Imágenes de páginas

as a guide to Colonel Johnson's regiment. He informs us that he knew Tecumsch well, and that he once had his thigh broken, which, not being properly set, caused a considerable ridge in it always after. This was published in a Kentucky newspaper lately, as necessary to prove that the Indian killed by Colonel Johnson was Tecumseh. From the same paper it would seem that, even on the day of battle, it was doubted by some whether the chief killed were Tecumseh, and that a critical inquest was held over his body; and although it was decided to be he, yet to the fact that the colonel killed him, there was a demur even then. But no doubt many were willing it should so pass, thinking it a matter of not much consequence, so long as Tecumseh, their most dreaded cnemy, was actually slain; and perhaps, too, so near the event, many felt a delicacy in dissenting from the report of Colonel Johnson's friends; but when time had dispelled such jealousy, those, came out frankly with their opinion, and hence resulted the actual truth of the case.

That the American soldiers should have dishonored themselves, after their victory, by ontraging all decency by acts of astonishing ferocity and barbarity upon the lifeless body of the fallen chief, is grievous to mention, and cannot meet with too severe condemnation. Pieces of his skin were taken away by some of them as mementoes !* He is said to have borne a personal enmity to General Harrison, at this time, for having just before destroyed his family. The celebrated speech, said to have been delivered by the great “Shawanese warrior” to General Proctor, before the battle of the Thames, is believed by many not to be genuine. It

may be seen in every history of the war, and every periodical of that day, and not a few since, even to this. Therefore we omit it here. The speech of Logan, perhaps, has not circulated wider. Another, in our opinion, more worthy the mighty mind of Tecumsch, published in a work said to be written by one who heard it, is now generally (on the authority of a public journal) discarded as a fiction.

Among the skirmishes between the belligerents, before General Hull surrendered the northwestern army, Tecumseh and his Indians acted a conspicuous part.

Malden, situated at the junction of Detroit river with Lake Erie, was considered the Gibraltar of Canada, and it was expected that General Hull's first object would be to possess himself of it. movement that way, Colonel M·Arthur came very near being cut off by a party of Indians led by Tecumseh. About four miles from Malden, he found a bridge in possession of a body of the enemy; and although the bridge was carried by a force under Colonel Cass, in effecting which, eleven of the enemy were killed, yet it seems, that in a “few days afterwards” they were in possession of it again, and again the Americans stood ready to repeat the attack. It was in an

In a

* We have often heard it said, but whether in truth we do not aver, that there are those who still own razor strops made of it.

attempt to reconnoitre, that Colonel M'Arthur “advanced too near the enemy, and narrowly escaped being cut off from his men” by several Indians who had nearly prevented his retreat.

Major Vanhorn was detached on the 4th of August from Aux Canards, with two hundred men, to convoy one hundred and fifty Ohio militia and some provisions from the river Raisin. In his second day's march, near Brownstown, he fell into an ambush of seventy Indians under Tecumseh, who, firing upon him, killed twenty men; among whom were Captains M.Culloch, Bostler, Gilcrease, and Ubry: nine more were wounded. The rest made a precipitate retreat.

Major Vanhorn having failed in his attempt, Colonel Miller was sent on the 8th of August, with six hundred men to protect the same provisions and transports. The next day, August 9th, about four o'clock in the afternoon, the vanguard, commanded by Captain Snelling, was fired upon by an extensive line of British and Indians, at the lower end of the village of Magaugo, fourteen miles from Detroit. The main body was half a mile in the rear when the attack began. Captain Snelling maintained his position in a most gallant manner, under a heavy fire, until the line was formed and advanced to his relief.

The force against which the Americans were now contending was made up of a body of five hundred Indians under Tecumseh, Walk-in-the-water, Marpot, and the since famous Blackhawk, and a considerable number of whites under Major Muir. They were formed behind a breastwork of felled trees. When Colonel Miller had brought his men into line, the enemy sprang from their hiding-places, and formed in line-of-battle, and a fierce and appalling strife ensued. The British and Indian force was one-third greater than the American, but nothing could withstand them, when led on by such officers as Miller and Snelling, and the ground was disputed inch by inch for near two miles, to the village of Prownstown. Here the British took to their boats, and the Indians to the woods, and thus the battle closed. It was owing to a disobedience of orders on the part of the cavalry, that the British escaped entire destruction ; for Colonel Miller ordered them to rush upon them and cut them up when their guns were unloaded, and their ranks were in confusion, but they would not, although Captain Snelling offered to lead them in person. In this affair the Indians and British lost one hundred killed and two hundred wounded, and the Americans had eighteen killed and fiftyeight wounded.

A Brilish writer upon the late war, after having related the battle of the Thames, in which Tecumseh fell, says: “It seems extraordinary that General Ilarrison should have omitted to mention, in his letter, the death of a chief, whose fall contributed so largely to break down the Indian spirit, and to give peace and security to the whole northwestern frontier of the l'. States. Tecumseh, although he had received a musket-ball in the left arm, was still seeking the hottest of the fire,” when he received the mortal wound in the head, of which he in a few moments expired. The error, which for some time

prevailed, of his being shot by Colonel Johnson, is copied into this author's work. The following descriptions, though in some respects erroneous, are of sufficient value to be preserved.

Tecumseh was endowed “ with more than the usual stoutness, possessed all the agility and perseverance, of the Indian character. His carriage was dignified; his eye penetrating; his countenance, which, even in death, betrayed the indications of a lofty spirit, rather of the sterner cast. Had he not possessed a certain austerity of manners, he could never have controlled the wayward passions of those who followed him to battle. He was of a silent habit; but, when his eloquence became roused into action by the reiterated encroachments of the Americans, his strong intellect could supply him with a flow of oratory, that enabled him, as he governed in the field, so to prescribe in the council. Those who consider that, in all territorial questions, the ablest diplomatists of the U. States are sent to negotiate with the Indians, will readily appreciate the loss sustained. by the latter in the death of their champion. The Indians, in general, are full as fond as other savages of the gaudy decoration of their persons; but Tecumseh was an exception. Clothes and other valuable articles of spoil had often been his; yet he invariably wore a deer-skin coat and pantaloons. He had frequently levied subsidies to, comparatively, a large amount; yet he preserved little or nothing for himself. It was not wealth, but glory, that was Tecumseh's ruling passion, Fatal day! when the Christian people' first penetrated the forests, to teach the arts of civilisation' to the

poor Indian.

Till then water had been his only beverage, and himself and his race possessed all the vigor of hardy savages. Now, no Indian opens his lips to the

. stream that ripples by his wigwam, while he has a rag of clothes on his back, wherewith to purchase rum; and he and his squaw and his children wallow through the day in beastly drunkenness. Instead of the sturdy warrior, with a head to plan, and an arm to execute, vengeance upon the oppressors of his country, we behold the puny, "besotted wretch, squatting on his hams, ready to barter his country, his children, or himself, for a few gulps of that deleterious compound, which, far more than the arms of the United States, (Great Britain and France,) is hastening to extinguish all traces of his name and character. Tecumseh, himself, in early life, had been addicted to intemperance; but no sooner did his judgment decide against, than his resolution enabled him to quit, so vile a habit. Beyond one or two glasses of wine, he never afterwards indulged.”

It was said not to be from good will to the Americans, that he would not permit his warriors to exercise any cruelty upon them, when fallen into their power, but from principle alone. When Detroit was taken by the British and Indians, Tecumseh was in the action at the head of the latter. After the surrender, General Brock requested him not to allow his Indians to ill-treat the prisoners; to which he replied, “No! I despise them too much to meddle with them.”

Some of the English have said that there were few officers in the U. States' service so able to command in the field as Tecumseh. This

it will not behoove us to question; but it would better have become such speechmakers, if they had added, “ in his peculiar mode of warfare.” That he was a more wily chief than Mishikinakwa, may be doubted; that either had natural abilities inferior to those of General Wayne, or General Brock, we see no reason to believe. But this is no argument that they could practise European warfare as well as those generals. It is obvious, from his intercourse with the whites, that Tecumseh must have been better skilled in their military tactics than most, if not all, of his countrymen, whether predecessors or contemporaries.

A military man,* as we apprehend, says, “ He (Tecumseh) was an excellent judge of position, and not only knew, but could point out the localities of the whole country through which he had passed." “ His facility of communicating the information he had acquired, was thus displayed before a concourse of spectators. Previous to General Brock's crossing over to Detroit, he asked Tecumseh what sort of a country he should have to pass through in case of his proceeding farther. Tecumseh, taking a roll of elm-bark, and extending it on the ground by means of four stones, drew forth his scalping-knife, and with the point presently etched upon the bark a plan of the country, itş hills, woods, rivers, morasses, and roads; a plan which, if not as neat, was, for the purpose required, fully as intelligible as if Arrowsmith himself had prepared it. Pleased with this unexpected talent in Tecumseh, also with his having, by his characteristic bold. ness, induced the Indians, not of his immediate party, to cross the Detroit, prior to the embarkation of the regulars and militia, General Brock, as soon as the business was over, publicly took off his sash, and placed it round the body of the chief. Tecumseh received the honor with evident gratification, but was, the next day, seen without his sash. General Brock, fearing something had displeased the Indian, sent his interpreter for an explanation. The latter soon returned with an account that Tecumseh, not wishing to wear such a mark of distinction, when an older, and, as he said, abler warrior than himself was present, had transferred the sash to the Wyandot chief, Round-head."

The place of this renowned warrior's birth was upon the banks of the Scioto river, near what is now Chillicothe. His father's name was Pukeesheno, which means, I light from flying. He was killed in the battle of Kanhawa, in 1774. His mother's name was Meetheetashe, which signifies, a turtle laying her eggs in the sand. She died among the Cherokees. She had, at one birth, three sons :-Ellskwatawa, which signifies, a door opened, was called the Prophet ; Tecumseh, which is a tiger crouching for his prey; and Kumskaka, a tiger that. flies in the air.

We will here present the reader with a specimen of the Shawanee language, in the Lord's prayer:

Coe-thin-a, spim-i-key yea-taw-yan-oe, O-wes-sa-yes yey-sey-thoyan-ae: Day-pale-i-tum-any-pay-itch tha-key, yea-issi-tay-hay-yon-ae issi-nock-i-key, yoe-ma-assis-key-kie pi-sey spim-i-key. Me-li-na-key oe noo-ki cos-si-kie ta-wa-it-thin oe yea-wap-a-ki tuck-whan-a; pucki-tum-i-wa-loo kne-won-ot-i-they-way. Yea-se-puck-i-tum-a ma-chil

* Mr. James, ut supra.

. i-tow-e-ta thick-i ma-chaw-ki tus-sy-neigh-puck-sin-a wa-aun-si-loo wau po won-ot-i-they ya key-la tay pale-i-tum-any way wis-sa kie was-sa-cut-i-we-way thay-pay-we-way.

In 1826, the only surviving son of Tecumseh, whose name is Puchethei, which signifies crouching or watching his prey, left the Ohio to settle beyond the Mississippi. This son, when his lather was slain, was fighting by his side. “The prince regent,” says Mr. James, “in 1814, out of respect to the memory to the old, sent out as a present to the young Tecumseh a handsome sword;" and then closes this paragragh with this most savage lamentation: “Unfortunately, however, for the Indian cause and country, faint are the prospects that Tecumseh the son will ever equal, in wisdom or prowess, Tecumseh the father."



Sagoyewatha, called by the whites, Red-Jacket. His place of residence was, for many years previous to his death, (which happened January 20th, 1830, at his own house,) about four miles from Buffalo, and one mile north of the road that leads through the land reserved for the remnant of the Seneca nation, called the Reservation. His house was a log-cabin, situated in a retired place. Some of his tribe are Christians, but Red-Jacket would never hear to any thing of the kind. He was formerly considered of superior wisdom in council, and of a noble and dignified behaviour, which would have honored any man. But, like nearly all his race, he could not withstand the temptation of ardent spirits, which, together with his age, rendered him latterly less worthy of notice. Formerly, scarce a traveller passed near his place of residence, who would not go out of his way to see this wondersul man, and to hear his profound observations.

In the year 1805, a council was held at Buffalo, in the State of New York, at which were present many of the Seneca chiefs and warriors, assembled at the request of a missionary, Mr. Cram, from Massachu. setts. It was at this time that Red-Jacket delivered his famous speech, about which so much has been said and written, and which we propose to give here at length, and correctly; as some omissions and errors

« AnteriorContinuar »