Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of Green's rangers, consisting of ninety-seven men, set out from Niagara, with provisions for Detroit

. On the evening of the 4th, they went on shore to encamp, within fifty miles of Detroit. Cuyler sent his servant to gather greens, and the lad being gone so long, a party was sent for him, who found him scalped. He put his men in the best position for a sudden attack. The Indians fell upon them, and killed. and took all but the lieutenant and thirty of his men, who retreated back to Niagara, leaving near two hundred barrels of provision with the enemy."

“ Philadelphia, June 234. “By an express just now from Fort Pitt, we learn that the Indians are continually about that place; that out of one hundred and twenty traders but two or three escaped, &c.

It is now out of doubt it is a general insurrection among all the Indians.”

«Winchester, (Va.) June 22d. “Last night I reached this place. I have been at Fort Cumberland several days, but the Indians having killed nine people there, made me think it prudent to remove from those parts, from which I suppose near five hundred families have run away within this week. It was a most melancholy sight to see such numbers of poor people, who had abandoned their settlement in such consternation and hurry, that they had scarcely any thing with them but their children.”

“Carlisle, July 3d. “ Ligonier was attacked on the 23d, by the savages, for a day and a night, but they were beat off'; this we had from an Indian. We killed one of the scoundrels from the fort, who had trusted himself a little too near.”

“Philadelphia, July 27th. “I returned home last night. * There has been a good deal said in the papers, but not more than is strictly true. Shippensburgh and Carlisle are now become our frontiers, none living at their plantations but such as have their houses stockaded. Upwards of two hundred women and children are now living in Fort Loudoun, a spot not more than one hundred feet square. I saw a letter from Col. S., late of the Virginia regiment, to Col. A., wherein he mentions that Great-Briar and Jackson's River are depopulated-upwards of three hundred persons killed or taken prisoners; that for one hundred miles in breadth and three hundred in length, not one family is to be found in their plantations, by which means there are near twenty thousand people left destitute of their habitations. The seven hundred men voted by the assembly recruit but very slowly, &c.”

“Goshen, N. Y., August 5th. “ Last week the following accident happened in this place. Several men having been out upon the hills hunting for deer, in their return they met with a flock of partridges, at which four guns were discharged, three of them pretty quick after each other. This being an uncommon accident in the place, was mistaken by some of the inha. bitants of the Wall-kill for firing of Indians. Immediately alarm-guns were fired and spread over the whole place, which produced an amaz. ing panic and confusion among the people, near five hundred families. Some for haste cut the harnesses of their horses from their ploughs and carts, and rode off with what they were most concerned to preserve. Others, who had no vessel to cross the river, plunged through, carrying their wives and children on their backs. Some, we have already heard, proceeded as far as New England, spreading the alarm as they went, and how far they may go is uncertain.'

“ Bethlehem, (Penn.) Oct. 9th. “I cannot describe the deplorable condition this poor country is in. Most of the inhabitants of Allen's-town and other places are fled from their habitations. I cannot ascertain the number killed, but think it exceeds twenty. The people at Nazareth, and the other places belong. ing to the (United) Brethren, have put themselves in the best posture of defence they can; they keep a strong watch every night, and hope, by the blessing of God, if they are attacked, to make a stand.”

Nothing can be added to enforce the impression which these various descriptions must make upon the mind of the reader. They show that the apprehension excited by the movements of Pontiac, though the chieftain himself was not yet thoroughly appreciated, exceeded every thing of the kind which has occurred on the continent since the days of King Philip

It is mainly from his actions, of necessity, that the character of such a man, in such a situation, must be judged. There are, however, some items of personal information respecting him, and these all go to confirm the opinion we have already expressed. His anxiety to learn the English methods of manufacturing cloth, iron, and some other articles, was such that he offered Major Rogers a part of his territory if he would take him to England for that purpose. He also endeavored to inform himself of the tactics and discipline of the Eng. lish troops. Probably it was in consequence of suggestions made by Rogers at some of the conversations he had with that officer, (and at which the latter allows that “he discovered great strength of judgment and a thirst after knowledge,”) that afterwards, in the course of the war, he appointed an Indian commissary, and began to issue bills of credit. These, which are said to have been punctually redeemed, are described as having the figure of whatever he wanted in exchange for them drawn upon them, with the addition of his own stamp in the shape of an otter. This system was set in operation partly for the benefit of the French. They had been subjected, occasionally, to indiscriminate pillage, but Pontiac became satisfied that such a process would soon put an end to itself, besides doing no honor to his cause. The supplies which they subsequently furnished were regu. larly levied through the medium of his commissariat department.

)

[ocr errors]

The authority Pontiac exercised over the combined tribes seems to have been little less than that of a complete dictator. In the Detroit diary heretofore cited, we are informed that about the commencement of the siege, a Mr. Rutherford “ fell into the hands of the savages. One of the garrison afterwards employed a Frenchman to redeem him from his Indian master, and furnished eighty pounds' worth of goods for that purpose. The bargain was effected, but the gentleman had been liberated but one day and one night when Pontiac, whose notice nothing escaped, sent a band of fifty Indians to take him away by torce. «No nation,” said he, "should have liberty to sell their prisoners till the war was over."

As the notice we have given of the fate of Campbell may leave an untavorable impression in regard to the chieftain's good faith, it should be observed that the Indian maxims on the use of artifice in war are universally different from those of most civilised nations. Nor can we expect to know what circumstances might have occurred, subsequent to the visit of Campbell to the Indian camp, which would justisy his detention, though contrary to the expectation of all partics. It appears, however, from the diary, that he was first induced to go out, not by Pontiac, as we have seen stated, but by some of the French, who “ told him there was no risque in going out,--they would answer life for life that he should return safe into the fort."

It is well settled that the detention—whether in pursuance of a scheme of Pontiac, thereby to induce a capitulation, or for other reasons unknown—was by no means intended to result as it unfortunately did. The same writer, who states that Pontiac solemnly pledged his word for the captain's safety, states that the assassin fled to Sayinaw, apprehensive of his vengeance, and that he used every exertion to apprehend the murderer, who would no doubt have paid for his temerity with his life.

No act has ever been ascribed to Pontiac which would lead us to doubt this conclusion. Nothing like sanguinary disposition, or a disposition to tolerate cruelty in others, belonged to his character. We have observed his treatment of Rogers, at a time when he had no doubt resolved upon war, and when he already felt himself to have been ill-treated by the English. That gentleman relates an anecdote of him which occurred during the war, still more honorable to the chieftain. As a compliment, Rogers sent him a bottle of brandy by the hands of a Frenchman. His councillors advised hiin not to taste it; it must be poisoned, said they, and sent with a design to kill him. But Pontiac laughed at their suspicions. “Ile cannot," he replied,

, “ he cannot take my life, I have saved his!" In 1765, an English officer, Lieutenant Frazer, with a company

of soldiers, went among the Illinois, where was probably a French station, at which Pontiac then was,—probably with a view of observing the chiestain's movements. He considered it an aggression, and called upon the French commandant to deliver his visiters into his hands.

* Governor Cass.

a

a

The officer attempted to pacify him, in vain. “You," (the French,) said he, “were the first cause of my striking the English. This is your tomahawk which I hold in my hand.” He then ordered his Indians, whom by this time he had mustered in large numbers from the neighborhood, to seize upon the English at once. The order was generally obeyed, but Frazer escaped. The Indians threatened to massacre all the rest unless he should be given up, upon which he gallantly came forward and surrendered to Pontiac.

The sequel is worthy of notice. * With the interest of Pondiac,” say the papers of the day," he (Frazer) got himself and his men back

“ again.” On the arrival of another Indian chief, with a white woman for a wise, who did all in their power to exasperate the savages, they seized upon the English again. “But Pondiac ordered them to give the men back," and the order was again obeyed. Frazer wished to stay longer, and Pontiac promised to protect him. He however advised him, considering the disposition of the Indians, to leave the country, and he accordingly went down the river in a batteau, and at lengih made his way to New Orleans. “He says, Pondiac is a clever fellow, and had it not been for him he should never have got away alive."

Of the oratory of the Ottawa chieftain there remain but few and scanty memorials. Like Philip, he has derived his distinction more from actions than words, and that (as also in Philip's case) without the aid of any very signal renown as a mere warrior. The only speech of his we have met with, was made on the occasion of a couference with the French at Detroit, held upon the 23d of May, 1763, in the hope of inducing them to join him in the reduction of the fort. The style of delivery cannot now be ascertained, but the reasoning is close and ingenious.

“My brothers !” he said, “I have no doubt but this war is very troublesome to you, and that my warriors, who are continually passing and repassing through your settlements, frequently kill your cattle and injure your property. I am sorry for it, and hope you do not think I am pleased with this conduct of my young men, proof of my friendship, recollect the war you had seventeen years ago, (1746,) and the part I took in it. The northern nations combined together, and came to destroy you. Who defended you? Was it not myself and my young men? The great chief Mackinac (the Turtle) said in council that he would carry to his native village the head of your chief warrior, and that he would cat his heart and drink his blood. Did I not then join you, and go him, if he wished to kill the French he must pass over my body, and over the bodies of my young men? Did I not take hold of the tomahawk with you, and aid you in fighting your battles with Mackinac, and driving him home to his country? Why do you think I would turn my arms against you? Am I not the same French Pontiac who assisted you seventeen years ago? I am a Frenchman, and I wish to die a Frenchman.”

Asier throwing a war-belt into the midst of the council, he coneluded in the following strain:

And as a

to his camp

and

say to

· My brothers! I begin to grow tired of this bad meat which is upon our lands. I begin to see that this is not your case, for instead of assisting us in our war with the English, you are actually assisting ihem. I have already told you, and I now tell you again, that when I undertook this war it was only your interest | sought, and that I knew what I was about. I yet know what I am about. This year they must all perish. The Master of Life so orders it. His will is known to us, and we inust do as he says. And you, my brothers, who know him better than we do, wish to oppose his will ! Until now { have avoided urging you upon this subject, in the hope that if you could not aid, you would not injure us. I did not wish to ask you to tight with us against the English, and I did not believe you would take part with them. You will say you are not with them. I know it; but your conduct amounts to the saine thing. You will tell them all we do and say. You carry our councils and plans to them. Now take your

choice. You must be entirely French, like ourselves, or entirely English. If you are French, take this belt for yourselves and your young men, and join us. If you are English, we declare war against you."

The man who had the ability and the intrepidity to express him. self in this manner, hardly needed either the graces of rhetoric or the powers of the warrior to enforce that mighty influence which, among every people, and under all circumstances, is attached, as closely as shadow to substance, to the energies of a mighty mind. Those ener. gies he exerted, and that influence he possessed, probably, beyond all precedent in the history of his race. Tience it is that his memory is still cherished among the tribes of the north. History itself, instead of adding to his character in their eyes, has only reduced him to his true proportions in our own. Tradition still looks upon him as it looked upon the Hercules of the Greeks.

*

*

CHAPTER XV.

ACCOUNT OF THE DELAWARES-THEIR ANCIENT GREAT MEN, INCLUDING

TAMENEND-HISTORY DURING TIE REVOLUTIONARY WAR-TWO PARTIES AMONG THIER-WUXTE-EYES LEADER OF ONE, AND CAPTAIN PIPE OF THE OTHER-ANECDOTES.

The most formidable antagonists the Five Nations ever had to contend with were the Delawares, as the English have named them, (from Lord de la War,) but generally styled by their Indian neighbors Wapanachi, and by themselves Lenni Lenape, or the Original People. The tradition is, that they and the Five Nations both emigrated from beyond the Mississippi, and, by uniting their forces, drove off or destroyed the primitive residents of the country on this side. Afterwards the Delawares divided themselves into three tribes, called the Turtle, the Turkey, and the Wolf, or Monsey. Their settlements extended from the Hudson to the Potomac, and their descendants finally became so numerous, that nearly forty tribes honored them

« AnteriorContinuar »