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Pontiac was probably at the head of this force. Several years before, he was known as a warrior of high standing and great success; and as early as 1746, he commanded a powerful body of Indians, mostly Ottawas, who gallantly defended the people of Detroit against the formidable attack of a number of combined Northern tribes. But a far more important trial, both of his principles and his talents, was yet to come, in the transfer of power from the French to the English, which took place at the termination of the long war between those nations, ending with the peace of_1761. The stations upon the lakes were given up in 1760. The first detachment of British troops which ever penetrated into that region was sent, during this year, for the purpose of taking formal possession. That force was commanded by Major Rogers, and from the “Concise Account of North America," written by him,* we obtain our knowledge of the earliest interview between Pontiac and the English: It is allowed to have the merit of authenticity; and although not so definite as might be desired, it furnishes a variety of characteristic and singular facts.

Major Rogers says, that “on the way”—meaning generally the route from Montreal to Detroit--he was met by an embassy from Pontiac, consisting of some of his own warriors, together with several chiefs belonging to subordinate tribes. The object was, to inform him that Pontiac, in person, proposed to visit him; that he was not far distant, coming peaceably; and that he desired the Major to halt his detachment, " till such time as he could see him with his own eyes.” The deputies were also directed to represent their master as the king and lord of the country which the English had now entered.

The Major drew up his troops as requested, and before long the Ottawa chieftain made his appearance. He wore, we are told, an air of majesty and princely grandeur. After the first salutation, he sternly demanded of the Englishman his business in his territory, and how he had dared to venture upon it without his permission. Rogers was too prudent and too intelligent to take offence at this style of reception. Nor did he undertake to argue any question of actual or abstract right. He said he had no design against the Indians, but, on the contrary, wished to remove from their country a nation who had been an obstacle to mutual friendship and commerce between them and the English. He also made known his commission to this effect, and concluded with a present of several belts of wampum. Pontiac received them with the single observation,-—" I shall stand in the path you are walking till morning,”—and gave, at the same time, a small string of wampum. This, writes the Major, was as much as to say, " I must not march farther without his leave.

Such, undoubtedly, was the safest construction, and the sequel shows that Pontiac considered it the most civil. On departing for the night, he asked Rogers whether he wanted any thing which his country afforded ; if so, his warriors should bring it for him. The reply

* Published in London, 1765. We have a “ Journal” of the same expedition, from the same pen.

was discreet as the offer was generous, that whatever provisions might be brought in, should be well paid for. Probably they were; but the English were at all events supplied, the next morning, with several bags of parched corn and other necessaries. Pontiac himself, at the second meeting, offered the pipe of peace, and he and the English officer oked by turns. He declared that he thereby made peace with the Englishman and his troops; and that they should pass through his dominions, not only unmolested by his subjects, but protected by them from all other parties who might incline to be hostile.

These were no idle promises. Pontiac remained in company with his new friend constantly after the first interview, until he arrived at Detroit. He employed one hundred of his warriors to protect and assist a corps of soldiers, in driving a large number of fat cattle which had been sent on for the use of the troops, from Pittsburgh, by the way of Presqu'Isle. He also despatched messengers to the several Indian towns on the south side and west end of Lake Erie, to inform them that Rogers had his consent to march through the country. Under such auspices, the Major might reasonably have felt himself safe, after reaching his destination. But the chieftain understood his situation better than himself. He kept near him so long as he remained at Detroit; and Rogers acknowledges that he was once at least "the means of preserving the detachment” from the fury of a body of Indians, who had assembled with sinister purposes at the mouth of the Strait,

This incident leads us to remark, that almost all the tribes on the Northern waters who had associated and traded with the French during the term of their jurisdiction,--and but few of them there were who had not,-sincerely lamented the change which had occurred in public affairs. They were very generally prejudiced against the new-comers, as they were attached to the old residents. Perhaps the latter, individually, if not otherwise, fomented the spirit of discontent. But, however this might be, there were reasons enough in the ancient relations maintained between the French and the Indians, independently of argument or comment, why such a spirit should manifest itself under the circumstances we have mentioned.

The fact itself is indisputable. It is proved by facts, subsequent and consequent. It is also proved by many respectable authorities, only one of which will be here referred to, for the sake of illustration.

Mr. Henry, the well known author of “ Travels and Adventures in Canada and the Indian Territories, between the years 1760 and 1766," speaks of an affair in point, which happened at the little island of La Cloche,* in Lake Huron, on his voyage, in the spring of 1761, from Montreal to Michilimackinac. He found a large village of Indians at this place, who treated him in the kindest manner, until - discovering that he was an Englishman,” they told his men that the Michilimackinac Indians would certainly kill him, and that they might therefore

So pamed by the French, from a rock on the island, which, being struck, rings like a bell.

as weil anticipate their own share of the pillage, On this principle they demanded a part of his stores, and he deemed it prudent to make no resistance. He observes, afterwards, that his mind was "oppressed” with the repeated warnings he received of sure destruction where he was going. Again, the hostility of the Indians was exclusively against the English;" and this circumstance suggested to Henry a prospect of security in assuming a Canadian disguise, which fortu. nately enabled him to complete his expedition.

But the difficulty did not cease here. He was now in the neighbor. hood of Pontiac, and among the tribes subject to his influence. What manner of men they were, and how far the master-spirit may be supposed to have filled them with the fire of his own soul, will appear from à speech of one of the Chippewa chiefs, Minavavana, who, with a band of his own tribe, visited the newly arrived trader at his house in Michilimackinac. . The courage and the eloquence of this man, blended as they are with the highest degree of savage chivalry, almost make us suspect his identity with the Ottawa chieftain himself. The name is by no means conclusive against such a conjecture, for it would be an extraordinary fact in Indian history, if so distinguished a man as Pontiac were known only by one appellation, and especially when he associated with a large number of tribes, speaking as many different languages.

Henry describes his hero as a person of remarkable appearance, of commanding stature, and with a singularly fine countenance. entered the room where the traveller was anxiously awaiting the result of his visit, followed by sixty warriors, dressed and decorated in the most forinal and imposing fashion of war. Not a word was spoken as they came in, one by one, seated themselves on the floor at a signal from the chief, and began composedly smoking their pipes. Minavavana, meanwhile, looking steadfastly at Henry, made various inquiries of his head-boatman, a Canadian. He then coolly observed, that “the English were brave men, and not afraid of death, since they dared to come thus fearlessly among their enemies.” A solemn pause now ensued for some time, until the Indians having finished their pipes, the chieftain took a few wampum-strings in his hand, and commenced the following harangue:

« Englishman!— It is to you that I speak, and I demand your atten. tion!

“ Englishman!-You know that the French King is our father. He promised to be such; and we, in return, promised to be his children. This promise we have kept.

“ Englishman!—It is you that have made war with this our father. You are his enemy; and how then could you have the boldness to venture ainong us, his children? You know that his enemies are

He

ours.

“ Englishman! We are informed that our father, the King of France, is old and infirm; and that being fatigued with making war upon your nation, he is fallen asleep. During his sleep, you have iaken advantage of him, and possessed yourselves of Canada. But

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his

nap is almost at an end. I think I hear him already stirring, and inquiring for his children, the Indians;-and, when he does awake, what must become of you? He will destroy you utterly!

“ Englishman! Although you have conquered the French, you have not conquered us! We are not your slaves. These lakes, these woods and mountains, were left to us by our ancestors. They are our inheritance, and we will part with them to none. Your nation supposes that we, like the white people, cannot live without bread, and pork, and beef! But you ought to know that He—the Great Spirit and Master of Life—has provided food for us in these broad lakes, and upon these mountains.

· Englishman! Our Father, the King of France, employed our young men to make war upon your nation. In this warfare many of them have been killed, and it is our custom to retaliate until such time as the spirits of the slain are satisfied. Now the spirits of the slain are to be satisfied in either of two ways. The first is by the spilling of the blood of the nation by which they fell, the other by covering the bodies of the dead, and thus allaying the resentment of their relations. This is done by making presents.

“ Englishman! Your king has never sent us any presents, nor entered into any treaty with us. Wherefore he and we are still at war; and until he does these things, we must consider that we have no other father nor friend among the white men than the King of France. But for you, we have taken into consideration that you have ventured

your

life

among us, in the expectation that we should not

You do not come armed with an intention to make war. You come in peace, to trade with us, and supply us with necessaries of which we are much in want. We shall regard you, therefore, as a brother, and you may sleep tranquilly without fear of the Chippewas. As a token of our friendship we present you with this pipe to smoke."

The interview terminated in a manner which reminds us of Pontiac's meeting with Rogers. Minavavana gave the Englishman his hand, his companions followed his example, the pipe went round in due order, and, after being politely entertained, all quietly departed. It this was not the Ottowa himself, he was certainly a kindred spirit; and if the former exercised authority over many such characters, as he probably did, it is not difficult to account for the confidence which dictated the design, or for the measure of success which attended the prosecution of one of the mightiest projects ever conceived in the brain of an American savage.

This project was a combination of all the tribes on and about the northern waters, perhaps partially with an ultimate view to the restoration of the French government, but directly and distinctly to the complete extirpation of the English.

It has been observed by a writer who has done signal justice to the genius of Pontiac, “that we are nowhere told the causes of disaffection which separated him from the British interest. ** There is an allusion

molest you.

* Discourse of Governor Cass.

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