those vigorous measures, which were eventually so honorable to himself, and so useful to his country. Proctor retreated from Sandusky, without capturing a single prisoner, and of course without the opportunity of ‘ransoming’ any. The Moravian Towns on the river Tranche were the next place, where he saw the American troops, and here his force was annihilated, and his Indian allies scattered like leaves before the blast. This authority to pay head money was first given in a general order issued by Sir George Provost, dated at Kingston, July 20th, 1813.
‘With a view to soften and restrain the Indian warriors in their conduct towards such Americans, as may be made by them prisoners of war, his Excellency is pleased to approve of the following arrangements, submitted by that board, and directs that the same be acted on, namely,’ among other things, ‘for head money upon prisoners of war, brought in by Indians, allowance should be made to them for each prisoner brought in alive of FIVE DOLLARS! ’
After the war had WÅbeshÅ existed more than a year, and unheard of barbarities had been inflicted upon our captured troops, and the storm, which at last overwhelmed the British army in the northwest, was gathering and approaching, this order appears.
71The proffered reward never saved a single human being; and for the most conclusive of all reasons, because not a human being was taken by the Indians after its promulgation. The massacres we have related, all occurred before this humane attempt ‘to soften and restrain the Indian warriors.’ And this effect is to be produced by a gratuity of five dollars! Not enough as we have seen, to buy a butcher knife! The hand of the warrior, in the excitement of battle, is to be stayed by this paltry sum! The miserable victim of savage caprice is to be protected during the paroxysms of fury and intoxication, to which he is exposed in the camps and villages of the Indians, by the cupidity of his master, who is to receive five dollars! We ask seriously, how much more was given for the dead scalp, than the living head? Let those answer, who can. For ourselves, we know, that every successful war party, on its return, was taken to the public store, and profusely supplied with clothing and other necessary articles.
We shall now introduce unquestionable evidence to show, that so far from any real attempt to soften and restrain the Indians, the citizens of die subjugated Territory of Michigan, were actually prohibited by the British authorities from rescuing their suffering countrymen, by purchasing them of the Indians.
72effoct upon the active operations, in which he was engaged; while others will seek a solution in his personal character, and in the policy of inspiring his enemies with terror.
But whatever doubt there may be respecting the motive, there is none of the fact. It is as well known as any other occurrence, which marked the dark year of British domination in Michigan, and now constitutes part of her history.
But there is another document, which we have seen, and which was never intended for an American eye, that affords a practical commentary upon this plan of ‘softening and restraining the Indian warriors.’ It was an original letter from General Brock to Proctor, apparently in the handwriting of the former, and dated the day preceding his death. It was found among the papers of Proctor, which were captured after the action at the Moravian Towns, and was first discovered by Lieutenant Norton, Aid de camp to the general officer, who then commanded upon that frontier, and was generally read by the officers. The purport of this letter was as follows.
‘You say you had thoughts of using the force under your command to restrain the Indians from committing depredations on the inhabitants. The person or persons who have advised you to a course of this kind, cannot be friendly to our government. I would advise you to beware of them. This species of force is necessary to us, and they must be indulged.’
The pretended ‘butcheries,’ ‘massacres,’ and ‘murders,’ after the actions at Tippecanoe, the Massasinewa, and the Moravian Towns, are vile fabrications. We use strong terms, but the following letter from the able general, who personally commanded in two of those actions, and by whose orders the expedition was undertaken, which led to the other, will prove that the terms are no stronger than the circumstances fairly justify.’
‘SIR, -- In answer to your inquiries respecting the statement in the sixtyfirst Number of the London Quarterly Review of the murders committed by the American troops upon the Indians, after the battles of Tippecanoe and at the Moravian Towns, and at the attack upon the Indian settlements in the autumn of 1812, alluding, I presume, to Colonel Campbell's expedition to the Massasinewa, I have to state that the entire account is a base calumny, unsupported by the slightest testimony, and wholly and absolutely false.’
‘Not an indian woman, nor child, living or dead, was seen at or subsequent to the battle at the Moravian Towns. They had all
been secreted in the forest, before the approach of the American troops, nor was one of them discovered by us. Nor was a wounded Indian warrior left upon the field. Agreeably to the uniform custom of the Indians, all who were not killed, were removed by them, and the situation of the army, and the nature of the country forbade all pursuit.’
‘Colonel Campbell, in his attack upon an Indian town, the day preceding the action at the Massasinewa, killed seven Indian warriors and captured thirtyseven men, women, and children. The next morning he was himself attacked, and after a vigorous contest, the Indians were repulsed with considerable loss. During this action his prisoners were protected, and not one of them was injured. They were all brought in safety to the settlements, except some who were dismissed with messages to the Indians. An Indian child was carried by Colonel Ball, the second in command, upon his horse, and his life was thus preserved.’
‘At Tippecanoe our troops were attacked by the Indians, who occupied a formidable position in a fortified town, near the site of our encampment. The attack was made before day on the morning of November 7th, 1811, and after the Indians were repulsed, they retired to their town, and thence they sought secrecy and security in the forest. The American troops did not enter the town till the eighth, when it was found wholly abandoned except by one old decrepid squaw, who was supplied with provisions and left unharmed. Not an Indian family was seen during the whole expedition. Two wounded Indian warriors were taken, both of whom were carefully attended. One of them died on the following day, and the other, a distinguished Potawatomie chief, was left on the ground, at his own earnest request, with every thing necessary to his comfort. He was found by his friends a few hours after our army had commenced its retrograde march. He lived some weeks after, but died from an attempt to amputate his wounded leg with a tomahawk. I had offered to have this operation performed by the army surgeons, but he could not be prevailed on to have it done. These two warriors and the squaw were the only living Indians seen subsequent to the battle.’
I am, &c.
W. H. HARRISON.
Our testimony is feeble and useless after this decisive refutation, but we cannot refrain from saying, that the statement of General Harrison respecting the battle at the Moravian Towns is in coincidence with our distinct recollection.
As to what is said of ‘the more recent and authorized horrors of General Jackson's Seminole war,’ which Mr. Buchanan declares, ‘he has deemed it prudent to omit in his work,’ we
74suppose it refers to the execution of Arbuthnot and Ambrister, and of the Indian Prophet, who instigated his countrymen to war. The following observations are annexed in the form of a note to the words just quoted. ‘It is curious to connect this caution on Mr. Buchanan's part with the assurance which almost immediately follows on the same page, that "the kindness and civility, which he has experienced from all ranks in the United States, he shall ever be ready to acknowledge." And this, too, is prudence.’ We confess, that we comprehend the meaning of Mr. Buchanan, as little as we do the point of the note. His Majesty's consul will never meet the fate, nor obtain the crown of martyrdom, if his other virtues be not more strongly tempted, than was his prudence here. Certainly he could not mean to insinuate that there was any danger, either to his person or to his social intercourse in the examination of a transaction, whose details had been published in every newspaper, and discussed in every political circle in the Union; which had formed the subject of inquiry in the Senate and House of Representatives, and upon which a committee in each of those bodies had reported unfavorably; and which had furnished matter for a serious diplomatic correspondence between our government and the British and Spanish authorities.
To this correspondence we may safely refer all, who have yet any interest in investigating the occurrences of the Seminole campaign, and the conduct of the commanding General. With many it has been a triumphant vindication, and with others a satisfactory justification; and all have felt the force of the argument, and acknowledged the perspicacity of the writer on the part of the United States. General Jackson is no favorite with the English journalists, nor is it natural he should be, till the affair of New Orleans can be forgotten. His fame must rest upon the affections of his countrymen, and upon his own splendid achievements. They are proud and durable monuments.
We shall now examine some of the other facts, stated in this article. They are, perhaps, not very important, but as they were thought worth fabricating, they are worth refurting. ‘For these truths,’ says the Quarterly, ‘we will pledge ourselves.’ (p. 100.) How indiscreedy this pledge has been given, and how tardily it will be redeemed, we shall presently see.
‘Every man who has served in that country, can attest the fact, that the Kentuckians invariably carry the tomahawk and scalping
knife into action, and are dexterous in using them. It is well authenticated, that the first scalp taken in the late war, was torn from the head of a lifeless Indian by the teeth of a captain in the American service. This wretch, whose name was McCulloch, was killed in a skirmish on the 5th of August, 1812, and in his rocket was found a letter to his wife, boasting, that on the 15th of the preceding month, a few days after the opening of the war, when an Indian had been killed on the river Canard, and was found scalped, he had performed the exploit.’ p. 102.
The character of the Kentuckians is beyond the reach of tirades like this. We know them well. They are generous, hospitable, high spirited, and patriotic; fearing nothing and regarding nothing in the heat of battle; but kind and humane when the battle is over. Their exertions and those of their sister state, Ohio, in support of the late war, will be recorded among the proudest events of American history. Their citizens voluntarily joined the standard of their country at New Orleans and on the northern shore of lake Erie.
Every hunter or woodsman carries a knife, whenever his occupations lead him into the forest. It is as necessary to him as his rifle and blanket. Without it, he could not skin and dress his game, nor strike his fire, nor cut a stick, nor prepare for encampment, nor divide his victuals, nor perform the thousand offices, where such an instrument is required. But this writer probably supposed, that every night, a comfortable table, with its knives and forks, and other apparatus, is spread for the citizen soldier, who mounts his horse at the summons of his country, and is soon lost to all but himself and his companions, in the everlasting solitude of pathless forests. Here, his roof is the heavens, his pillow a saddle, his bed a blanket, a pointed stick his only culinary utensil, and his knife the only manual instrument. And how long is it, since similar implements were carried by the Highlanders, and since ‘the clanking of knives and forks, lifted from the table, above the salt, and drawn from the sheath below it,’ was heard at Highland dinners? And these hardy mountaineers, and we speak it seriously, were as likely to scalp their living companions, as the Kentuckians to inflict outrages upon a dead or dying savage. It may be, that such gross violations of decency and humanity were committed. Individual passions cannot always be restrained, but the man and the deed would be reprobated, as generally and as vehemently in Kentucky as in London,
The story of the first scalp torn from the head of an Indian by Captain McCulloch, we shall tell in few words. The first scalp taken during the late war between the United States and Great Britain, was torn from the head of a British soldier by an Indian in the British service, and carried to Malden, we presume for the customary reward. For this fact, we can appeal to the gallant General Miller, to Colonel Snelling, and other living officers, to whom the occurrences, which we shall relate, are well known.
Soon after General Hull crossed the Detroit river, a detachment was ordered to advance towards Maiden, and observe the position of the enemy. A British party was stationed to protect the bridge over the River aux Canards, and when the American detachment arrived near that river, one company was directed to advance along the road, concealing as long as possible their approach, and to fire upon the British party, as soon as they discovered the main body of the detachment in the rear. To attain a position in the rear, the river was crossed a few miles above the bridge, and when the advancing detachment was descried, the British party was attacked, and instantly fled. The sentinel upon the bridge was killed, and another man wounded; and from this simple occurrence, where there was almost no fighting, and certainly no resistance, Sir George Provost favored the world with a specimen of military fanfaronade, to which no equal can be found except in Hudibras. His order is dated August 6th, 1812, and in it, he talks of the ‘heroism and self devotion displayed by two privates, who being left as sentinels, when the party, to which they belonged, retired, continued to maintain their situation against the whole of the enemy's force, until they both fell, when one of them, again raising himself, opposed with his bayonet those advancing upon him, till he was overwhelmed by numbers,’ &c. The soldier, who was killed, was buried near the spot, and as soon as the detachment retired, he was disinterred by the Indians, and his scalp taken off and carried to Malden.
McCulloch had in early life been taken prisoner by the Indians. Their manners and habits were familiar to him, and he had married a half Wyandot woman. He was employed as one of the guides of General Hull's army, and when that army reached Detroit, he voluntarily crossed over to Canada, anxious, no doubt, to participate in scenes, which recalled the
77incidents of his early youth. He remained with the army but a few days, and was killed on his return. We believe he shot an Indian in a skirmish, while in Canada, and, without however knowing the fact, we may well admit, that he scalped him. He had often fought with the Indians, and his memory was stored with many a tale of their barbarities, and his passions excited to revenge them. The dental tearing of the scalp, is doubtless a gratuitous ornament of the writer of this article, to place the story in bolder relief. Was this too in the letter, or was the narrator present to witness an operation, which might bid defiance to a tiger's teeth? As to the captaincy, it is another fabrication. McCulloch was as much a captain in the army of the Grand Lama, as in the American service. He was, as we have seen, a guide -- a pilot, through an ocean of forest.
And is this laceration of a dead body, inhuman as it is, to be an offset against a system of pecuniary rewards, which led to murders, that the prescribed voucher might be obtained for their payment? Many of these facts are known to ourselves. And for others, we refer to living witnesses, or to publications or documents, which have long been before the public.
Before quite closing our long article, we must beg the patience of our readers to listen one moment to a curious story told by the Quarterly.
‘After Hull's advance into Canada, the little river Canard for some time separated our troops from the enemy; its banks were overgrown with long rushes and rank grass, and the Indians frequently crossing it in their canoes, found cover to watch every motion of the enemy's outposts. One morning a small picquet of twelve or fourteen Americans, were sent forward to the river to reconnoitre, and were observed in their advance by a single Indian, who lay concealed among the rushes. He marked out one of the party, fired, and killed him. While the smoke of his rifle was dissipating, he had already crept round to the rear of the picquet, who had just time to pour a volley into the spot, which he had quitted, when a second shot from behind them, brought another of their companions to the earth. The fire of the party was ineffectually repeated, and immediately followed by a third bullet, as deadly as the two first, from an opposite quarter. Then believing themselves surrounded, and panic struck at the unerring discharge of their enemy, the party precipitately retreated, and left the field to the Indian.’ p. 103.
If one man can be found from Johnny Groat's house to the Land's End, who believes this idle rhodomontade, our estimate
78of British intelligence has been higher than it should be. There is not a tree nor a bush, within a mile of the spot, where this brilliant exploit was achieved. Memory has placed before us the whole panorama, freshly and vividly. The little sluggish stream winds its devious course through an extensive prairie, as level as the noble strait which bounds it, and but little elevated above it; affording no shelter for an ambush, nor safety against an attack. Yet here, a party of fourteen men, woodsmen too, is surrounded in broad day, by a single Indian, who fires and succeeds in obtaining their rear, enveloped in the smoke of his own rifle, while they are firing where he was! And three times he thus fires, travelling the circumference of the circle, while his bewildered enemy is employed in facing about, and attacking, not the shadow, but the smoke!We have seen something of Indian fighting, and know, that in the forests, and behind trees and logs, they are formidable, and even terrible assailants. And when the sleep of the soldier is broken by the war whoop, the firmest heart may well confess its fearful anxiety. But this wonderful improvement in aboriginal tactics, this ambulatory ambuscade, we had yet to learn. Certainly the Monk of Canterbury could not have invented gunpowder. This stratagem would seem to afford an explanation of the mode, in which the Trojan adventurer, unharmed and unobserved, advanced to the very palace of the Carthaginian queen. The neque cernitur ulli must refer to the very hero of the River Canards.
But lest the Reviewer should lay the flattering ‘unction to his soul,’ that the trifling skirmishes upon the River Canards, prevented the passage of the American troops, we can tell him, that after the first attack, when the British detachment was driven into Malden, and possession obtained of the bridge, the American parties were expressly prohibited by their commander from crossing that river. For the truth of this fact, we appeal to General Miller, to General McArthur, and to General Findlay. That stream was the impassable gulf, beyond which our troops might, gaze, but over which they could not pass. We do not here investigate the motives of the American general. That is the province of history.
Our task is finished. Much of it has afforded us no pleasure. But the glove was thrown down, and recreant indeed
79should we of this country prove, were there none willing to take it up. The charges were made in no measured terms, and the manner and the matter were equally exceptionable. In their examination, we have been necessarily led to investigate facts, some of which were never thus publicly disclosed, and others had passed away, and were forgotten. Although, when grouped together, they present scenes at which humanity shudders, yet they are the lessons of history; and profitable lessons too, if they prevent the recurrence of similar enormities, or if they produce any permanent improvement in the condition of the Indians. The experience of the past is only valuable, as it influences the present and the future. History can never become ‘philosophy teaching by example,’ if we exclude from its records all transactions to which the parties cannot look back with complacency. To the mariner, the buoy that marks the sunken rock and warns him to avoid it, is not less dear, than the beacon which discovers his destined port and invites him to enter. The massacre of St. Bartholomew's, the Sicilian Vespers, the Noyades of the Loire, the martyrdoms of Smithfield, and the infinite multitude of events, which exhibit the ascendancy of pernicious passions, are yet useful memorials for after ages. History, and even modern history, is already sufficiently fabulous, without a suppressio veri, which will leave to posterity little more than a knowledge, that battles were fought, and kingdoms won.
Many of the facts, which we have stated, will be new to the British nation. Indifference to the sufferings of others is no trait of their character, and it is not probable, that either they or their government were ever fully aware of the horrors, which attended the employment of the savages. The scene of action was far distant, their feelings were excited by war, and the facts were systematically concealed or misrepresented, by those, who conducted their operations in this hemisphere. Were it even in our power, it would afford us no pleasure to lower the rank of England in the general scale of national character. It was the land of our forefathers. We are connected with England by many a grateful recollection, by many a sympathetic feeling, by the ties of consanguinity, by the bonds of a common language and a common religion, and by kindred habits, feelings, and pursuits. In all that is valuable in life, in literature, in science, and in the arts, she has contributed her full proportion to the general stock.
But while we award this justice, we may be permitted to express our regret, that discussions, such as we have now spread before our readers, are ever rendered necessary by the violent attacks of the British press upon the mind and manners of this country. Who is to profit by this warfare, we are unable to conjecture. Even while we are writing these remarks, we perceive that one of the most respectable of the English journals has recently travelled out of its course to observe, that ‘we are not fond of relying upon American reports.’
How much more honorable would it be, and we cheerfully add, how much more becoming the British character, to cherish kindly feelings; to look back upon the little band of pilgrims, who sought liberty of action and of conscience beyond the ocean, and who carried with them the spirit of those institutions, which, in their native land and in their newly sought home, have secured so much national prosperity and private happiness; and to look forward to the United States, as the great depository of English literature and science and arts, and the living evidence of English intelligence and principles, when her own insular monuments shall be swept away, as all things else have been swept away, by the rolling tide of time. Sincerely do we hope that her day of glory will not be shrouded in a night of gloom; but what has happened to other nations may happen to her; and the traveller may yet inquire for the site of London, as we now inquire for those of Nineveh and Babylon.
‘The Indian strings the scalps he has procured, to be produced as testimonies of his prowess, and receives a premium for each scalp from the nation under whose banners he has enlisted.’ Wynne's History of the British Empire in America. Vol. II. p. 57.
‘In the war between France and England, and their colonies, their Indian allies were entitled to a premium for every scalp of an enemy.’ Buchanan's Sketches; Introduction, p. 19.
‘A Pierre Guoin, Ecuyer,
‘La confiance particuliere que J'ai de votre integrité &, attachement a Sa Majeste Le Roy George, et en vertu du Pouvoir & Authorité qui ma eté donne par Messire Guy Carleton Chevalier des ordres du Bain, Capitaine General et Gouverneur en Chef de la Province de Quebec & Territoires en dependans en Amerique, Vice Admiral d'icelle, &c. &c. &c. General et Commandant et Chef les arnées de sa Majeste dans la ditte Province et frontiere d'icelle, &c. &c. &c. Je vous nomme et etablis Lieutenant des Sauvages pour le District du Detroit pour en faire les fonctions en la ditte qualityé, vous obeirés et suivrés les ordres & instructions que vous recevres de son Excellence le Commandant en Chef du Surintendant des Sauvages, de son Deputé ou de tous autres officiers Superieurs en menant & conduisant les partie des fidelles nations sauvages, alies Å sa Majeste qui seront sous vos ordres.’
‘Donné au Detroit sous ma main et sceau Le 24 Juin, 1777.
‘Par ordre du Lieut. Gouverneur. P. Dejean,’
‘On our arrival at Sydney from England, we hired a merchant vessel (the Countess of Harcourt), which we loaded with various provisions, and embarked in her a detachment of 25 men of the 3d regiment of Buffs, commanded by Captain Barlow. We also loaded a colonial brig with various agricultural and mechanical instruments, necessary to form a settlement. After a pleasant passage of six weeks, we arrived at the destined spot, at the northern extremity of New Holland (now called Australasia), named Port Essington, in longitude 131° east of Greenwich, where we landed all our mariners (46 in number), and immediately hoisted the British flag on a high tree, amidst a salute of 21 guns from the Tamar, a volley of small arms from the troops, and the repeated huzzas of all hands. Perhaps never was a martial sound heard here before. The natives were so struck with terror, that they all fled away.’
Simple people! you had no reason for fear. None but Americans cause barbarians ‘to vanish as the snow melts before the sunbeams.’
The account then proceeds to describe in detail the defensive work, which were erected, and the force stationed there.
‘SIR, -- The general government of the United States have considered it their duty and interest, to extend their care and patronage over the Indian tribes within their limits; and perceiving the injurious effects produced by the inordinate use of spirituous liquors, have passed laws authorizing measures against vending or distributing such liquors among them. Their introduction by traders was accordingly prohibited, and for some tune was attended with the best effects. I am informed, however, that latterly, the Indians have got into the practice of purchasing such liquors themselves, in the neighboring settlements of whites, and of carrying them into their towns; and in this way, our regulations, so salutary to them, are defeated. I must therefore request you to submit this matter to the consideration of your legislature. I persuade myself, that in addition to the moral inducements which will readily occur, they will find it not indifferent to their own interest, to give us their aid in removing from their neighbors this great obstacle to their acquiring industrious habits, and attaching themselves to the regular and useful pursuits of life. For this purpose, it is much desired, that they should pass effectual laws to restrain their citizens from vending and distributing spirituous liquors to the Indians.
I am, &c.
At page 94 will be found the instructions of the Governor of the Red River Settlement, dated Fort Douglass, 12th April, 1816, to one of his officers detached upon a particular service. This officer is told, ‘It is my wish, that you carefully avoid every act of hostility, until fully justified by the conduct of our enemies. The half breeds having been ordered to assemble at the Fort Qui Appelle, any acts of hostility committed by them, must be considered as committed by immediate or authorized agents of the Northwest Company, and repelled or retaliated accordingly.’
In a note to page 101, it is stated, that ‘in the month, of July, 1816, in a council held before the Indian department at Drummond's Island near Lake Superior, in the presence of Lieutenant Colonel Maule President, Lieutenant Colonel M'Kay, Superintendent of Indian affairs, John Askin, and others, a declaration was made by Katawaketay, an Indian of Fond du Lac, importing, that he had been solicited by some of the Northwest Company, to lead his nation to make war upon and destroy the English Colony, at Red river. That he had been offered all the goods in three of their stores as a reward, if he would undertake this service. That he had refused their offer, and declined taking arms against the colony, until he knew whether it would be satisfactory to the Indian department, and his great father on the other side of the great lake. That he was some months afterwards offered a bribe, if he would cause the bearers of despatches to the Colony to be intercepted by any of his people, and robbed of their papers or murdered.’
‘The intercourse of the Northwest Company with the Indians is not indeed entitled to the appellation of a trade, but under the semblance and disguise of commerce, is an organized system of rapine.’ p. 61.
The facts connected with this deportation of the Wyandots and the embassy from the Crane, we have received from Mrs. Walker, a respectable half Wyandot woman, and her two sons, Isaac and William. The former is the public interpreter at Upper Sandusky, and the latter is the teacher of the Missionary school at that place. Both are intelligent and well educated, and both are men of integrity. They and their mother were with the Wyandots of Brownstown, and were taken across the Detroit River. And they were present at the great council, where Between-the-logs delivered his speech.
We are also indebted to Mr. Stickney, then the United States agent for the Wyandots, for his account of the transaction. And we may add, that the general facts respecting the capture of these people were known to us at the time; and that we were present, when the ambassador received his instructions; and we heard the Crane, when he made his report to General Harrison of the result.
‘I am well acquainted with all the persons, who have signed the preceding statement, and know them to be respectable and intelligent, and entitled to full credit -- [Signed.] Solomon Sibley, one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the Territory of Michigan.’